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Friday, February 8, 2013
Nets need to shake things up

By Mike Mazzeo

The Brooklyn Nets are in a rut -- and something needs to change.

The Nets lost for the fifth time in their past eight games, 89-74, to the Washington Wizards on Friday night at Verizon Center. During that stretch, according to YES Network, they’re averaging 88.5 points for, 95.3 points against and 15.9 turnovers.

"I’m very concerned," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo told reporters in D.C. after his team shot a season-low 32.9 percent from the field.

P.J. Carlesimo
P.J. Carlesimo admitted that he is "very concerned" and will shake things up.
For the fourth straight game, the Nets played horribly in the second quarter. They missed their first 12 shots in the period, and a one-point first-quarter deficit quickly ballooned to 21. In all, the Nets shot 4-for-22 in the second and were outscored 30-11. Over their past four second quarters, they’ve been outscored 111-61.

On Friday night, the "Bench Mob" was mostly to blame for those second-quarter woes. The reserves went 0-for-7 in the period and combined to score just 13 points overall. Andray Blatche (2-for-9), C.J. Watson (0-for-3) and MarShon Brooks (0-for-3) all struggled.

"I can’t afford to give people chances if they’re hurting us defensively or not putting the ball in the basket," Carlesimo said, adding that he’s going to shake up the team’s second unit. "We need to examine it a little better, because it’s not working right now."

Prior to the game, ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard reported that the Nets and Charlotte Bobcats had preliminary trade talks about swapping Kris Humphries and Ben Gordon. While nothing is imminent, a move like that is just the type of change Brooklyn needs.

Gordon, a Mount Vernon, N.Y., native, has flourished as a reserve throughout his career and would give the team much-needed scoring, 3-point shooting and floor spacing.

In the fourth quarter, the Nets could move Gerald Wallace to power forward, Joe Johnson to small forward and play a small backcourt of Gordon and Deron Williams along with Brook Lopez. Now that’s a dangerous lineup.

"Billy [King] and I will talk about that," Carlesimo replied when asked if he thinks the team needs to make a trade. "Especially after a game like this, I’ll keep my mouth shut."

If it’s not Gordon, the Nets need to go out and get someone. Maybe they look to try to acquire a Paul Millsap or a Hedo Turkoglu or maybe even a Josh Smith.

Worth a shot.

After a 3-10 stretch in December, owner Mikhail Prokhorov decided to make a coaching change and the Nets responded by going 12-2. But they’re just 3-5 since, and it feels like they’ve regressed. Their last quality performance was on Jan. 21 when they beat the New York Knicks 88-85 at the Garden.

The Nets’ next seven games are against teams with winning records. Then they go on the road for 13 of 17. Prior to the All-Star break, they face San Antonio, Indiana and Denver, arguably the three hottest teams in the NBA, Carlesimo said.

Something needs to change. With just 32 games left, it doesn’t make much sense for it to be the coach again. After all, the Nets are 15-7 under Carlesimo and enjoy playing for him. Plus, you can’t just overhaul an entire system this deep into the season. So why not make a trade? Why not shake things up? This team could sure use another wake-up call.

"It’s time to get up," Johnson said. "We’ve got no time to mess around if we want to position ourselves for home-court advantage like this."