After two-straight buzzer-beaters, one good and one bad, a very fair question to ask coming into this Brooklyn Nets-Washington Wizards contest would’ve been: what does this strange, weird, and cruel basketball team have in store next?
Facing off against another disappointing franchise, albeit one with two stars, should’ve given the Nets reason to believe, but they quickly bent to the will of the speedy John Wall. While Sean Kilpatrick got to work on rookie Shane McClellan, filling in for a hobbled Bradley Beal, scoring 5 points on 2-3 shooting.
And yet, meh.
In fact, the most important thing from the first quarter, in which the Nets chased by 5 or more for the majority of the frame, was this tweet from Greg Logan, a writer at Newsdaily:
— Greg Logan (@GregLogan1) December 31, 2016
While most fans might start daydreaming about Otto Porter Jr. joining the team in free agency, the version in this reality dropped a stupid-simple 10 points and the Wizards ran their lead to 31-23 after one quarter. In a vacuum, it’s been easy to point and laugh at the Nets’ situation — lack of picks, injuries, no stars — but isn’t an accepted rebuild better spent than toiling away in mediocrity?
The Wizards, who should be an Eastern Conference player by all accounts, is just 15-16, even with the addition of head coach Scott Brooks over the summer. With Porter Jr. well on his way towards a max contract and the Beal situation as muddied as ever, the Wizards should be showing more than this — is perpetual disappointment better than occasional excitement?
These are, more or less, nothing but placations, undeniably irrelevant as the Nets racked up 11 first half turnovers and fell behind further with each possession. In fact, if you’re so wonderfully with me until this point, I’d like to personally thank you — when the Nets play like this for 40+ minutes, what are the odds that somebody reads through the end of the six paragraphs about their favorite team’s continued weaknesses on a Friday night? Give me a holler on Twitter if you read this sentence and, I don’t know, I’ll write something nice about you.
I mean, when Trey Burke scores 20 first half points on you, there’s really no coming back from that.
And they didn’t.
I mean, take your pick — was it the 21 turnovers? Or Burke’s 27 points? Maybe the Wizards’ 56.6% from the floor? However you slice this one, the Nets will head into 2017 on a really sour note.
The stats: 12 PTS, 4-5 FG, 2-3 3PT, 3 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL
The stats: 16 PTS, 6-13 FG, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2 TOV
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson looked like a different player tonight, not dissimilar to that rookie that caused mayhem in patches last year.
He’s still got a far way to go and, as somebody on Twitter described it, looks wonky as hell driving to the hoop, but it’s always nice to see glimpses of the rookie that showed game-changing potential in 2015.
Acrobatic finish for the And-1 by the hyphen RHJ pic.twitter.com/HPKu845xTY
— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) December 31, 2016
The rest: nope.
Brook Lopez had 6 assists, but got torched by Marcin Gortat in the pick and roll at every turn. Bojan Bogdanovic briefly lost his contact in the first quarter and never really recovered, waffling through defensive assignments and clearly traumatized by the Jimmy Butler beatdown on Wednesday.
Sean Kilpatrick’s hot start translated to absolute zippo and his four turnovers prove he can get a bit hasty and wasteful. It’s time to start asking whether or not Spencer Dinwiddie is an improvement over Yogi Ferrell at all…
Another game with 20+ turnovers, 100+ points given up, and, sigh, will 2017 bring any relief?