Nets Trying To Find A Rhythm


VIDEO: Nets fall short to Nets in overtime

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Last season, the Brooklyn Nets won 20 of their first 22 games against teams that didn’t make the playoffs. This season, the Nets are already 1-3 against that same group.

Now, the teams they’ve lost to – Cleveland, Orlando and Washington – are all improved. And it’s possible that more than one of them will make the playoffs this year. The Magic have shown an ability to defend at a high level, the Cavs upgraded their roster, and the Wizards are healthy, with a young and improving backcourt.

But none of the three have a winning record through the first 11 days of the season … and neither do the Nets after blowing an eight-point, fourth-quarter lead in Washington on Friday.

The Nets did beat the Heat last Friday and have a chance to knock off the unbeaten Pacers on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV) in Brooklyn. A 2-0 mark against the two best teams in the Eastern Conference would certainly make up – at least in terms of the team’s psyche – for the three losses to the teams that picked 1, 2 and 3 in the Draft this past June.

But at some point, Brooklyn needs to find some consistency and maybe an identity while they’re at it. Defense was the bigger concern entering the season, but offense has been the bigger issue through the first five games. Through Friday, the Nets rank 22nd in offensive efficiency, scoring just 98.4 points per 100 possessions. Their All-Star starting lineup – maybe because it’s only played 48 minutes together in five games – is scoring at that same rate.

It’s not time to panic, but it is time to figure some things out. ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk was in Washington with some quotes from a frustrated Kevin Garnett, who has shot *14-for-46 (30.4 percent) thus far…

*Garnett, listed at 6-11, has taken 32 shots from mid-range and five from the restricted area.

Saturday, the Nets get an opportunity to bounce back and measure themselves against the Indiana Pacers, a team that will stand in their way of trying to get to the NBA Finals.

But the Nets won’t even sniff the Eastern Conference Finals if they don’t start figuring out how to play more consistently and put away the Wizards and Magic.

“This is our issue right now,” said Garnett, who finished with four points on 2-of-11 shooting in 24 minutes. “We’re trying to figure it out. It’s not so simple to hit a button or say this is it.”

Unfortunately for the Nets, they have to go through early growing pains before they will truly know how they stack up against Indiana, which only looks like its getting better and better at 6-0.

“We’re dealing with multiple things here,” Garnett said of what the Nets need to improve on. “When we win, obviously it looks good. But teams are making adjustments to us as far as systematically defensively. Offensively, I don’t think we’re in a rhythm.”

“Obviously it’s a process,” Garnett added. “It’s not an easy process trying to figure it out. [Some] nights it looks great. Some nights it looks like tonight: pure crap.”

It may just be a case of sustaining how they play early on. In their five games, the Nets are a plus-24 in the first quarter (with the league’s sixth-best first-quarter offense), but a minus-7 in the second, a minus-6 in the third, and a minus-19 in the fourth.

Nets coach Jason Kidd is still determining how his rotation is going to work out. As noted above, the starters have played just 48 minutes together. Kidd has, at times, gone with a full second unit, but has also used all kinds of mixes between the starters and reserves. He obviously wants to preserve his starters’ minutes, but all the mixing and matching may be preventing the different lineups from finding that rhythm they’re seeking.

Saturday provides another opportunity to figure things out, but the No. 1 defense in the league will not make it easy.

12 Comments

  1. lebranjomes says:

    this is the rythm of the night, whohoooo
    haha, nets. what a joke. golden joke

  2. Gillsy says:

    Yea the Nets even though they should get better as the year goes by just look a bit out of sink. Like I know even when KG and Ray Ray went to the Celtics, or James and Bosh to Miami things took a few games to click. As was mentioned KG cant find the basket letter loan the bottom of it and PP is not much better. You have a shooting guard who is ok but not someone who you can depend on, while the only person who looks like they want to play consistently is the big man in the middle Lopez. Yea KG and PP may find their shot before the end of the year but they will be lucky to win 50 games. And there is no way they will win verse the Pacers, Heat or Bulls especially on the road.

  3. JustTheStr8Facts says:

    Pacers > Nets

  4. okc2014 says:

    Doesn’t matter if we predict now, next 25 games, next 50 games, next 75 games…. The Nets, no matter how much more they improve, can never move beyond beating the Pacers. This team has the eye of the Tiger and is looking to even a score with the Heat and face the Western Conference champs in the Finals next year. And that would be my OKC Thunder crew!!!!

  5. anonynous says:

    Well i was watching the last few games and i noticed that pierce and Garnett are not really looking to score. This can be a problem come the playoffs

  6. Based on Stats says:

    Been five games guys chill. They don’t look tired or old. They look like they’re confused. Give till 20-25 to make predictions.

    • Akeem says:

      Well said. Look at Miami when they 1st got their big three and Wade (D Will) missed training camp. I WILL say, “GIVE THE BALL TO JOE FOR THE LAST SHOT (PERIOD)!!! He was tied for 1st in the league last season for the most game winners.

      They had to learn last year, I guess Kidd will have to learn this year.

  7. kram15 says:

    the nets are tired… bec they are old guys.. the trade is not worth it.. that’s the simplest explanation.. if only miami was able to made the run early i’m sure the nets would lose that game…

  8. Matias says:

    Los Nets no van a entrar a Playoffs! lol

  9. Stanko says:

    Mirza should play more minutes… He is a great scorer!!!

    • steagl3 says:

      Agreed – and Kirlenko too. I don’t know why Kidd stuck with Blatche and Anderson for so much of last night. He made a good move by bringing in the 2nd unit when it was obvious the starters weren’t getting it done in the 3rd quarter, but I don’t think he made the right moves to finish up the game on a strong note. Agreed with this article that there are too many personnel changes throughout the game. People like Paul Pierce and KG need consistent minutes and teammates to get into their rhythm. And why did they stop going to Brook Lopez in the 2nd half?? He had 18 in the first half and was dominating Washington’s defense. 2nd half was all this sloppy 3 point shooting and solo offense. You could tell Brook was getting frustrated when no one was throwing him the ball. I say for this Brooklyn team to be successful, Lopez needs to be the anchor of their offense, drawing the defense down onto him, and keep PIerce, D-Will, and Johnson on the perimeter for open shots. This is exactly what Indiana is doing and look how it’s working for them.

  10. mee(a)t says:

    I seriously think the Nets trained day and night just to face the heat