Down, down, down. No surprise. Power rankers, taking note of the Nets losing streak, have decided Brooklyn is among the worst teams in the NBA.
Here ya go.
The Nets’ defense has allowed just 101.9 points per 100 possessions, the league’s sixth best mark, in the first quarter, a reason why they’ve led 15 of their 24 games by 10 points or more (only four teams have led more games by double-digits). But they’ve allowed 113.1 points per 100 possessions after the first quarter, a reason why they’re just 8-7 in those 15 games. One of those league-high seven losses was their meeting with Memphis on Friday, which turned into their second brutal, last-minute meltdown of the season. It was actually a double-last-minute meltdown, because they lost in double-overtime after blowing a seven-point lead in the final minute of regulation and a four-point lead in the final minute of the first OT. And all that may have carried over into their game in Washington on Saturday, which took their losing streak to six games and was the first of the six losses that wasn’t within five points in the last five minutes.
The Nets are in free fall right now, having lost six straight games and 10 of their past 12. They are struggling on both sides of the ball right now: During the losing streak Brooklyn is averaging 107.3 points per game (down from 109.0 overall this season) while giving up 115.3 (up from 111.5) during the losing streak.
The Nets are in the middle of their worst stretch so far this season, and it could get much worse if they can’t perform well against some of the league’s bottom-tier teams. D’Angelo Russell can’t start this week shooting 16-of-52 if Brooklyn is going to get back in the win column. But with the team being 23rd in the league in shooting percentage, there’s probably another player waiting to go into a short shooting slump.
The Brooklyn Nets are a bit teflon right now in the rankings. They’ve lost six straight games, but the writers still feel pretty firm about the Nets being in this 23rd slot. Brooklyn might be the line in figuring out if you believe in a team this season or not. They rank 14th in offense and 20th in defense. That type of efficiency in offense and deficiency on defense is the right combination for putting a team into a lot of coin flip games. Unfortunately for the Nets, they have performed pretty poorly in these coin flip games. They’re one of nine teams to play at least 14 games that trigger clutch situations (game within five points with five or fewer minutes left in the fourth quarter or overtime).
Brooklyn has won just four of those 14 clutch games. When they get down to these tight games, they simply can’t score or defend at an acceptable level. A big part of this struggle comes from the Caris LeVert injury. He was their best clutch scorer, hitting 61.1 percent of his clutch shots. The Nets were 3-4 in the seven clutch games LeVert played this season. They’re 1-6 in the ones he’s missed. D’Angelo Russell (40.9 percent) and Spencer Dinwiddie (31.8 percent) have struggled quite a bit in these moments. If they can’t draw the defense in, then they can’t set up teammates. The Nets are still going about things the right way from an approach standpoint, but they aren’t pulling positive results right now.
They need better mojo in these situations.
Since Caris LeVert’s injury the Nets have lost nine of 11 games. But it’s worth pointing out that D’Angelo Russell has shown progress this season. The Nets nearly upset the 76ers last weekend on Russell’s 38-point outburst.
D’Angelo Russell scored 38 points to go with eight boards and eight assists on Sunday against the Sixers, and Spencer Dinwiddie hit the Jazz for 14 third-quarter points Wednesday night, but those efforts weren’t enough to prevent losses.
Brooklyn has dropped four straight games and can’t seem to stop fouling. Its opponents have the second-highest free-throw rate in the NBA.
Quietly, the Nets are really scuffling. Brooklyn’s active, seven-game losing streak speaks for itself but, on the heels of a bunch of “quality losses,” the Nets lost to the Cavs at home in their last contest. That one stings a bit.
Despite a losing record, the Nets have remained competitive in most of their games this season. Their net rating ranks Top 10 in the East, but an inability to finish our fourth quarters has been nightmarish. During their 62.0 “clutch” minutes, they have been outscored by a dreadful 23.4 points per 100.