Three Man Weave

Three Man Weave: Week Seven Edition

It could have been a huge week in Brooklyn. Wins against the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs presented the opportunity for the Nets’ first three-game winning streak of the season, until the Atlanta Hawks left the Barclays Center Friday night with a 23-point victory. Wednesday night’s overtime win against the reigning-NBA champions was the best performance of the season so far from the Nets and forward Mirza Teletovic, who scored 26 points with 15 rebounds after getting the start at power forward, but the loss to the Eastern Conference playoff-rival Hawks was just as disappointing from the team and Teletovic, who went scoreless on four shot attempts in his 19 minutes.

With four games on the schedule against a couple of Eastern Conference contenders and a home-and-away back-to-back, the Nets will have a tough test this week. Their effort and focus will be worth watching Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Wednesday in Chicago, but also over the weekend against the struggling but athletic Philadelphia 76ers and in Charlotte against the underachieving Hornets. Starting center Brook Lopez will miss all four games after suffering a back strain, which the team will re-evaluate in a week and after an impending-MRI, further improving the degree of difficulty for the 8-10 Brooklyn Nets as they enter their four-game week.

This week our three experts will address the Brooklyn Nets’ big win against the San Antonio Spurs and subsequent blowout-loss to the Atlanta Hawks, and how the team can survive this challenging stretch of the schedule in Brook Lopez’s absence. Give us your take in the comments below.

1.) Let’s start with last week, and the inspiring overtime win against the San Antonio Spurs. The Nets were up by as many as 14 points for much of the fourth quarter before pulling the game out in extra time, and it has to count among the signature victories of the still-early season. Which was your favorite performance from that game and what, if anything, is sustainable going forward for the Nets?

Jonah Jordan: Mirza Teletovic was at his best against the Spurs. His minutes increased due to rest for Kevin Garnett and it looked like a move to keep an eye on going forward. Teletovic provides spacing and athleticism to a starting lineup struggling with a lack of both.

Brian McNichols: Can it be anyone other than the Bosnian Bomber, Mirza Teletovic? No, no it can’t. 26 points on 9 for 13 (5 for 7 from 3) and 15 rebounds in a whopping 43 minutes. While that output is probably not totally sustainable, more Mirza is something everyone wants to see. Another thing that is a good sign is Brook Lopez grabbing 16 boards and dishing 3 assists (instantly increasing his season total by 38%). He shot terribly (6 for 17), but Brook crashing the boards and facilitating is another thing that all Nets fans want.

What is not sustainable at all is the ridiculous minutes in that game. The oft-injured Lopez played over 45, Mirza played 43, Joe Johnson added 42, and Deron Williams played 39. Yes, it was an overtime game, but Lopez had already crossed 40 minutes before the extra period. It is not a coincidence that Brook hurt his back in the next game.

Brady JenningsFavorite performance? Definitely has to be Teletovic. If he can continue to hit 3′s and space the floor as he did against San Antonio, that adds a dangerous element to the Nets offense. Hopefully some confidence they gained that game will be sustainable going forward.

2.) Alternately, the home loss to the Atlanta Hawks has to count among the more frustrating games of the season. Were there any long-term observations or flaws to take away the letdown loss or can you just chalk it up to a bad shooting night (3/18 shooting the three and a 16:17 assist-to-turnover ratio)?

Jordan: The Nets problems were magnified during the game against the Hawks . Seventeen turnovers and shooting 3-18 from three is not a winning formula. The Nets are struggling from the three-point line that wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t shoot threes, but they are taking 20 threes a game. Lionel Hollins’s squad has problems going into two tough games against the two best teams in the East.

McNichols: Much of it was a just a bad night. Even with the turnovers they only had one fewer shot than Atlanta, partially because of out-rebounding the Hawks. They couldn’t hit a thing, especially from three, but were getting pretty good shots. The only worrying part was their perimeter defense, which was slow getting to shooters. They allowed 34 three-point attempts, ten more than Atlanta averages, and the Hawks hit 13 of those.

Jennings: I think Atlanta is a sneaky good team this season so chalk that loss up to them being a good team, as well as the shooting woes you mentioned. I had to double-check that assist-turnover ratio because it was so bad but yeah, that’s abysmal to say the least, you won’t win against anyone with that.

3.) Brook Lopez’s absence is substantial, considering how well he’s been playing of late and the quality and abundance of games this week, but what adjustments will the Nets and head coach Lionel Hollins have to make to survive in the (hopefully only) four games without their starting center?

Jordan: We all knew this was coming. It wasn’t a matter of if it was a matter of when Lopez got hurt. Going forward I think Jerome Jordan’s minutes have to increase. He is the only other true center on the roster. The Nets front line needs athleticism and some sort of rim protection both of which Jordan can provide. I think minutes increase for Teletovic and Jordan can keep the Nets afloat in a tough week.

McNichols: Time to consult the Jordan Rules… the Jerome Jordan Rules. There are two ways Hollins can go: shift KG to center and play Bojan and Mirza together more or sub Plumlee in for Lopez and move forward as is. Although I would go with the former, my guess is Coach Hollins will go with the latter more often, which would also move Jordan up in the rotation. Sure he’s only a rookie, but he’s averaging 11 points and almost 10 rebounds per 36 minutes and gives the Nets a little bit of rim protection. If we’re lucky (and it’s not looking like it so far this season) Jordan showing that he may be a viable NBA center for the future will be the silver lining of this Lopez-less week.

Jennings: If Brook is back in 4 games I’ll be shocked. I think it’s time to use Plumlee the right way: run some pick-and-rolls to utilize his athleticism. I’m not sure why Hollins insists on posting him up but that’s not his game. They need to go 2-2 this week. EASTERN CONFERENCE!!!