Brooklyn Nets Defense Has Lost Its Way Without Brook Lopez
One week ago the Brooklyn Nets were flying high leading the league in points-per-game allowed at 90.2 and riding a 5-game winning streak while standing one game back for the lead in the Atlantic Division at 11-4.
The Nets five game win streak came right after a pair of losses and and in each of the five wins the Nets did not allow the opponent to score 100 points and played great defense.
The world was good and the team looked to be finding themselves and then it happened……. Brook Lopez got hurt and the team hasn’t been the same since.
Lopez has now missed four straight games and what it has done more than anything is impact the bench of the Nets as Andray Blatche now has to start and that doesn’t give that scoring punch off the bench anymore. The rotations are different and it has thrown the entire defense off as the statistics show during this three game losing streak.
Each game in this three game losing streak the Nets have allowed over 100 points and tonight they continued that trend and allowed another 109 points to the visiting Golden State Warriors.
The Nets once again managed to score well in the first half and scored 63 points and took a lead into halftime and then followed that up with a disappointing 39 points in the second half. The Warriors shot 51.4% from the field and 47.4% from 3-point range and those numbers will not get it done in the NBA.
The game on Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder was an even bigger eye opener when you look at the Nets defensive numbers for that game. The Thunder shot an astounding 60% from the field while hitting a shabby 50% from 3-point range in a 117-111 win in Brooklyn.
Kris Humphries who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds said, “A loss is a loss to us, we’re not the Nets of the past few years. No moral victories. We’re trying to win games. We can’t go on losing streaks. That’s not what this year is about.”
“We don’t give ourselves a chance to win the game when you let a team shoot 60 percent from the floor,” said Jerry Stackhouse. “We look back at that number, and that’s where the game was lost at.”
The first game in this losing streak came when the Nets went to play the Miami Heat for the second time on South Beach this year on Saturday. The first time was not a good experience for the Nets as they lost by 40 points although that was only the third game of the year.
The Nets had a similar start when they scored 59 first half points to lead the Heat at halftime only to score 40 points total in the second half and lose 102-89 after another defensive collapse. The Nets defense or lack thereof allowed the Heat to shoot 51.3% from the field and 35% from 3 point range.
Deron Williams said “There’s some good things we can take away from the game and some bad things. It was another game where we couldn’t close out the game the way we wanted to.”
Avery Johnson summed up the three game losing streak perfectly tonight after the game, ” For us our problem is defense, we are not the same team defensively so we gotta get back and figure it out. Everything is on the table right now in terms of trying to figure out how to get our team out of this defensive funk.”
“We are a team that hangs our hat on defense and we haven’t been very good defensively these last three games.”
No denying that statement Nets Nation.
John Paolantonio is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the Brooklyn Nets. Follow John on twitter @pingshoops and like his page on FaceBook for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.