Brooklyn Boro

Lack of energy costs Nets in latest loss

Boston Hands Lethargic Brooklyn Squad Third Straight Defeat

January 8, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jarrett Jack and the rest of the Nets were admittedly a step too slow against Avery Bradley and the Boston Celtics in Downtown Brooklyn Wednesday night.
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Mason Plumlee admitted the Nets were outhustled, Lionel Hollins called Brook Lopez out for being downright lazy and Deron Williams, once considered the face of this franchise, continued to be a non-factor due to injury. 

If all that wasn’t enough, Brooklyn suffered its third consecutive defeat Wednesday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center, falling 89-81 to the Boston Celtics in front of a crowd of 16,005. 

“No question [we were outhustled],” Plumlee said after putting up 16 points and 12 rebounds. “It hurts to say that, but that’s what happened.”

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Lopez, who had six points on 2-of-7 shooting and five rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench, drew Hollins’ ire when he failed to chase down a reachable loose ball in the third quarter, resulting in a Celtics’ recovery and two free throws for Boston.

“Of course [it frustrates me],” Hollins noted after Brooklyn basically handed Boston its first win in four games. “[I] just told [Lopez] he was just being lazy. That’s all it is.”

Williams, who missed Monday’s 96-88 overtime loss to Dallas with a sore left side, only logged four meaningless minutes against Boston before bowing out. 

His absence, even as a reserve, forced starting point guard Jarrett Jack and All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson to continue logging more minutes than Hollins would like. 

“It’s put a lot of pressure of Jarrett and Joe to play a lot of minutes,” Hollins said, pouring over the final box score which indicated that Jack played 39 minutes while Johnson came in at just under 37 when both had put in at least 40 against Dallas two nights earlier.

“The energy was low. I was fearful of that going in,” Hollins added.

After spending most of December scratching and clawing their way back to .500 despite injuries and decreased playing time for both Lopez and Williams, the Nets have slipped back to 16-19 and are now just one game in front of eighth-place Miami in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. 

Making matters worse, the Brooklyn offense has gone from respectable to sublimely inefficient, ranking 24th overall in the league and displaying little to no cohesion for long stretches during each of their last three losses. 

“You’ve got to put the ball in the basket,” Hollins said after watching his team shoot 40 percent from the floor, 21 percent from 3-point range and a paltry 69 percent at the free-throw line.

“Some guys haven’t been shooting well period, so I wouldn’t even put [fatigue] in the equation,” he added. “I see us miss a lot of open shots. I see us pass up a lot of open shots to take a challenge shot. We go into traffic and commit a turnover.” 

Johnson scored a team-high 17 points, Jack added 16 and Sergey Karasev finished with 15 for Brooklyn, which turned the ball over 17 times against Boston while forcing only six giveaways. 

“They were quicker,” Hollins admitted. “They were forcing us to make quick decisions and we didn’t have that type of quickness tonight to do that.” 

The first-year Brooklyn head coach did, however, indicate that there are things he is pleased to see from his short-handed unit.

“What I will say is that we are playing much better,” he said. “We’re not the same team that we were when we started the season. Our togetherness is better. Our defense is certainly better.” 

None of those improvements will make the least bit of difference in Brooklyn’s pursuit of a third straight playoff appearance if they continue to get outhustled, display laziness and get virtually nothing out of their $98 million point guard. 

”This is a game I think we definitely should’ve got,” Johnson lamented.

 

Nothing But Net: F Kevin Garnett was one of the few Nets who made the most of his minutes Wednesday night against his former team. The 20-year veteran put up 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot and a steal in just under 23 minutes. … The Nets will host Philadelphia on Friday in Downtown Brooklyn before beginning what figures to be the most challenging portion of their schedule as 13 of their next 16 opponents will be against teams currently in postseason position. … On Thursday, Modell’s Sporting Goods hosted a press conference announcing this initiative in support of the Ramos and Liu Families. The “I LOVE NEW YORK’S FINEST” T-shirts will feature the NYPD Badge and the badge numbers of both fallen police officers.  The t-shirt will be sold for $10 at all New York and New Jersey locations with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the families. In addition to the t-shirt, customers will be able to make monetary donations at the register of any local Modell’s Sporting Goods.


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