If you turned the game off at halftime, no one would blame you.
For the first 24 minutes, Utah’s youthful aggression dominated Brooklyn’s tempered disinterest, creating fast-break dunks off turnovers, open three-point looks with ball movement and screening, and inside looks for Rudy Gobert. The Jazz, who count a 19-year-old rookie and someone named Joe Ingles[note]Both Australian, coincidentally[/note] as members of their starting lineup, rocketed out to a 21-point lead by the end of the first half. If you left by then to spend your Saturday night elsewhere, you didn’t miss anything you hadn’t already seen, not tonight or Thursday night or in any other Nets blowout loss.
The Nets have now lost by a combined 74 points in their last two games.
You might notice below that there are no grades. Because, at this point, in a second straight loss in such egregious fashion, what’s left to say about the individuals? The Nets struggled to create and convert open three-pointers, relied heavily on mid-range jumpers off of broken plays, and got zero meaningful production from their bench, which may be down Mirza Teletovic but also includes Brook Lopez. Kudos to Jerome Jordan, Cory Jefferson, and Sergey Karasev for their garbage-time production, but it hardly mattered in a game separated by 30 points.
The Jazz aren’t very good, but you can see the energy, the potential for entertainment and execution. The Nets have neither, other than their play-by-play combos and the occasional Mason Plumlee flush. The Jazz have Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, two players the Nets traded away for Deron Williams[note]The latter as a draft pick[/note], who’s now languishing on their bench, unable to help swing the team’s fortunes as he recovers from injury.
Brooklyn’s veterans looked exhausted, confused, and disengaged against Utah’s particular & hardly unique brand of exuberance and athleticism. If they were rock bottom two weeks ago, they’ve jackhammered their way into molten lava.
The Nets now embark on a five-game set against tough playoff teams: twice against the Toronto Raptors and once each against the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Atlanta Hawks. If the past two games are any indication, it’s an ugly two weeks ahead for Brooklyn.