Josh Newman, Field ReporterApproximately 30 minutes after the Nets lost, 103-86 to the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers, head coach Jason Kidd finally made his way to the dais inside the Barclays Center’s Ortsbo Media Room.
The 30-minute gap between the final buzzer and his appearance was roughly triple the amount of time it normally takes for him to appear. He looked pale, tired and defeated, all of which could be argued as symbolic for what this Nets season, once filled with visions of May and June, has become.
The Nets lost for the third consecutive time and fourth time in the last five games. One-third of the way through the season, they are 9-18 and there are few, if any signs that things will get turned around.
“It’s getting very close to accepting losing,” Kidd said. “We’re kind of getting comfortable with losing. We’ve got to make a stand with that because when things get tough, do we just give in? Most of the time right now, we do.”
The Pacers are one of a small handful team that appear to be legit title contenders and they showed why in the third quarter on Monday evening.
As a team, the Pacers shot 60 percent from the floor in the third quarter, when MVP candidate Paul George scored 10 of his 26 points. Conversely, the Nets shot just 35.3 percent from the field and were outscored, 30-19, as the Pacers took a 75-58 lead into the fourth quarter.
“When we don’t make shots, we tend to hang our head and we forget about playing defense,” Kidd said. “When you look at Indiana, they got a couple layups there because missed shots and our transition, which was really good in the first half because both teams weren’t making shots. Then, there in the third, Indiana’s making shots and we’re not, and the game kind of got away from us there.”
The road isn’t getting any easier for the Nets, who play the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day and the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, both at home, but then embark on a three-game road trip against these same Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Pacers, Spurs and Thunder currently have a combined record of 67-16.
As if that isn’t bad enough, Brook Lopez is out for the season and a Nets offense which generally runs through the 7-foot center is going to have to circle the wagons. Monday was not a good start as they shot 35.1 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from 3-point range.
“This is what we have, there’s nobody coming in to save the day,” said Jason Terry, who scored 11 points in 15 minutes off the bench in his first game since Nov. 20 thanks to a knee injury. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.We’re going to have to grind it out.”
“It’s something we can’t control,” Deron Williams said. “We can’t control Brook going down and being out for the season, we can’t control Andrei (Kirilenko) missing games, Ticket’s (Kevin Garnett) missed games, Paul with his hand (injury). It’s been a rough year as far as injuries, but we can’t make excuses. We can play better.”