The Brooklyn Nets looked like they weren’t ready to start the season without Brook Lopez and suffered a horrific 121-105 loss to the Celtics during the opening night of the season in Boston on Wednesday night.
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Nets struggled offensively as they shot just 40.9 percent in the first quarter and Lionel Hollins, in his first game as head coach, said that the offensive struggles put pressure on them defensively. That led to an awful second quarter where they were outscored 35-18 and they trailed by 26 points at halftime. The Nets finished with 20 turnovers.
TURNING POINT: The Nets trailed 50-40 late in the second quarter when things really started to take a turn for the worst. They were still in the game, but the defense was stagnant and Lionel Hollins was fired up and eventually took a technical foul arguing with the refs. That turned into a 17-1 run by the Celtics and a 26 point halftime lead.
“I was trying to fight for them, but they have to fight for themselves,” Hollins said afterward about taking the tech.
NO BIG MEN: A big part of the problem was that Mason Plumlee got into foul trouble early and barely played after that. Meanwhile the Celtics dominated in the paint 62-40 with Plumlee and Brook Lopez, still out with a mild mid-foot sprain, sat on the bench. Plumlee finished with just four points and four rebounds in over 11 minutes. Without the two, the Nets were forced to go with a small lineup that was inconsistent at best.
NBA DEBUTS: A couple of Nets made their NBA debuts on Wednesday including Bojan Bogdanovic and Cory Jefferson. Bojan was ineffective, though, with just seven points and two assists in 26 minutes. Jefferson wasn’t all that bad really. He had eight points and two rebounds in more than eight minutes.
STATS: Mirza Teletovic was the bright spot as he led the Nets with 20 points. Deron Williams finished with 19 points and eight assists, but was generally miserable all night and picked up 13 of those points after the Nets already trailed by more than 20. Joe Johnson finished with 19 points, Jarrett Jack had 11 and Kevin Garnett had 10. Garnett only played 22 minutes despite Hollins’ insistence that he would have no minutes restrictions. He is, however, getting over a recent cold.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “It was mind boggling, but it’s the first game. We’ll put this behind us, try to move forward,” said Joe Johnson.
UP NEXT: That was ugly, but like Johnson said, it’s just the first game. The Nets started 10-21 last season. It was problematic to see D-Will play so terribly and Lopez’s injury will be scary if it lingers. The Nets are on the road for one more game against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night before they come back to Brooklyn where they will host the Thunder on Monday.