Losers of 6 out of their last 7, the Nets came into Philadelphia with a slump to bust. They leave town with a victory but one that conjures no feelings of confidence.
Many pundits have recently pondered if Kentucky’s men’s basketball team could beat the Sixers. After tonight they may be wondering if Kentucky could beat the Nets.
Whizzing ball movement and strong defensive effort led the Nets to an early lead that got as high as 20 points. But inexcusably poor execution on both ends in the 2nd-4th quarters led to runs of 22-10, 8-0, and 7-0 by the Sixers that kept them in the game. As the Nets lead evaporated, the Philly crowd remembered that they weren’t at a funeral and gave the young Sixers squad some motivation to fight.
Fortunately for the Nets a message was relayed to the Sixers near the end of the fourth quarter. General Hinkie commanded his squad to continue the tank on its plodding path to Mudiay Mountain. From that point on the Sixers executed their orders with a mix of bad shots, head-scratching turnovers, and poor fouls.
The Nets got the win but some of their recurring issues continued to trouble them.
The Nets struggle against athleticism. Younger, quicker players such as Tony Wroten, K.J. McDaniels, and Nerlens Noel gave them fits on both ends.
The Nets also continue to blow early leads. After a quarter and a half it seemed that this game was destined to be a laugher. But complacency struck again and the Nets had to fight much harder than they should have had to against a team on pace for zero wins.
There were more airballs and audible curses tonight than well-executed plays. Just an overall sloppy game.
Nonetheless, with this game being played on Thanksgiving eve, I found it apropos to utilize everyone’s favorite holiday cuisine in chronicling tonight’s key performers.
Turkey: Joe Johnson. Joe was to the Nets tonight what a perfectly cooked Turkey is to a Thanksgiving meal. Absolutely crucial and will put you to sleep. Nothing spectacular from him, but a solid 21 points on 8-12 shooting that were key in the win.
Stuffing: Kevin Garnett. Stuffing may be the most undervalued item on the Thanksgiving menu. While KG might not get much attention tonight, his 9 pts/rebs. and solid defense was definitely important.
Gravy: Deron Williams. Just as gravy improves its fellow foods, Deron Williams improved his teammates tonight with a game-high 10 assists.
Pumpkin Pie: Alan Anderson. Anderson provided some solid minutes towards the end of the game. Similarly pumpkin pie comes up clutch when a Thanksgiving meal is nearing its end.
Cranberries: Bojan Bogdanovic. Cranberries are a Thanksgiving staple but are rather forgettable in comparison to the other foods. Bojan is a key to the Nets’ success but was rather invisible and ineffective tonight.
Chef: Coach Hollins. The obvious choice to be chef. He cooked up the gameplan to (barely) get his team the win. However creating an adequate strategy to defeat the Sixers requires about as much effort as swinging by the local grocery store and grabbing the Thanksgiving-to-go package.
The Nets were not good tonight. A loss to the Sixers may have led to some blood being shed in the Nets’ locker room. Let’s be happy that it didn’t come to that. Hopefully the Nets can build on their positives, address their issues and come ready to play on Sunday against Chicago.