Biggest issue for the Nets: Are they resigned to losing?

Mike Stobe

Is the mental battle more of an issue for the Nets than the offensive struggles?

After having lost nine of their last 12 games, the Nets are now frantically looking for answers.

Whether it's finding out where the offense is breaking down, systematically speaking, or finding out which rotation might actually best jolt the offense, there are plenty of theories and solutions out there -- many of which begin and end with: #FireAvery or #TradeDeron.

However, the bigger issue for the Nets may be in their inability to adjust, mentally, to any breakdowns on the basketball court. From giving up runs (like their 17-2 run against the Celtics) or failing to build off well-executed sets of their own (like late in the 3rd quarter against the Celtics, when they saw the Celtics close out the 3rd on 7-0 run, after they themselves went on an 8-0 run), the Nets need to find a way to get back or stay in the game.

At some point you have to wonder whether or not this team, at this moment, just doesn't think they're good enough, or at some point in the game they just simply become resigned to the idea that, hey, they're probably going to lose "this game."

That point was brought up by Tim Bontemps in his piece this morning, where he wrote:

But for all of their offensive woes, the bigger issue is their tendency to drop their heads the moment things start to work against them. It’s a problem that has shown up time and time again, as the Nets have lost several games because they were unable to fight back after their opponents reeled off a big run.

That’s exactly what happened yesterday. After the Nets fell behind by double digits in the second quarter when the Celtics went on a 17-2 run, they never were able to get back into the game.

You can absolutely see it in their body language, and it has become as much of an issue as their offensive struggles.

Deron Williams actually "looks" like a guy who is shooting 39.8% from the floor, when he slumps his shoulders and drops his head after the opposing team rattles of 8-straight points. In fact, they all have that same look. And you can argue that really only Gerald Wallace showed that urgent hustle yesterday against the Celtics when the Nets needed it most.

As much as we talk about the team needing to make adjustments offensively, they also need to start fighting against the mental block that happens when you're a team fighting against urgency.

"You can’t be a front-running team, a team that only can have energy and have enthusiasm when things are going well," said Jerry Stackhouse. "Things are going to go bad in an NBA game, in some NBA games and during an NBA season, and we’ve just got to get better at that.

Well said.

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