How many punches can the Nets take before falling down?
That's how the season feels; Like being on the wrong end of a never-ending boxing match, taking punch after punch while delivering only a few minor jabs to cover for what's been a season filled with hard blows.
You'd like to say, "New Year, New Nets" after a decent week on the court, it's hard doing so when the leader of your team is deemed out for the season.
Instead, you're caught saying, "When will the Nets get a break?"
Where we stand
The Nets (10-23) are still in 14th place in the Eastern Conference with the third-worst record in the NBA.
It was a week in which unlikely heroes came to be, namely Wayne Ellington leading the Nets to victory over the Miami Heat with 26 points and seven three-pointers. Still, they squandered two games in the second half against the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic, while just barely squeaking out of Boston with a victory.
They continue to play well for only a portion of games, while showing capabilities of scoring a bunch in a short amount of time, which hardly covers up the mental lapses and stagnant offensive sets that eventually come to be.
Game of the Week
We've watched a team that's hit the bottom several times this season. The Celtics game showed the heart and cohesiveness of this Nets team, no matter the record.
Brook Lopez was having his best game of the season (30 points & 13 rebounds) as the Nets were in control for most of the way. Lopez owned the matchup against Boston's Jared Sullinger, who delivered a flagrant foul on Lopez in the third quarter.
Jarrett Jack didn't take exception to the hard foul delivered to his teammate. So instead, Jack gave Sullinger a little shove and the Celtics all swarmed him as it led to a little scuffle. Lopez sat down and just shook his head.
Just a few minutes later, Jack's knee gave out and he sprawled out onto the floor. He was done for the remainder of the game (see below).
With Jack out and tempers flailing, the Nets had a whole new incentive to take this game. Not to mention, Lopez was near unstoppable.
They blew a 13-point lead and let Boston tie it up in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over three times in the final two minutes, but Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson put home buckets when the Nets needed it most. The rest of the team practically did everything in the final quarter to lose the game, but the longest tenured Nets propelled them to victory like old times.
Weak of the Week
This goes with the Game of the Week, unfortunately.
You ever have that one friend that always stood up for you no matter what the circumstances were? That one friend that you know would jump in and have your back at any time and any moment. That friend and leader, for the Nets, is Jarrett Jack.
Shortly after the scuffle mentioned, Jack was on a fastbreak for two easy points with nobody around him. But as he approached the hole, his right knee gave out as he fell to the floor and lost the ball. He was down in pain, laid out under the Nets' basket grimacing in pain.
His night was over. Even worse, his season is over with a torn ACL and slight medial meniscus tear.
It was such an emotional game with Jack leading the charge. He was the only friend for Lopez who stepped in and got his hands dirty when the time called for it. The result in his night was nothing short of heartbreaking. The result for the Nets was a win, but it almost felt like the night was lost once the leader went down.
We wish the best for Jack. His days as a Brooklyn Net are probably over.
In his spot, Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan will have to answer the call. Both are solid backups, but it doesn't make me very confident knowing one of the two will be the starting point guard for this already struggling team.
Ya know, Brook Lopez.
The big fella made a strong case for the All-Star Game, averaging 25 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.5 steals in the four games played this past week. He scored a season-high 30 points against the Celtics.
If positions still matter in the All-Star Game, then Lopez should absolutely be voted in. He leads all Centers in points per game (19.8) and is 10th in the East for rebounds (8.7), a near double-double average for one of the few Brooklyn standouts.
Get out there and vote, Nets fans.
Highlight of the Week
MAKE IT WAAAAYNE!
On New Years Day, the Nets announced rookie Chris McCullough finally participated in his first contact practice of the year. McCullough is recovering from a severe ACL tear that could've sidelined him for the whole season. But now it looks like he may step foot and make his debut sometime this season.
We can't expect much out of McCullough, who's missed Summer League, Training Camp, Pre-season and most of the regular season -- but for the Nets, its fans and McCullough himself -it's great to finally hear positive news during a week AND season filled with nothing but negativity.
And for that alone, we cheers to what we hope will be a better year ahead.