For Nets, death comes slowly, painfully

INC

Final: 01/27/2017

L 116 124

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Brooklyn Nets are in an unfortunate position, one that is exacerbated on nights like this. Even at full strength, the Nets can’t be expected to hang with a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers, particularly so when they’re missing Jeremy Lin, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert, Trevor Booker, and Brook Lopez.

This also lends itself to the never-ending carousel of absurdity that is this Nets season thus far. For example, if you’re reading this post-game, whatever and whenever it may be, there’s a very real chance you saw the injury report and thought — wow, no LeVert, what’s the point? 

And while the Nets were down just by two points to the World Champions after the first quarter — 27-25 — you’d be hard pressed to find even the most hardcore of fans that considered the tiny deficit as a good omen.

And you’re also not dumb — not that the Nets are being facetious or hypocritical by any means — so you knew that this was what 2016-17 held in store no matter the roster, health, or extenuating circumstances. But there are just only so many ways that you can write the same things over, and over, and over.

If there were a Nets-related BINGO, there’s a solid chance you’d hit on most some of these qualifies in each game:

1. Nets didn’t play for a full 48 minutes.
2. The third or fourth quarter went poorly, or even both.
3. The system is good, the personal just isn’t there yet.
4. Brook Lopez starts hot and then goes cold.
5. Nets desprately missing a court general.
6. Nets score 100+ but give up 115+.

So on and so forth… anyways, the point is this: the Nets’ energy and passion (typically) is infectious and, given the roster, head coach Kenny Atkinson has done exceptionally well molding an NBA-worthy modern offense. However, until the Nets start proving onlookers wrong — i.e., stop throwing 15+ turnovers in a game, don’t blow 18-point games in the fourth quarter, etc — then there’s not all that much to say here.

There is something you can do, however, whether that’s #EmbraceTheFuture, #NetsGrowth, or our own bootlegged version of #TrustTheProcess, but the faith must remain strong. The Nets will likely swap the no. 1 overall pick for something closer to a late first rounder — and that hurts, there’s no way around it. But Sean Marks and company didn’t ask for this situation, they inherited it.

Make no mistake, I’m not asking you to be a season ticket holder or sing their praises on social media every night — but try to understand the situation. It’s not an overnight fix and these dudes are trying their hardest, even if the results don’t (or can’t) reflect that.

Yes, this isn’t exactly new information, but it felt more useful than writing something along the lines of — well, the Nets tried really hard and Justin Hamilton had a great, confident game, but it just wasn’t enough. You know the drill: it was a gritty, shorthanded effort until, eventually, the buckets ran slim, Kyrie Irving dropped a 20-point third quarter, and LeBron James ran train en route to an effortless double-double — see how easy that was?

Three superstars versus zero — you do the math.

To put a pin in this, it’s easy to get upset, frustrating, or angry, that’s natural and expected. But there’s nothing to do but support the roster that the Nets trot out there each and every night. Of course, you could stop watching the games, but if you’re reading a post-game recap on a Friday night, you’re likely more invested in a 9-37 team than you might’ve realized.Lopez, LeVert, and Booker should all return in Minnesota — but, until then, consider how much the Nets are doing with so little.

Lopez, LeVert, and Booker should all return tomorrow in Minnesota, so things are almost guaranteed to improve — but, until then, consider how much the Nets are doing with so little.

It’ll help with all this — the losses, the picks, the last-placeness — I promise.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

C

The stats: 8 PTS, 3-9 FG, 3 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL

Aggressive.

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