Ten games are now under the belt of the Brooklyn Nets and with a record of 6-4 it remains unclear how the rest of the season will unfold. The Nets have looked good in spurts, taking care of games against teams with less talent, and have also dropped to teams like the Lakers and Heat which were expected. Their defense is an obvious concern and getting back Gerald Wallace will certainly boost that aspect of their game. But to date, have the Nets managed to impress the rest of the league and more importantly their fans?
The only impressive victory so far came in a 102-97 victory over the Boston Celtics in Brooklyn, a game that finally engaged their fans into thinking this team was legitimate. And lets not forget, that was a Celtics team without Rajon Rondo. This isn’t to diminish their accomplishments, this is a Nets team who recorded a mere 22 games last season in Jersey, and are more than likely on the road to a few more this season.
For one, a healthy Brook Lopez has done wonders for the Nets. In the first ten games, Lopez is averaging 18.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Even more impressive has been his performances in their wins scoring on average 20.1 points. His rebounding numbers could go up a little, especially for a 7-footer, but so far so good for Brook.
The one Jay didn’t cut from the team Kris Humphries has done about what we expected. He’s two points and one rebound shy of averaging a double-double, and when he’s focused he’s been able to rebound the ball well for the Nets. I’m sure a little more scoring would do the Nets some good.
And of course I don’t really have to mention Deron Williams, a player who always brings his best every night. None of those six wins would have happened without him.
All-Star acquisition Joe Johnson has really yet to flourish with this Nets team. The only real Joe Johnson-esque performance we have seen so far came in a 114-101 win over Cleveland where he had 25 points and six assists. And although it’s early, and he’s still adjusting to not being the main attraction, the Nets need more from him.
Of course the Nets defense in general has been an issue. It was no more evident than in losses to the Heat and Timberwolves. Anytime you bring a new team looking for their true identity up against the defending champions, there’s potential for a massacre. I believe we all know that a 30-point loss to the Heat was really reminiscent of the New Jersey Nets, not the Brooklyn Nets. Even worse was their loss to Minnesota when the Nets held a 22 point lead with nine minutes remaining in the third quarter to eventually lose by 10.
A lot of the Nets collective troubles seem to initiate during the third quarter, a period of time they always seem to have an issue with. The Nets are the worst third quarter team in the league, on averaging ending the quarter -6 against their opponent. Ironically, the Nets are actually the best second-quarter team. Carrying that momentum from the second quarter through halftime and into the third is something Avery Johnson must work on to make sure this team has a successful run to make the post-season.
The Nets will face a good test of their will tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Barclays Center starting at 7:30 p.m.
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