‘Force’ not with Nets on Star Wars Night
Orlando Captures First-Ever Brooklyn Win with 105-82 Blowout
The “Force” will awaken across the universe in just a few days.
But the Brooklyn Nets appeared to miss their wake-up call Monday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center.
Putrid shooting, an inability to defend their own paint and — worst of all — a team-wide malaise afflicted the Nets as they commemorated “Star Wars Night” on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues by getting their “Death Star” destroyed, 105-82, by the visiting Orlando Magic in front of a crowd of 12,946 that booed Brooklyn players off the court at the final buzzer.
Nets center Brook Lopez, an admitted Star Wars fanatic whose Jedi-themed bobblehead was handed out to the paying public prior to tip-off, made just 4-of-15 field goals and didn’t block a single shot as Orlando scored 42 points in the paint.
Brooklyn (7-17) dropped its second straight contest and lost for the fourth time in six games overall while Orlando (13-11) posted its first-ever win on Downtown turf, shooting a blistering 54 percent from the floor.
“I definitely take responsibility for this one,” said Lopez. “I definitely need to be better, and I know I can be. That was very frustrating.”
The frustration began to mount in the second quarter, when the Magic scored 11 of the final 15 points of the period to take a 52-45 lead into the half.
The Nets put up very little fight thereafter, trailing by 14 after three quarters and as many as 26 points in the fourth.
“Well, that was a good game for about a quarter and eight minutes,” Nets second-year head coach Lionel Hollins lamented. “We had good defense, we had good ball movement and then we just started standing and holding the ball too much.”
Hollins, who received a vote of confidence from general manager Billy King last week despite Brooklyn’s poor start to the campaign, might be back on the proverbial hot seat if the rebel forces continue to crumble.
“At the end of the day, you want to look at it as one game,” Lopez insisted. “Learn what we can, but we don’t want to be hanging our heads and taking multiple steps back any more than we should from tonight.
“We still have plenty of games left,” he added. “Plenty of season left, and we need to focus on what we need to do to get better.”
The Nets, who will complete a stretch of nine consecutive games played in the Metropolitan area Wednesday night here against Miami, are in serious danger of not reaching the playoffs for the first time during their four-year tenure here in our fair borough.
They shot 38 percent from the floor Monday night, and managed just five steals compared to 12 takeaways by Orlando.
“We weren’t helping each other defensively and taking our matchups personally,” said Joe Johnson, who managed only six points on 2-of-8 shooting. “I thought they had a lot of easy drives down the lane and had a lot of easy baskets off turnovers. We shot ourselves in the foot.”
Jarrett Jack, who finished with team highs of 15 points and seven assists to go with five rebounds, admitted the team’s performance was sub-par and somewhat shameful considering how hard the Nets practiced following their 105-100 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.
“We should be embarrassed,” Jack said. “Individually, collectively, I think we put in a lot of work, too much work to come out with a showing like that.”
Nothing But Net: Orlando had lost its previous three games at Barclays Center prior to Monday night’s win. … Following Wednesday’s home game against Miami, the Nets will head to Indiana on Friday before hosting Minnesota here at 1 p.m. on Sunday. … Oft-injured F Andrea Bargnani has quietly put up double figures in scoring in three straight games, including 12 points on Monday. … “They got to all the loose balls and got to everything they wanted to get to in their [offensive] sets,” F Thaddeus Young said after scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in Monday’s defeat. … The Nets dropped to 6-6 at home this season, and are currently second-to-last in the Eastern Conference standings, with only 1-25 Philadelphia behind them.
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