Again, there are things to build on. Brooklyn’s Less-Marketed Frontcourt had an excellent performance on offense and on the glass. A couple of Nets wing players showed some skills. There are reasons to believe that this loss looks much worse in the box score, due to a late collapse, than it should have.
But the team is wholly bereft of perimeter defense at this point, save a rookie who spent most of the game on the bench. The Hawks’ quick guard combo of Dennis Schröder and Jeff Teague diced up Brooklyn’s attempts to hold them back, and the Nets’ interior defense isn’t quick enough to solve all those problems alone. Al Horford is still an excellent talent that the Nets can’t really handle if the Hawks can find him in so many different open spots. Justin Holiday and Tiago Splitter provided some surprise defense off the bench. Even without Kyle Korver, there’s enough players on the Hawks to fill the gaps.
The result of this Nets-Hawks matchup isn’t any different than most of the times these teams matched up last year. The Nets are trying to develop, but there are players from top to bottom on this Hawks team that have already developed, and that makes all the difference.
The stats: 27 PTS, 11-16 FG, 11 REB, 3 AST
Heading into the second half, the Nets had just one dunk all season — completed by Brook Lopez.
By the end of the third quarter, the Brooklyn Nets had four dunks on the season, all completed by Brook Lopez.
It was a monstrous third quarter for the big man, who put up 16 easy points in the full 12 minutes by getting to the line, getting open for slick looks, and hitting his patented outside shot. This all came right after YES Network aired a halftime segment about Lopez’s cat Poupin, who you can follow on Instagram.
@uuords YES featured Poupin and Brook went on a dunking rampage. This cannot be a coincidence.
— David (@DBergz13) November 5, 2015
If the Nets give Poupin a season ticket there’s no telling how good Brook Lopez can be. He even dished a few nice assists — a drop-off to Bogdanovic for a layup being the most visible one.
Too much of his offense is coming on mid-range pops, but his willingness to pass out of double-teams is a refreshing change from years past. That combined with his propensity to draw fouls in the post could make Lopez a much more dangerous post-up player.
The stats: 0 PTS, 3 REB, 3 STL, 1 AST, +13
The defense measurably shifts when he enters the game. He’s imperfect in a lot of ways, particularly on the offensive end of the floor, but he’s already got an advanced sense of where to be and how to play on the defensive side. The team’s second-quarter run was keyed when Hollis-Jefferson entered the game and started forcing turnovers & contesting shots.
At +13 in 13 minutes, he’s earning more playing time with each game. We’ll see if he gets it.