Brook Lopez will not play Saturday night in Detroit, and is still having pain in the area.
Lionel Hollins told reporters that Lopez is still experiencing discomfort in his surgically-repaired right foot, and he’s growing concerned Lopez could miss more time.
“He just has pain,” Hollins said. “He was having pain before and looked like he was going better, but now he can’t. It’s not my call of when he does practice or when he doesn’t, so when [the trainers]say he’s not going today, okay.”
“I was optimistic every day,” Hollins continued. “[But] when he doesn’t come out and practice, I’m not optimistic any more.”
Yikes. I’m becoming more and more concerned about Lopez’s health, and now this is even worse news. I took some flack from some fans for my pessimistic outlook on Lopez’s health when news of his sprain first broke, but this is exactly why. Two weeks can quickly become two months for any injury that a professional athlete has, considering how much they need to utilize every ounce of strength in their body to get the job done. Add in that Lopez has had two surgeries on the same foot over the last two years, and it’s scary. Now, with no timetable for his return and the Nets having looked awful is their opener without him, things could spiral out of control quickly.
What the heck happened? That’s what I’m left asking myself after a Nets opener that has me very worried about the prospects of this season just one day into the NBA season.
“I really have no answer,” Deron Williams told reporters after the game when asked about the Nets’ abysmal effort in Boston. “We just looked like [expletive] out there. We weren’t rotating right. We weren’t helping out. They were getting layup after layup. It’s hard to win like that.”
That’s a pretty accurate assessment. The Nets were beaten off the dribble all night. They were outworked in the paint with ease. The Celtics first half shot chart looked like Fenway Park’s outfield grass. Brooklyn surrendered 101 points… in three quarters. There was really no place to take solace, and Lionel Hollins told the media as much after the game.
“We were making so many mistakes in the pick-and-roll, the straight line penetration really hurt us at that point,” Hollins said. “Communication, effort, second effort, third effort. The game of basketball is about efforts. Not effort. Efforts. We got to do it in the game. We do it in practice but we have to do it in the game.”
What worried me the most is just how thoroughly the Nets were taken out to the wood shed. Rajon Rondo, who was questionable until game time, carved up the Nets’ offense with ease. His six-of-9 shoot, seven rebound, 12 assist effort was really discouraging, particularly for a Brooklyn unit that is slower and going to be more reliant on its ability to limit opposing offenses’ opportunities instead of being a turnover machine like Jason Kidd’s team was last season. Rondo is not going to be the last dynamic play maker this defense faces, and considering how badly it failed its first test, it doesn’t leave me overly optimistic.
We also saw just how important of a presence Brook Lopez is, especially how this team is constructed. One of the biggest take aways of Wednesday night was that Kevin Garnett looked old. Like, really old. Mason Plumlee is a solid player, but he’s still a sophomore in this league. It makes me even more concerned about the sector of losing Lopez for any serious amount of time. Once he returns from this sprain, I’d expect to see improvement in the interior.
“[Boston's] whole offense was giving us trouble,” Hollins added in his postgame remarks.
That, Coach, will simply not do.
Result: The Nets dropped their season opener to the Celtics 121-105 in Boston.
Need to Know: The Celtics rushed out to a 67-41 first half lead and led by as many as 29 as Boston shot 55.7 percent from the floor in the rout.
It was a rough debut for new head coach Lionel Hollins, who was whistled for a technical in frustration.
Eight Celtics were in double figures led by Kelly Olynk’s 19 points and Rajon Rondo’s 13 points 12 assists and seven rebounds.
The Nets got 20 points from Mirza Teletovic, while Deron Williams added 19, as did Joe Johnson.
The Nets defense gave up 101 points through three quarters.
Links: AP Recap | Box Score
Next up: The Nets are at Detroit on Saturday at 7 p.m..
The Nets play the Celtics to open the 2014-15 season in Boston.
The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on YES and WFAN.
Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Mason Plumlee, Bojan Bogdanovic and Deron Williams are the expected starters.
Brooklyn and Boston met four times during the 2013-14 season, with the Nets winning three of the four meetings, including both contests at Barclays Center.
Recently, on March 21, 2014, Joe Johnson scored a team-high 27 points (10-16 FG, 6-8 3PT FG) in 30 minutes, Mason Plumlee added 18 points (6-7 FG, 6-6 FT) in 21 minutes in a starting role and the Nets bench outscored the Celtics bench 45-21 en route to a 114-98 victory in Brooklyn. The Nets shot a blistering 44-78 (.564) from the field and held the Celtics to just 35-83 (.422) to help the Nets capture a 3-1 season series win over Boston.
Kevin Garnett will begin his twentieth season in the NBA on Wednesday night.
Garnett will become just the fourth player in NBA history to play 20 or more season, joining Robert Parish (21 seasons), Kevin Willis (21 seasons) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (20 seasons).
Garnett is the active leaders in games (1,377), minutes (48,910) and rebounds (14,201).
He is second in the league in career steals (1,785), trailing Kobe Bryant (1,835), and blocks (2,010), behind Tim Duncan (2,791). He is third in the league in points (25,626), following Bryant (31,700) and Dirk Nowitzki (26,786).
Brook Lopez will not play in Wednesday night’s season opener, Lionel Hollins said. Mason Plumlee will get the start in Lopez’s place.
Lopez hasn’t practiced at full speed since spraining his surgically repaired right foot Oct. 15.
The Nets went 16-6 when Plumlee started last season.
I’m fine with this. In fact, I’ve been advocating it for a few weeks. There’s just no reason to rush Lopez on Day One of the Nets’ season.
I’m even happier that Plumlee gets a chance to start. It comes as a surprise, since it looked like Teletovic would get his crack at starting in a Lopez-less lineup, but Lionel Hollins just like the match up with Plumlee better. Let’s see what the kid learned this summer!
The Nets will open their 2014-15 campaign in Boston on Wednesday night. Here’s how the SNY Nets staff sees this season playing out:
Moke Hamilton, NBA Analyst
There’s really nothing too profound to say here as far as I see it; the Nets will only go as far as Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are able to carry them.
Jarrett Jack, I think, serves the needs of this team and roster a little better than Marcus Thornton did, so he provides a bit of insurance. Jerome Jordan put together some good minutes during the preseason, but he and Mason Plumlee would have a difficult time matching the impact of Lopez if he were to go down for an extended period.
For now, we should be optimistic and believe that the Nets will prevail over their health woes this season and if that does happen, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them hover around 45 wins. The Eastern Conference is much stronger than it was last season. I have the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards as the top three teams in the conference. Next, I’d take the Miami HEAT and Charlotte Hornets in some order.
If all goes well, the Nets will have an opportunity to win their division and a first round playoff series. Again, it hinges on the health of Lopez or Williams, though. If either’s history of nagging and persistent injuries continues this season, the Nets may find themselves struggling to qualify for the playoffs in the increasingly tough Eastern Conference.
Moke’s points are well taken, and very true. Health is the lynchpin in this season for the Nets. That sad, I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised by the contributions Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko provide. Two of the summer of 2013’s key acquisitions will provide plenty for the Nets in their second season in Brooklyn, as KG will be more comfortable and AK will stay on the court and get a more defined role.
I think Deron will be a revelation, but Lopez plays roughly 45 games, as he ends up in and out of the lineup all season. The Nets get good minutes from Mason Plumlee off the bench, and by December, he unseats Mirza Teletovic as the everyday power forward. That will give Plums the opportunity to play alongside Garnett at center, who gives him one last tutorial in KG’s final NBA season.
At season’s end, the Nets wind up with the fifth seed, but a first round exit in seven games. Bojan Bogdanovic is the runner up for Rookie of the Year.