An unfortunate shot in the foot for a Brooklyn Nets team just re-gaining momentum.
The Nets & Celtics played tight in the first half, but the second proved to be doomsday: the Celtics put Brook Lopez & Mason Plumlee in compromising defensive positions, the Nets struggled to make any shots outside of the paint, and the Celtics rolled behind a balanced offensive attack. The Celtics pick-and-rolled the Nets to death, getting easy looks at the rim and six players in double figures.
With a win, the Nets could’ve had an important hold on the playoff race. With the loss, the Nets take a huge step back against a team they’re competing with for the eighth and final spot.
Dominated the third quarter offensively to a laughable extent: the Nets would just throw Lopez the ball and watch him fire away with reckless abandon. Lopez racked up 15 easy points in the third, but had difficulty defending the Celtics as they built their lead.
This is the issue with Lopez. He is the team’s most effective scorer, someone who acts as a safety valve when he’s able to get inside and shoot over defenders. But he’s also exploitable in pick-and-roll coverages and struggles defending big men who can shoot from deep like Kelly Olynyk. Without him, they didn’t stand a chance tonight, but with him, they didn’t either.
One last thought: Kind of incredible that in the team’s season-high half for offensive rebounds (14 in the first), Lopez only grabbed one of them.