It was a classic trap game.
The Brooklyn Nets got a big monkey off their backs and made a statement to the league in a high intensity win over the Miami Heat on Friday night. After that a game against a team like the Orlando Magic, who were in last place in the NBA last season, should be an easy win. It should be…
But it’s a trap and one that the Nets walked right into it.
“Tough game to get up for but the good teams do,” Deron Williams said. “We want to be one of the best teams in this league and, when all is said and done, we have to do better in this situation. It’s a young team, they’re going to play hard. We had to be ready to match their intensity and we weren’t.
“They just looked like they wanted it more tonight which is unacceptable. We should be pissed off. I think everybody is pissed off.”
• Joe Johnson agreed that the Nets came out flat and stressed that they have to respect their opponents no matter who they are because they are playing with a target on their backs.
“We were a little flat,” Johnson admitted. “It was almost like we didn’t have the energy or I don’t know what it was. It was talked about before the game started; we know that we’re going to get everybody’s best game. That’s part of it. We have to be prepared to start every game regardless of who we’re playing.”
• The Nets fell behind early during this game and things kind of snowballed to the point where everything started to fall apart. The Nets began to settle for jump shots when they should have been attacking the rim or they were getting too pretty. Small mistakes early led to big problems later on.
“Early on they were playing well,” Brook Lopez said. “We let them get a few easy buckets and that let them get their confidence up. A lot of it was effort, but they broke our system in a number of ways especially in the second half. I thought we did a good job in the first half, we kept them under our goal. It just didn’t go our way in the second half.”
• Jason Kidd explained that part of the problem was that once they started struggling on offense it spread over to their defense as well. “They made plays and they made shots while we struggled to make shots,” Kidd said. “We can’t let our offense dictate our defense. If you want to be an elite team you have to execute on the defensive end and we just didn’t do that.”
• Only one Net played more than 30 minutes in this game, Lopez, who scored 21 points with six rebounds and five blocks in 32 minutes. 10 players played at least 10 minutes. Reggie Evans was relegated to the 11th man as he played just eight minutes, but had five rebounds.
• Mirza Teletovic got some garbage time when the game was out of reach. He probably should have been brought in sooner than that in order to get a chance to make a difference. He certainly didn’t make a case for himself in the future though as he shot 1-for-6 and was 0-for-2 behind the arc in six minutes.
• Mason Plumlee made his NBA debut. He played two minutes and scored two points. It wasn’t much, but he showed good intensity at a time when the Nets desperately needed it.