Even though Halloween is still a few days away, the Brooklyn Nets’ darkest hours have arrived. They are 1-5 on the year with a league-average offense and the second-worst defense in the NBA. Saturday was yet another pitiful, demoralizing defensive effort in a 125-116 loss at home against the Indiana Pacers.
“It was a disaster,” Nets coach Steve Nash said at Barclays Center. “I mean, how else do you say it? I didn’t see the will, didn’t see the desire or the connectivity necessary to get stops and get rebounds.”
In 46 attempts, Indiana made a franchise-high 23 3-pointers. Many of them fell through the cracks due to poor communication and missed rotations. Bennedict Mathurin, a rookie guard, scored 32 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Pacers had a final offensive rebounding percentage of 44.6 percent while playing the second night of a back-to-back. Jalen Smith, a big player, pulled down seven offensive rebounds, one more than the whole Nets squad.
“Too many errors on top of lack of effort at times,” Nash said. “It’s not even about schemes, it’s about fighting. If you’re letting a guy run in and grab an offensive rebound unopposed, it’s hard to get stops.”
The Nets’ point-of-attack defense needs to improve, according to Durant, if they want to stop fumbling and missing open threes. He stated that each player must “dig deeper and just be great.” The post-game discussion amongst the players was not “something extraordinary,” he continued because they “speak about what we need to do as a team every day.”
Nets’ Main Problems Exposed?
However, Indiana exposed Brooklyn’s main problem: This season, it has not significantly slowed down any rival star. Tyrese Haliburton also had a huge game, scoring 26 points on 7-for-16 shooting, including 6-for-10 from three-point range. The fact that the Nets have had trouble finding open shooters through rotation is less significant than the growing list of playmakers who have viewed the Nets as easy pickings. That includes Ja Morant, Brandon Ingram, Pascal Siakam, Desmond Bane, Haliburton, and Mathurin.