Since Jeremy Lin picked up his second hamstring injury of the season, the Brooklyn Nets lost. And lost. And then lost again. In all, 11 straight losses until their visit to New Orleans. Another defeat for the worst team in the league? Nope. The Nets somehow won 143-114, their ninth win of the season and only their second on the road.
Overall, the Nets have a decent offense this season, despite everything. However, their horrendous defense and overall sub-par player quality keeps sinking them, with most of their losses coming with plenty of second half collapses, and their average point differential this season an NBA-worst 8 points per game.
So what happened in New Orleans? That third quarter they usually fall apart in went a complete different way. Instead of giving up the lead they built during the second quarter, the Nets scored 43 (!!!) points to open a 25-point lead, and send the game into garbage time. This group has seen plenty of garbage time this season, but usually it’s them watching opponents working to build a bigger and bigger lead.
Eight players on the Nets scored in double figures, led by 23 points from Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic. Caris LeVert continues to improve and had his best game as a pro, scoring 17 on a perfect shooting night. Luis Scola scored 14 points in 8 minutes, and even Randy Foye finished in double figures. A weird night in deed, as the Nets hit 50% of their 3’s, not letting their “losses” in turnovers and offensive rebounds get in the way of blowing out a legitimate playoff contender in the Western conference on the road.
The Nets were at their best when Foye and Isaiah Whitehead were on the floor. The two are far from the best offensive options on this team, but they’re probably the best defensive backcourt the Nets can put on the floor right now. The two finished with a better than a +30 on the plus/minus charts, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a +29, scoring 12 points and grabbing 7 boards in just 18 minutes.
So is this something we should expect every night from now on? Probably not, and with a back-to-back sending them to play on the road against the Charlotte Hornets, don’t be surprised if the outcome and the performance is completely different. The Nets did play well, but had a rare shooting performance that’s most likely not going to repeat itself twice in 24 hours.
As for Lin, who has only 12 games this season as we reach the halfway mark of 2016-2017, he keeps being ruled out of games. No news, is well… no news. Frustrating? Not as much as before. The ship of making this season look respectable for the Nets has probably sailed. They’re not going to end up setting a new record for sucking as they picked up win number 9 and will win again, but both for this team and especially for Lin (as of now), this is best described as a lost season. That might be a bit harsh of a definition when we still have 3 months of basketball left, but the Nets are on pace to win 17-18 games this season. Even without expecting anything, that’s something of a failure.