All season the Brooklyn Nets have struggled mightily during the third quarter to the point where they are 0-10 when they are outscored during the frame and 3-0 when they are up. It’s a problem that they had last year, but it especially pronounced now. Nobody knows exactly what the problem is. Paul Pierce suggested that they’re having trouble adapting in the second half, but Joe Johnson suggested that it is is more mental than anything else.
“Yeah, I think now coming into halftime we shouldn’t even say nothing,” Johnson told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com when asked if the problem was mental. “Seriously. I think we come into halftime every game, if we’re up five or 10 we always say, ‘Well, who are we going to be in the second half?’ It’s every game. So I think from here on out, if we come in at half down or up, that shouldn’t even come up.”
Jason Kidd joked that they might as well stay on the court during halftime and not go into the locker room at all. Johnson, however, wasn’t joking. He suggested that they don’t sit in silence, but that they just don’t dwell on the third quarter struggles.
“I’m saying, we can go over some of the good things we did in the first half and some of the things we can correct,” Johnson said. “But I don’t think we should come out and be like, ‘Alright, well, who we going to be this half?’ Or, ‘We know third quarters are our worst quarter.’ Shouldn’t even have to say nothing, I think it’s obvious.”
Deron Williams agreed that it is probably a mental thing and that it is best not to dwell on it.
“We got to realize, when we go into halftime, we have been winning a lot of these games (to that point),” Williams said. “It doesn’t feel like we feel that way. That is something J-Kidd has talked about. We have to know we have the lead. We haven’t hit as many shots as we like to, we haven’t played as well as we like to but we are still up. That’s a positive.”
Whatever the answer is, the Nets are working hard to find it. We can talk about how injuries have contributed to the success and failure of this team, or how it’s a rookie coach, or blame the players for a lack of chemistry. However, the way the majority of their games have gone this season, they would be winnable if they didn’t completely tank every game in the third.