Friday, December 6, 2013
What's gone wrong?
By Mike Mazzeo
The Brooklyn Nets dropped to 5-14 on the season after being routed by the New York Knicks, 113-83, Thursday night at Barclays Center. They have lost 12 of their last 15 games.
So what's gone wrong? We took a look:
1. Identity crisis: Allow Joe Johnson to take this one.
“Offensively, we don't really have an identity," he said. “We throw it down to Brook [Lopez] pretty much, and when there's nothing there, we put him in a lot of tough positions. We just basically sit and watch. So we make his job a lot harder than it should be. Without us doing a lot of movement and cutting, we make everybody's job hard."
Only six teams have a worse offensive efficiency than the Nets (99.3 points per 100 possessions) this season this season: the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics, the Utah Jazz, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Charlotte Bobcats and the Milwaukee Bucks.
2. 3-point defense: The Nets rank last in the NBA in this category (41.6 percent). It's no surprise why.
Just take a look at the number of 3s allowed by Brooklyn in its last six games: 16, 7, 9, 19, 13, 11.
“We're trying different schemes," Kevin Garnett said. “We're trying to defend the paint and keep the paint, but teams have been shooting the ball very well. Every team that shoots the three, they've had success shooting the three against us. We haven't done a very good job of that."
3. Third is the worst: The Nets are currently being outscored by an average of 5.4 points in the third quarter of games this season. No team in the league is worse.
The Nets are 1-13 when losing the third. They have been outscored by 102 points overall in the quarter, while allowing opponents to shoot 49.2 percent.
“In the third quarter, they came out and made shots and we didn't," Garnett said Thursday night after the Nets were outscored 34-16 in the quarter.
4. Home failure: The Nets (2-6 at Barclays Center) lost consecutive home games by 20 or more for the first time in their NBA franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They have lost their last six home games by an average of 14.3 points.
5. Too many blowouts: The Nets have trailed by 20 or more points in seven of their first 19 games.
6. Overall defense: The Nets are currently giving up a staggering 108.6 points per 100 possessions and have surrendered 107 or more points in 10 of their first 19 games. Since assistant Lawrence Frank lost his defensive coordinator job, the Nets have given up 224 points in their last two games.
“It just seems like to me teams come in here freelancing, shooting lights out. It's almost like it's no respect," Johnson said.
7. Injuries: Through 19 games, the Nets have lost 45 games due to injury split among six players: Andrei Kirilenko, 15; Deron Williams, 10; Jason Terry, 8; Lopez, 7; Paul Pierce 4; Kevin Garnett, 1.
8. No effort. No energy: The Nets have lacked both of these in many games this season. They showed signs of life Nov. 16 in Los Angeles, but those signs of life have been few and far between.
9. Roles out of wack: Injuries have forced guys to take on different roles than they're accustomed to. The Nets have used seven different starting lineups this season. At this point in their careers, KG (37.1 percent shooting) and Pierce (36.8 percent shooting) aren't going to be able to make up for the loss of Lopez and Williams.
“Guys who not usually play a lot of minutes or have the responsibility that they're used to. We're asking a lot of everybody," said Garnett. “Chemistry just doesn't snap. You just don't wave your wand and voila. Those things can play a big part into this. I'm a firm believer that when we're whole and we have a full team and we're going full throttle. That's what I believe in. ... When your playing teams and you're not playing at your whole, that's what my belief is in. I won't believe anything else until we are whole."
The slower, more methodical Nets are 0-6 against top-10 teams in terms of pace (losses to Minnesota, Lakers, Denver, Houston, Clippers, Orlando).
10. Coaching fiasco: Rookie Jason Kidd is learning on the job. He just “reassigned" his lead assistant and mentor, Lawrence Frank, to doing daily reports. It was always going to be a tough situation for a first-year man to coach a win-now team. Injuries obviously haven't helped. But is Kidd getting enough out of this team? They could make better adjustments in the second half, that much appears certain.