It almost feels like the Monstars took Brooklyn’s talent.
Saturday night was the third game this week with playoff implications — a stretch in which the Brooklyn Nets had a golden opportunity to capitalize their advantage in the standings. Instead, they have everybody scratching their heads.
The Nets lost their third straight game with a loss to the Miami Heat, 117-88, Saturday at American Airlines Arena. It was the Nets worst loss and the Heat’s biggest win.
They simply never had it in this one, much like the prior two games. The Nets (32-33) still own the six seed, but things aren’t looking all too great with a seven-game road-trip looming.
“We’ve got to stop the bleeding defensively.”
Head coach Kenny Atkinson emphasized Brooklyn’s need to improve on defense after Friday night’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The defense was a little better, but not by much. The offense was even worse.
They were within striking distance in the first half — trailing only by 10 by break, but a 25-12 advantage to start the third gave Miami a 23-point lead. The Heat only built on their lead, not the opposite.
And that was that.
Effort wasn’t the problem. The Nets simply couldn’t hit a shot and couldn’t grab a rebound, as Miami out-rebounded them, 56-37. The problem with this is that the Nets sacrifice rebounds by playing small, which should enable them to stretch teams out and space the floor.
But they didn’t make anybody pay. They shot 9-of-42 (21 percent) from three and 35 percent on the night.
Miami also brought adjustments that the Nets didn’t seem to have an answer for. They blitzed D’Angelo Russell during every pick and roll. It slowed Russell down a bit offensively, limiting him to just eight field goal attempts for 10 points. He still dished out eight assists. It should’ve been more. Double teams mean somebody is open.
The Nets didn’t swing the ball nearly fast enough to execute against the adjustment.
Here were the shooting woes:
- Allen Crabbe: 1-of-9 from the field (and three).
- Spencer Dinwiddie: 2-of-10 from the field.
- DeMarre Carroll: 1-of-6 from three.
- Treveon Graham: 3-of-10 from the field.
- Rodions Kurucs: 3-of-9 from the field.
- Caris LeVert: 3-of-9 from the field.
Maybe a players-only meeting will help like it did when they were 8-18. The difference then? Those games were close. These have not been. They’re 4-9 in the last 13.
It’s getting all too close for comfort. With Brooklyn’s loss, they’re still in sixth but only by percentage points over the Pistons. They now have two more losses than the Pistons but two more wins. They’re a game and a half games ahead of the eight seed and a game and a game and a half —plus some percentage points — ahead of the nine seed,
Moreover, the Nets playoff probabilities, the Nets chances are now at only 64 percent, with the Pistons, Magic at 88 and 80 percent, according to fivethirtyeight.com. The Hornets chances are 39 percent.
All of this stings a little more when you remember the Nets start a seven-game road-trip next week.
CHANGING DRAFT PICKS
As the Nets get closer to the NBA Draft Lottery —and the Knicks win a few games —they now have the 17th, 27th and 32nd picks. But just like last year, when the Nets had three picks the week before the Draft but wound up with two, there’s a possibility that the Nets will do it again.
Sean Marks told YES Network’s Michael Grady that although he loves having the Nets’ own pick, things could change.
“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to try to get more picks or move picks or move up or whatever. That’s something that can change with the drop of a dime,” he noted.
THANKS, JEANIE. IT’S BEEN BETTER THAN AN ALL-STAR GAME
For a different perspective, head on over to Hot Hot Hoops, our Heat sister site at SB Nation.
Next up: The Mavericks will visit Brooklyn on Monday for a 7:30 game.
- Box Score: Miami Heat 117, Brooklyn Nets 88 - NBA.com
- Video: Miami Heat 117, Brooklyn Nets 88 - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: BKN@MIA (Video) - Nancy Newman - YES Network
- Nets lose by 29 points to Miami (Video) - Ryan Ruocco & Sarah Kustok - YES Network
- Atkinson on rebounding deficit (Video) - YES Network
- LeVert on blowout loss to Heat (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson on rallying after loss (Video) - YES Network
- Miami posts largest win of season, beat Nets 117-88 - AP
- Olynyk leads Heat to wire-to-win over Nets - Reuters
- Nets’ playoff hopes suddenly in jeopardy after stinker vs. depleted Heat - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets haven’t adjusted to foes focusing on D’Angelo Russell - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ third loss in row drops them below .500 - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Kenny Atkinson blames turnovers, shot selection for Nets’ home losses - Greg Logan - Newsday
- HEAT 117, NETS 88: BROOKLYN DROPS THIRD STRAIGHT IN MIAMI - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: BROOKLYN NETS AT MIAMI HEAT - Brooklyn Nets
- This time Heat keep foot on gas, race past Nets 117-88 - Ira Winderman - South Florida Sun-Sentinel