I never thought the Brooklyn Nets were going undefeated this season. This was a tough loss against a good team. The Cleveland Cavaliers will be a team to be reckoned with this season with a healthy Andrew Bynum. I did not like that Kevin Garnett only took eight shots in 26 minutes. I figured he would play at least 30-plus in the first game of the season, and Jason Kidd not being on the bench might have something to do with the minutes distribution.
Paul Pierce managed 17 points on eight shots while playing 30 minutes. Brook Lopez scored 21 points in 34 minutes on 18 shots and totaled four blocks . The Nets’ frontcourt scored a combined 46 points against a less experienced Cavaliers frontcourt.
The starting backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson scored a combined total of 20 points. These are two former All-Stars, and they combined for only 20 points in 56 minutes. I know they are trying to bring Williams along slowly with his ankle, but this is the first game of the season and it’s time to take the kid gloves off and play ball.
The bench was shorthanded with the absence of Andrei Kirilenko, who is nursing an injury. When the team is at full strength, then we can really evaluate this squad. Reggie Evans played 20 minutes and added four points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes. Jason Terry showed that he will be an instant source of offense off the bench this season with 14 points in 19 minutes.
Andray Blatche did not have a good game at all, he totaled only zero points, three turnovers and three rebounds. Shaun Livingston had one point, two steals and three assists.
The starting unit must shoot better if this team is to be taken serious this season. Garnett and Pierce know that nothing is going to be given to you strictly because of the name on the back of your jersey. Eight shots for future Hall-of-Fame players are not enough, and Garnett knows he needs to do better.
Williams is not 100 percent and needs to find chemistry with his team in order for them to contend. For a team this is looking to win a championship, it is unacceptable to shoot 9-of-24 on 3-point shots and expect to win in this league. The substitutions could have been managed a little better, and that will change once Kidd gets back.
The defense has to shore up the middle better. The Nets have a veteran roster in which minutes and players will be used sparingly. The way the minutes were spread out tonight was nonsense. The Cavaliers are young and explosive, and the way to beat a team like that is to keep hounding and pounding them in the paint. The Miami Heat is up next — let’s see if the coaching staff gets the memo on how to run this team.