In a matter of days, the Brooklyn Nets have been called "Dinosaurs," they've heard their opponent's GM shout a profanity at their home borough, have heard that the NBA conspired to give them Game 1 and, now, they're being called "soft." Being called "soft," however, wasn't a shot fired by the Raptors or the Toronto media. No, it came from an internal source.
Tim Bontemps of the New York Post reports:
"We were a soft team tonight," Pierce said.
"[That’s] frustrating, especially when you have an opportunity [to win]. That is where the game is won — in the trenches. We can’t give up  offensive rebounds, especially. That is tough to overcome."
The Nets finished the regular season 29th in team rebounding and ahead of only the Los Angeles Lakers in rebound rate. Last season the Nets were tied for second in rebound rate with the Memphis Grizzlies. So, of course, rebounding has been an issue for the Nets this season, with their All-Star center Brook Lopez out for the season since December 20, 2013, and the team's best rebounder, Reggie Evans, having been traded to the Kings before the NBA Trade Deadline this February.
Of course, the injuries to Kevin Garnett haven't helped. Plus, Jason Kidd decided to "go small," when he placed Paul Pierce as the team's starting power forward. The Nets found great success in Kidd's system during the regular season, but the small lineup really struggled against the likes of Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and Patrick Patterson, who all give the Raptors length and size.
There should be no cries for an overhaul in the system, not after one loss. As Pierce noted, the team's toughness can compensate for the lack of size, so to speak.
The Nets and the Raptors will get together for Game 3 on Friday night in Brooklyn, where the mantra has always been, "Brooklyn we go hard!" This is the sort of rallying cry from Pierce that the Nets expected from the future Hall of Famer when they traded for him. So, good on Pierce for being that leader that the Nets need to brush off a tough loss on Tuesday and get the team already thinking about what they need to do on Friday to rebound.
- Paul Pierce: Nets were ‘soft team’ in Game 2 - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Paul Pierce not enough down stretch as DeMar DeRozan, Raptors even series - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- 2014 NBA playoffs -- Paul Pierce calls Brooklyn Nets 'soft' following Game 2 loss - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN
- Paul Pierce: Nets were 'soft' in Game 2 - Matt Moore - CBS Sports