Weekend Recap: No Wins In Brooklyn!

I realize, everyone, that the title is a cheap knock off from the Beastie Boys’ smash, “No Sleep Til Brooklyn!” However, for the six remaining die-hard Brooklyn Nets fans that are left, they may never sleep ’till Brooklyn actually wins.

The Brooklyn Nets are 0-7 (all together now… AND COUNTING!) after losing this week to the Atlanta Hawks, The Los Angeles Lakers, and the Milwaukee Bucks (again). I’m not going to lie, folks, it is starting to become difficult to watch this team play basketball and find different ways to show why this team struggles to score every night.

First off, I would like to extend my leave of absence from Brooklyn’s Finest. I know the staff and Editor In Chief will be shocked to hear this announcement, but let me explain. I am going to get in shape, work on my jumper and ask for a one-year deal to play point guard for the Brooklyn Nets. I may not do any better than Jarrett Jack or Shane Larkin, but I’m just what the Brooklyn Nets need: a warm body that will keep the team under the salary cap. Plus, at least I will not embarrass the team with my lack of defensive acumen.

Sure, everyone is laughing reading this. Maybe my Editor, Paul Mitchell, wants to edit this piece out. But think about it for a second. On Friday against the Lakers, Jarrett Jack got shook by a rookie in DeAngelo Russell, who was on the verge of being benched by Lakers head coach Byron Scott into a pick by Julius Randle and dropped to the floor. Then Jack watched Russell knock down the shot on the floor stretched out.

Then as time carried on, the crowd let the Brooklyn Nets in on their nasty little secret. They weren’t there to support the team. They were there because it might be the last time they see Kobe Bryant in the Barclay Center. It’s really not a good look when your crowd calls an opposing player M-V-P and chants his name all night. Throw in the fact that Bryant didn’t play very well makes it worse. For the total recap, please check out Sam Yip’s piece on Brooklyn’s Finest. As always, it’s an informative read (and kind).

The Lakers game is the point in the season where the Brooklyn Nets hit their low point. They haven’t hit rock bottom yet, but keep checking into Brooklyn’s Finest, your best choice for Brooklyn Nets news, previews, and reviews. The Nets have a long road trip, maybe it will happen then!

Here are my three lessons…

1.)  Lionel Hollins’s offensive scheme may never work.

What this really means is the NBA game has changed. The Golden State Warriors have made the “small ball” game vogue these days. Since the NBA is a copycat league, everyone is looking to stock their teams with athletic players and “stretch fours” who can shoot the long ball. Not only are the Brooklyn Nets are struggling with this style, but the team Lionel Hollins built in Memphis is suffering the same fate. Case in point, the Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies by 50 points last week. That’s right, 50. Plus, they have been blown out of the building every time they have lost.

The problem the Brooklyn Nets face is that Brook Lopez is their best player, however slow afoot and non-athletic as he may be. Against Atlanta, Lopez destroyed the Hawks with 27 points and 11 rebounds. However, Al Horford scored 21 points on 8/10 shooting with eight rebounds. What’s the problem? Horford brings his friends along. They are known as his backcourt.

Dennis Schroder and Jeff Teague smoked Jarrett Jack and Shane Larkin like a pack of Kools on the way to the basket.

Somehow, Lionel Hollins sees light at the end of the tunnel…

“We are moving forward. It doesn’t look like it because we are still losing. But I think that we are moving forward” he told writers after the game. But he did acknowledge that the team’s defense is the issue.

“First of all, we’ve got to guard the ball”….”too many blow bys.”

Well, sometimes that light at the end of a tunnel is an oncoming train. How bad is this offense right now? The Los Angeles Lakers held the Nets under 100 points. It’s the first time they’ve held an opponent under triple digits this season.

2.) Joe Johnson outplayed Kobe Bryant.

Say what you like, but Joe Johnson played with some pride on Friday night. Johnson cherry picked his way to 22 points. While Bryant was using a welding torch on those bricks he was throwing up, Johnson leaked out and got easy baskets. Who cares that Kobe Bryant hasn’t played defense in three years? That’s not Johnson’s fault.

I wonder if the rest of the Nets paid attention. I understand that the Nets have more turnovers than an average apple pie corporation, but they have to find a way to get easy baskets. The desperate can’t be choosy at this stage in the season when you are winless. The Nets are going to have to get out on the fast break (here’s where Shane Larkin might help) and quicken the pace. If not, as the season goes on opponents are going to offer two for one sales offering the guards to shoot.

3.) Time is running out on Lionel Hollins’s experimentation of lineups, especially with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Look, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson can’t shoot. Cool. But the man plays with energy and defends. Here’s a thought, keep him in the starting lineup. Lionel Hollins needs to give this kid minutes. He played Kobe Bryant tough and was the leading rebounder on Friday with eleven. This is a lost season, so it’s time to see what this kid can do for the future.

Same thing with Thomas Robinson. After showing some signs in the preseason, his minutes have been up and down, while Andrea Bargnani, who modeled warmup gear for the entire preseason is getting minutes better served for Robinson.

Here’s what I learned now learn from this!

Brook Lopez was lost against the Milwaukee Bucks with a sore foot. X-rays were negative. If he sits out, pray that the Golden State Warriors aren’t on the schedule while he is out. The way Steph Curry is playing with no center (Andrea Bargnani is a small forward people!) Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point record is in jeopardy.