Nets get Bull-rushed at Barclays Center
Fall Behind Early En Route to Blowout Loss against visiting Chicago
It involves 48 minutes of full effort and energy, a solid shooting effort from 3-point range and a tenacious defense that contests virtually every possession.
They went 0-for-3 in providing the necessary ingredients for victory Monday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center, resulting in their worst showing of the young season and a 118-88 loss to the Chicago Bulls in front of a frustrated crowd of 15,842 on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.
“They were the more aggressive team,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson admitted after watching his overmatched unit fall to 1-3 in its first truly non-competitive contest of the campaign.
“I thought they really came out and got into us,” he added, referring to Chicago’s 38-20 lead after the first quarter. “For some reason, we were back on our heels a bit and they took advantage of that. Give them credit, I thought they played really well.”
The Nets, on the other hand, did not.
They allowed the still-unbeaten Bulls (3-0) to hit half of their shots, including a blistering 41 percent (11-for-27) from 3-point range.
Chicago also held a commanding 58-45 rebounding advantage while limiting the Nets to a putrid 5-of-31 effort from long range.
After an impressive home-opening win over Indiana last Friday night, surrounded by two narrow road defeats that featured impressive Brooklyn comebacks, the Nets simply looked like what many expected coming out of the gate this season: a team ill-suited to seriously contend against the conference’s best squads.
That will have to change Wednesday night against visiting Detroit if the Nets hope to avert getting booed on their home floor, as they were throughout parts of the second half Monday.
“I don’t think any unit brought energy tonight and it starts with the first unit,” admitted Jeremy Lin, who finished with 14 points, four steals and four assists against the Bulls.
“We just need to fix that Wednesday night. You know, if you lose by 30 or you lose by one, it’s all the same.”
Not to those hoping to at least be entertained and not bludgeoned by bad basketball for four quarters, it isn’t.
Bojan Bogdanovic led Brooklyn with 15 points, Sean Kilpatrick added 14 off the bench and Brook Lopez, who was given a night off by Atkinson in Milwaukee Saturday, had 13 points for the Nets, who trailed by as many as 33 points in the final period.
“There’s no excuse,” said Lopez, who is still being kept on a minutes limit by Atkinson as the 7-footer tries to adjust to Brooklyn’s new motion offense.
“Our first group needs to come out with the right intensity, the right energy and we were just flat. Especially defensively, 40 points in the first quarter is unacceptable.”
The Nets, who need contributions from virtually every player on the roster on a nightly basis to keep up with Atkinson’s frenetic pace, weren’t helped by injuries to veteran guards Greivis Vasquez (ankle) and Randy Foye (hamstring).
Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 22 points and Dwyane Wade added 14, including a few nifty baskets in the second half that put a charge into the otherwise lifeless Barclays crowd, as Chicago won its fourth straight visit to our fair borough.
“It’s absolutely unfortunate, we took a couple of steps back,” admitted Lopez. “But it’s one game at the end of the day, we have to learn what we can from it.”
This entire season will likely be a learning process for these Nets, from adapting to their new coach to finding out how grueling an 82-game slate can be when you have less talent than the opposition.
But that’s what the Brooklyn hierarchy signed off on for 2016-17, deeming patience and player development more valuable than instant results.
No one said that process was going to be pretty, or even as entertaining as it was over the first three games of this season.
Nothing But Net: Foye, who has yet to play this season due to a hamstring injury, may be ready to play Wednesday in Brooklyn, or Friday night here vs. Charlotte … The Nets exercised their team options for the 2017-18 season on forwards Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough before Monday night’s game at Barclays. Hollis-Jefferson, selected with the 23rd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by Portland and acquired via trade by the Nets on draft night, has appeared in 32 career games (20 starts), averaging 5.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 21.4 minutes per game. He had a rough night against the Bulls, getting torched by Butler and going 1-for-7 from the floor en route to two points and a minus-23 differential during his 30 minutes on the court. McCullough, the 29th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, has seen action in 25 career games (four starts), recording averages of 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game. He finished with no points and three rebounds in 10 minutes Monday … Brooklyn’s-own Isaiah Whitehead saw his first significant action of the season during garbage time Monday night, putting up six points on 3-of-11 shooting in 21 minutes.
Leave a Comment
Leave a Comment