Before the game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers, apparently without a hint of irony, said “the Nets are dangerous.”
Perhaps he was referring to how one of them could trip and fall on one of his All-Stars. Maybe he was concerned about how Brooklyn’s free-spending ways could affect the next collective bargaining agreement. Or maybe he was concerned one of the Nets would deflate the basketball for a hidden advantage.
Because the Nets didn’t pose any danger to the Clippers on the court, not after they trailed by 23 halfway into the second quarter and 89-44 in the third, not when their shooters can’t shoot, when Chris Paul records as many assists (17) as the entire Nets team without playing in the fourth quarter, when their help defense doesn’t help defend, and oh no, Brook Lopez, oh no.
The Nets played this one without Kevin Garnett on the second half of a road back-to-back against arguably the most athletic frontline in the league. It’s as cut-and-dry a schedule loss as you’ll find. But they’re also struggling to find anything they can latch onto these days as a semblance of identity.
Last year, the Nets hung their hat on a long, quick-handed five-man unit that forced turnovers, inverted their offense, and fired three-pointers with reckless abandon on the other end. The Nets lack the athleticism for excitement, the discipline for precision, and the depth to be relentless. What can this team be, if anything at all?
At this point, it doesn’t appear to be “dangerous.”
7 PTS, 3-11 FG, 3 AST, 3 STL, 4 TOV
Jack fired a contested, off-balance 15-footer through a triple-team with 18 on the shot clock in the first quarter. If you’re reading this, I am sorry.
11 MP, 0-1 3PT
Was a missed three-pointer away from the dreaded 11-minute “trillion” (a game where a player records no box score statistics at all, named for the 13 zeros in a typical box score that follow the minutes played).
9 PTS, 4-12 FG, 1-4 3PT, 6 REB, 3 AST
The only good thing to come out of this game: Johnson ended the night with 26 minutes played, his fewest of the season.
16 PTS, 6-9 FG, 3 REB, 2 AST
Plumlee was the team’s only offensive option early, and to his credit, he ran the floor and put down dunks at a Lob City rate for about six minutes.
But Plumlee was beaten to easy spots by Blake Griffin on about six too many occasions, and when the rout is on, there’s little Plumlee can do to dam the tide of history.
4 PTS, 1-3 FG, 1 REB, 1 BLK
Returned to the starting lineup in place of Kevin Garnett, who sat out to rest despite playing just 14 minutes Wednesday night.
Lopez has played well in January, both hitting his mid-range jumpers and ever-so-slowly looking more comfortable around the rim.
But… you probably already know where this is going. Let’s see that again.
No grade for Teletovic tonight, who was removed from the arena after the first half with shortness of breath and admitted to a local hospital. We wish him all the best.