Sabonis, Pacers overwhelm Nets as defensive struggles continue


Final: 10/30/2019

L 108 118

The Brooklyn Nets are struggling in many aspects, and Wednesday’s game exposed those flaws front and center. 

Brooklyn’s lack of defense, struggles at the free-throw line and propensity to commit turnovers has been a common trend through the team’s first four games, with a 1-3 record to show for it. 

After a competitive first half against a winless Pacer team, the Nets collapsed in the second and saw their three-point halftime lead disappear. At one point, Indiana led by 16 points in the second half, and by the fourth quarter the Nets all but ceded the game to Indiana.

The Pacers answered each Net basket with one of their own, stymying any comeback attempt.

A telling stat of the night is Brooklyn’s 13-rebound advantage over Indiana. However, the Nets turned the ball over a total of 19 times, which were often unforced and led to easy baskets for the Pacers. The Barclays Center crowd received at least five errant Brooklyn passes. 

Overall, it was an embarrassing effort for Brooklyn in front of the home crowd.

Over the first three games, Kyrie Irving’s heroic performances somewhat masked Brooklyn’s struggles, but on Wednesday, there was nothing anyone could do to save the team.

Late in the first quarter, Myles Turner went down with an ankle injury that kept him out the rest of the game. The Nets — notably Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert — took advantage of Turner’s absence by attacking the paint. But Domantas Sabonis proved just as dominant a force in halting Brooklyn’s interior offense.

On the defensive end, Sabonis was no match for Brooklyn’s efforts, putting up 29 points. By the end of the night, four Pacers recorded 20+ points — T.J. Warren, Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon and Sabonis combined for 95 of Indiana’s 118 points.

Brooklyn ended up shooting under 45 percent from the field and under 62 percent from the free-throw line.

If the Nets want to win, they cannot leave ten points at the line. Missed free throws played a major part of Brooklyn’s other two losses this season as well. This is a concern Brooklyn’s coaching staff needs to address soon.

One nugget that came out of the game was coach Kenny Atkinson attempting and winning his first challenge. The disputed call was on whether or not Taurean Prince was set before taking what would later was deemed a charge.

Entering the game, the buzz around Brooklyn was all things Irving. On Tuesday, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan wrote an article outlining Irving’s troubling temperament. She briefly touches on his “infamous mood swings” that recently made some Nets officials concerned.

Despite the team’s horrendous performance, Irving displayed no signs of animosity towards his teammates or coaches. He attempted to lead the Nets to victory, but no one could save Brooklyn Wednesday night.

On Friday, the Nets will face their toughest opponent yet in the Houston Rockets, and at 1-3, the Nets need to start the month of November anew.

Beating the Rockets would be a great place to start. 

Kyrie Irving


The stats: 28 PTS, 11-20 FG, 2-6 3PT, 4-5 FT, 7 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 30 MIN

Kyrie Irving doesn’t hear the media. He just wants to play basketball and win games.

Irving led the Nets with 15 points in the first half, and did all anyone could ask of him.

Still, he simply could not get help on the offensive end. Without Irving on the floor, the Nets could not score.

Irving’s one turnover is a telling sign of his ability to control the ball, which is something his teammates need to improve on.

All in all, Irving turned in another solid performance. He has scored over 20 points in each of his first four games as a Net. 

Spencer Dinwiddie


The stats: 20 PTS, 7-17 FG, 1-5 3PT, 5-6 FT, 2 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 4 TO, 26 MIN

Spencer Dinwiddie was looking to forget his missed free throw against Memphis. If it fell, the Nets and Grizzlies would likely have gone to a second OT.

Wednesday night, Dinwiddie did not get the chance to redeem himself.

Dinwiddie struggled despite scoring 20 points and finishing with a plus-1 +/-, with his four turnovers halting key Brooklyn possessions and leading to easy points for the Pacers.

The Nets need Dinwiddie to lead the bench unit efficiently to turn this slow start around.


Caris LeVert


The stats: 15 PTS, 6-18 FG, 2-4 3PT, 1-2 FT, 6 REB, 3 AST, 4 TO, 32 MIN

Coming off a 27-point performance on Sunday, LeVert looked to continue his success against Indiana.

Against the Pacers, LeVert scored 11 points in the first half, but the second half was no friend to LeVert.

LeVert could not get any of his baskets to fall, and when he was not missing shots, his defense was poor.

The Nets will need LeVert to deliver, it is just a matter of when.


Jarrett Allen


The stats: 8 PTS, 3-5 FG, 2-3 FT, 8 REB, 1 AST, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 21 MIN

Coming off the bench for the second consecutive game, Jarrett Allen was not as effective as he was against Memphis.

Defensively, Allen struggled to stop Sabonis and the Pacer offense. In limited offensive opportunities, Allen put the ball in the basket but continues to lose the ball after securing offensive rebounds.

Allen will likely come off the bench in Friday’s matchup against the Rockets, who have the dominant Clint Capela at center. 

Joe Harris


The stats: 13 PTS, 5-9 FG, 3-6 3PT, 0-1 FT, 2 REB, 3 TO, 29 MIN

Joe Harris is doing his thing this season.

After four games, Harris is shooting over 50 percent from deep and continuously makes the hustle plays that do not show up in the box score.

Harris continued his stellar shooting on Wednesday, but that was the only positive aspect of his performance.

When Harris is not shooting, he needs to be cutting and facilitating without turning the ball over. Like his teammates, Harris has caught the turnover bug.

But hey, at least he is knocking down open threes.