Before the game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers, apparently without a hint of irony, said “the Nets are dangerous.”
Perhaps he was referring to how one of them could trip and fall on one of his All-Stars. Maybe he was concerned about how Brooklyn’s free-spending ways could affect the next collective bargaining agreement. Or maybe he was concerned one of the Nets would deflate the basketball for a hidden advantage.
Because the Nets didn’t pose any danger to the Clippers on the court, not after they trailed by 23 halfway into the second quarter and 89-44 in the third, not when their shooters can’t shoot, when Chris Paul records as many assists (17) as the entire Nets team without playing in the fourth quarter, when their help defense doesn’t help defend, and oh no, Brook Lopez, oh no.
The Nets played this one without Kevin Garnett on the second half of a road back-to-back against arguably the most athletic frontline in the league. It’s as cut-and-dry a schedule loss as you’ll find. But they’re also struggling to find anything they can latch onto these days as a semblance of identity.
Last year, the Nets hung their hat on a long, quick-handed five-man unit that forced turnovers, inverted their offense, and fired three-pointers with reckless abandon on the other end. The Nets lack the athleticism for excitement, the discipline for precision, and the depth to be relentless. What can this team be, if anything at all?
At this point, it doesn’t appear to be “dangerous.”
The stats: 4 PTS, 1-3 FG, 1 REB, 1 BLK
Returned to the starting lineup in place of Kevin Garnett, who sat out to rest despite playing just 14 minutes Wednesday night.
Lopez has played well in January, both hitting his mid-range jumpers and ever-so-slowly looking more comfortable around the rim.
But… you probably already know where this is going. Let’s see that again.