Recap: Nets 97, Pacers 104 - Jarrett Jack is Efficient … in a Loss
In many ways this was an atypical loss for the Brooklyn Nets. They outperformed the NBA’s second ranked team in 3-point shooting percentage from the outside (Pacers finished 7-28 for 25% and the Nets finished 8-16 for 50%).
The Pacers, a team that made a radical shift from a Nets-like, slogging, size-over-shooting playing style to a free-wheeling, pace and space offense in one off-season, controlled the paint in this game. The Nets were out-rebounded 52-42, but more notably were outscored 19-4 on second chance points and 46-38 on points in the paint.
It’s a shame really. On a night when the Nets get one of the best performances of the season from Jarret Jack, who finished with 26 points (on 8-15 shooting), 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. On a night when the Nets matched the Pacers in fast break points and came out of the third quarter with a lead. They were unable to close it out. And that’s where this becomes more of a typical loss for the Nets.
After turning the ball over only six times in the first three quarters, they matched that total in the fourth alone and stood by as Paul George warmed up and Jordan Hill continued to dominate the paint. The Pacers outscored the Nets 32-20 in the fourth to close out the game and hand the Nets their 12th road loss in 13 tries this season. Another game with hopeful stretches and poor execution when it matters.
This Nets team relies too much on execution and it fails them time after time. Much has been made of the fact that the Nets are the NBA’s worst in taken and made 3-point field goals. Their percentage on those outside shots isn’t anything to write home about either. But it’s not as well-documented that the Nets are at the same time the NBA’s worst in trips to the free throw line and conversions.
Unsurprisingly, the Nets lead the NBA in 2-point field goal attempts and are 2nd in 2-point field goals made. Those high rankings are less congratulatory and more condemning. The Nets are the epitome of Anti-Moreyball. That’s not to say that what the Rockets have been doing is lighting the world on fire, but how can a team give up nightly deficits both from the 3-point line and the free throw line and make up the difference? There are only three ways.
The first way would be to create many turnovers and simply take many more field goals than your opponent. The Nets are middle of the road in both opponent turnovers (13th) and points off of turnovers (16th) according to NBA.com.
The second way would be to dominate the offensive boards and outscore opponents on second chance points. Again, this would lead to taking many more field goals than your opponent. The Nets are currently 11th in the NBA in offensive rebounds, but are struggling to convert those opportunities and only 20th in the NBA in second chance points.
The final way would be to be an elite team in offensive execution (think the Clippers or the Spurs). To be elite in eliminating your own turnovers and second chance points from your opponent, and efficiently score despite the lack of free throw attempts and three point field goals. Not to pick on Jarrett Jack after a very good (and efficient) performance, but if he is your team’s starting point guard and offensive catalyst, execution is likely not going to be your strong suit.
So, that leads me to wonder, what is Lionel Hollins offering at this point in time? I’ll concede, that the player personnel may just not be suited for more 3’s and free throws. But certainly Hollins’ old school mentality is not helping any, right? Does his leadership instill a sense of toughness on this roster? That’s debatable. I chalk the Nets relative effectiveness in the paint more to the skill of Brook Lopez and the craftiness of Thaddeus Young than a sense of toughness. Not to mention the ‘miscommunication’.
I suppose all of that is moot as it pertains to a Friday night in Indiana though. The fact is Jarrett Jack did play efficiently. The Nets did shoot well from the outside. And really, what it came down to in the fourth quarter is that the Pacers had an MVP candidate in Paul George and the Nets… well, they did not.
The Nets can’t win on the road and the state of their home court advantage is regrettable at this point. They head back to the comfy(?) confines of the Barclays Center to host a young Minnesota Timberwolves team on Sunday.
- The Nets bench was depleted in Friday’s loss. Obviously, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson continued to be out. But Shane Larkin was out with a concussion, Thomas Robinson was out due to illness, and Sergey Karasev was nursing a sore ankle.
- Andrew Bargnani provided a scoring punch off the bench with 12 points.
- It was a tough night for Bojan Bogdanovic who has been inserted into the starting lineup for Hollis-Jefferson. Bojan finished with only 5 points, not ideal for a player whose role should be solely providing offense and outside shooting. His -14 plus/minus for the game was by far the Nets worst.
- The combination of Joe Johnson and Bogdanovic as wing defenders is scary and the Nets are probably lucky that Paul George didn’t warm up until late and Monta Ellis couldn’t seem to hit a shot. They could have very easily been lit up by this Pacers team with many versatile offensive wing players.
- On top of the offensive production, Jack also did a good job to limit George Hill’s production who only shot 3 of 11, though Hill did hit a big 3-pointer early in the fourth in the midst of the Pacers taking control of the team.
- Jordan Hill, with 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, was extremely effective and multiple Pacers went out of their way to sing his praises after the game. Don’t be surprised to see Hill replace Mahinmi in the Pacers preferred lineups more often as he did in crunch time on Friday. His energy, rebounding, and even shooting touch from relatively short range, was all exemplified, especially late in the game. Hill was an unsung free agent acquisition coming over from the Lakers. The type of player the Nets probably could have signed if they had wanted. Instead they went with Andrea Bargnani.