The Brooklyn Nets have created a real problem for themselves in the first part of the season and if they don’t fix this problem they may be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
The Nets continue to dominate opponents in the first half of games with double digit leads and then collapse in monumental fashion in the second half and most noticeably the third quarters. The numbers are staggering for the entire year and the last three games in particular are more disturbing.
Let’s look at the Nets last three games by the numbers and see if you can see a trend:
Friday Night in Brooklyn the Nets won in Double-OT against the Detroit Pistons.
The Nets’ lead at halftime was 59-47 while shooting 56% from the field and 50% from 3-point range and the ball movement was working. Then came the third quarter where the Pistons turned the Nets over time and time again and won the quarter 30-14 to take the lead going into the final quarter. The Nets climbed back in the fourth winning the ugliest quarter of the season 17-14 to force overtime behind Gerald Wallace’s heart and hustle plays. Somehow the Nets found a way to get the last shot in the second overtime and Joe Johnson hit a game-winning 23ft jump shot to salvage the Nets from a huge second half collapse to win 107-105.
Win (thanks to Johnson Thriller)
Saturday Night the Nets traveled to play the Chicago Bulls and lost 83-82.
The Nets came out with some fight on the second night of a back to back and were down 45-41 at halftime while shooting a respectable 44% from the field and went 4-10 from 3-point range. This game was a defensive game from the beginning which is usual with Bulls. Then came the second half again and the Nets actually outscored the Bulls 41-37 but this time they literally turned the game over to the Bulls with 18 turnovers and gut-wrenching mistakes. The Nets last nine possessions they went 0-for-5 from the field and committed three turnovers while being outscored 12-2. They were beat 19-4 on fast break points and that is completely a result of the turnovers and shot just 38.7% from the field.
Tuesday Night the Nets hosted the Utah Jazz and lost another home game 92-20 to a 4-10 road team.
One more time the Nets came out and moved the ball well early and ran out to a 57-44 halftime lead. The ball moved and they dominated the paint 34-20 while shooting 51% from the field and 45% from 3-point range. Wallace hit a buzzer beating 3-pointer prior to half and the Nets were flying high and halfway home to a win. The Nets came out for the third quarter and promptly turned it over on three of their first four possessions to let the Jazz back in and lost the quarter 26-17 t0 barely hold onto a six point lead. The final quarter was the icing on the cake as they completed the collapse being outscored 26-16 and end shooting a horrid 31% in the second half to lose. They were beat 19-4 on fast break points again and have no one to blame but their stagnant offense, 15 turnovers and lack of late game leadership.
The Nets are well aware of this second half trend and had two days to talk about it but it would not matter if they had 12 days to talk about it because it is like groundhog day right now with this team.
Wallace was asked about Nets latest loss: “When we look back in March and April at these games, that’s when they really show up on the sheet.”
Three straight second-half collapses and a 1-2 record to show for it all and what they have waiting next is a game tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks in game 3 of the “Battle of the Boroughs.”
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.