The Brooklyn Nets hosted the Boston Celtics in front of a nationally televised audience yesterday, their first time playing on Christmas Day since 2002, and did nothing to make anyone think that they have found a solution for their recent struggles. The Nets got manhandled on their home court 93-76 and the score doesn’t even tell the story of how bad it was.
The Nets have now gone 3-9 since an 11-4 start and are looking for answers anywhere they can find them.
The day started off with coach Avery Johnson using the same small starting lineup that he implemented last weekend with Gerald Wallace starting at power forward, in place of Kris Humphries, and Keith Bogans started at small forward for Wallace. This lineup has changed with Johnson’s need to get more speed on the court and to match up better with all of the smaller power forwards in today’s game.
The game began with the pace the Nets wanted as they came out and led 24-22 after the first quarter and looked to be a little sharper than previous games. The rest of the game was a complete reversal from that first quarter and the Nets did not score more than 18 points in any of the remaining three quarters.
The Nets have been one of the best rebounding teams in the league all year so what happened yesterday on the boards has to be disconcerting for the coaching staff and players. The Celtics rebounded the Nets 41-36 and it seemed monumentally more with the Celtics getting second chance after second chance and making good on those chances.
The rebounding was one issue for concern but the main reason the Celtics took this game was a dominant second quarter where they outscored the Nets 34-18 and they never looked back. The Nets turned the ball over four times in that second quarter and had a total of 20 turnovers to go with their horrible shooting of 40 percent for the game.
The Nets looked to be a step slow all game and Johnson seemed miffed by the lack of effort by his team. “This game reminded me of that preseason game when they came in and felt like they had something to prove,” Johnson said. “We kind of had that look in our eyes like we’re up 2-0. They’re thinking March, April and May, and we didn’t have that sense of urgency until the fourth quarter.”
This “urgency” needs to change quickly for this Nets team as they seem to be fracturing by the day rather than coming together and getting used to playing with each other. They play four games in five nights so they better buckle up and get it together or they may be looking for a new coach sooner than later.