The Nets have lost five-of-six heading into Wednesday’s contest against the San Spurs.
They are coming off a loss to the Knicks, where they played fairly well for 3.5 quarters before collapsing late and losing by 15 points. Before that, they got off to a very slow start against the Washington Wizards before erasing a 23-point deficit, sending the game into overtime, and running out of gas in the extra stanza.
DeMarre Carroll spoke on the team’s struggles on after Tuesday’s practice, saying point blank that the team needs to compete at a high level more consistently. “I think we’re competing for the most part but we’re not competing all four quarters,” said Carroll. “Especially last night. We didn’t play for four quarters. We got it to a two-point lead and then we let them come all the way back. And then the Washington game we didn’t compete.”
Carroll, who played well vs. Knicks, can’t quite put a finger on why the team hasn’t been consistent either, but reiterates his point that more needs to be done.
”We competed in the second half against Washington, competed for three quarters last night (against the Knicks) but for some reason we can’t do it for a full game,” he said.
“That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to take ownership and point to ourselves. Can’t blame the coaches, can’t blame the performance staff, we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and we’ve got to compete at a higher level.”
Recently, specifically against the Knicks on Martin Luther King Day, the Nets’ interior woes continued. The New York outrebounded Brooklyn 51-44 while Kristaps Porzingis and Michael Beasley combined for 49 points and 19 rebounds.
Two weeks ago, we wrote about opposing bigs forming a murderers row against Brooklyn, which currently starts Tyler Zeller at center, with 19-year-old Jarrett Allen and Jahlil Okafor coming in off the bench.
Another area where the Nets have seen their production drop recently is ball movement, which has affected their general offense.
Throughout the course of the year, the Nets have been one of the better teams in the league at moving the ball. At the moment, they rank seventh in passes made, and received, are in the top-half in assists per game despite having one true point guard, and are tied for seventh in potential assists.
However, the Brooklyn-based unit ranks near the bottom third in catch-and-shoot field goal percentage, which is 37.5%. Interestingly enough, they’re actually tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but even so, they have to get better, says Carroll, the team’s unofficial spokesman.
“We’re getting good shots, but we can get great shots,” said the nine-year vet. “We’re taking a lot of contested three’s, a lot of contested lay-ups that we could dump off or kick out. Those same shots we were hitting early on, and now we’re not. Teams are keying in on us so now we’ve got to move the ball and make that extra pass. We’ve got to pass up good shots and get great shots.”
Some of that may actually be by design, he adds, hinting that teams are forcing the Nets to make these mistakes and playing into their opponents’ hands. Not a good sign with San Antonio up next.
”I think now they know that when we go in the paint, we’re not going to kick it out, and then they must run us off the three point line,” he said. “None of our 3-point shooters are getting wide open easy looks. It’s all contested, all the shots are coming off pin downs and those type of things. I feel like we’ve got to get our 3-point shooters open so we could open up the floor for spacing and allow guys like Caris, Spencer and Rondae to be able to drive.”
Speaking of Spencer Dinwiddie, who is perhaps the team’s other unofficial spokesman, he also chimed in with a much more basic summary of what’s going on.
”Anytime that you’re not at the level in which you want to get wins, you definitely have to compete hard,” he said. “You have to be more focused, more locked in and have an attention to detail that’s obviously not there because if it were there then we’d be winning – we haven’t been making our shots at a high level for what, four or five games maybe? You could call this what you want, but at the end of the day, this is our job, we have to be better at it, and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
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