Seven! it’s the number of games the Nets have lost in a row, and after their 111-103 overtime blunder against the Oklahoma City Thunder it doesn’t look like it will get any easier in the month of January.
Things have not changed for the Brooklyn Nets (16-20) since losing their star guard Kyrie Irving to a shoulder in mid-November. The team has continued to struggle offensively, and while their mixed bag roster of solid young role players and seasoned vets played well for most of the season, it doesn’t seem sustainable to remain in the hunt for a serious playoff run.
“Our offense is just not where it needs to be,” said Kenny Atkinson after the game. “We’re just really struggling. A lot of good defensive performances the last 10 games and our offense is just struggling big-time.”
The offense has become problematic, especially when Spencer Dinwiddie has become the team’s leading scorer, who for all intents and purposes has looked like an all-star this season.
Unfortunately Dinwiddie did not have a good night for Brooklyn, shooting 28 percent from the field and finishing with just 14 points. He was also 0-6 from behind the three-point line.
Against the Thunder (21-16) the Nets shot a lowly 40 percent from the field and just below 30 percent from behind the three-point line. The box score shows the obvious shooting woes, but the eye test shows how much they’ve been missing their primary ball-handler and scorers––Irving and Caris Levert, who recently returned from a ligament tear in his right thumb.
In his second game back since his injury LeVert put up a decent line of 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, but it still wasn’t enough to pull out a win.
Ultimately though it came down to making stops, and the Nets had no answer for Chris Paul, who put on a show for fans at the Barclays Center. Paul was unstoppable and finished the game with 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 4 for 8 from behind the three-point line.
“We started blitzing him, and we blitz him one time, put two on him and he went right around us and shot, so we did change our coverage,” said Atkinson. “Guy made great shots. Got to shake his hand.”
Atkinson can shake Chris Paul’s hand all he wants, but maybe its time to give his roster a good shaking to get some results.
It won’t get much easier for the Nets during the next seven games as they face the Miami, Utah, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and the Philadelphia 76ers twice. There is one game against the Atlanta Hawks during this seven-game stretch that seems like an easy win, but the Nets don’t really make things easy.