Nets pregame notes: Is this team starting to crack?

The Brooklyn Nets are in desperate need of a win after they lost six of their last seven. AP Photo.

The Brooklyn Nets are in desperate need of a win after they lost six of their last seven. AP Photo.

Throughout the Brooklyn Nets terrible 3-10 start the common theme expressed by the players has been the need for patience. This is a veteran team, they said, and they will eventually figure out their chemistry issues to put this start behind them before they eventually get back on the right track.

As the losses have piled up and piled up, the Nets have been getting more visibly frustrated as reporters continue to question them as to why a team with championship aspirations has struggled so mightily. The good thing though, as Paul Pierce explained earlier this season, was that because they were a veteran team, they wouldn’t let the losing get to them, they wouldn’t turn on each other and make it worse.

Well it looks like Pierce, nicknamed The Truth for his ability to tell it like it is, was the first to turn on his team. When asked about why the Nets, who have failed out outscore their opponents during the third quarter in all 10 of their losses, have struggled so consistently out of halftime, he threw coach Jason Kidd under the bus.

“We’ve got to understand [that] teams aren’t going to play the same way they did in the first half as they did in the second half, because teams make adjustments, especially when they are down,” Pierce said. “And we’ve got to realize that and adjust to that [too].”

Here’s the thing with Pierce, and even Kevin Garnett. They are the ones who showed up at the Barclays Center and declared that this team was championship caliber. They were supposed to be the leaders that took a soft team that lacked leadership last season into one that could contend with the Miami Heat. They were supposed to help make this team one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.

Instead, KG has criticized the team for a lack of effort, but he has failed himself to put forth a consistent effort on the court. Pierce hasn’t helped the issues either as he is now the one to fire the first internal shot, although there are rumors that Kidd and Lawrence Frank aren’t getting along. Both are playing below expectations and neither have provided the leadership Nets fans expected them to bring with them from Boston (they both left before speaking with the media after just their second home loss of the season).

If the Nets don’t start winning soon it’s just going to get significantly more ugly and, unfortunately, the chances are that this won’t turn around on Tuesday night against Toronto as Brook Lopez and Deron Williams are both out once again (along with Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko).

NO GOOD ODDS: A troubling statistic was passed along earlier today by Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com: Out of 325 teams that have ever started the season with a 3-10 record only 18 percent, or 58 teams, have managed to make the playoffs and of those teams only 17 made it past the first round. So statistically speaking, the Nets chances of making it to the second round of the playoffs are just five percent.

GOOD TO GO: Shaun Livingston was cleared to play against the Raptors after he hurt his head on Sunday against the Pistons. That helps the Nets avoid starting the defensive-deficient Tyshawn Taylor and Alan Anderson, who looked overmatched when he played the one earlier in the year.

STARTING LINEUP: Kidd is going with the same five starters that he went with on Sunday against the Pistons: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche, Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston.

SPEAKING OF LINEUPS: It’s funny that Kidd is going with the same five from Sunday as they were basically the same group that he benched in the fourth quarter of that game. It sounds like he’s ready to keep going with the guys off the bench if he doesn’t like what he sees from the starters.

“If we’re not getting back, then I have to put in guys who will,” Kidd told Tim Bontemps of the NY Post. “Until I find a group that is going to get back in transition defense, then I have to keep rotating guys.”

NO PLACE FOR MIRZA: Mirza Teletovic hasn’t been getting in games even when they are getting blown out and when he has, he’s looked really bad. However, he actually got a chance to play a little on Sunday and did well in limited minutes. After the game, though, he said he still doesn’t feel like he has a place on this team.

“I don’t know,” he told Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game. “I just hope for the best, man. Just when I get in, I kind of have a role, it’s to space the floor, but it’s tough, you know? Right now, for the time that I’ve played, it just takes time to develop your role and to know what you need to do.”


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