The Brooklyn Nets are running on fumes right now, and they need to get refreshed. After three straight road games and three straight overtime games, the Nets are ready to see the bright lights of New York and the cold side of a pillow.
The Charlotte Bobcats gave the Nets a reminder that a full team is needed to win a championship. The Nets were without Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko and Marcus Thornton for the rematch against the Bobcats. As the season winds down, health is the key factor to any team’s postseason success — especially the Nets. They have one of the deepest rosters but also one of the oldest in the NBA.
The Nets have been dealing with injuries all season, so this is nothing new to them. But at some point they have to be wondering when will they stop seeing their teammates’ names on the injury report. The offense has not taken a hit, but the defense has continued to suffer during this three-game road trip. Teams have found great success in the paint against the smaller Nets without the services of Garnett.
Players are getting more minutes, which is good as the playoffs are ready to begin, but there is no one on the bench who can provide that defensive leadership Garnett can on a nightly basis. Andray Blatche is not known as a shot blocker or great rebounder, and Mason Plumlee has the energy but has the tendency to play himself out of position on certain plays.
Defense wins championships, and the Nets will fall short if Garnett is not a full strength come playoff time. This is where the services of Reggie Evans will be missed. He didn’t provide much on offense, but he was a rebounding beast who provided intimidation in the paint for opposing teams. The perimeter defense needs to step up as well as the last three games have shown a knack for letting teams get back in the game via three-point shooting.
The Nets leave this road trip with a 1-2 record that could of easily been 3-0 or 0-3. Overtime games are never easy, but I believe theses games have taught the Nets a valuable lesson of closing out teams when you have the chance regardless of who is not in the lineup.