The Nets are off to the best start in franchise history and are playing like a true contender in the East. They have also seen some very dramatic differences in the way they play from quarter to quarter and half to half. Here are some interesting stats and trends for the 11-5 Nets early in the season:
To start, the Nets have been excellent in the first half of games this year. They are 12-4 in all first halves. The problem has been the second half, where they are 5-11 in all second halves this year. This trend had been improving recently, but during their first ten games (6-4), they were 9-1 in all first halves (Miami blowout) and 1-9 in all second halves. Cumulatively speaking though, the Nets first halves are not a concern as they are second in the league in average first half margin (+6.4) right behind OKC (+8.4). The problem, as mentioned, is those second halves where are 28th in the league in second half margin (-2.6).
We can also break it down by quarter and see that in first quarters they are 5th in the league in average scoring margin (+2.8) and in second quarters they are second in the league in that department (+3.6). Although when taking a look at the third and fourth quarters, we can see that they are 29th in third quarter scoring margin (-3.0), yet a solid 9th in fourth quarter margin (+0.4). This tells us that the issue in those second halves can be specifically seen as issues in the third quarter where they are a -48 for the season. It should then come as no surprise that the Nets are 6-0 when winning the third quarter.
There’s no real logical explanation for these woes in the second half, specifically the third quarter. Whether it comes down to Avery Johnson’s halftime speech or the team being satisfied with a lead, something should change on order to eliminate this trend. Tonight’s game against OKC will also be tough in this sense, as they are 8th in the league in third quarter margin (+0.6) compared to the Nets’ previously mentioned 29th.