One of the most interesting things about the early failures of the Brooklyn Nets despite all of the money and expectations is that everyone, from the last bench player to the head coach, seem to think that this isn’t a systematic thing, but more of “our luck will change” issue by what they’re telling the media after losses, which didn’t change after losing 109-97 to the Detroit Pistons.
The third quarter curse continued, with the Nets getting outscored 15-34 in that period. The Nets had been outscored by 77 points (8.6 per game) in the third quarters of their first nine losses. They allowed the Pistons, who were behind by 7 points at half time, to regain the lead with 15-4 run to start the quarter. The Pistons closer the third quarter on a 17-6 run.
A team with a $180 million payroll after luxury tax can’t complain about Brook Lopez and Deron Williams not playing. Not when they’ve been looking so bad since the season began, now losing five in a row. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett actually sat out more of the fourth quarter, as Mirza Teletovic and Mason Plumlee played for most of the final period. All the changes in the world didn’t really help.
HOw bad is the denial? It’s hard to judge, especially if the Nets aren’t really meaning what they’re saying in post-game interviews.
Jason Kidd – The ball’s just bouncing the opponent’s way right now and we’ve just got to stay together.
Paul Pierce – It’s tough when look at the record, 3-10, 3-11, whatever our record is, and know we’ve dug ourselves quite a big hole, no matter if we’ve got the injuries or not. We still feel like we’re talented enough to win these type of games.
The Detroit Pistons might have been feeling the same way until they met the Nets. Things haven’t been going well in Detroit, who brought in two big-name free agents in Josh Smith, scoring 13 points and grabbing 8 rebounds, and Brandon Jennings, finishing with 14 points and 10 assists, but shooting 2-of-10 from the field. Jennings has admitted he has problems with his shooting and has lost some confidence, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying, hitting only 36.4% of his shots so far this season.
More trustworthy scoring options can be found on the bench. Rodney Stuckey led the way scoring 27 points, including 17 in the final quarter. Andre Drummond finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds, ending his streak of double doubles. He also is now part of the hack-a-big man routine, going 1-of-4 from the line as the Nets tried one last desperate move to get back in the game.
Without Deron Williams and Lopez, the Nets are just an old and expensive team without much to hope for. It’s still early, and things can change, but it won’t be surprising to find out that Jason Kidd is slightly in over his head, and the gamble to bring in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston was the wrong move. Good players, especially Pierce, on some nights, but not consistent enough to deliver or get the Nets out of the hole they’re currently in.