The Nets had a chance to show some pride and the ability to bounce back from some losses that as a competitor have to stick with you. Instead they just added another bad performance and outcome to a rather depressing resume.
The Pacers – not the Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, and the Davis brothers' Pacers, but the team led by Mike Dunleavy, Jr., Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert - have beaten the Nets by 51 points twice in the last 10 days.
The Super Bowl Sunday afternoon 101-86 trouncing wasn’t as bad as the 32-point demolition Indiana put on the Nets last week. But many were left scratching their heads or hanging them and coach Avery Johnson looking for answers.
“We’re just in a bad little cycle right now, mentally and physically,” Johnson said. “Hopefully we’ll snap out of it this week.”
There were points this season when the Nets would show something after defeats like last week’s in Indiana or Friday’s at Detroit. But this wasn’t one of those games, inexplicably and inexcusably.
The Nets don’t play until Wednesday so that means they should have plenty of time to put this game behind them. But really, they should remember it and Johnson should make sure they don’t forget it.
Coaches don’t want to be too negative, but the Nets are in a really bad way right now. So Johnson should do something. He talked about changing the starting lineup, but excluded Brook Lopez and Derrick Favors from coming off the bench.
“We’re really going to have to really address the starting team,” Johnson said.
Johnson has had some success trying different things, such as holding shootarounds the morning after a night game or having them before afternoon games.
He didn’t do it Sunday because this was a noon start. Something has to change, though, because since the Nets’ 4-1 homestand, they are 1-5 and have lost by an average of 17 points. The two worst ones came against the Pacers.
After the 32-point beating and after the Detroit game everyone expected better.
“The expectations were but it’s just our intensity level,” Devin Harris said. “We’ve got no excuses. Rebounding, it’s just about hitting guys and getting physical. We do it at some point but we don’t do it for an extended amount of time.”
“They’re a good offensive team but defensively they’re lacking in some points but we’re not exposing that part of their defense. When they get one and two shots at the basket they shoot a pretty decent percent. So it’s hard to give up those types of rebounds and expect to win the game.”
The Nets actually had more offensive rebounds and second-chance points but they missed more shots. Rebounding was just part of the Nets’ problem. Another major one is how they start games.
They’re not playing with any urgency or enough energy at the outset, letting teams get out to big leads and constantly having to play catch up. That’s why Johnson is talking about changing the starting five.
The Nets need some kind of shake up. Several players talked about the Nets needing to be tougher after the Detroit loss. They have another chance Wednesday to show they can be tough and do have pride. They showed neither against the Pacers.
“Whatever it takes. I think right now, we know Favors is going to start, so let’s kill the speculation on that. He’s not coming out of the lineup. He and Brook, they’re going to stay in the starting lineup. We just have to look at where we were during the homestand and where we are now. Unfortunately, we just had a couple of guys get in a bad rut.”
- Johnson on the possible lineup change
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Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)