The last thing the Brooklyn Nets figured they’d be concerned with entering this season was moral victories.
And yet, there was still a very important one to be taken away following Wednesday night’s heartbreaking home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Down 27 points in the first half, the Nets found themselves in the same old hopeless predicament once again: ashamed and looking to salvage any shred of dignity remaining before the clock hit zero.
Only this time, instead of failing miserably, they actually made it a competitive game. Not just respectably competitive, but competitive to the point where the game was tied and it was anyone’s game over the final few minutes.
Unless mired by a cloud of despair, most other teams would shrug it off. Given that Brooklyn is composed of veterans (former champions at that), you’d figure they’d be the exception after falling to 4-11. But, those rules don’t apply here. The Nets have earned the worst reputation imaginable: the one that says they’re the sort of team that has no problem packing it in and calling it a night once the deficit becomes too daunting, regardless of the opponent’s record.
The Lakers game provided a much-needed 180, however. There was no quit, only relentless fight that put them in great position to come out with an improbable victory.
Nothing was different as far as recent injuries are concerned. Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry were still sidelined, making the comeback all the more surprising and all the more impressive. Did the Nets make their plethora of issues vanish into thin air like magicians? No. But they did take a small step towards reaching an intensity that can eventually erase the pain of what’s been a horribly disappointing season thus far.
A moral victory it may be, but it’s something that could be used optimistically nonetheless.