For the first time in a long time, the Brooklyn Nets had at least remote hope leading up to tip-off.
Because as they laboriously limped into the least anticipated nationally televised game of the season Thursday night at a dismal 5-13, a 3-13 mark highlighted by a nine game losing streak had the cross-town rival New York Knicks crawling into the Barclays Center on all fours.
The word “pathetic” is insulted every time it’s used to describe either of these teams’ horrendous seasons, meaning the Nets weren’t huge underdogs for once. But after New York throttled Brooklyn 113-83, “disgraceful” thinks it deserves to be associated with much better than this Nets group as well.
Those who listened to the television broadcast and much of the analysis during the pre-game heard a common theme about Jason Kidd’s drastically underachieving Nets — they’re massively injured and need time to heal and regroup.
That they certainly do, but the talent to at least be respectable still exists nonetheless. The kids over at LIU Brooklyn may know they don’t have talent that compares at all to the Nets, but even they probably believe they could’ve put up a more valiant effort against a 3-13 Knicks bunch than the sluggish, uninspired Nets did, and they’d be right.
That should be the most frustrating aspect of this season for Brooklyn’s management, players and fans thus far. Plainly put, the Nets have stopped looking like the pros they are more times than not this season, and their downfall usually begins at the outset of the third quarter.
Most would immediately blame that on age; after all, the Nets were the butt of at least one or two – or five or six thousand, but who’s counting – old man jokes after acquiring extra-seasoned veterans like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry over the offseason. But that would simply be a cop-out. Pierce and Terry, as well as younger floor general Deron Williams, are currently banged up and on the shelf, and remaining key pieces such as Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and those that surround them, other than Garnett, shouldn’t resemble cars that need new batteries after only one half of basketball, yet that’s exactly what’s happened night in and night out. Call it as inexplicable as a grizzly bear at an aquarium.
Winning will first take healing, and even then patience for championship-level chemistry must be demonstrated by all Nets parties. Until then, the Nets should place all of their concern into playing with some pride, because injuries or not, that’s the very least they can do.