For The Nets, There’s No Place Like Anywhere But Home

The Nets have been in the background on their home floor this year. (AP)
The Nets have been in the background on their home floor this year. (AP)

Monday night’s 110-91 loss to the Boston Celtics surprised everyone, Brooklyn Nets players included. But one component of the loss was routine: it came in Barclays Center, in front of the home Brooklyn crowd. It was their fifth home loss in their last six home games, and between the eight-game road trip and their home woes, the Nets have won at home just twice since February 6th.

They’re also at a loss to explain their home futility.

“I don’t know why,” Deron Williams said, repeating the refrain. “I don’t know why. I wish I did, man. I honestly do.” Williams has shot better on the road than at home, and averages more assists per game in fewer minutes while away from Barclays Center.

The loss dropped the Nets to 12-20 at home, as opposed to 17-20 on the road. They’re the only team in the NBA with a worse record at home than on the road. “I don’t even know which one is better,” Jarrett Jack opined. “Do you want to be a better road team playing in more hostile situations? It’s like a double-edged sword. Do you want to be a team that can only play at home and can’t play on the road?”

If the league only went by road record, the Nets would rank 12th in the NBA, and have the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. If the NBA only looked at home records, the Nets would be sixth-worst.

It’s a far cry from the Nets of last season, who at one point went on a 15-game home winning streak. That’s more games than the Nets have won at home all season. Coach Lionel Hollins, who was not around for last season’s streak, refused to admit frustration.

“Frustrated is a strong word,” Hollins said. “I don’t like that word. I’m disappointed that we haven’t won more at home, but we got a chance here starting after (the Hornets game), I think we have 10 more home games (9). We’ll see what we can do. Each game is different.

“It’s unfortunate that we don’t, there’s a lot of theories, I have my theories, but I’m not sharing them. Hopefully we can turn it around.”

The Nets came into the season with tempered expectations after two early exits in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But they at least hoped to compete for a top-four spot in the East. At 29-40, they’re currently 1.5 games out of the last spot of the playoffs, behind the Celtics.

“We felt like coming in the season, we would’ve been a lot better than we are now,” Williams added. “So (at) home, definitely, it definitely stinks that we can’t give our fans something to cheer about, a reason to get excited about coming to games, it kind of puts a damper on things.

Jack shrugged off a suggestion that it might be because the team has an erratic shootaround schedule, or because they don’t shoot in Brooklyn before the game. “(The) Spurs don’t have shootarounds, and they shoot the s— out the ball,” Jack noted.

The Nets home crowd has also had strong road elements on a number of nights, and Monday was no different: the crowd was filled with Boston Celtics green, and a small but loud “Let’s Go Celtics!” chant broke out near the end.

The Nets understood it. “Our crowd, sometimes they with us, sometimes they not,” Alan Anderson said. “When we’re playing like that, what do you expect?”

“You gotta give the other team credit: their fans come and show up,” Jack said. “I mean, if their fans were in line first to buy tickets, what can we do?”

Following the Hornets game Wednesday night, the Nets play 9 of their final 12 games in Barclays Center. Despite the many issues, the Nets hold out hope. “Our crowd is definitely a formidable sixth man for us,” Jack added. “They come out and support us no matter the situation, and we’re definitely going to need them coming down the stretch these last few ballgames.”