A 2014 Year In Review: Brooklyn Nets

HIGHLIGHTS: Paul Pierce Comes Up Huge In 4th For Nets, Roars: “That’s why I’m here!”

It’s been a wild year for the Brooklyn Nets. Here’s some of the highlights from January 1 to today.

January

Joe Jesus Resurrects the Nets: The start of 2014 served as a fitting springboard of success for the Brooklyn Nets. After getting walloped on New Year’s Eve two days prior to San Antonio, the Nets triumphed over the Oklahoma City Thunder behind a buzzer-beater by Joe Johnson that would spark a season turnaround, with wins in 9 of the next 10 games and a 34-17 second half to the year after starting the season 10-21.

Nets invade Jolly Ole’ England and leave with a win: After starting the calendar year 5-1, the Nets went across the pond for a game against the Hawks as part of the NBA’s Global Games initiative. With a few nights to spare before the January 16 contest, Joe Johnson, uncharacteristically, fueled the biggest headlines when he dropped nearly $10,000 at a London nightclub. The wild night did no damage to Johnson’s game, as evidence of his 29 points that led the Nets over the Hawks 127-110 three days later.

February

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Nets trade for Marcus Thornton: On February 19th, the Nets acquired Marcus Thornton from the Kings for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans. Thornton would prove to be a key acquisition for the Nets bench, averaging 12.3 points in 26 games, none bigger than the 17 points off the bench during the pivotal Game 7 playoff win in Toronto.

Nets sign Jason Collins: On February 23rd, the Nets signed Jason Collins to a 10 day contract making him the first openly gay active male athlete in the history of the four major US professional sports.
Later that night he donned Nets black at Staples Center.

March

Nets beat Miami for third time: On March 12th, the Nets beat Miami 96-95 for third time in as many meetings. The close, hard-fought games served as apt foreshadowing for a playoff showdown in May.

Paul Pierce hits four threes in under four minutes: Self-explanatory.

April

“That’s why I’m here!”: Paul Pierce leads Nets to a Game 1 win over the Toronto Raptors with big shots down the stretch as they draw first blood.

Nets win Game 7 thriller: In a nail-biter, the Nets survive a last-gasp comeback by the Raptors and escape Toronto with a series win culminating with Paul Pierce blocking Kyle Lowry at the buzzer.

May

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Nets bounced out of playoffs by Heat in five games: Despite beating the Heat four times in the regular season and imposing their will with success throughout five physical games, the Nets were finally ousted from the playoffs after losing a fourth quarter lead in Miami. It was the second straight game the Nets had failed to close, ending a season that started with such high hopes. They were supposed to be dead.

Mason Plumlee makes All-Rookie First Team: GM Billy King earned some validation as his 22nd overall pick earned All-Rookie first team.

June

Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd, new Bucks coach. (AP)

Lewis Katz, Former Nets Owner, Dies in Plane Crash.

Jason Kidd gets traded to Bucks: After just one year at the helm, Head Coach Jason Kidd and the Nets parted ways amid a falling out with the front office. A power struggle and disagreement of the team’s direction ultimately lead to dissension in the ranks and Kidd got his wish when he was inevitably shipped to Milwaukee for draft picks. Here’s a full look back at his year as head coach.

July

Nets hire Lionel Hollins as next head coach: Didn’t take long.

Nets trade for Jarrett Jack: The Nets’ biggest offseason acquisition occurred when they acquired Jarrett Jack from the Cleveland Cavaliers, a move that only moderately softened the loss of Paul Pierce to the Washington Wizards. Jack learned of the trade while in class.

August

Mason Plumlee makes Team USA.

Hollins indirectly blasts Jason Kidd: In an interview with Arizona State linked media, Hollins discussed “lack of loyalty” in today’s NBA. While he referenced money, players and other variables, the recent departure of his predecessor could easily be inserted into the context.

September

Andray Blatche signs in China: Billy King cited “reasons” for not bringing back Andray Blatche after two productive seasons off the bench in Brooklyn, and the Xinjiang Flying Tigers inevitably secured the big man’s services.

Joe Johnson validates suspicions of ex-coach’s “practices”: In a press conference, Joe Johnson had a laugh when recalling ex-coach Jason Kidd’s practices while discussing preparation under current coach Lionel Hollins.

October

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Nets play preseason games in China.

Then, the Nets play in 44 minute preseason game.

November

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Joe Johnson drops a bomb on his teammates: Despite a 104-96 win over the Orlando Magic which brought the Nets record to 4-2, Joe Johnson uncharacteristically (again) blasted teammates for a “selfish” style of play that he feared would be the team’s downfall. Coincidentally or prophetically, the season turned for the worse as the Nets lost five straight games.

The return of Jason Kidd and the three overtime game that followed: As if the return of a polarizing ex-coach to his old haunts were not enough, the Nets and Bucks played a three-overtime thriller that many times defied explanation.

December

Royalty (England and Brooklyn) and Protest: Pictures that capture a night filled with British Royalty, the league MVP, and a heartfelt protest.

Nets honor superfan Jeffery Gamblero in pre-game warm-ups: Nets Nation lost one of their biggest cogs when Jeffrey Gamblero passed away earlier this month and the team recognized him with a touching tribute that no doubt would’ve had him dancing in the aisles.

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