The preseason turned out to be a crystal ball for the Brooklyn Nets’ first game of the season. The team swung the ball in their new motion offense, heaved three-pointers at will, and ultimately played some pretty dismal defense on the way to a 122– 117 loss to the division rival Boston Celtics.
Unfortunately, the game wasn’t as close as the score infers as the Nets fell behind by 20 points in the fourth quarter. In fact, it was only when head coach Kenny Atkinson cleared the bench in the fourth quarter that the trajectory of the game changed. Quarterbacked by tremendous effort from Trevor Booker and the Olympic version of Bojan Bogdanovic, the end of the bench brought the game down to one possession before falling just short.
Down by just three points miraculously, the Nets got good looks for Bogdanovic and Justin Hamilton to tie things up — but it just wasn’t meant to be. However, the Nets did set one record tonight as they fired up 44 three-point attempts, a new franchise record.
But if the Nets want to remain competitive, they’ll need to figure out that defense or just play Chris McCullough, Isaiah Whitehead, Joe Harris, Bogdanovic, and Booker all 48 minutes, I guess.
The stats: 16 PTS, 40 FG%, 44 3PT%, 3 ASTS, 4 RBS, 2 STLS, 2 BLKS, 3 TOV
The Nets’ generic, off-brand Kyle Korver built off an impressive preseason — in which he shot 65% from downtown — by opening up the regular season by hitting for 40% from three and scoring 16 points. Although he can have bouts of defensive lapses — but who on the Nets doesn’t? — it didn’t hurt that he was on the court when the team went on its only extended run.
It’s early, but the Nets may have found something.
The stats: 7 PTS, 14 FG%, 50 3PT%, 5 RBS, 2 TOV
The Nets called his number early, trying to take advantage of their star center’s size, but it just wouldn’t fall. The surprise of the night saw Lopez sitting on the bench as the second half tipped, a story line we’re sure to hear more of.
He was frustrated all night, complaining about missed calls and struggling to handle the pick and roll on defense. It was more than a new offense that got Lopez off his game tonight and, all of a sudden, a poor preseason is in danger of becoming an early season trend.
Lopez’s 21 minutes were only more than Greivis Vasquez, Isaiah Whitehead, and Chris McCullough — so, yeah. . .