If the Nets were an up-and-coming team brimming with prospects, this would be the type of loss from which you could glean potential positives. The Nets’ big men showed some solid chemistry together on both ends of the floor. Their guards got to the rim, their wings showed flashes of dominance before it all eventually fell apart.
But the Nets aren’t young. They’re not developing. Hell, the Celtics are. That made this one all the more excruciating to watch after the first fifteen minutes: the Nets allowed the Celtics, who are not a good team, to get easy looks inside, particularly during a long, ugly stretch that spanned the third and fourth quarters.
They’re just about middle-of-the-pack everywhere, a group of aging veterans who at this point have little going for them beyond Mason Plumlee’s development and a series of trade rumors.
This was the first game in a stretch of seven in 11 days. If things don’t turn around soon, they might not end the stretch with the same roster.
Keeps playing within himself as a starter, most of the time, and even flexing some of that fun speed that makes him dangerous as a one-on-one player. But with Deron Williams sidelined, the added pressure on Jack to make chicken salad out of — well, you know — wore on his effectiveness.
With everyone else on the team struggling to score, Johnson took matters into his own hands in the first few minutes of the third quarter, scoring their first seven points of the frame. But missed six of seven threes and didn’t do much beyond the “someone’s got to score the points” mantra.
I think it’s safe to qualify this as a bounce-back year for Garnett. It’s a bit unfair to say he’s a new player: after all, the Nets keyed their defensive resurgence with Garnett at center last year, and his contributions on and off the court have always gone beyond the box score, even when he was putting up monster numbers.
But Garnett also struggled to play alongside Mason Plumlee and Brook Lopez last season. This year, that hasn’t been a problem. Not bad for a 38-year-old.
That behind-the-back pass was all kinds of pretty, and Plumlee put down his usual parade of dunks early, but a zealous toe-to-toe battle with Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger meant a long night of work for Plumlee, who to his credit held his ground.
As Deron Williams & Brook Lopez struggle with injuries and Joe Johnson’s once-impenetrable facade of crunch-time excellence begins to crack, Plumlee has simultaneously become the most interesting and most important asset on this team until further notice.
Still can’t make free throws and struggled with help defense inside.
Inconsequential first stint for Williams, who went to the locker room after re-injuring his side three minutes into his time on the floor, heading to the locker room shortly afterwards. He did not return to the game. Can’t really grade a night that never happened.
A disappointing night for Lopez after such an encouraging, uh, quarter against the Dallas Mavericks Monday night: Lopez struggled to put down most of his shots after kicking off his game with a pretty driving layup, culminating in an ugly, lackadaisical lumber towards a loose ball that was eventually picked up by the Celtics.