The Brooklyn Nets began their two-game trip to L.A. with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. No Brook Lopez (rest) and no Jeremy Lin (still shut down because of the hamstring) among other injures didn’t leave Kenny Atkinson with too many options, and it certainly looked that way from the first moment the two teams stepped on the floor.
The Clippers handled the Nets with ease, scoring a season high 127 points to the Nets 95. They led by 25 points at the end of the first quarter, and that was it. Chris Paul scored 21 points and Blake Griffin finished with 20, in one of the easiest wins the Clippers had this season. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Nets with 18 points and Sean Kilpatrick scored 14 (a -33 during his 18 minutes!!!), but it was hard to really find someone who did anything worth mentioning, at least against the Clippers starting lineup. Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Luc Mbah a Moute all had plus/minus rating of +40 or better!
Even if Brook Lopez was playing, I doubt it would have been competitive for long, although hindsight is often meaningless. Maybe even with Lin and the team’s full roster it wouldn’t have been a close game. The Clippers lead the NBA in defensive rating and are 4th in offensive rating. We’re only 10 games in, but according to the SRS metric that takes into account point differential and strength of schedule, the Clippers have also been the best in the league. Their win over the Nets was their 7th in a row. The game was in Los Angeles. This all was the setting for a rough night for the Nets.
But no matter who you try to turn it and examine it, the Nets simply looked awful, They scored just 14 points in the first quarter, and that was it. They shot 24% from the field. The Sean Kilpatrick fix at point guard can work against some teams. The Nets outworking opponents and their hungry approach can work against some teams. But the Clippers, from what it looks like early in the season, are part of a group that will contend for the top two seeds in the West until the end of the season. A patched up lineup and roster, with so many key players out of the picture, just isn’t going to cut unless something almost magical happens. And it didn’t.
As Kenny Atkinson said, flush it and get ready for tomorrow. The Nets have the second night of a back-to-back, but without any travelling to do. They’ll be playing the Lakers, and Lopez should be available for that game. Lin isn’t going to be available before November 17 the earlier, and I’m not going to be surprised if they don’t play him at all on this road trip. It just makes sense with his kind of injury, although I’ve known to be wrong about predicting things before.
When trying to find a silver lining for a 32-point loss, you look at some of the things the forgotten players on the roster have done. Chris McCullough scored 13 points and seemed to have a nice relationship going with Yogi Ferrell. The former Indiana star who was cut before the season began and then signed after Greivis Vasquez was released finished with 13 points too. They didn’t mean anything, but along with Anthony Bennett scoring 7 points, it gives those players just a bit of confidence, and maybe a better chance of getting involved on a more regular basis in games that remain competitive beyond the first quarter.