The Morning Tip-Off: Jarrett Jack is Healthy

Every weekday morning, Brooklyn’s Finest will scour the interwebs for the best (and worst) of Nets coverage from the previous day (and night).

1. Tim Bontemps of The New York Post spoke with Jarrett Jack after his two best performances of the season (21 and 12 Friday night against the Kings and 28 and 9 in the loss to the Warriors):

That’s because Jack said after Saturday’s loss at Golden State that he’s feeling healthy for the first time all season after playing through a bone bruise on his left knee, multiple tweaks of his left hamstring and a back issue.

‘To be honest, I’m just now fully getting healthy,’ he said. ‘That’s neither here nor there. There’s no excuses. … Once you step between those lines, nobody wants to hear that, and neither do I, so I’m just coming out and trying to be healthy and do my best to lead this ball club.’

As Bontemps points out, Jack missed the Nets’ season opener against the Chicago Bulls due to the hamstring issue, which led to a long stretch in the fourth quarter with Markel Brown playing point guard. Jack has been much more productive in the last two games obviously, so of course his confidence is high.

If the inspired play is truly due to a new-found health, then there is some hope for the Nets moving forward. They will need that type of production consistently out of Jack to be competitive on a night to night basis in the NBA.

2. Speaking of hope and optimism, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York, writes that the Nets feel optimistic after a tough 1-2 West Coast trip in which they got their first win of the season and coughed one up to the undefeated defending NBA Champions:

The Brooklyn Nets may be 1-9, but they’re certainly encouraged by their recent play.

‘We’re a much better team than we were at the start of the year,’ Nets coach Lionel Hollins said Monday. ‘I think that we’re developing a work ethic and a togetherness that we didn’t have before.’

Bontemps cites improved point guard play (see above), a competent starting lineup, and Brook Lopez’ play on both sides of the ball as key reasons why the Nets were competitive in a stretch that most expected them to collapse.

But he also points to the fact that the Nets ‘have been right there at the end’ as another key reason they should be optimistic coming off the trip. In my mind, that’s a bit dubious. Sure the Nets are more competitive now, and that’s promising. But I don’t take lightly the leap from competitive to a team that closes out games.

Last season the Nets were the only playoff team to be outscored by their opponent over the course of the season and what’s astonishing is that it wasn’t even close. The Nets were outscored by 236 points over the season according to’s John Schuhmann. They won enough games to be a playoff team because in the games they avoided being blown out in, they took care of business and grabbed wins as they became available.

If this year’s team develops a propensity to not only get blown out, but also have trouble closing out games when they get the opportunity, well then the season will be about as long as most thought it would. But if the recent competitive streak is a sign of improvement, then the optimism is justified. We’ll only find out with more games…

3. The Nets return home to the comfy (?) confines of Barclays Arena tonight to host the Atlanta Hawks. Hopefully no MVP chants for Paul Millsap tonight. Peachtree Hoops previews the game and points out that the Hawks starting back court will likely miss the match-up tonight:

The Atlanta Hawks are going to be minus a couple of key players for Tuesday’s clash in Brooklyn with the Nets. After suffering an injury against the Utah Jazz, Kent Bazemore joins Jeff Teague on a list of injured Hawks.

The Hawks announced Bazemore’s status Monday afternoon, ruling him out of Tuesday’s contest.

Unfortunately for the Nets, the Hawks have Dennis Schroder eager to fill in the role of Jeff Teague and prove he is a starting quality point guard in this league. Look for Jarrett Jack to have difficulty staying with him for much of the game. The Brook Lopez-Al Horford duel will be a fine show. And Thaddeus Young should be taking notes from Paul Millsap on how to be an effective undersized power forward.

The Hawks aren’t at full strength though, have lost 3 of their last 4 games, and their head coach obviously has more important things going on in his life than a random NBA game in November (Hope all is well Coach Bud!). If the Nets truly are feeling optimistic, this game may be an opportunity for them to build on it.

See you tomorrow!