Don’t let the score fool you: this one was never in doubt.
As one city honored its past, recognizing 15 years of Lionel Hollins bringing grit-n-grind to the Memphis Grizzlies, they faced off against a team stuck a listless present, leading almost from wire-to-wire and staving off any semblance of a Nets run.
The Nets were somehow both sloppy and tentative, throwing easily picked-off passes and taking last-resort shots. The Grizzlies, one of the NBA’s finest squads, had just too much talent doing too many things. Tony Allen and Zach Randolph hitting three-pointers? Seven players with multiple assists? The Nets never stood much of a chance.
The Nets hung around throughout, even cutting the lead to single digits in the fourth quarter. But it never felt like any serious contention for a victory against a Grizzlies team that just out-matched them, not fouling with the game close & late until it was too late.
But the elephant in the room loomed: it was hard to watch this game without thinking that it’s the last time we see half of this roster in a Nets uniform.
Brook Lopez is the longest-tenured Nets player by a substantial margin, spending nearly seven years with the franchise. Deron Williams is second, and he broke a streak of 22 missed field goals. Joe Johnson is third, and his contract is as onerous as any in the league over the next two seasons.
Billy King said he would wait until the break before assessing his roster. The time is now. The Nets are in shed mode. We’ll see what they look like in ten days.
The stats: 12 PTS, 5-14 FG, 4 REB, 0 AST, 4 PF
The Nets went to Lopez just to get points, even starting him in the second half over Mason Plumlee. But Lopez just didn’t manufacture enough to keep their offense afloat, and struggled with Marc Gasol’s size and underrated quickness all night.