Recap: Nets 103, Kings 100 - Another Ugly 4th Quarter

For tonight, let’s ignore the fourth-quarter collapse, the lack of offensive execution, and the disappearing defense down the stretch, and instead view the game at face value and without any context. The Nets took the first game of their West Coast trip, 103-100 in Sacramento, and evened up their road record at 10-10, while looking good for the first half of the game (cue context).


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Three Man Weave: Week Thirteen Edition

Whereas in the last few weeks the Brooklyn Nets took their customary step forward and then two steps back, this week they instead tripped themselves up early before salvaging a game in Washington and ending their losing streak at seven games. A loss the next night at home to the Wizards was the team’s eighth in their last nine games, and at 17-24 on the season the Nets are just a game ahead (in the loss column) of the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Brooklyn hung tough for stretches with the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies, but surrendered big first and third quarters and lost by double digits in both games. The losses ran the losing streak to a season-high seven games and, as per usual this season, the trade rumors grew louder. By Friday’s game in Washington Brook Lopez was nearly traded twice, before management reportedly rejected the Thunder’s proposal and put trade talks on hold. Brook responded with a 26-point, 3-rebound effort in the upset of the Wizards and momentarily justified GM Billy King’s indecision, and then followed it with 15 points (on 13 shots) and 5 boards in the loss the next night. For now it appears that Brook Lopez’s status with the Nets is safe, but that could change after the next prolonged losing streak.

Last week we highlighted the increasing difficulty of the Brooklyn Nets’ schedule and their road-heavy February, while this week will be spent almost entirely on the West Coast. The Nets will go to Sacramento on Wednesday, Los Angeles Thursday against the Clippers (on TNT), and Utah Saturday, before returning to Barclays for five of their next seven. The games against the Kings (16-24) and Jazz (14-27) will be their only contests against sub-.500 teams until they meet the (6-36) Knicks on February 6th, and could be considered must-wins if the Nets hope to claim a playoff appearance.

On top of snapping their seven-game losing streak and nearly trading their former-franchise center (at least twice), the Brooklyn Nets organization was put up for sale by owner Mikhail Prokhorov last week. Discussions are still preliminary, and the team’s sale should take priority within the NBA’s offices once the Atlanta Hawks situation is settled.

In this week’s Weave, our three experts address a potential Nets sale and the ramifications to the team this season. They’ll also speculate as to Brook Lopez’s future in Brooklyn following a week full of trade rumors, and the team’s chances of reaching the .500 mark again this season. Read More


An Investigation into the Bulls and Nets Rosters

On twitter the other day someone posed the question of whether any NBA team has comparable front court depth to the Bulls rotation of Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, and rookie flamethrower Nikola Mirotic. The simple answer is no, there isn’t any team that combines that amount of talent, and versatility amongst their big men, however the Nets are probably the closest approximation that exists, albeit a poor man’s version. A very, very, very poor man’s version. After realizing this I began thinking more and more about the Bulls and the Nets, and realized there rosters actually have a lot of similarity. The Nets are a worse version of the Bulls basically across the board, and aside from a few stretches each Nets player has a more talented Bulls counterpart. What’s the point of this you ask? Good question. Let’s get started. Read More


Recap: Nets 90, Wizards 99

After last night’s impressive 22 point victory the Nets couldn’t make it two straight as they lost by nine to Washington. It was a competitive game throughout, other than an 18-2 run the Wizards went on in the middle of the third quarter the game was pretty evenly back and forth. After being up 51-50 the Nets struggled and only scored 39 points in the second half in a pretty slow paced grind it out game on both ends. The Nets continued their string of poor shooting going only 4-17 from three, at some point this has to end. In some ways it still could have been worse, the Wizards are a better three point shooting team than Brooklyn, but they also struggled to a 5-16 performance from outside. Additionally, the Wizards shot a Plumlee like 14-27 from the line, while the Nets went 14-18, and Plumlee himself went 3-4.

Coach Hollins continued to tinker with his rotation, especially on the wing. Bojan started the game again and played a solid 26 minutes, but Alan Anderson ended up playing 30, including the more important crunch time minutes. Meanwhile Sergey Karasev was dealt another DNP, Karasev has been suffering from an illness so its possible Hollins was resting him, but he seems to have fallen out of the rotation yet again. Up front Mason and Brook played 24 and 27 minutes respectively, and only a few together in the combination that worked so well last night. Coach Hollins continued to put a heavy burden on Jarrett and Joe has he played them each 40 minutes. Deron Williams absence has forced Hollins to play the two of them a lot, but he should look to balance out the rotation a little more by giving some more time to Morris, Karasev, or even Markel Brown.

If the Nets had been told before Friday’s game that they would win one game in a blowout and lose the other in a competitive game, they would probably be happy to hear it. The Nets offense stagnated down the stretch as Joe couldn’t get enough good looks, Jack and Mason pick and rolls weren’t leading to much, and Brook struggled in the post. With all of those things going wrong and no Deron around the Nets really struggle to get good looks, and despite solid defense couldn’t get the win. Tonight was a disappointing loss as the Nets were in it the whole time and certainly could have won the game, but the Nets will take these two results and try and build from it.



