Derrel Johnson, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets have won 13 games under interim head coach PJ Carlesimo, including quality wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks on the road, and the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks at home.
But there is one stat that should have owner Mikhail Prokhorov, general manager Billy King, Nets fans, and even Carlesimo himself worried: in their five losses, to the San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, and Miami Heat, the Nets have lost by an average of over 20 points.
This is not only troubling, but also unacceptable.
The Nets have not even been competitive in games under their interim head coach against the Spurs, Grizzlies, and Heat. (Incidentally, they have lost all three games to the Heat by an average of 21 points.)
With Prokhorov in town and watching from his suite, Wednesday’s bad loss to the Heat was harder to excuse. With the Chicago Bulls in town Friday and the Los Angeles Lakers at Barclays Center next Tuesday, the schedule doesn’t ease up.
Words from Gerald Wallace served as a collective indictment on the team. When speaking about the third quarter against the Heat, Wallace referred to a chapter that the Nets hoped they’d turned from.
“Typical Nets basketball. We don’t play together,” he snarled. Wallace added to his comments, recalling the missteps of the third quarter. “Careless turnovers. We don’t execute offensively. And defensively, we don’t do anything. We don’t defend. We don’t guard the ball. We don’t help each other out. It’s the same story as it’s been all season.” Third quarters plagued the Nets in their December swoon and helped to lead to the firing of Avery Johnson.
We already know that the Heat won the quarter, 36-14. But the Nets helped them out by turning the ball over eight times and not playing as a collective unit.
That would be hard to stomach in a road game, but is even more disheartening for a team that is playing at home in a new city.
Wallace continued with his crtique of the team with more comments. “Memphis dominated us. Houston dominated us. And Miami in the second half dominated us tonight. We’re saying we want to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and we want to compete for the playoffs and shoot for a championship, but we’re having letdowns against some of the top teams in the league and we can’t do that and be a successful team.”
The harsh words of Wallace shows that the team is beginning to experience some of the problems they were having under their former coach.
With a win over the Miami Heat, P.J. Carlesimo could have inched closer to having the interim tag removed, signing a long-term deal, and possibly becoming the Nets coach of the future.
With each bad loss, he moves closer to being replaced.
To Carlesimo’s credit, the Nets responded to their first bad loss under him. After being trounced by the San Antonio Spurs by 31 points, the team responded with their biggest win of the year at Oklahoma City.
On Friday, we shall see if the Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, 2013 NBA All-Star Brook Lopez and the Brooklyn Nets have a similar response.