The Brooklyn Nets (2-4) wanted to be the first to put a blemish on the undefeated Indiana Pacers‘ (7-0) record. The Pacers wanted to be the first to come into the Barclay’s Center and hand the Nets their first home loss this season. Something had to give as the two powerhouses prepared to do battle and give each other their first loss of the season.
The Nets entered the game wondering how things went wrong in their overtime loss to the Washington Wizards the night before. The Pacers came in after putting the beat down on the Toronto Raptors the previous night as well. There are no chemistry issues with the Pacers, as this has been the same team for two years, give or take a few bench players and the often-injured Danny Granger. The Nets came into the season with a revamped lineup and little to no chemistry, due to lack of playing time together in the preseason.
No matter the issues, these teams went toe-to-toe in what turned out to be another win for the Pacers and another heart breaking loss for the Nets. Mental breakdowns have been the cancer of the Nets’ season so far. Missed defensive assignments, not hustling for loose balls, and bad shot selections have been another reason for their poor start. Jason Kidd finally let his starters play above the 30+ minutes; well, everyone except Kevin Garnett (six points, eight rebounds in 27 minutes). Deron Williams‘ (17 points, 10 assist in 33 minutes) ankle problems seems to be a thing of the past, as he is moving around much better. Paul Peirce, (15 points, four assist and eight rebounds in 33 minutes) after his dismal performance against the Wizards, came out to show his team that his performance was just a one-time occurrence. Joe Johnson (17 points and three rebounds in 33 minutes) has recently found his shooting stroke and is starting to contribute on a regular basis. Brook Lopez (16 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes) continues to prove he is All-Star worthy with another solid performance.
The bench had their worst performance of the season, totaling only 20 points. The absence of Andrei Kirilenko and Reggie Evans forced Kidd to play Mason Plumlee (six points and three rebounds in 16 minutes) against the dominate front-court of David West (18 points and eight rebounds) and Roy Hibbert (15 points and 11 rebounds). The cynics are blasting the Nets for their slow start, but I see a team that is starting to come together as a unit and build an identity. The losses are tough to handle, but the effort is there on a nightly basis. Once they get familiar with each other and a few breaks that have gone against them start to bounce their way, the Nets will be the team we all figured them to be.