The defense is what really let them down last night. They were lethargic the entire night on that end of the court. They really struggled with their on the ball defense, whatever Pacer who had the ball was basically taking a straight line to the hoop, with nobody even helping out. Where the defense really let the Nets down though was in the third quarter. Though offense was finally clicking, and they were scoring on just about every trip. Three or four times, the Nets were able to get the Pacers' lead down to 5 or 6. Each time though, the Pacers got an easy basket that would allow them to stretch the lead. The final time was in the middle of the quarter where the Nets got the lead to 5, but then gave two wide open jumpers to Tyler Hansboro at the high post (he was knocking shots down from their all night). Once the lead got to 9, the offense started to struggle again, then Devin Harris got his hand stepped on (x-rays negative), and the defense continued to struggle. The game was over at that point.
Meanwhile, on the offensive end, the Nets really have to figure out their identity. Kiki has told the press that his one major change is that he wants the Nets to run some more on offense. The problem with that though is that the Nets aren't the best running team. When they pick and choose their spots, they look real good on the break. Real good. Devin hit Brook with a nice alley-oop on one, and Rafer hit Courtney on a real nice cross court pass on the other. Most of the time though, the young Nets' players seem to confuse running with taking quick ineffective shots. These shots lead to the low shooting percentage, and it effects guys. CDR only got 7 shots, most of that was due to the fact that guys were just coming down and taking shots after one pass, or worse, with no pass at all. The Nets need to push the ball up the court, press the defense, and if the defense gets back, they need to slow it down and get into their offense.
Moving on to Brook, boy, that sure was a disappointing double-double huh? Brook had 25 points, but it came on 23 shots. The number of shots isn't really the problem, the problem is how many of these shots came outside of the paint. Brook only got 14 points off his shots (9 of them came from the free-throw line, that was the only bright spot in his game last night). "The book" is starting to get written on Brook Lopez too. He struggles with bigger guys. Not taller guys, but guys who are in his weight class. They get behind Brook and push him out a little farther then he would like to be. If he catches the ball, he isn't in the spot where he can start his move. If he doesn't get the ball, he tends to give up position and float to the outside (this is where most of his outside shots come from). This is on both Brook and his teammates. Brook needs to fight for position and hold that position a little bit longer. His teammates need to recognize that he is working his tail off to get position and give him the ball. Some more random thoughts after the jump:
- It was really frustrating to see a guy like Roy Hibbert out perform Brook, but part of it was that he was getting the ball in spots to succeed. Two or three times, Roy got the ball in the post, kicked it out, reposted, and got the ball back in better position. I have only seen Brook do this one time this year. Like I said earlier, part of it is on Brook, but if I am Brook, I am thinking, what is the point of reposting if I don't get the ball.
- I think I am going to petition the league to have offensive rebounds coming off of your own shot to not be counted as a rebound. Why? Because it allows Josh Boone to point at the stats and say he had a good game. Boone had 12 rebounds, and 8 of them was offensive. Impressive right? Well, 3 of them came off of one possession. A possession where he got the rebound, missed a lay-up, got it back, missed another lay-up, got it back, and then missed another lay-up. The ball then got smacked around and the Pacers got possession of it. Sometimes, the stats are deceiving.
- The last thing I wanted to talk about is the Terrence Williams situation moving forward. I think Kiki and Del are handling this situation pretty well in terms of playing time. They gave him limited minutes and a chance to prove that "he got it." And just by judging from tonight, he seemed to. He didn't settle for one jumper, even though he had the chance, and he attacked the rim. He got to the line a couple time and finished with one big dunk. He had 2 turnovers, but those turnovers were when attacking the basket, so you can live with those. I expect him to have his minutes kept to the teens for the next month or so, and things should move forward from there. This is how Terrence was supposed to be brought into the league, slowly but surely, but with the injuries, he was thrown into the fire.
- Roy Hibbert hit a three.