The Nets come up short again, lose 4th straight
There seems to be a theme with these Brooklyn Nets. They start off decent. They build a small lead or face a small deficit. At some stage the offense becomes stagnant and the defense waivers. The game seems all but over. Then, lo and behold, Brooklyn goes on a run and cut the deficit to about 5 or 6 points. But it’s too little too late. After the game coach Vaughn again talked about the need to string together 4 good quarters. Obviously, he is not wrong. However, as many in Nets world were hoping for a 4/5 matchup with the Cavs, Brooklyn now faces a real chance of dropping down to the play-in. And it’s still unclear how good this team is.
Live by the 3…
The Nets went up by 7 before ending the first quarter down by 6. Even though things didn’t look that bad, a bad feeling was creeping up on me nonetheless. One of the reasons, Brooklyn was shooting 22 percent from 3. For some reason Jacque Vaughn believes that the team should be 3-point heavy. And it’s true, we do have some elite shooters. Mikal Bridges has been lights out from distance since coming to New York. Joe Harris, Seth Curry and Patty Mills all shoot over 40% from 3 and Dorian Finney-Smith was shooting a high percentage when he was still in Dallas. Cam Johnson and Cam Thomas can also shoot. Theoretically coach Vaughn’s strategy is a recipe for success. Unfortunately, when the three-ball isn’t falling, the team looks really bad. The Cavaliers are the best defense in the league. There is a reason for that. While it’s true the Nets missed on a lot of good looks, it seemed like the Cavs had us shooting 3s where they wanted us to. And because there is no true point guard on the team, the offense just stops clicking and it leads to easy baskets on the other end. I’ve said before that Brooklyn should want the 4/5 matchup and the team is no worse than the Cavs. I might have to reconsider this opinion.
Thankfully it wasn’t all bad. Claxton looked really good in stretches. Dinwiddie had 19 points and 11 assists. But the big shocker was the play of Day’ron Sharpe. Most of the season Sharpe just didn’t look NBA ready. Other than offensive rebounding he didn’t seem to bring much to the table. But boy, did he play well against the Cavs. He had 20 points, 11 rebounds which included 9(!) offensive boards, and he was a whopping +27 on the plus-minus. Day’ron was the one who drained the 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 5 in the final minute of the game. When Sean Marks said he was happy with the frontcourt depth of the Nets he was expecting a healthy Ben Simmons and this kind of play by Day’ron Sharpe. Clearly, it was naive and in my opinion unforgivable to count on that. Nevertheless it would be great if we could get a semblance of last night’s Sharpe for the rest of the season. We face the Cavs again tonight. The Heat are right behind us, and we face them on Saturday. It’s sink or swim time!