7:47 PM: Dear Diary, the Nets lead 21-11 and somehow, the wheels have not fallen off yet. I know it’s just a matter of time though.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers were decimated at the hands of the defending champions on Monday, a rebound game against the 11-31 Nets seemed like the perfect remedy for their ailments. And, as we’ve learned time and time again, there’s nothing better than a game against the Nets to fix all your problems.
7:58 PM: The Cleveland Cavaliers are on an 8-0 run and LeBron James has three fastbreak dunks with 2:33 left in the first quarter. Nets trail 21-15.
There’s no shame in losing to the Cavaliers, of course. They have three bona-fide All-Stars and the Nets have, well, Brook Lopez. And, unfortunately, it’s the new theme of 2016: hey, they’re not miserable, but they don’t have LeBron James. This isn’t torture, but they don’t have Draymond Green. This isn’t the worst, but, wouldn’t it help if they had Russell Westbrook?
Sure, that blanket statement can be applied to half the league, but is just so darn obvious with the Brooklyn Nets. It’s like starting a cross-country road trip knowing that you’re going to run out of gas around Ohio.
8:10 PM: Trade everything except for Mr. Whammy. Nets trail 30-24.
8:11 PM: Andrea Bargnani misses a contested three-pointer with 20 seconds left on the shot clock.
8:14 PM: Sergey Karasev airballs a three-pointer, Kyrie Irving nails one on the other end. Are we done here? Just 30 minutes left. Nets trail 37-28.
On a night were the Nets could’ve come out fighting, they sleepwalked their way through the full 48 minutes instead. It was like the Varsity versus the JV tonight as the Nets lazed through possessions en route to even lazier shots while the Cavaliers made it an exercise to pass it around until the found the seams in Brooklyn’s cracked exterior.
8:21 PM: Fast-break points for Timofey Mozgov. OK, then.
8:22 PM: LeBron James is built like 3 firetrucks.
8:31 PM: Nets shoot 37%, thankfully trail by only 13 points. Thank. Ful.
Every shroud of potentially good news revolving around the Nets was just instantly overshadowed by the Cavalier counterparts. Donald Sloan had 6 first half assists, but Irving scored 9 points on 4-6 in 14 minutes. Lopez and Young combined for 18 points and 9 rebounds in the first half, but Kevin Love dropped 14 and 13 on his own.
No, seriously, those were the only three things of note over the first 24 minutes.
8:50 PM: Ian Eagle reminds viewers at home that Kevin Love’s 13 first-half rebounds were more than the Nets’ team total of 11.
9:01 PM: …
9:02 PM: LeBron James has just 11 points and 5 rebounds, easy livin’ coasting for the team up 14 points. And Kevin Love, at 17 points and 18 assists, totally won’t need to move a muscle in the fourth.
The Nets were totally disengaged tonight, but the funniest, saddest thing is that the Cavaliers were too. And yet, there’s something entirely too depressing about the Nets’ lethargic, unenthused style being 20 points worse than Cleveland’s identical version.
9:17 PM: The Nets stink, but Shane Larkin and Thomas Robinson isn’t a half-bad combination. Wait, how’d I get on my rooftop?
9:22 PM: Shane Larkin hits a three-pointer. Huzzah. Little victories. Nets trail 83-62 with 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Eh, I give up. If the Nets can quit 75% of the way through, so can I.
9:40 PM: The wheels have officially fallen off. The Nets stink.
Brook Lopez Center
16 PTS, 8-15 FG%, 10 RBS, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 2 TOs
You’d expect more out of Brook Lopez against Timofey Mozgov and Kevin Love in the paint. You’d expect slightly better than a near team low -13. When the Nets talk about Lopez becoming a franchise leader, that means doing something, anything to snap this team out of the funk.
Don’t let the box score fool you, he declined that opportunity tonight.
7 PTS, 3-9 FG%, 7 RBS
Larkin notched 7 points and 7 assists in 20 minutes and combined fairly well with Thomas Robinson in the late third quarter. Together, Larkin and Sloan accounted for 16 of the Nets’ 20 assists.
Nobody else had more than one (Johnson, Young, Lopez, + Bargnani), so, in a way, Shane Larkin has to be considered one of Brooklyn’s only bright spots, but I’m not entirely sure what I’m typing anymore.
3 PTS, 1-7 FG%, 1 RB, 1 AST, 2 TOs
You know what they say, you can’t teach an old dog to resurrect themselves from the grave for blood sacrifices and another fleeting taste of the Fountain of Youth every game.
1-7, January Joe hanging on by a thread.
14 PTS, 7-14 FG%, 5 RBS, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO
Foul trouble forced Thaddeus Young to the bench in the third quarter with a considerable deficit in his battle against Kevin Love:
14 points, 4 rebounds for Young.
17 points, 18 rebounds for Love.
10 PTS, 5-9 FG%, 9 ASTS, 1 STL
Brooklyn’s best player tonight by far as Donald Sloan was aggressive, pointed, and determined to make something happen despite the gulf in score.
In 2010, Mikhail Prokhorov promised to win a championship in five years.
It’s 2016 and we’re thankful for Donald Sloan.
This is where we’re at.