The Nets didn’t play down to their competition, they rolled out a red carpet on a waterslide and dove head-first. This 76ers team gave them every opportunity to take over, whether it was careless unforced turnovers, missed dunks, open shots allowed, or dumb fouls, and the Nets kept it interesting by giving them as many mistakes as they got, taking bad shots, running bad plays, and allowing the 76ers to steal this one away.
The Nets are in a bad spot right now. Deron Williams is out. Brook Lopez isn’t 100%. They only have one NBA-caliber point guard. Their best players are undeniably limited and flawed. But this 76ers team is made up of D-League castoffs and NBA prospects, and the Nets, with the game on the line, turned to a 28-foot fadeaway from Brook Lopez, who has never made a three-pointer in a regular season game.
They exited the court, not just to boos from fans in Barclays Center, but also to this simple fact: they’ve hit rock bottom.
Continues to play well early with the starting lineup, outside of a few brief moments of over-creating.
Hollins said he wants to limit Jack’s minutes, especially in the middle of this tough stretch, but that’ll be hard when the drop-off from Jack to Darius Morris is so staggering.
You noticed how you didn’t notice him too, right?
He’s in Joe Johnson cruise mode. Not much has changed about his game in the past month-plus: Johnson’s getting his fair share of isolations, hitting a three-pointer or two, scoring 13 to 22 points, adding a few rebounds and assists for good measure, and scoring when the Nets run out of options.
That’s not a bad thing. The Nets offense falls off a cliff with Johnson out of the game, and he’s their best all-around scorer.
But there are games when the Nets need Johnson to be more than complementary. I’m not saying Iso-Joe down the stretch every possession — that ship has sailed — but the Nets need more than an 0-5 showing in the fourth quarter.
It’s time for me to offer an updated analysis. Earlier this season with Lionel Hollins saying he wanted Mason Plumlee to become a better rebounder, I made the observation that players at Plumlee’s age and rebounding level had rarely made a leap into the “great rebounding” pantheon, and not to expect Plumlee to make a big leap.
But 36 games later, Plumlee has improved drastically. Heading into the game he’d improved his rebounds per 100 possessions from 12.7 to 16, per Basketball-Reference, and only buoyed that number by grabbing a career-high 15 rebounds by the end of the the third quarter, partially thanks to the 76ers going small as the Nets went big with Plumlee & Brook Lopez.
Yes, it was against the lowly 76ers. But Plumlee’s become a legitimately good rebounder in traffic, to go along with his recent hot streak finishing inside. But his instincts inside on defense aren’t quite there yet.
I don’t blame him for taking that last shot. I blame the idea that he should be catching the ball 26 feet from the basket with three seconds left.
Interior help and pick-and-roll defense are not his strong suit.
His mid-range jumper is a legitimate weapon, and he’s making more of them, which is promising. But he’s also getting very few shots right at the basket that don’t take a lot of pushing and bruising in the post, and those have been low-percentage shots.
Lopez did start getting more going in the post against Furkan Aldemir and Nerlens Noel in the third quarter, an encouraging sign for his post-up play.
Going into tonight’s game, Lopez had taken a career-high 23.9 percent of his two-pointers from 16 feet and out. Though he’s a good jump shooter, hitting around 45 percent of his attempts thus far this season from that range, ideally he’d be getting more of his shots at the rim.
His shot has been shaky over the last two months, but Teletovic put together some nice, impactful plays on the defensive end, and showed a willingness to stay with the play in transition defense. That might not sound like a big deal, but given how the Nets lost Wednesday night to the Celtics, it made a difference.
Teletovic has struggled with his shot over the past couple of months, shooting just 35.7 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from three-point range since November 13th heading into tonight’s game.
You have to imagine his shot will improve soon. He’s too confident a shooter with too smooth a stroke to have just lost it.
Not a terrible third-string point guard, but the Nets will need to rely on him more than he deserves with no one else at the helm.