So, not exactly the best way to start an eight-game road trip.
Sure, some nights were built for losses. The Nets barely scraped by against one of the league’s worst teams Friday night, and traveled immediately following the game to Washington for the second half of a back-to-back on the road against the team seeded third in the Eastern Conference despite a recent five-game losing streak.
But even considering the outside factors, it was still a wholly uninspired and deplorable effort from the Nets. Even without Bradley Beal, the Wizards had no issue pouring on the offense, particularly running the floor: whether it was Otto Porter(!) or Kris Humphries (!!!) pushing the break, the under-athletic Nets were ill-prepared to deal with a young team turning a basketball game into a track meet.
It got so bad that the Nets started running a 2-3 zone in the third quarter, which felt like Hollins throwing anything at the wall to see what sticks. They played it like they hadn’t practiced it: the Wizards made six straight shots in the third quarter to turn this from a big lead into a laugher.
Things weren’t much better on the other end. The Nets missed their first 10 three-point attempts, featured little movement of ball or man on the offensive end, and lost their fair share of turnovers, following a nice five-game stretch where they were able to limit their cough-ups. Their guards curled around pick-and-rolls without any interest in creating contact or diving into the lane, their bigs rarely rolled looking to score or create space inside.
The stats: 19 PTS, 8-15 FG, 8 REB
In a sea of offensive ineptitude, Lopez was a lifeboat: the Nets threw the ball to him inside and let him do work. He was as much a problem as anyone else on the defensive end, but at least he was able to score.
But it’s impossible to watch him these days and think: come February 11th, will he have played his last game in a Nets uniform?