Jarrett Jack: Jack played a very strong game overall as he shot the ball well (10-18), dished out a solid eight assists, and played surpassingly solid D on John Wall helping to limit him to 11 points on 5-15 shooting. Unfortunately Jack turned the ball over five times, and struggled at the end of the game when Brooklyn needed him. Whether it was from fatigue or not, Jack settled for a couple tough midrange shots on key possessions, and if he had executed a little better the game might have turned out differently. B+

Joe Johnson: Joe was able to get pretty good looks against the Wizards wing trio of Porter, Butler, and Pierce, but he struggled to connect as he went 6-17 from the field in route to 15 points. Joe’s defense seemed fine and he got three steals, but he finished with the lowest +/- of the starters at -11 and didn’t really do anything particularly positive out there on the court. Hollins needs to try and rest him some more though, he’s 33 and played 37 or more minutes in nine of his last ten games. C+

Kevin Garnett: Garnett started off the game shooting the ball well scoring a quick six points in the opening minutes, but only hit one field goal from there on out and finished with eight. On defense he seemed to struggle a bit with the Wizards size as both Seraphin and Nene scored on him a couple times in the post. Garnett’s rotations were good as usual, but Nene is a tough matchup for him at this point, and Nene finished as the Wizards leading scorer with 20. C-

Bojan Bogdanovic: Bojan got the start, and based on his play probably deserved to get crunch times over Alan Anderson. He shot 50% on his six attempts, used his size to secure five rebounds, and wasn’t getting noticeably torched by Bradley Beal. He ended with a team high +8, and deserved a bit more time in this one. B

Mason Plumlee: Mason was limited by foul trouble throughout the game, ending with five fouls in only 24 minutes of play. Mason was good on offense shooting 4-7 despite a couple ugly post ups early and his transition game and pick and roll game always helps open up the floor for the Nets. He only got three rebounds in his minutes though, and a couple times seemed hesitant to contest shots at the rim because of his foul trouble. B-

Alan Anderson: Anderson only got up four shots in 30 minutes of play, and was his usual non impactful self. Anderson doesn’t really seem to hurt the Nets when he’s out there, but he also doesn’t really seem to help at all as he’s oftentimes barely noticeable. He ended up a game low -14, so maybe he was hurting the Nets, and nothing in his play really justified him playing over Bojan down the stretch. D

Brook Lopez: After his hot game last night Brook forced a bit too many difficult shots out of the post leading to his 5-13 performance from the field. Other than one brief stretch in the second quarter where he had a couple of and ones Brook didn’t do much else on offense tonight. He did do a decent job on D though as he has the size/strength to matchup with the Wizards bigger post players. C+

Mirza Teletovic: Mirza had one sweet deep three from the top of the key, but otherwise was pretty ineffective going 2-7 from the field. Mirza was also out hustled for a couple offensive boards by Humphries, and beat by Seraphin in the post a few times. Despite all of this Mirza still only finished as a -2, and the way he opens up the Nets offense can’t be ignored. Mirza’s struggles have made us all here at Brooklyn’s Finest very sad, hopefully he can pick it up soon. C-

Darius Morris: Darius only played a brief seven minutes of relief for Jarrett, but didn’t do anything particularly exciting. The only category on the box score Darius had more than one in was +/-, nothing to write home about. Maybe the Nets should look to sign one of the backup PG Nate’s (Robinson or Wolters), as Hollins doesn’t seem to trust Morris in that role. C

Cory Jefferson/Markel Brown: They got into the game with 30 seconds left, nuff said. Incomplete

Coach Hollins: I went over Hollins rotations more in depth above, but overall they weren’t great. In terms of strategy the Nets still lack anything particularly creative on offense, the Nets lack in talent, but it would be nice to see Lionel try and mix it up a bit and get the ball moving a little more. C+

The Nets next play Wednesday at Sacramento, 10:00 ET.


Recap: Nets 102, Wizards 80

Less than 24 hours ago it seemed that Brook Lopez was on his way out of Brooklyn. Multiple media outlets reported that the framework was in place for a 3-team deal that would send Lopez to Oklahoma City. Fortunately for the Nets, Billy King chose to sleep on the deal before signing the dotted line.

As soon as King shut his eyeballs, everything changed. King slept like a baby, and while he slept he dreamt. In his dreams a hulkish, curly-headed specter appeared. He spoke slowly, jovially and added intermittent wookie howls. He swore to King that things would turn around. He begged for one more game and promised to prove his worth. He was Brook Lopez, and boy did he make good on his promise.

The Nets had played a solid 1st half, containing the Wizards uber-talented backcourt and holding a 3-point lead. But this wasn’t uncharted territory for the Nets. So many times before had they played solid in the first half only to fold for the remainder of the game. Game after game they lacked someone who could put the team on their back and build up a lead rather than watch things burn.

Tonight Brook Lopez was the player the Nets have needed. The player who they have been waiting for all season. The player who can make a dizzying array of crafty shots from any spot within the three point line. The player who can singlehandedly propel his squad to a win over elite NBA teams. The player who, when on his game, should bring back much more in a trade than Jeremy Lamb and Kendrick Perkins.

