Nets’ season starting to feel ‘point’-less
Jack’s Absence Notable in Brooklyn’s 103-94 Loss to Celtics
Like a rudderless ship drifting aimlessly on the open sea, the 2015-16 Brooklyn Nets are struggling just to remain afloat.
In their first game following the announcement that veteran point guard Jarrett Jack would be lost for the season with a knee injury, the Nets looked more dis-functional than usual in a 103-94 beat down at the hands of the visiting Boston Celtics Monday night before an announced crowd of 15,448 at Downtown’s Barclays Center.
Jack, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and small medial meniscus tear in his right knee during Saturday’s 100-97 win in Boston, was head coach Lionel Hollins’ quarterback on the court over the first 33 games.
But the 32-year-old playmaker’s absence from the lineup was felt immediately Monday night as the Celtics took advantage of eight Brooklyn turnovers over the first 12 minutes en route to grabbing what proved to be an insurmountable 37-22 advantage.
“If you want to make excuses, yeah,” Hollins admitted when asked if not having Jack on the floor contributed to Brooklyn’s seventh consecutive home loss.
“There’s always a rationalization for anything bad that happens, both on the court and in life, if you choose to,” Hollins added. “But I choose to say that we’ve got to keep working and getting better.”
Shane Larkin got the start in place of Jack, finishing with four points on 2-of-7 shooting, only two assists and two of the Nets’ 14 turnovers, which led to 20 easy points for the Celtics.
“We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” said Larkin, who figures to get the majority of starts in place of Jack unless, or until, general manager Billy King brings in another point guard for the remainder of the campaign.
Donald Sloan, Brooklyn’s only other true point guard on the roster, didn’t fare much better, adding five points, three assists and a pair of turnovers on a night that saw the Nets (10-24) hit four of their first six 3-point attempts before going a dismal 2-for-22 from beyond the arc thereafter.
“We knew how [the Celtics] were going to start,” noted Sloan. “I just don’t think we were ready for it. Once we locked in and revved up our intensity, it was a different game.”
Not different enough to appease Nets fans accustomed to seeing their team in the playoffs for each of the franchise’s first three seasons in Brooklyn, a streak that will almost surely end in season four.
Making matters worse, the Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round draft pick this coming June, meaning the Nets won’t even benefit from their own miserable season.
“I take ownership on the majority of it, as far as turnovers and getting guys the ball in the right spots to make plays and guarding my man defensively,” said Joe Johnson, who scored 21 points to go with six rebounds and four assists.
“The first quarter put us in the hole, [because] throughout the rest of the game, I thought we won,” he added.
The Nets’ two foundation pieces, Eastern Conference Player of the Week Brook Lopez and power forward Thaddeus Young, combined for 42 points and 20 rebounds, but Brooklyn still dropped to an ugly 6-11 at home this year.
“We just couldn’t make enough plays to get all the way back,” Hollins said.
Nothing But Net: Bojan Bogdanovic posted his first career double-double Monday night with 12 points and 12 rebounds. He also added to Brooklyn’s dismal shooting performance from long range, going 0-for-7 on 3-pointers. … The Nets will host the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night. … Hollins revealed that the Nets will miss more than just Jack’s leadership on the floor as he was one of the few Brooklyn players that he counted on to take, and hit, big shots late in games. “We’re going to miss that about Jarrett because Jarrett wasn’t afraid to take the shot,” Hollins told the Associated Press. “He certainly had enough confidence to believe that he could make them and he wanted the shot.” … The Nets and Celtics split their season series, winning two games apiece.
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