Injury-riddled Nets punt on 4th + 1 in Boston


Final: 01/28/2019

L 104 112

Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets played the Boston Celtics. Did anyone else feel some déjà vu? That’s probably because this is the third Monday this January that the two teams have faced off. Although it’s impossible to know how this came to be — it raises some interesting questions. Was it a random coincidence unintended by the schedule makers? Probably. Is it a cruel reminder of the three unprotected picks the Nets sent to them in 2013? Possibly. Could it be a preview of a possible playoff first-round matchup?


The Celtics got the better of the first matchup on January 7th while the Nets bounced back for a win on the 14th. Their final contest of the regular season won’t be until the end of March where, if they’re lucky, both teams will finally be at full strength.

However, the injury-riddled Nets were not quite enough to put away the Celtics.

The start to the game was brutal as Brooklyn came out looking flat. Saying that the offense struggled to complete a good possession would be putting it lightly. They were careless with the ball and settled for bad looks which gifted the Celtics a total of 16 blocks on the night.

Their defense looked marginally better but it still wasn’t impressive. The Celtics worked hard to find high-percentage opportunities and utilized ball movement to get open looks at the basket.

Inspired play from the bench unit breathed some life into Brooklyn and kept the deficit at just 10 points going into the half. As it often is this year, the third quarter was the D’Angelo Russell show. He took over and even helped the Nets take the lead for portions before he was sent to the bench with eight minutes left in the fourth. The game was still within reach, but the decision was made to preserve his legs for the winnable game tomorrow against the Chicago Bulls.

The Nets punted on 4th & 1 instead of going for it.

Ultimately, the team looked sloppy — and that typically potent offense wasn’t as creative and dynamic as it often is. Generally speaking, players weren’t as focused on the defensive end as they usually are. The ballhandlers were less careful with the ball than they should have been too. Despite all of those flaws, the game wasn’t a blowout. It was reasonably close. If this busted-up group (missing a decent chunk of their best players, don’t forget) can hang with the Boston Celtics on an off night, that’s a fine performance by most accounts.

Shabazz Napier


The stats: 20 PTS, 6-16 FG, 4-8 3PT, 2 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 4 TO

The beginning of this game was sloppy and ugly, Shabazz Napier saved onlookers from a boring blowout.

The starters came out of the gate flat, while the offense was stagnant and settling for below average attempts. The defense was dozing off while the Celtics had their way with the paint. Thankfully, Napier’s change of pace and craftiness was the kickstart the squad needed to get back into this game. Sure, he isn’t always the most efficient shooter — but if not for him, this game would have been a snoozefest.

D'Angelo Russell


The stats: 25 PTS, 10-20 FG, 4-8 3PT, 2 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL, 5 TO

D’Angelo Russell is like dry ice —  he is so cold that it burns.

First of all: HOW DID THAT SHOT GO IN?

Secondly: It’s always hard to describe Russell, as he heats up so incredibly fast while also having ice in his veins. Simply put, he is one bad man. It’s almost necessary to tune in during this recent Nets’ run of success — if you don’t you risk missing his next huge outing. Tonight his efforts weren’t enough to push the Nets to a victory, especially with the fourth quarter mandatory rest, but, like he always says:

On To The Next One.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson


The stats: 14 PTS, 7-19 FG, 0-1 3PT, 9 REB, 3 AST, 2 BLK, 1 TO

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is attempting to carve out his role on this team.

Hollis-Jefferson has had a tough season, to say the least. It’s fitting that many call him the heart and soul of this squad considering that he’s been bumped and bruised and scraped more than any other Net. Through all of this, he has shown considerable grit and determination to always bounce back. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite clear what his role is on the team, especially on the offensive end. He isn’t a shooter and he has had considerable trouble finishing at the rim. However, it was another solid effort here.

He’ll bounce back — it’s what RHJ does.

Jarrett Allen


The stats: 6 PTS, 3-6 FG, 0-1 3PT, 10 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO

Jarrett Allen is possibly the second-most inconsistent player on this team.

It’s to be expected from a second-year player, but you might as well flip a coin to predict which Fro will show up on any given night. Will it be the incredible and assertive Allen who dropped 20 and 24 on the Rockets, or will it be the passive Allen that only scored two points against the Knicks?

As his floor keeps getting higher and higher, his expectations continue to rise alongside it. A 10-rebound game isn’t the end of the world, but it’d be nice for Allen to find some much-needed consistency more often than not.