Around the Nets: Mean-mugging and practicing the “p-word”

Looking around the ‘net to find out what writers said about the Nets, who dropped their season opener 98-94 to the Cleveland Cavaliers:

Cheering and wishing wasn’t enough. But Williams, who finished with seven points, nine assists and four turnovers, admitted to return late in the game would not have been wise after he sat for so long. After all, he only had just 10 preseason minutes of game activity — in the final exhibition — after rehabbing a sprained right ankle and bone bruise. “It was tough. It was tough to get in a rhythm when you’re limited like that. It seemed every time I did, I was coming out. So it’s tough. It’s tough to play like that. But that’s what I have to do for my team right now,” said Williams who indicated he has no idea when he will be ready to go like he is accustomed.

-Fred Kerber, New York Post — Williams runs out of time in Nets opener

Kevin Garnett mean-mugged, scrunching his face up into a pretend angry scowl as he tried to explain how his new teammates were anxious for instant results. The Nets had just lost their season opener to the Cavaliers, falling 98-94 Wednesday night after failing to knock down any clutch baskets late in the fourth quarter with their starting point guard on the bench. Garnett, seated on a folding chair in a back area of the cramped visitor’s locker room, was talking about how the Nets are going to have to practice the P-word rather than expecting immediate success. These things, Garnett said, take time.

-Rod Boone, Newsday — Garnett preaches patience

In their first regular-season game since being acquired from the Celtics in a draft-night trade, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry looked dangerous—albeit briefly. Pierce began the game by hitting two midrange jumpers from the left side of the floor, and when he missed his third attempt, he drew the foul and sank both free throws. Pierce finished the night with a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the final two minutes as the Nets threatened to pull out the come-from-behind victory. Garnett was equally effective on the defensive end, where he logged eight rebounds (10 total), two steals and a block. He was particularly dominant in the first 10 minutes as the Cavaliers missed 11 of their first 15 field-goal attempts. But when Garnett checked out, so did the Nets’ lead.

-Alex Raskin, Wall Street Journal — New-Look Nets Drop Opener

For starters, the Nets’ starting five of Garnett, Pierce, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson just started playing together. They had very little camp time to develop chemistry, with Williams missing most of training camp due to a sore ankle. When asked to describe what it felt like to have the starting five out there early against Cleveland, Garnett said it felt like the starters were overwhelmed with “anxiety.” To show how badly the five wanted to come together quickly, Garnett made a strained face that displayed grit and determination but with a hint of struggle and frustration. “Everybody wanted it right here, right now,” said Garnett, who had eight points and 10 rebounds in his first Nets game. “That’s not the process. The process is going to be something gradual and something that we all work into and flow into. And we all got to be patient with that process.”

-Ohm Youngmisuk — Nets preach patience after Cavs loss

Further hampering them, the Nets were not at full strength. Deron Williams, who is recovering from a sprained right ankle, was limited to 22 minutes, which meant he was unavailable for the fourth quarter. And Jason Kidd, who is entering his first season as the Nets’ coach, had to watch the game from the team hotel as he began serving a two-game suspension issued after his guilty plea last July to a drunken-driving charge. Joe Prunty, an assistant coach, was designated as the coach shortly before the game. That would not be a big deal, the Nets insisted, considering the basketball intelligence they put into uniform each night. Intuition, more than set plays or a coach’s instruction, would guide them on the court, they said. But as Wednesday’s disjointed effort showed, that alone will not be enough, and the growing process will need to continue.

-Andrew Keh — Rebuilt Nets still need fine-tuning

Trailing by two, the Nets had their first big decision of the season: Who would get the last shot? The play was drawn up for Joe Johnson to be the first option, but after his initial post-up attempt was thwarted, he swung the ball around to Pierce. The veteran small forward then went to his trademark move — a step-back jumper from about 18 feet away. But unlike the countless times it fell during his longtime Celtic tenure, it bounced off the rim and into Irving’s hands, who calmly sunk two free throws to put the game out of reach. “There were multiple options on [that play],” said acting head coach Joe Prunty, who was filling in for Jason Kidd as he served the first of his two-game suspension for pleading guilty to driving while ability impaired. “There were certain things that took place, but we were fine with that look.”

-Tim Bontemps, New York Post — New-look Nets fall to Cavs in opener