|Prediction: This guy's (Klay Thompson) face will be the subject of my next nightmare|
Tonight was absolutely no different. For the most part, the Nets stopped driving into the paint for high percentage shots on offense and turned into the solely jump-shooting team we have come to despise from the New Jersey days. The Nets missed a ton of those jumpers and, conversely, the Warriors made nearly all of theirs. Granted, the dreadful perimeter (or lack of) defense exhibited by the Nets certainly contributed to Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry going off in the second half, credit should be given where it's due. Regardless of how bad Brooklyn's defense without Gerald Wallace is, it's clear that those guys can shooting the lights out, altering the result of a game in the process.
The real turning point of this game was at the 3:23 mark of the third quarter. Up until this point, the Nets had been leading for the entire game and, for the most part, held all the momentum. However, a detectable momentum shift could be felt right as the third quarter began and ended when Thompson hit his third three-pointer of the game to tie up the score at 63-63. The Oracle Arena crowd went nuts when that shot went through the basket and went even more berserk after Carl Landry took the lead for his team with a bucket nearly a minute later at 2:42. The Warriors would hold the lead for the rest of the game after that point, draining some dagger-like jumpers to bring their advantage up to eight points after the third quarter and to stave off the Nets late in the fourth.
Overall, a game that made many long-time Nets fans, like me, think back to the horrific New Jersey days when the team didn't play any defense at all (check), settled for jumpshots and didn't even attempt to establish an inside presence outside of Brook Lopez (check), and blew a second half lead (check). I know I sound very doom-and-gloom, but that's what last night's awful loss made me truly feel. I don't know if Joe Johnson will ever be the same player he was in Atlanta, I don't know if anyone on this team other than Wallace can defend, and I don't know if Brook Lopez will ever figure out how to rebound. Hopefully, the only reason the Nets collapsed late in the game was because of it's back-to-back road status, but I really don't think that's why they lost.
Some other observations I had from the game: Like I said before, the Nets' defense in the second half was nothing if not horrendous. They only gave up 41 points to Golden State in the first, but let them explode in the second for 61, on the strength of countless wide-open jumpers by Curry and Thompson and barely-contested David Lee layups. Missing Gerald Wallace (rest) was certainly a factor but shouldn't be an excuse for not showing up on the defensive end of the court......The Nets missed Jerry Stackhouse (rest) too. Their loss last night without him playing a single minute dropped their record to 1-3 on the season in games he hasn't appeared in......Brook Lopez has no troubles on offense (22 points, 10-16 shooting) but the rebounding woes (just three) continue. We can be concerned now.....Deron Williams' and Joe Johnson' statlines don't look terrible, but they clearly aren't playing like themselves right now. The swagger D-Will normally plays with isn't present and Joe, who normally is decent at getting to the paint, is doing none of that right now, just settling for jumpers constantly. Once again, that could be due to fatigue from the road trip or the start of a serious problem. I hope it's the former....The Nets' bench, which normally helps them win games, was very lackluster last night, only getting okay performances from Andray Blatche, MarShon (who needs to play more than just 10 minutes, I'm sorry), and even Josh Childress. Mirza Teletovic got into the game in the fourth and hit a jumper, but missed two other open shots that could have brought the Nets back into the game.....Golden State outrebounded Brooklyn by eight and no Net collected more than seven boards (Blatche). Not gonna win many games playing like that.....Some people aren't going to agree with this assessment but I feel like Avery was partly to blame last night as well as the players. In the third quarter that the Warriors outscored the Nets by 13 in, the bench players--who weren't producing much--got extended run, choked up the lead, and let Golden State gain an eight-point lead in. On Twitter, I was screaming for Avery to put the starters back in, which he did, with around seven minutes left in the game. I understand he might have been trying to make a point with his first-team but there comes a point when you have to go for the win immediately. When they finally were put back into the game, it was already out-of-reach and the Nets were finished. Interesting to see how Avery will adjust the rotations tomorrow night at home against the Clippers.
The Nets try to begin a new winning streak tomorrow night in Brooklyn against the Los Angeles Clippers, marking Brooklyn's fourth-straight game against a California team. Hopefully that game goes better than much of the road trip did.