Nets Misfire From Deep, Return Home Empty-Handed

Damian Lillard was too much for the Nets. (AP)
Damian Lillard was too much for the Nets. (AP)

Good morning! The Nets are 4-5. Read how while you finish that morning coffee before football:

What happened: The Nets dropped their third straight game and final game of their three-game road trip, falling to the Portland Trail Blazers in the Moda Center in Portland, 97-87.

Where they stand: The Nets drop back under .500, at 4-5, but still stand pat at second in the Atlantic Division, a half-game ahead of the Boston Celtics.

That was… This…

Miss 1

And this…

Miss 2

And this…

Miss 2

And this…

Miss 2

And this…

Miss 2

And all of these.

The Nets shot themselves in the foot, 23’9″ away, one misfire at a time, until they’d piled up 17 straight misses and finished 1-19 from beyond the arc.

“You saw ’em,” Lionel Hollins said after the game, in his comments televised by YES Network. “Wide open three, miss. Wide open three, miss. Drive, jump shot, miss.”

Hollins wasn’t wrong: the Nets didn’t get particularly bad looks from three-point range, they just missed them, over and over and over again. If not for those issues, they would’ve won this game.

Game Grades: Read ’em here.

Brook Lopez, returned: Lopez had his best game since returning from his numerous foot injuries, dropping 21 points on his twin brother Robin, on 10-17 shooting. Nine of Lopez’s ten made field goals came in the paint, and Lopez looked both more engaged and possibly even a bit quicker making defensive decisions.

It was the reason Lopez picked up a B in the above Game Grades, despite struggling once again to grab rebounds for most of the night: imagine how bad this game could’ve been if the Nets shot 1-19 from three-point range and Lopez struggled to score once again.

That didn’t stop Lopez from souring on his own performance after the game, and even possibly his health, equating his play to open the season to running in “mud.” “Getting back in the game has been a slower process than I thought… I gotta get back into it,” Lopez sighed after the game.

Brook won the battle, but Robin won the war:

Family ties: Deborah Lopez, mother to Brook and Robin, was in attendance and interviewed by YES Network’s Sarah Kustok before the game. Deborah donned a Robin jersey and a Brooklyn Nets hat, which she called her tradition: home player gets the jersey, away player gets a hat. Deborah raised Brook, Robin, and two other sons as a single mother in California, which might legitimately make her the best human being alive.

“Enough family stuff! Back to throwing cold water on the Nets!” The Nets faced off against a Trail Blazers team undermanned by injury: All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge and excellent all-around swingman Nic Batum both sat out, giving the Nets an excellent chance to steal one victory on their three-game trip. They didn’t, and now return from their week-long work trip empty-handed.

This was a real first-quarter Nets lineup: Jarrett Jack, Jorge Gutierrez, Alan Anderson, Mirza Teletovic, Jerome Jordan.

With Mason Plumlee, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez all committing two fouls in the first quarter, Lionel Hollins dug deep on his bench, giving first-quarter minutes to Gutierrez and Jordan, who aren’t first-quarter players.

This Nets five was outscored 8-2 to close the first quarter, committing two turnovers and missing all four of their field goals. Related: Williams started the second quarter, scoring the team’s first 10 points, on two layups and three midrange jumpers.

Can you bench the bench? The Nets bench didn’t hit a field goal in the first three quarters, collectively missing their first 12 shots, 16 if you add in starter Bojan Bogdanovic. Jarrett Jack broke the streak early in the fourth quarter, but the Nets were already down by double-digits at that point.

Damian Lillard means “Damien Thorn” in Brooklyn Hipster:
Poor Mirza

Lillard hit some shots by some sort of warlock wizardry tonight: he buried two three-pointers measured at 26 and 28 feet, respectively, and a third that he double-clutched before knocking it down. Then, when the Nets made their one final push, Lillard ripped a rebound out of Mirza Teletovic’s clutches, taking 20 seconds off the clock until the Nets could get the ball again. Lillard finished with 28 points on 8-14 shooting, hitting four times as many three-pointers as the Nets, adding ten assists.

My thoughts at the half: I am oddly confident. There’s no way this team goes 0-8 from 3 in the second half. Oops.

Brotherly Love: It appears that, surprising precisely no one, twins Brook and Robin Lopez spent some time together before the game, according to Brook Lopez’s cat’s Instagram account:

Lopez’s cat has a protected Instagram account, so we can’t embed the post directly. But it’s real, and as you can see, it’s in the presence of Robin Lopez’s cat @pezwardisking, getting advice from a third cat @theduke_roopert, an unknown NBA cat that presumably belongs to Brook Lopez. Thus concludes your NBA-cats-on-Instagram update.

Final thoughts: Kevin Garnett looks legitimately better than last season… The Nets seemed fine with their effort by watching and reading their post-game comments, and I don’t blame them… Impressed by Deron Williams’s defense on a star point guard for the second straight game… One of the early problems that sent the Nets downhill and was forgotten: foul trouble… Bogdanovic might take the full year to adjust to the NBA three-point line… Andrei Kirilenko is Carmen Sandiego… Joe Johnson went 36 minutes without a turnover as a ball-dominant guard.

Next up: Saturday night marked the merciful end of Brooklyn’s three-game west coast road trip, and they’ll return home for Monday night’s game against the Miami Heat.