As Jeremy Lin made his second appearance in two nights for the Brooklyn Nets after a looooong absence, it dawned on me that their 112-95 loss to the Golden State Warriors wasn’t very different in comparison to their loss in the Rockies 24 hours earlier. Same problems, same kind of hopelessness, besides Lin.
The Warriors played with Kevin Durant, which in the end meant the Warriors didn’t blow out the Nets early. Brooklyn were hanging on quite well until the end of the second quarter, when a flurry of shots ended the game. It never crossed anyone’s mind that the Nets would be able to come back in the third quarter, as the Warriors steadily built a lead towards a quiet blowout win, and the 16th consecutive loss for the Nets. Who remembers that Brooklyn were just one point behind with 1:52 to go in the second quarter?
The Nets couldn’t hit 3’s (28.8%), turned the ball over 16 times (4 by Brook Lopez and Isaiah Whitehead each), and generally showed most of their usual problems, especially the lack of sync on defense and new, inexplicable rotations by Kenny Atkinson. It’s hard to really measure Lin next to anything right now, but if the key to bringing him back into the thick of things as soon as possible is continuity and lengthy playing sessions, the Nets didn’t really follow that plan.
Overall, Lin had a decent game from an individual standpoint, mostly focusing on getting into some sort of rhythm. He finished with 9 points in 15 minutes, along with a couple of assists. His per minute numbers continue to fantastic, averaging a career best 20 points per 36 minutes after this game. But it’s hard to find consolation as the Nets continue to crash towards a terrible, terrible season, with a 9-49 record for now. Maybe from the outside the Nets seem more morose than they actually are. But there’s one player it’s hard to mistake: Lopez looks like someone who isn’t playing with a whole lot of motivation, finishing with 3-for-13 from the field and 9 points. The “new” Brook Lopez got lost somewhere back at the turn of the new year.
The Nets do get to rest a little bit, but it doesn’t mean the road trip is over: They have 6 consecutive road games left before they return to Brooklyn, which will be Lin’s first game at home in 2017. Because of how the games are spread out (Only one back-to-back in Utah & Portland), Lin might be playing every game, which is good news. The Nets might be so broken (as we wrote in yesterday’s title for the post) that even a good, healthy and not rusty Lin can help them. However, in a season that has sunken into unimaginable depths, bordering on the historically bad (right now they can theoretically end up with the worst record ever for an 82-game season), a healthy Lin who scores and also makes the group around him a little bit better is probably the only thing worth looking forward to in what remains of this Nets season.