Derrel Johnson, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK — Though the Brooklyn Nets are coming off of a win over the Detroit Pistons, the real test was Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.
At their new home at Barclays Center, the Nets lost a home game against a quality opponent that just so happened to be playing without two starters in Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace. The latter was suspended, this time, for a shot to the face of Detroit Pistons guard, Brandon Knight.
The Nets were down early, but led by one-point with 2:32 remaining in the game.
Then, the unthinkable happened. The Los Angeles Lakers scored the final 10 points of the game to earn the victory. If you are a Nets fan and this seems to be the equivalent of a Law and Order marathon where you suspect you’ve seen this episode before, you would be correct.
And no, breaking a losing streak at the Detroit Pistons or beating the Washington Wizards tomorrow night don’t carry the same weight.
The Nets have lost several close games to top teams in the NBA thorough the halfway point of the season. After winning their first game at Barclays Center against the New York Knicks, the crosstown rivals overcame a 17-point road deficit to the Nets to win 100-97. Going back even further, the Nets suffered their first loss of the season, and at home, to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who overcame a 22-point hole to beat the Nets 107-96.
Home dominance? Not really. The Nets are just 18-9 at Barclays Center.
There is plenty more. The Nets led all four games they played against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors, but managed to lose all of them.
The Lakers, by the way, have not lost to the Nets in over five years, having won 10 straight.
The Nets also lost a game to Deron Williams’ former team, the Utah Jazz, in which they squandered a 13-point lead to a roster that has a losing road record.
Finally, you have the defending NBA champion Miami Heat. The Nets lost all three games to the the Big Three by an average of 20 points per game. In spurts, they have been competitive, even led at the half in a game down in Miami, but their inability to compete against the NBA’s elite for 48 minutes is something that has to be troubling for an organization that is expecting more.
A loss to the Wizards tomorrow night would be bad, but the next real test for the Nets comes on Sunday, when they host the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are another elite team that the Nets haven’t been competitive with. In their first loss under interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo, the Nets were embarrassed by the Spurs 104-73. Many eyes will be on the team to see how they respond to that loss, as well as their previous home loss to the Lakers.