(Nets Interim Head Coach Tony Brown – @BrooklynNets)
It is quite evident that Lionel Hollins took the defense with him when the Nets fired him.
The Nets are giving up north of 100, even 110 points, practically every night under Interim Head Coach Tony Brown.
The Nets dropped to 2-15 under Brown with their 114-100 loss to the Indiana Pacer on Wednesday night at Barclays Center. They dropped to 12-38 on the season.
In those 17 games, the Nets have allowed over 100 points 12 times and over 100 points five times.
Hollins is one of the best defensive coaches in the league, and when he had Alan Anderson and even Deron Williams last season, they could shut down high-powered offenses like the Atlanta Hawks with regularity.
This season, the Nets’ only real quality defender was Jarrett Jack, but even his presence the first couple of months wasn’t enough to win games, but the effort was there.
A lot of games, and Wednesday was an example of this, Indiana largely did whatever they wanted for most of the game.
Part of it is that the Nets players don’t take Brown seriously and they know they can mail it in on defense with no accountability.
The Pacers led 26-23 at the end of the first and then outscored the Nets 36-20 in the second quarter and shot 13-18, or 72 percent, in the frame to do it.
Nets forward Joe Johsnon said of what went wrong defensively in the second quarter, “I’m not sure, man. We just – I don’t know. It seems like every game we have a mental lapse or there’s just turnovers. I have no idea. I’m sorry. I don’t know. We just hurt ourselves from time to time.”
That Johnson quote is incredibly revealing, like he is resigned to the fact that they will have a quarter like that every night.
Indiana Head Coach Frank Vogel said of the second quarter, “I think the defensive energy – the energy the bench unit brought. We got a lot of stops in transition and C.J. Miles got hot.”
That “defensive energy” that Vogel is referring to is what fuels that team with only one true star in Paul George. They are a machine that knows how to grind games out and is primed to return to the playoffs after a year out.
Indiana led by as many as 20 in the second quarter, and 18 in the third.
The only time the Nets got back into the game was when the Pacers checked out for three minutes at the end of the third quarter. They led 78-62 at the 4:48 mark and the Nets went on a 9-0 run over the next three minute to cut it to seven.
Once the Pacers committed again, they took a 10-point lead into the fourth, and maintained a 15-point lead in the final minutes.
The Pacers shot a perfect 50 percent from the field (44-88 and behind the arc (12-24) and were led by CJ Miles’ 27 points off the bench.
Indiana got 58 points out of their second unit, and Johnson said of that, “It’s tough. I think C.J. (Miles) came in and he got hot and he was making tough shots. You know, it seemed like it trickled on down because now all the attention and focus was on him and other guys were able to get involved and get easy layups and just get easy plays, so you know, it was a tough one.”
Brown said of the game getting away from them in the second half after they cut it to seven, “I can’t remember the exact time of the game, but we cut it to eight, and I think – I’m not sure if our starters subbed some of those guys out, and we didn’t finish the quarter the way we wanted. We had a situation where we were trying to get a two-for-one play that ended up being a foul on us and sending Paul George to the line, but I’m not sure of the scenario. So, hey, listen – we battled in the third quarter. We came back out with some effort and a little bit more competition. But, you know, same old story. We got to find some other guys to join the fray. The starters played relatively big minutes, but we just didn’t have any rhythm coming off our bench.”