Reviewing The Net First Half

The Nets finished the first half of the season with a record of 17-24 after a disappointing 99-90 loss to the Washington Wizards. They have lost eight of their last nine games after reaching the .500 mark at 16-16 on January 2nd. Brooklyn opens the second half with a three-game  West Coast trip, with games in Sacramento on Wednesday, at the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, and Utah on Saturday.

Nets starting point guard Jarrett Jack said of the first half of the season, “You know, it’s a typical first half of the season, you know, peaks and valleys, but at this point, this is where most teams hit their stride. They pretty much show who they are and if they’re going to be a team worth talking about, worth mentioning as we go into the later stage of it, and I think our group is ready to do that.”

Nets starting shooting guard Joe Johnson said of the first half of the season, “Well, it’s still a work in progress, obviously not what we expected at this point, but we just need to get better and have the team work hard and pull for one another each and every day.”

Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins said of the first half, “Well, in the first 41, we didn’t win enough games. In the second 41, I hope we win a lot more.”

The Nets’ season opened on a very down note as they were blown out on the road by the Boston Celtics 121-105 on October 29th. They then traveled to Detroit on November 1st, and thanks to big outings from Joe Johnson and Kevin Garnett, got their first win, 102-90. November 3rd was the home opener, and they blew out the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, 116-85. They then suffered a setback, losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-91 in Brooklyn to fall to 2-2.

Their biggest test was when the Knicks came to Barclays Center on Friday, November 7th. The Nets were firing on all cylinders and blew out the Knicks 110-99, which gave them an early confidence boost and sent New York into a tailspin that has not ended as they sit at 6-36. Soon after, the Nets suffered a tough loss in Phoenix, 112-104, on November 12th that started a five-game losing streak. Included in that streak were tough losses at home to the Miami Heat on November 17th, and a 122-118 triple-overtime loss to Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks on November 19th.

The Nets then treaded water for the next two weeks, and beat the Knicks again, this time at The Garden on December 2nd, 98-93. The next night, the Nets coughed up a 20-point lead late, but beat the defending champion San Antonio Spurs 95-93 in overtime on December 3rd. The Nets then showed little effort two nights later in a 98-75 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

On December 8th, the Nets played hosts to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as Prince William and Duchess Kate. The Cavs blew the Nets out in the second half and won 110-88. Two nights later, the Nets lost in Chicago to the Bulls. At this point, the team was 8-12, and rumors of trades for Williams, Lopez, and Johnson were rumbling. At a press conference before their win over Philadelphia on Friday, December 12th, Nets General Manager Billy King said he was not shopping the Big 3, but was taking calls on them, so in essence, they are on the trade market.

The Nets beat Charlotte the next night, December 13th, and followed that up with losses to Miami at home and in Toronto and Cleveland to fall to 10-15. That was ultimately the nadir, as they took advantage of a good amount of home games and favorable opponents to win six out of seven games to close 2014, with the one loss coming Saturday, December 27th in Brooklyn against Indiana. The biggest win in the stretch came on Tuesday, December 30th, when they beat the Chicago Bulls 96-82 on the road.

The Nets opened 2015 with a 100-98 win in Orlando on January 2nd to reach the .500 mark at 16-16. The Nets led by as many as 25 points in that one and barely held on for the win. Two nights later, they lost a tough one in Miami to the Heat, 88-84. In that game,

Late in the loss to Miami, Deron Williams hurt his left side and was in agony on the bench in the late stages of the game. Williams did not play the next night against the Mavericks despite being listed as “probable.” Two nights later, on the 7th, they listed Williams as “doubtful” and he played all of four minutes before aggravating and worsening the injury. The next day, Thursday, January 8th, Williams was ruled to have a broken rib and a left-side injury, and would be out indefinitely. There is no word of his return, and Williams recently complained about the medical staff’s diagnosis.

After the Nets lost to Miami, they returned to Brooklyn the next night, the 5th, to take on the Dallas Mavericks. The Nets lost 96-88 in overtime to the title contenders. The Nets then had two easy ones on the schedule, Boston on the 7th, and Philadelphia on the 9th at Barclays Center. The Nets struggled against Boston and never got closer than nine points in the fourth quarter on their way to an 89-81 loss to the Celtics.

On January 9th, the Nets coughed up a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter and lost to the 76ers, 90-88. Philadelphia entered the game with a 5-29 record, so this was one the Nets could not slip away. After the game, Hollins slammed the Nets saying, “You act like we are one of the better teams in the East, or in the league, we’re not, we are right down there with them, Philadelphia, we just have a few more wins. That’s all it is. People keep saying ‘that’s a bad loss,’ we are just trying to get wins, against anybody we can. It is a struggle to get wins when you can’t score and we make turnovers, and we make bad decisions. It’s a bad loss because we wanted to win this one. It was at home, it was a winnable game, we had the lead, and we move on.” The Nets entered the game six spots ahead of them in the East and had 11 more victories. The fact that Hollins said the Nets were down with Philadelphia is a telling sign of what he thinks of his team.

They lost the next night to the surging Detroit Pistons, 98-93, on the road for their fifth straight loss and it dropped their record to 16-21.

The Nets hosted the Houston Rockets on Monday, January 12th, and fans would have thought it was a night at the fights. About five minutes into the game, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard got into it under the basket. It initially started with a little pushing and shoving, and Garnett then threw the ball at Howard and head-butted him. KG was ejected and received a one-game suspension the next day for his actions, whereas Howard received just one technical foul and stayed in. The Rockets, led by James Harden’s 30 points, blew out the Nets 113-99.

On Wednesday, January 14th, the Nets lost their seventh straight game, this one to the Memphis Grizzlies, 103-92.

Trade rumors about Brook Lopez heated up the next night, but they fizzled as they always do, and he responded with 26 points to lead the Nets to a 102-80 win in Washington to end the seven-game losing streak. There was no follow-through, as has been too common with the Nets this season, and they lost to Washington the next night in Brooklyn, 99-90.

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