The Brooklyn Nets came up short Saturday night at Barclays Center, losing 96-91 to the still undefeated Indiana Pacers. It was Brooklyn’s first home loss of the season and the team is now a very disappointing 2-4. The Nets were trailing for all of the second half, but could have tied the game with an open Joe Johnson 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining. The shot was on line, but just a little bit too long. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each scored 17 points to lead the Nets. Paul George scored 24 for Indiana.
This was a missed opportunity for the Nets. They had a ton of chances to take the lead in the 4th quarter, but just seemed to make dumb play after dumb play, whether it be turning the ball over while not under pressure, fouling a jump shooter, or pulling up for a jump shot on a fast break. Indiana is a pretty good team, but they shouldn’t be able to win in Brooklyn.
With the Nets now at 2-4, is it time to panic in Brooklyn? I still say no, although if the Nets were to go 0-3 on their upcoming road trip, it could be. This road trip will have games against Phoenix and Sacramento, so if they don’t win at least 2 out of the 3, this may turn into a bad situation.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: C
Garnett had his best play as a Net so far early in the fourth quarter, a big putback dunk, but other than that, he did not play very well again. His defense on David West and Luis Scola was below average and he also had some headscratching plays on offense, including throwing a pass into the first row with 6 seconds remaining in the game. Unfortunately, I am starting to get a little bit concerned about Kevin Garnett.
Paul Pierce: B-
The highlight of the game for the Nets was a 3 by Paul Pierce to cut Indiana’s lead to 5 with about 5 minutes remaining. Pierce’s 3 bounced off the rim, went 10 feet into the air and rolled around the rim before going through. Paul had another pretty good game tonight with 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists, and his defense on Paul George was not bad at all.
Brook Lopez: B-
Brook Lopez was definitely outplayed tonight by Roy Hibbert, which was not the case at all last year. Hibbert is one of the few players in the NBA who is big enough to disturb Lopez’s shot. Still, he finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds: not a bad game at all.
Deron Williams: B+
This was Deron’s best game so far this season and he finished with 17 points and 10 assists. He made smart passes and shot 50% from the field. His defense on George Hill and CJ Watson was also pretty good. Hopefully we get more games like this from Deron. However, down the stretch, he still made a couple of bad plays, once turning the ball over and once fouling a Pacer on a 3-point try. He is not very clutch despite being very famous and well-paid.
Joe Johnson: B+
For the first time as a Net, Joe Johnson came up short in crunch time. He had a chance to tie the game with a wide open 3 and missed the shot. Yes, we were spoiled last year by Joe’s timely shot-making abilities, but I really thought that one was going in. Still, Joe played a very smart game tonight and kept the Nets in the game in the third quarter when it could have gotten out of hand.
Mason Plumlee: A-
I did not expect a single meaningful minute from Plumlee this year and instead he played 16 solid minutes tonight, scoring 6 points including a few dunks. Anything the Nets can get from Plumlee this season will be a positive. Also, it looks like he may have replaced Reggie Evans in the rotation.
Andray Blatche: D
Blatche had another nightmarish game tonight. Too many turnovers and bad plays. I think Jason Kidd might have benched him in the 4th quarter.
The Nets will look to get their first road win of the season on Wednesday when they start a west coast trip in Sacramento. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.