Brooklyn Nets Caught In A Miami Vice…3 Lessons

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…the Brooklyn Nets have a communication problem late in a game and lose. At this point, after a quarter of the season expired the Nets problem is getting on the same page on what to execute late in games. The Nets fell to 7-18 for the season losing to  the Miami Heat 104-98. The good news is that they didn’t get “housed” like they did by 23 to the up and coming Orlando Magic. The bad news is that when games are close, the message gets lost from the bench to the five players that are in the game during crunch time.

I mean what is worse at this point? Get used to the question because it will be asked throughout Brooklyn for the rest of the season. It’s a recurring theme here.

The Brooklyn Nets have finished their six game home stand with a sub-par 2-4 record which includes a three game losing streak. Remember when the Nets had that modest four game home losing streak? Yeah, I forgot too.

There is a phrase a lot of NBA pundits use: good teams find a way to win close games and bad teams find a way to lose. Well this game was a classic example of how this turns in a cliché.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 25 points on 12-16 shooting (a lot more on this later), Jarrett Jack played okay with 22 points and ten assists. There was a Wayne Ellington sighting with 12 points of the bench.

Miami was led by the ageless Dwyane Wade who torched Bojan Bogdanovic for 28 points on an absurd 13-17 shooting from the floor. Hassan Whiteside canceled out Brook Lopez’s game with a dominant 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Let’s just forget the stats. Let’s forget the score. Sure it was close. But if Mikhail Prokhorov is trying to figure out what is wrong with the team he just bought, just send this article to him and he will have a full understanding. Then if he wants to hire me to the staff, I will gladly accept. To my Editor-In-Chief, Paul Mitchell, I will continue to write for the Brooklyn’s Finest staff.

Here are my three lessons…

1) Anyone want to tell me what the Brooklyn Nets are doing with Brook Lopez?

I want to make this point perfectly clear. Brook Lopez finished with 25 points on 12-16 shooting. In most basketball conversations, this would be considered as hot. Here’s what is troubling here…BROOK LOPEZ WAS 11-14 THROUGH THREE QUARTERS!

Then Lionel Hollins showed the NBA world why he is on the hot seat in Brooklyn. Hollins thought that it would be a good idea to sit Lopez down for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. The story gets better (or more ridiculous). Lopez got two shots for the entire quarter…

Come on man!

How in the name of Dr. James Naismith do you allow your franchise player, who your future is built around, is taking a seat on the bench like a scrub on one of his greatest scoring nights of the season? Like in the fourth quarter? For six minutes? Then when he finally gets in the game, you bless the man with two shots. Brilliant!

Why did the Brooklyn Nets give Brook Lopez a max contract? It’s bad enough that Lopez is stuck in a offense that is as obsolete as the Chevrolet Cavalier. It’s bad enough that Lopez plays soft at times and disappears.

The Miami Heat game was not one of them.

Lopez was aggressive in this game. He was embarrassed (and should have been) and took the blame for the humiliating loss too the Orlando Magic. He scored more points in the first quarter of the Heat game than he did in ALL of the Magic game.

Here’s the point. Two things are going to have to happen going forward for the Nets to have a prayer for any success in the future. Not just this year but period…

  1. Brooklyn is going to have to find a way to consistently get Brook Lopez in a position to succeed and stick with it.
  2. Brook Lopez  has more power in the organization than he is using…it needs to change now!

Ask any franchise player on any team. If they are scoring at the rate Brook Lopez was scoring and were placed in the situation that he was in the fourth quarter, they would have torn up the locker room. Look, we know that Brook Lopez has not played well the last few games. We know that Lopez has been playing soft. But there is no way possible that he should get only two shots in crunch time. Even when he is stinking up the joint.

Here’s what Brook Lopez had to say after the game about the offense not getting him shots…

” That’s the way it goes when you are moving the ball,” Lopez said of the lack of shots.”Different guys are going to get going and give you different looks.”

That’s real nice. But Lopez is wrong in this situation. The Nets only had 20 points in the last quarter. The Nets are one of the worst scoring teams in the NBA. Lopez was SCORING…a lot. Get the connection?

Joe Johnson seems to agree with me…

“I mean, it’s designed for us to play through him, but I don’t know,” Johnson explained. ” I really don’t know what happened, who was shooting, honestly.”

Jarrett Jack? Aw just forget it.

2) The Brooklyn Nets are going to have to trade for an athletic wing man if they pull the trigger.

Here’s where Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is missed. Dwyane Wade thought that it was the 2006 NBA Finals again lighting up Bojan Bogdanovic in every way possible to get his 28 points. To use the ageless quote from the great Marv Albert to describe the ageless performance from Wade…

“Dwyane Wade showed us the entire repertoire”

This is not a slight against Bojan. There is no way that he can stay with this first ballot Hall of Famer. It does show yet another example of the head scratching lack of adjustments that Lionel Hollins continues to make, or not make I suppose, during this difficult season. This is where Hollins is becoming a liability to the team. If Wade is hot and Bogdanovic obviously is not stopping him, here’s a thought…


Hollis Jefferson brought defensive energy to the starting lineup. He probably would have gotten the Wade assignment. He may have been more successful.

3) Can someone explain what happens to the Brooklyn Nets under one minute in close games?

The Nets were down five points with 35 seconds left. The Heat had the ball. The Nets should have fouled and played the time management game.

They didn’t.

In the post game conference, Lionel Hollins said that he told the team to foul. The players said different.

“I told them that we needed to foul…I mean come on,” Hollins said. “You got to foul. I got caught looking at something else, and when I looked over everybody is looking at me…but that stuff happens.”

As for this situation I have this to say…If it happens once (against the Lakers), it’s an accident. If it happens twice (against the Warriors), it’s a coincidence. If it happens three times (against the Heat) It’s a trend.

The more things change…the more they stay the same.