At a time where the lowly Nets found themselves nine games under .500 to start the season, this probably would've been one of the bigger weeks for Nets fans to sit down at the Barclays Center, eat some of Brooklyn's finest grub and catch a cheap basketball game.
It wouldn't be for a Nets game, though. Still a bit expensive. But rather a college game, a chance to watch the potential top pick in this year's draft, Ben Simmons, who could have been a future Net had they not traded away their first-round pick to Boston.
Simmons dropped 20 points, grabbed 21 boards and handed out seven assists for LSU at the Barclays Center Tuesday night where the Nets were served their first dose of cruelty last week.
It was a tough week with games against the Thunder, Cavaliers and then Pistons. While the Nets held their own in each game, their inability to close games out continued to haunt them in two of the three battles.
Where we stand:
The Nets finished the week with a 1-2 record with losses coming on the road against the Thunder and Cavaliers, two teams with an arsenal of superstars.
The Nets played well for three quarters in OKC, but failed to make defensive stops in the fourth quarter when necessary. The Thunder got hot and a close game suddenly turned into a mini-blowout.
They came back with an encouraging outing against LeBron James and the Cavs, but the King, with the help of the refs, squeaked his way out of a close one and beat the Nets, 90-88, on a game-winning floater. Finally, on the second night of a back-to-back, the Nets answered with an ugly win over the Pistons. The difference? They scored 28 points in the fourth and finally made big plays late.
The Nets are now 4-13 on the season, which puts them at 14th place in the Eastern Conference and second-to-last in the Atlantic Division.
The good news? They play 10 of 15 games in December at home, with one of the five away games a bus ride across the East River to play the Knicks. No jet lag excuses. Just Manhattan Bridge traffic. Choose your poison.
Game of the week:
I'm feeling a little crazy this week. Although the Nets beat the Pistons at home and FINALLY closed out a game, I really liked the way they played the Cavs to the wire.
The Nets led most of the way. They had Cleveland on their toes throughout, despite their inability to hit the long ball (4-for-17). It wasn't until the third quarter that the Cavs finally took the lead (their first of the night) by just one point.
But the Nets didn't fold, despite a run from Cleveland and despite a few VERY lopsided calls (see below). They found themselves in the midst of a tie game with 14 seconds left. LeBron James drove into the paint and nailed a floater over Brook Lopez with one second left. They had no timeouts left, so they were forced to throw up a desperate half-court heave (that just barely missed).
It was a really great game, but unfortunately for the guys in black-and-white, it was just another ‘great' game that had nothing to show for it.
Weak of the week:
This one sorta correlates with the Game of the Week. If we had a "C'mon Man" portion of the Weekly Wind Up, the refs would be our number one nominee.
The league agrees, too.
The NBA refereeing office noted that two critical plays (both involving LeBron) should have gone the Nets way. Either call likely could've changed the outcome in the 90-88 loss to the Cavs.
Here is the first one where you can actually see LeBron calling for the hook.
Then, it got worse.
We're gonna give the duo of Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young some well-deserved credit as a unit. With November coming to an end, the two have asserted themselves as one of the most elite frontcourt duos the NBA has to offer.
This past week, Lopez averaged 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and two steals per game, most notably a six-block and four-steal night against the Detroit Pistons.
Thad on the other hand (literally), averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds in the three games.
Lopez-Young have an offensive rating of 100.3 and a rebound percentage of 55, which essentially reflects the percentage of boards player(s) grab when on the court. The highest rebound percentage is held by OKC who grabs about 54 percent of rebounds, thus showing the Nets duo's dominance on the glass when they are on the court together.
Bojan Bogdanovic just can't seem to find his rhythm. After a pretty decent start to the month, Bogie has failed to crack double digits in over eight games dating back to November 13 against the Sacramento Kings. He's getting the playing time needed this season with an average of 24 minutes per game, but he isn't doing much with the opportunity.
There seems to be a trend in Bojan's struggles. Sure he's getting the minutes, but he isn't getting the shots the way he was earlier in the month. In the eight-game span where he's failed to crack double digits, Bogdanovic has yet to take more than seven shots in any of the contests.
It might be confidence issues.
But it also seems like his role in this offense is NOT what we expected it to be, especially with him coming off the bench.
In games where he's taken more than 10 shots, Bogdanovic has averaged 16 points on 50 percent shooting. To me, that seems more like ball allocation issues. Let Bogie work.
Highlight of week
J.R. YOU'VE BEEN HYPHENED.
Lionel Hollins, man.
He had some, um, interesting things to say before playing LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Saturday night.
Hollins has taken plenty of heat this season despite the limited talent on his roster. Rightfully so on quite a few occasions. We all make mistakes, but this wasn't just a mistake. He is supposed to be a leader. This is the coach, the one person who should NEVER quit on you no matter how bad things might be.
That's his JOB.
He rarely - if ever - takes responsibility for anything the ever goes wrong.
We get it, or most of it anyway. The team isn't very good and most of the problems revolve around management's inability to put a winning product on the court due to their attempt to cut costs. So is he WRONG? Not necessarily. The Nets certainly lack talent, especially depth off the bench which makes Lionel's job that much tougher. He wasn't dealt a fair hand.
But at the end of the day it's his JOB to figure out what is wrong and how it can be fixed. Nobody's suggesting he stay up until 5AM to figure things out, but sure, as a coach you should be thinking at night, "What can I do to improve this aspect of the game."
There's no ‘we are who we are' or ‘not good enough' in this league. It's simply unacceptable. It sounds like someone who's given up... or simply pointing fingers.