Following Monday night’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Nets (3-7) held a players only meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve the issues the team has been having so far this season. With Deron Williams back in the starting lineup Wednesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats (5-6), the Nets had hoped their star point guard would help get this team back on track.
Williams started off on the right foot with 4 points and 2 assists in the first quarter but would land on the “wrong foot” in the beginning of the second quarter on a missed jumper. Deron would leave the game after aggravating his left ankle and Brooklyn Nets fans once again. The 2nd and 3rd quarters would be dominated by the Bobcats, in which they outscored the Nets by 12 in that span. Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston just were not able to get things going on Wednesday night shooting a combined 25% from the floor.
Kemba Walker would lead Charlotte’s run and would finish with a season best 31 points as Shaun Livingston simply was unable to contain the former UCONN star. With Deron Williams out of the lineup, the Nets have struggled to guard opposing point guards in his absence such as Chris Paul, Damian Lillard and now Kemba Walker.
Entering the 4th quarter down 13, the Nets would go on a run lead by center Andray Blatche who would finish the game with 25 points, shooting 78% from the field. Joe Johnson and Alan Anderson were also able to help Brooklyn’s cause as they each hit 4 three point field goals on the night. Despite the late push by the Nets it wasn’t enough as the Charlotte Bobcats would go on to win 95-91. The Bobcats would improve their record to 6-6 while the Nets continue to fall in the standings to 3-8.
As difficult as these past couple of games have been, there are some positives we can take away from this stretch of losses. Yes there are injuries to guys like Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, and Andrei Kirilenko but this opens up a chance to give bench players extra minutes to warm up earlier then they have in past seasons. The addition of depth to the Nets bench was a major focal point this offseason. It is reassuring to see they look strong and in mid season form which will undoubtedly translate into wins down the stretch. There aren’t many benches in the NBA that can win games consistently on their own anyway. Andray Blatche is really coming into his own after a slow start to the season. Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson have both submitted solid performances. What has surprised fans the most was how Tyshawn Taylor and Mason Plumlee have both performed when given the minutes. These are players that supply a lot of energy on both ends of the ball and Jason Kidd hasn’t been afraid to put either of these young players on the floor late in games. Even without wins Brooklyn’s bench has played very well and fans shouldn’t be surprised to see 14 players (Fifteenth man, Toko Shengelia) in the Nets rotation even as the team’s health improves.
The Brooklyn Nets (3-8) will look to snap there losing streak Friday night against Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-6).