It’s official: The Nets are worse than the Lakers. Final score 104-98.
When I woke up this morning, I was pretty sure I was the MS Nets writer with the best writing assignment of the week. The Nets were set to play the Lakers in Brooklyn, with both teams winless in the early season. Brooklyn were favoured by 3 and a half points, and I was fairly confident. After all, the Lakers had lost all their games despite an easy schedule, and the Nets’ schedule had been anything but. Personally, I felt the Nets could cover that 3.5. I sat down at the television, ready to celebrate my beloved team’s first win of the season.
The game started with FOUR consecutive turnovers for the Nets, promptly followed by a Joe Johnson airball. Lovely. Most discouragingly, there was clearly more support in Barclays Center for the Lakers than the Nets, with loud cheers at every Nets turnover or missed free throw. I can’t blame the fans though. What reason have Brooklyn given us for believing in them? If I were less emotionally tied to this team, I would be bailing too.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got his first start in this game, and played great. He knows he’s not an offensive threat, so used his energy on the defensive end, and then did what LITERALLY EVERY OTHER NETS PLAYER SHOULD BE DOING and actually looked for Brook Lopez to pass to. And guess what? Brook made the shots. As he does 57% of the time that he attempts one. RHJ, you are officially my favourite Net.
The Nets gained their largest lead of the season (11!) early on, but Los Angeles managed to swoop in front by half-time. And while the Lakers actually didn’t shoot as well from the field as the Nets, they had double the number of free throw attempts (40 vs 20), and drained 77.5% of them. They were also 7 of 23 on 3 pointers to the Nets’ abysmal 3 of 19. In addition, Kobe Bryant was able to pull off a few vintage moves against the Nets’ porous defense, much to the delight of the mostly purple-and-gold crowd.
A few positives: Jarrett Jack actually had a favourable plus-minus in this game (he and RHJ were the only players in that department), and made some tough shots on top of some fairly impressive passes.
The ball movement was better than in previous games (Lopez at least got more touches), and Thomas Robinson again showed he can out-rebound opponents and get some easy buckets inside.
But, the negatives: Andrea Bargnani has only scored 4 points, and has not assisted or rebounded at all in the past two games, yet has had 9 fouls. None of our point guards (bar Markel Brown, who did not play in this game) can defend, and Hollins seems to be giving Jack the green light to isolate whenever he likes (seriously, he and Hollins were speaking to each other as Jack brought the ball up the court, as if they were scheming a play, before Jack drove straight into the middle of the lane and had the ball stolen with ease).
Bogdanovic has proven he can’t defend competently and is nowhere near the offensive threat that he should be to be playing the sixth-man role. The Nets have ZERO three point shooting. And, once again, Lopez is not getting the ball enough. I’m just going to say it: Brook Lopez is the only actually good player on this team. He is the equivalent of 2015 finals LeBron James. The instruction should be – pass it to him, and get out of the way (or cut to the basket so he can pass it to you when he is surely double teamed).
In the final seconds of the game, with the Nets down by just three, no one could get free and Thaddeus Young was unable to make the inbounds pass.
This is the end times.
The Nets could go 0-82 and I look at you like “Yeah no the Nets really might go 0-82. They’re horrendous.”
— Eric Bilitch (@EricBilitch) November 7, 2015
This is Nets basketball.
This post also appears at Jasmine’s blog, nbarambler.com.