Good morning! The Nets are 4-6. Here’s how:
What happened: The Brooklyn Nets dropped their fourth straight loss in their first game back at Barclays Center since leaving for their west coast trip, dropping a Monday night stinker to the Miami Heat, 95-83.
Where they stand: The Nets are now 4-6 and far behind the Toronto Raptors, who have cruised to the Atlantic Division lead.
That was… A stinker when the Nets needed a victory to snap them out of their West Coast funk.
The Nets brought a decent effort in a lackluster first half, getting open shots and mostly playing within their flex offense. But then — and stop me if you’ve heard this before — once the third quarter rolled around, everything changed, from motion to monotony. “Neither team made any shots, but we did enough to be ahead,” coach Lionel Hollins said about the first half. “then in the third quarter, we didn’t play with the same energy and the same focus.”
The Nets couldn’t get the easy ones to fall, hitting just 11 of 24 shots from within five feet, and were outscored 57-40 in the second half. Though the Heat made more than their share of tough shots, the Nets also didn’t get help defense when they needed it, and it cost them down the stretch against the likes of Mario Chalmers.
Yes, Mario Chalmers: Sitting Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng, the Heat got a big boost from Chalmers, who got to the line 13 times and scored a team-high 22 points, hitting five of six free throws in the fourth quarter.
He followed his only made bucket of the fourth quarter — a floater in the lane and-one off a well-executed pick-and-roll with Chris Bosh — by dishing his fifth assist of the night to Bosh for a dagger three-pointer a minute later, a quick 7-0 run that turned the game from a nail-biter to an afterthought.
Game Grades: Read ’em here.
Brook Nopez: After a nice game against the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday night, Brook Lopez took another step back, picking up early foul trouble and struggling to get into a rhythm for the rest of the game. Lopez finished with just five points and one rebound in 22 minutes, missing six of his eight shots.
Hollins, dejected about his team’s efforts, chose not to go into detail about Lopez’s effort. “I don’t want to talk about Brook right now,” he sighed. “I don’t want to talk about any individuals. I want to talk about the game and our effort. I hear what you’re asking, I just don’t want to go there right now. It’s not a good time for me.”
Hollins couched his message in team play, but his message about it “being a bad time” was clear: he was infuriated with his team’s performance, and Lopez, who struggled to score and defend so much that he only played two insignificant fourth-quarter stints, was at the center of it.
Deron Williams, looking good:
This came in the still-hopeful first half: Williams nicked a steal and confounded Miami’s defense enough to give Bojan Bogdanovic one of his many looks at the rim.
Kevin Garnett, looking good:
I’m hard-pressed to think of a cleaner block by Garnett in his two-year tenure in Brooklyn, and the YESMO camera only makes it prettier.
Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett, looking not so good:
This also came in the first half, at the hands of rookie guard Shabazz Napier. It’s like Williams and Kevin Garnett are doing a synchronized dance. The synchronicity makes it look worse than it really is, but it’s still a rough one to watch.
Kirilinactive: Andrei Kirilenko was listed as inactive for the first time this season, a sign of his obvious struggles in the early part of the 2014-15 season. After the game, Kirilenko said he understood why he was benched and supported coach Hollins, but wasn’t sure what he had to do to get back into the rotation. He added that he is fully healthy, despite dealing with back issues in training camp.
Celebrity watch: Jay Z (sitting with Atlantic Records/Def Jam executive Mike Kyser instead of Beyonce), DJ Tiesto, Mikhail Prokhorov’s sister Irina Prokhorova, Nick Jonas.
Next up: The Nets will spend their Tuesday off in Brooklyn, having a practice in front of army veterans at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hamilton. Afterwards, Markel Brown, Jorge Gutierrez, Cory Jefferson, and Jerome Jordan will serve an early Thanksgiving dinner to troops. They play next on Wednesday, in their second game of the two-game homestand, against Jason Kidd’s Milwaukee Bucks.