Saturday, November 9, 2013

Nets Can't Pack Enough Punch to KO Pacers


The most expensive team in the NBA is now 2-4.  A week into the season the most expensive team in the NBA is in last place in the Atlantic Division. Time to panic? Not yet.

A team with very high expectations after a monster off-season that saw the franchise add old stars like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, and tapped their former superstar from a decade ago, Jason Kidd, as its next head coach is off to a rough start.

As I mentioned in a earlier article, the Nets will soon come to the forefront, and on a cold November Saturday in New York where they were the only show in town, the Nets were at that forefront against the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers.

Result: the Nets had no answer for Paul George, David West and the Pacers.

At times overmatched, at times outplayed, and most of the night outsmarted, the Nets never recovered from a Pacers third quarter surge as the Pacers improved to 7-0.

Even though Brooklyn closed a ten point deficit with 5:05 to go to just five points, they couldn't overcome mistakes, nor come up with the one big clutch shot they have been missing thus far this year.

Down 94-91, a Deron Williams turnover was soon followed by a botched six foot hook by Garnett, and a missed three pointer by Joe Johnson. Mistakes like these are not allowed, especially for a team with so many All Stars.

Williams finished with 17 points on just 7-of-14 shooting, while Garnett struggled in 27 minutes of action, connecting on three of seven shots. He also had a major turnover at the end of the game.

Even Paul Pierce had his issues. He was 5-of-12 from the floor and 3-of-6 from long distance. It was almost little consolation that his desperate three pointer with less then two minutes to go, actually fell through the hoop after dancing around the rim, because most of his shots lacked the power everyone got used to seeing when he was Boston.

It was not a good night for Brookyln. Everytime the Nets had something cooking the Pacers answered. Brooklyn held a 46-44 lead at the half, only to watch the Pacers roll over them in the third quarter thanks to a 11-2 run to take a 57-51 lead with 8:18 to go in the period.

George was amazing for Indiana. He was all over the floor hitting big time three, jumpers and causing all kind of havoc on the boards. He led both teams in points with 24, and 8-of-14 shooting. His counterpart, David West was excellent too. West hit 7-of-15 for 18 points. Meanwhile, Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson collected 15 points each.

More importantly is the progress of Kidd as head coach. It is clear just by watching him on the sidelines, that he is still learning the ropes of being a head coach in the NBA. He almost rarely argues, and leaves a lot of the game planning during time outs to his assistants.

Six games in this strategy isn't working. Kidd is being asked to grow up as a HC fast with a cast of all stars, which is not fair to his own development as a coach. At 2-4, the Nets are already underachieving, and thing won't get easier when Brooklyn hits the road for three games this week on the west coast to play the Kings, Suns and Clippers.

There is no doubt that the Nets have immense talent. They have enough weapons to befuddle any opponent, but nobody is on the same page just yet; Pierce and Garnett look their age only six games into the season.

If the Nets are going to succeed they have to get big time production out of Williams and Joe Johnson. Brook Lopez has been the team's best player, but he can't do it alone. Someone has to step up.

That is where the head coach has to come in and put in the guys who are playing the best to give him the best chance to win. That is another obstacle that Kidd has to climb in the coming weeks.

If things don't improve, will the pressure get turned up on Kidd, or on the players? Keep posted.

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