By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19 Showcase photo by @LolitaLens – Denver’s Nate Robinson soars above the Nets’ big men
Tuesday night at Barclays Center could have been a new start for the Brooklyn Nets, as it was the first game in December and they were home for an opponent they could beat. Instead, it was another night that just showed the trouble they are in.
Before the game, Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd announced that lead Assistant Lawrence Frank would be “reassigned” because of what he termed “philosophical differences,” whatever that means. Frank will no longer be Kidd’s right hand man on the bench, kind of mystifying considering that Frank was brought back to the organization with great fanfare when Kidd was hired in the hope that he could serve as a kind of mentor. Instead, Frank is the scapegoat for the team’s 5-12 start heading into Tuesday’s game.
There was “friction” between Kidd and Frank from the start of the season. Kidd said of the move, “This is the decision that I had to make and we made it and we move on. This is my decision in the sense of what I had to do. It’s about basketball. That’s it.” Kevin Garnett said the Frank demotion, “There’s a lot of moving parts around here and we are trying to adjust to it. That’s how I am going to answer that.” When Kidd was asked after the game how the players reacted to Frank’s reassignment, he said cryptically, “You’d have to ask them. I have no idea.”
In the game itself, the Nets started out well, but trailed 58-50 at the end of a first half that was as exciting as a drowsy cold medicine.
In typical Nets fashion, they let the game slip away in the third.
Kidd zeroed in on where he felt it all began to fall apart for the Nets, “In the third quarter, it’s a four-point game (62-58) with eight minutes and some change. We can’t score. Denver continues to keep playing. They can’t score. They get a couple rebounds, put-backs, and from there, it just went quickly onto the 20-4 run. We sometimes can’t put the ball in the basket and (we) stop playing on the other end, so you’re talking about a four-point game, with eight minutes or so, that turns into a 20-4 run. Guys are starting to look like they had in games where we’ve let go of the rope. It’s something that we have to address and get better at.”
From the 8:00 mark of the third, Denver closed the quarter on a 27-7 run and were in complete command with an 89-65 edge entering the fourth.
The Nets went through the motions in the fourth quarter, and never got the lead under 21, on their way to a 111-87 loss.
Denver had six players in double figures, with Timofey Mozgov leading the way with 17 points, Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton had 15 points each, Ty Lawson had 13, Randy Foye scored 11, and Darrell Arthur finished with 10.
For the Nets, the problems were the same as always. They are a worse team when Tyshawn Taylor, as evidenced by the fact that he re-entered the game when the Nets were down 42-40 halfway through the second quarter, and he remained out there until they trailed 58-50 at halftime. He can’t play any defense and he does not know how to run the offense as he dribbles around aimlessly.
Kidd’s rotations are all over the place. He never leaves the same five players on the court for longer than two minutes at a time. At one point in the second quarter, he had the unique lineup of Reggie Evans, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Mirza Teletovic, and Tyshawn Taylor. The reason they have no chemistry is because of lineups like this. There is no clear “starting five” and “bench”. Last year, there was tremendous consistency in the five on the court at any given time with the only two going back and forth with both units being Johnson, Evans, and Andray Blatche.
The Nets face their crosstown rivals, the New York Knicks, on Thursday. The Knicks are entering the game on a nine-game losing streak, but have played more consistent basketball than the Nets in some ways because they rarely get blown out. The difference maker for the Knicks Thursday is that they have a player in Carmelo Anthony who can score whatever it takes to get them a win.
Garnett said of the upcoming matchup with the Knicks, “I think at this point, we are trying to figure out who we are and try to fix this. We are at home getting beat by 30, 4o points and that’s not what we want. That’s not even close to what we predicted where we wanted to be. We just want to understand and like I said, there’s a lot of things going on here, but no excuses. This is a non-excuse league, people don’t care about that. They care about performance and coming out and we need to have a better showing at home, we need to have a better showing period and we will, we have no choice.”