“Just bad coaching,” Kidd said after his $190 million team fell to 3-7 on the young season and was booed by the crowd throughout the fourth quarter. “I take the blame for this. Guys play hard; we got a little stagnant on the offensive end. This falls on my shoulders. We got off to a good start and then in the third quarter we came out a little flat and that falls on me.”
The Nets, who have lost five of their last six games, shot a blistering 73.7 percent and scored a season-high 40 points in the first quarter. But their offense went into the tank after that. In the final three quarters, the Nets shot just 25.8 percent. Brooklyn, which once led by as many as 11, eventually trailed by as many as 14.
As they have all season, the Nets lost the game in the third quarter. They went just 3-for-18 from the field in the frame, while being outscored 27-15. Brooklyn is 0-7 in 2013-14 when losing the third; 3-0 when winning it.
“I don’t know if it’s what Portland did,” Kidd said. “We had some great looks on offense and we didn’t score. Again, if we don’t score, we need to play the other side and tonight that falls on me not having the guys ready to play to start the second half.”
The Nets were playing without point guard Deron Williams (sprained left ankle), center Brook Lopez (sprained left ankle) and reserve forward Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms), who all missed the game due to injury. There is “no timetable” on any of those players, Kidd said.
Power forward Kevin Garnett (sprained right ankle) and small forward Paul Pierce (sore left groin) returned to the lineup after missing Saturday night’s game. Garnett got off to a fast start, hitting his first six shots but ended up 8-for-19 from the field with a season-high 16 points and eight rebounds. Pierce was mostly ineffective, finishing with 11 points on 2-for-12 shooting. Garnett and Pierce were seen leaving the arena at around 11:20 p.m. Trainer Tim Walsh wasn’t far behind. It’s possible both players were receiving treatment.
After the game, the locker room didn’t open for 15 minutes and the only players to address the media were Jason Terry, Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson and Mason Plumlee; Tornike Shengelia, who rarely plays, was also available. About an hour later, the team’s public relations staff let reporters know that no one else would be talking.
Terry wouldn’t say the Nets had a team meeting but did say, “It was just guys reflecting. Just realizing that we let another opportunity slip. But we’ll figure this thing out, and there are brighter days ahead. I guarantee that.”
Asked about his level of concern, Terry said, “Patience is what it is. There is no timetable [for us to turn it around]. We don’t know. We’d like it to happen sooner than later, but No. 1, you have to get healthy. You’re missing your key big man and your star point guard, s---, I don’t know how much success you're going to have without that. But again, it’s what we’re faced with. We’d rather have it happen now than later, obviously, so we’re just gonna keep grinding and get through it.”
The Nets came into the season with aspirations of winning a championship. They knew it was going to be tough, though, because they were incorporating seven new players and a rookie head coach. Age was their biggest question mark. Would they stay healthy? How quickly would they find chemistry?
So far, things haven’t exactly gone according to plan. With the exception of Lopez, their stars haven’t played like stars. Williams’ Player Efficiency Rating is below the league average. Garnett is shooting 32.6 percent. Joe Johnson has missed 40 of his last 58 shots. The Nets currently rank 19th in offensive efficiency and 25th in defensive efficiency. Injuries have obviously already taken a toll.
But they aren’t ready to panic. Not by any means.
“It’s a process. We still have a ways to go,” Kidd said. “We have quite a few games left, but we got to prepare tomorrow, get some work in on the defensive end. Again, as the coach, we got some work to do.”
Added Terry: “You don’t know when it’s gonna happen, but when it does, it’s gonna be special. And I believe that.”