There’s a different sort of mentality that must be present in order to be a champion — a hunter’s mentality that the Brooklyn Nets clearly don’t subscribe to as of yet.
It showed once again during Friday night’s 112-108 overtime loss to the Washington Wizards. Brooklyn got out to another quick start and extended their lead to as much as 14. Washington cut that lead to single digits by the end of the first quarter and kept the game close, but the Nets found a way to push their lead back to 11 with just under five minutes remaining before eventually falling in overtime.
11 points with less than five minutes on the clock? Championship contenders — which the Nets believe they will be — don’t lose that sorts of games, even on the road.
With a double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter, a team with title aspirations steps on the opponent’s throat and puts the game to bed. This problem for Jason Kidd’s Nets hasn’t only been related to squandering big leads in the fourth quarter. The Nets also led by double-digits in one of their other road losses, not coincidentally in Cleveland.
Even with veteran leaders like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Nets clearly have a very long way to go before proving their legitimacy. A win over the 6-0 Indiana Pacers tonight wouldn’t do the trick either. That would be monumental for their confidence for the time being, but nothing’s solved until they learn how to finish off the job on the road.