With that being said, this Nets 102-80 win was due to more than just Lopez’s dominant outing. However, after a day full of speculation and uncertainty about his career, Brook’s 25 second half points to halt the Nets’ 7-game losing streak are more than worthy of being the story.

“Famous Last Words”

In lieu of player grades, I am going to borrow a concept used by Jason Lloyd, a Cleveland Cavalier beat writer whose work I greatly respect and enjoy. After each game he makes a list of random  nuggets that he gathered throughout the game. His column has been penned his “Final Thoughts”, I’ll call mine my “Famous Last Words”.

1) While Kevin Garnett rarely plays over 20 minutes, he always seems to have a positive impact in some way; whether it be on-point passes, altering shots, or just making smart reads on either end.

2) As KG ages it’s easy to forget how truly skilled of a player he was and still is.

3)  I certainly didn’t go into tonight’s game expecting Jarrett Jack (26 pts.) to outscore Washington’s young duo of electric guards. John Wall and Bradley beal combined for just 20 points on 18 shots.

4) The Nets’ defense tonight did an excellent job at keeping John Wall out of the paint. The Nets typically struggle with guards that have the type of athleticism that he possesses, so it was encouraging to see them be up to the task defensively.

5) Brook Lo-witzki?

6) The Nets television broadcast is super enjoyable. Ian Eagle is so skilled at his job.

7) I enjoyed this nugget from Devin Kharpertian (@uuords on Twitter): Jarrett Jack and Brook Lopez outscored the Wizards in the 2nd half by themselves, 44-40.

8) I don’t think I would have the mental wherewithal that Brook Lopez did, to compete at such a high level after my employer repeatedly tried to get rid of me. I gained a ton of respect for him tonight.

9) This was definitely the most fun I have had in covering a Nets game this season. Hopefully they can start a winning streak, as they look to make it 2 in a row tomorrow night at home in a rematch against the Wizards.


Trending in Brooklyn: Mason Plumlee is a Light in This Horrible Darkness

Currently trending in Brooklyn: The Nets stink.

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On Prokhorov’s Departure: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

On May 10, 2011 the then New Jersey Nets were bought by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. At the time it was seen as a match made in heaven; Prokhorov had the money to get the Nets out of New Jersey and wanted to win. Nobody knew that May 10, 2011 was the beginning of the end for the Nets.

The news broke Tuesday that Mikhail Prokhorov was listening to offers to purchase his controlling interest in the team. He’s owned the team for five years and in those five years a combination of Prokhorov and President/General Manager Billy King have provided the Nets with little wiggle room or hope for a championship in the near future. Read More


Wojnarowski: Nets Pushing for Brook Lopez Trade

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, we’re at the cusp of a Brook Lopez trade.

The Brooklyn Nets have intensified trade discussions for center Brook Lopez and want to move him soon, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

The Nets have delivered indications to teams they would like to settle on a trade by the weekend, league sources said.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported a potential three-team deal with Brooklyn receiving Lance Stephenson, the Thunder (who Woj lists as “the most aggressive in its pursuit of Lopez”) nabbing Brook and Charlotte coming away with Jarrett Jack and Jeremy Lamb.

Woj also mentioned a possible swap with the Heat for Norris Cole, Chris Andersen and Josh McRoberts as well as a Nuggets deal that would center around JaVale McGee.

If (but looks like when) a deal occurs, be sure to check out Brooklyn’s Finest for an analysis.


Recap: Nets 92, Grizzlies 103

If you start missing enough, you’ll resort to some Iso-Joe
That’s how I lost to Memphis, that’s how I lost to Memphis
If Mirza doesn’t get the ball enough, your shooting percentage will drop low
That’s how I lost to Memphis, that’s how I lost to Memphis

I know if I got beat you’d help me ’cause you are my friend
But wait what’s that crap the Grizzlies just scored again
If you tell me that D-Will’s not here, makes sense that Calathes got four steals
That’s how I lost to Memphis, that’s how I lost to Memphis

Jeff Green got mad and he said to Ainge
That he wanted a trade to Memphis today
That’s how I lost to Memphis, that’s how I lost to Memphis
Garnett got into a fight, and got suspended for one day and night
That’s how I lost to Memphis, that’s how I lost to Memphis

I’ve got to find somewhere to trade Brook Lopez’s woes
I’ll never rest ’til I find out why he’s yet to go
Thank you for your precious time, forgive me if I start to cry
That’s how I lost to Memphis, that’s how I lost to Memphis

That’s how I lost to Memphis, that’s how I lost to Memphis
That’s how I lost to Memphis, that’s how I lost to Memphis
That’s how I lost to Memphis.


Three Man Weave: Week Twelve Edition

For every step forward the Brooklyn Nets take in their 2014-15 season, they seem to fall two steps further behind. Just last week the Nets fell a Sunday-evening loss in Miami shy of a perfect week and dropped to a game below .500 after snapping their three-game winning streak. Since then, with home games against the Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers and a road game in Detroit, the Nets have yet to win a game and sit at 16-21 on the season. Read More