Jack, Johnson Try to Keep Nets in the Game
The Brooklyn Nets were feeling pretty good about themselves going into last night's contest with the Indiana Pacers, coming off three consecutive wins earlier this week. And, a big part of it has been the play of Jarrett Jack, as the Nets were 3-0 with Jack in the starting lineup.
After exchanging some opening buckets, Sergey Karasev, the big 6'7" guard in his ninth start, makes the first of his two 3-pointers to get the Nets on a little bit of an early run taking their first lead at 5-4.
Add a couple of free throws by recent hero, Mason Plumlee and jumpers by the offensive "Heavyweight Champion", Jack Johnson and by that I mean the duo of Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson, Brooklyn scores the next six points unanswered to go ahead 11-4, three minutes in and it had the feeling like Christmas was going to continue for the Nets.
In only his third game back for the Pacers, George Hill had scored Indy's first two points and stayed aggressive throughout the opening quarter, grabbing 3 rebounds, hitting a big three pointer to keep them close midway through the first.
At the same time, Jack continued his fine play, running the offense, getting in the lane and scoring, Lopez comes in for the first time for KG and Joe Johnson hits his only 3 of the quarter to stretch the lead to 6 points and with another Jack floating jumper, the Nets re-establish their largest lead of the early going and the evening, eight points up 19-11.
As Coach Hollins would say in his postgame press conference, we shot well to start and then missed shots. Exhibit 1: Brook Lopez, looked flat footed and listless as he missed all of his four FG attempts. And considering Mason Plumlee's more stellar play, Lopez could be on the market in short order.
Despite abysmal offense and half-hearted defense, as Coach commented after the game, the team never stopped playing and competing and as a result made a valiant come back from 9 down to close the second quarter only 3 points behind the Pacers (50-47 ) going into the half.
Unfortunately the numbers say everything about the first half: NETS 32.6% FG Shooting, 31% 3 PT shooting, while PACERS 44.2% FG Shooting, 67% 3 PT shooting. Indiana scored 5 points off 7 turnovers and Nets scored nothing (0) off 4 turnovers.
Deron Williams who continues to be the subject of trade rumors, did not check in until the end of the first quarter and was part of a dismal offensive showing by the bench throughout the game.
Again, Head Coach Lionel Hollins, was very clear when asked what contributed to the poor outing, "when you expect to get a spark off the bench and they go 4 for 27, you're going to lose."
Lionel Hollins, Head Coach, Brooklyn Nets
Then Hollins was asked, what did he see that presented such problems for his team?
He responded, "It's basketball, you put the ball in the basket and you guard somebody."
It became apparent even with Hibbert a non-factor, the Nets had no answer for David West, CJ Watson, and Rodney Stuckey and found themselves down by 14 at the end of the third quarter, 79-65.
The only NETS bright spots were the play and leadership of Jarrett Jack, as a consistent and productive scorer, although he needs to get to the line more. One free throw attempt is not enough for someone who penetrates the paint, as well as, he does and 2 assists is too few against 5 turnovers. And Karasev sets a new career high with 14 points.
The fourth quarter turned quickly into a rout, as the Pacers duplicated their 3rd period 11-point outscoring of the Nets and had the lead up to 27 points before both teams emptied their benches and finished with a 25 point victory, 110-85 over Brooklyn. While Coach Hollins felt like the team never stopped trying to compete, he could not explain the inept shooting except to say it was a good week winning their previous three games and these nights can happen.
Considering the Pacers desperation to make up for a beating they suffered in their last outing, they simply wanted it more and played that way. Even at 13-16 they're still in second place in the East Atlantic Division. Hopefully, the Nets can end the year on a positive note with Sacramento on Tuesday and Chicago on Wednesday and find their groove, as they did last season at the start of the New Year in 2015.
So there's good reason to keep hope alive, Happy New Year!
- What's The 411Sports Episode 77: NFL Week 3; Tom Brady or Bill Belichick?
- Brooklyn Nets Beat Milwaukee Bucks 129-127 in Triple Overtime
- Chasing Playoff Spot, Brooklyn Nets Making Moves
- NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT: The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Rises Again
- 2015 NBA Rising Stars Challenge; World Defeats USA, 121-112