Three Lessons Learned: Up Jumps The Boogie In Sac-Town

There will be no two-game winning streak in Brooklyn, as of yet. The Brooklyn Nets squandered a 15-point lead and their highest point total of the season, after losing 111-109 on Friday night. DeMarcus Cousins decided to play in the second half after a 1/10 start in the first. He finished the game with a game-high 40 points while grabbing 13 rebounds. Rajon Rondo played a masterful game in collecting yet another triple-double, as the Sacramento Kings played without Rudy Gay and Darren Collison. Jarrett Jack finished with 21 points and 12 assists. Thaddeus Young finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. For a complete recap of the game please check out Tim Oakes’s piece on Brooklyn’s Finest. As always, it is an informative read.

Here’s the three lessons learned from the game…

1.) The Brooklyn Nets are at a serious crossroads with how this offense will be run going forward.

The Brooklyn Nets scored 60 points in the first half. Let me say that one more time so you know that this is no typo…

The Brooklyn Nets scored 60 points in the first half.

How was this done? It’s quite simple: The Nets sped up the tempo of the game. When Shane Larkin was in the game, he showed that he definitely needs more than the 15 minutes that he got on the floor in Friday’s game. It was criminal to watch Larkin languish on the bench in the second half after hitting 3/4 shots from the field, including both shots he took from the land of the extra point. Larkin even gave a strong effort on the defensive end. Couple that with two rebounds, three assists, and two steals, Larkin needs more consistent time on the floor than Lionel Hollins is giving him.

Shane Larkin may not need to start these games, but if he is playing well, Hollins needs to realize when he is playing well and take advantage of his stellar play. The Kings game was one of those times and he didn’t do it. Larkin’s presence on the floor helped out Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who scored four points and grabbed seven rebounds. His highlight reel alley-oop dunk was showed in the highlights a couple of times before going to commercial. He only played 17 minutes. These two players definitely need an up tempo offense to be effective and more time to get implemented to it.

2.) Brook Lopez is turning into the “Big Elephant” in the room.

Brook Lopez scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked four shots. Great game for Brook Lopez, huh? Umm, no.

You see, Brook Lopez’s counterpart, DeMarcus Cousins, had a better game. No, check that. He had a better quarter than Brook Lopez. You see “Big Cuz” went all Stephen Curry on the Nets and scored 21 points in the third quarter. What’s worse, he scored 19 points in a row.

I actually thought watching Cousins in the first half that he may actually be mailing it in to undermine Sacramento coach, George Karl. But then Cousins went on a personal run that propelled the Kings on a 18-6 run to take the lead in the third quarter.

Let’s have Lionel Hollins explain what happened…

“He made 3s, also drove to the basket and made plays. So we needed to be in a tighter shell to make him pick the ball up and play to his tendencies,” Lionel Hollins said. ” We didn’t do that. He got rolling and starting making everything.”


Making everything amounted to 30 points in the second half even while he was battling foul trouble throughout before fouling out late in the game. He even outscored the entire Brooklyn Nets team in the third quarter 21-20.

I have said on Brooklyn’s Finest that there are only a few centers in the NBA that can basically house Brook Lopez on the court. DeMarcus Cousins happens to be one of those centers. But still Brook Lopez should be embarrassed. He shot 5/15 from the field, but he looked very soft. No NBA player on this side of Steph Curry these days should give you 19 points in a row.

I guess $20 million dollars a year doesn’t carry as much weight these days.

3.) Jarrett Jack’s play is going to come back and bite the Brooklyn Nets in the end.

Learn this phrase… “Fool’s Gold”. It applies here. Jarrett Jack had 21 points and 12 assists. Here’s the problem. Rajon Rondo had a triple-double with 23 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. And the kicker is that Rondo got Cousins started in the third quarter. Then he got Ben McLemore off the snide after he went into a slump and he kept the Kings close in the first half. Rondo played a complete floor game which got the entire team involved.

Jack did not.

After having an assist-to-turnover ratio of 16-2 in the first half, the Nets had a ratio of 8-13 in the second half. Lopez disappeared and so did the free-flowing offense the Nets enjoyed in the first half. The Nets only scored 49 points in the second half. Add this to the fact that Jarrett Jack is awful on the defensive end, and the Nets are going to get hammered on nights that Jack is not hitting his shots and feels the need to shoot his way out of his slump. Jack has not showed the ability to lead the offense and get players involved like Lopez and Thaddeus Young, who scored 16 points but also disappeared at times. Rondo scored within the flow of the offense and when the team needed it. Jack shot the ball and killed the flow of his.

Here’s what I learned… NOW LEARN FROM THIS!

Late-game situations are a problem with this team. First the Nets blew a late-game play against the Los Angeles Lakers with Thaddeus Young getting a five-second call. Against the Kings, with two seconds remaining, the Nets blew yet another last-second play when Wayne Ellington turned the ball over trying to get the ball to Joe Johnson at the top of the key.

Isn’t this stuff you work out in training camp?