Well, the losing streak reaches two for the Brooklyn, as the Nets fall to the Chicago Bulls 96-85. Bulls center Joakim Noah had 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and four blocks to lead Chicago, while Carlos Boozer chipped in with 20 points, eight rebounds, and five steals. The leader for the Nets was Brook Lopez, who scored 20 points. The loss for Brooklyn not only starts a losing streak, but it also drops the Nets from the fifth spot in the East, to the sixth, where if the playoffs started today, the Nets would play with the Indiana Pacers in the first round.
In a NBA game, you can lose for so many reasons. Tonight, the Nets lost because of the second quarter drought, and a terrible team performance on the defensive end. Let’s start with the defense. For the game, Chicago finished shooting 52% from the field, 40% from three, and 100% from the free-throw line. Just three players made three-pointers for Chicago, but those three (Marco Belinelli, Kirk Hinrich, and Nate Robinson), combined for a 6-10 performance. Throughout the game, Brooklyn continued to double and switch in the interior, and that allowed numerous open shots from 10 feet out. When Brooklyn decided to stay on the three-point shooters, Noah and Boozer tortured them inside. It was a no-win situation from the opening tip, and Chicago capitalized.
The second quarter, mainly the end of it, was abysmal. From the 4:37 mark of the second, the Nets simply couldn’t score the ball. Chicago’s defense forced Brooklyn into some terrible shots, and Chicago capitalized. Here’s the shots taken in that run (courtesy of ESPN):
- Deron Williams: missed jumpshot from seven feet
- Joe Johnson: missed three-pointer
- Joe Johnson: missed 26-foot three-pointer
- C.J. Watson: missed three-pointer
- C.J. Watson: missed jumper
- Brook Lopez: missed thirteen footer
- C.J. Watson: missed 21-foot jumper
The Nets just couldn’t get into a flow, and that allowed Chicago to score with ease, scoring 15 unanswered points. The worst part is, the Nets didn’t score until 9:12 left in the third quarter on a Brook Lopez made free-throw. The Nets maintained a focus in the first quarter, but once Chicago decided it was time to disrupt the focus, Brooklyn was easily broken. This is one of my main gripes with head coach P.J. Carlesimo; you have to change it up when Chicago goes on the run. For the entire run, Carlesimo didn’t do anything different. No Wallace at power forward, no Watson-Williams-Brooks backcourt, no nothing. The Nets looked sluggish going into the final four minutes of the second quarter, and that’s when a head coach is supposed to provided an emphasis, letting them know that they need to win those final minutes. It was a terrible look on Carlesimo’s part to allow that to happen, especially in a game that was close beforehand.
Here’s the boxscore: Here
Grades and Notes
14 points, 4-12 shooting, 6 assists. Grade: D
Deron Williams had an awful game. He had a couple of good looks in the first quarter, but he struggled after. Not only did he struggled to get the offense in a rhythm, but he also was struggling on the defensive end as well, constantly out of place, and missing rotations. Chicago allowed Kirk Hinrich to defend him on the perimeter, and if he got passed him, Deng or Butler was right behind him to stymie Williams.
11 points, 5-10 shooting, 5 rebounds, 5 assists. Grade: C
I’ll give Johnson a bit of a higher grade, only because he was slightly more active on the boards, and going against Chicago, it was known that he was to see multiple looks. Johnson, who was battling plantar fasciitis going into the game, had a couple of shots, but couldn’t do much with it. I was glad to see Joe concede when the shot was a bit off, going into a facilitator role to try to regroup the offense.
8 points, 3-7 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals. Grade: B
One of the better Gerald Wallace games. Not only did he fill the stat sheet, but he also did a couple of things on the offensive end. However, Wallace did look to score, and for Brooklyn’s offense to add another interesting wrinkle, Wallace has to become more of an offensive threat. I blame coaching on this one, but Wallace’s constant pump-faking and passing out of shots has been a huge reason for this as well.
0 points, 10 rebounds. Grade: D
Not much to say here. Evans did his job of being the monster who grabs boards, but Carlos Boozer abused him in the low post, and that was a huge reason why Brooklyn lost.
22 points, 9-16 shooting, 3 rebounds. Grade: C
Nice showing for Brook on the offensive end, especially against a defensive monster like Joakim Noah. That being said, Noah abused him when he was offense, and Lopez couldn’t deal with him on the boards. Brook is usually a solid defender, enough to ignore the rebounding, but when Noah began to score on him, and Brook couldn’t garner some rebounds, he looked over-matched against one of the best centers in the East.
On Wednesday, the Nets travel to Charlotte to face the Bobcats.