Check out the advanced box score from last night's 112-108 Brooklyn Nets overtime loss at the hands of the Washington Wizards here.
- Five final thOKAY IT'S TIME TO PANIC. The Nets have now lost three games to easily beatable teams, this last one in heartbreaking fashion. The team was up by 11 with less than five minutes to go in regulation and still gave it away down the stretch thanks to a series of defensive miscues and turnovers. Nene decimated fearless leader Kevin Garnett in the post so badly it made me wonder if when Brook Lopez bellowed "AW, DAMNIT" after a missed shot it triggered a series of inexplicable events that ended with Garnett and Andray Blatche body switching. This is the type of game the New Jersey Nets would have lost in their final years, not the type of game these Brooklyn Nets can't maintain.
- Counter: No, it's not time to panic. All in all, we're still talking about five measly games, two of which could easily have gone the other way. A few basketballs bounce differently against Cleveland and Washington and we're talking about a tough 4-1 team with one weird aberration after 15 men realized they had to take a plane to Orlando. Over the course of 82 games, all sorts of weird bumps in the road happen, and those things tend to even out over the course of the season.
- Point: EVEN OUT!? What about this team looks even to you? Deron Williams has struggled out of the gate and had more turnovers (6) than field goals (5) Friday night. Paul Pierce almost didn't score yesterday for the first time since he was a rookie. Joe Johnson has been okay, I guess, but Bradley Beal scored 29 points on him. Brook Lopez has played phenomenally but curiously shies away from looking to score in the second half. Vaunted offseason pickups Pierce, Garnett, and Andrei Kirilenko combined to shoot 3-18 from the field yesterday. And look at Kevin Garnett's shot chart on the season:
1-for-8 from within 5 feet and blood almost everywhere else. This is not the Brooklyn Nets I envisioned.
- Counterpoint: That kind of shot chart is exactly why I'm not worried. We have five years of Kevin Garnett as a phenomenal midrange shooter to rely on. Do you really think five games is undoing a lifetime of training? I don't. Do you really think Garnett is going to shoot 13% from within five feet on the season? I don't. Think about how poorly the Nets have played at times, and the injuries they've been dealt, and then think about how they're still just 2-3 with two close losses. This is not a concern -- yet.
- Point: I don't believe you. They just lost an overtime loss to a decent team and now face arguably the best team in the East in the Indiana Pacers on the second half of this back-to-back. But show me highlights from last night to make me feel better.
- Counterpoint: For the record, they already beat the best team in the NBA at home in the Miami Heat. But: Done.