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Lin injured as Nets lose season opener, 140-131

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Brooklyn Nets v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Nets basketball is back, which means life is back to normal. And so are concerns about injury.

Jeremy Lin left the game late in the fourth quarter after a non-contact injury to his knee. There are no details yet but Lin was in physical and emotional pain as he left the court at Bankers Life Arena.

Lin will be evaluated Thursday but his teammates tweets showed levels of deep concern ... and a need for prayers.

From his teammates...

And Lin himself...

A Chinese reporter said she had received a text from Lin’s trainer (who was not in Indianapolis) saying, "I am afraid it is not very good” and that "his heart was really very sad."

As for the game itself, while they showed they can score, the Nets played poor defense throughout and lost, 140-131. Said Kenny Atkinson, “We completely broke down defensively.”

“I wish I could say there’s one area, but it was a multitude of things. It started with our transition defense, our pick-and-roll defense wasn’t very good, and rebounding they really took it to us. The last part is just guarding your man. We didn’t do any of those things. It was a complete breakdown.”

The big positive: D’Angelo Russell scored 30 points, the best debut for a new Net in more than 40 years but it got lost in the concern over Lin’s knee. But Russell noted the problems defensively ... and elsewhere.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do; a lot of work to do,” Russell said. “As you can see we can score points. It’s the little things — defense, rebounding, transition, little things that’ll get us over the hump.”

———

During the offseason, the team said several times how the M.O. of this group will be playing with grit, playing with a chip on their shoulders. They all had something to prove, they said. However, things didn’t start off as smoothlyas they hoped.

The Nets simply couldn’t come up with stops at any point in the game – highlighted by a 41-point third quarter for Indiana. They had eight different players in double figures and lived inside the paint.

Myles Turner exposed Brooklyn’s small frontcourt and scored 21 points. He grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots.

Offense was good, defense was bad... on both ends.

D’Angelo Russell led the Nets with 16 points in the half, but on the other end, Victor Oladipo led with 19. The Nets played hard enough in the first half to trail by just two at half despite Indiana scoring 36 in the second quarter.

Then came the third quarter. Indiana dropped 41 points and led by eight heading into the fourth quarter, peaking over double digits and taking all momentum into the fourth quarter.

The Nets had to dig themselves out of a hole, while playing putrid defense and turning the ball over at a very bad rate. Not to mention, the interior defense was the weakest part of the defense – a worry heading into the season due to lack of size.

They missed Brook Lopez.

Then... things got worse. The Pacers were up by 10 late in the fourth quarter when Jeremy Lin attacked the hole and went down hard. Lin grimaced in pain, while holding his knee.

He looked over to Kenny Atkinson and said, “I’m done”. He was assisted to the locker room.

Nets cut it to four and rallied after Lin’s injury, but Myles Turner put home two dagger free throws after the Nets committed their twentieth turnover of the night. An offensive foul on DeMarre Carroll.

D’Angelo Russell became the first Net to score 30 or more points in a season opener since Stephon Marbury in 1999. Russell dished out five assists with his 12-of-22 shooting. He found the holes in Indiana’s defense and hit his three-pointers (4-of-8).

Off the bench, Trevor Booker led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Allen Crabbe (3-of-5) and Caris LeVert (5-of-15) scored 12 apiece.

The other starters, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while DeMarre Carroll had 10 points and nine rebounds.

For Indiana, Victor Oladipo scored 22 and Darren Collison chipped in 21. Former Nets Thaddeus Young (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (14 points) had their way with Brooklyn’s porous D.

Brooklyn nailed 12-of-30 three-pointers — a better percentage but the same amount as Indiana. They turned the ball over 20 times. It came down to their mishandling of the ball and awful defense — particularly in the paint.

Next up: Home opener vs. Orlando, Friday at 7:30 pm.