The Brooklyn Nets present: A tale of two halves
Jan 2, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson gestures to a referee during the first quarter against Utah Jazz at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Watching the Brooklyn Nets is equal parts frustrating and entertaining, and it’s all rooted in their hot and cold play. 

Imagine the first two quarters of a Brooklyn Nets game as episodes four, five and six of Star Wars. Yes, that means the last two quarters are episodes one, two and three. Try as they might, everything’s a mess. As much as they attempt to duplicate what they did in the past, it doesn’t work. And by the end of the fourth quarter, there’s a smoldering pile of mediocrity that resembles Anakin Skywalker at the end of Episode III.

Frankly, I’m not sure what the issue is. The Nets are the only team in the league with single-digit wins and we’re almost at the halfway point of the season.

On the road, they struggle mightily and can’t get off to any hot start — well, at least it seems that way. Statistically, Brooklyn’s offense is actually better away from Barclays, and they score more points, 105.8 to 104.9, while maintaining the same percentage from the field.

Apparently, they don’t take defense on the bus. Their opponents bury about 48 percent of their attempts and put up more than 116 points, making the differential a staggering 11.2 points.

Although the defense doesn’t show up at all, the offense gets there a bit late. But, it’s usually a done deal by then. The Nets rank fourth in the NBA with an average of 56.1 points in the second half of road games, behind Golden State, San Antonio and Boston.

Here’s the kicker: they’re still 3.6 points worse than their opponents in that criteria.

Just for comparison, Brooklyn averages about 50 points a first half this year — not the worst, but among the ten worst teams. And, well, the point differential is about as bad as it can be, and the Nets finish the first half trailing by almost eight points on average.

But, there’s still some improvement!

It would be wrong not to compare the first half, and, believe it or not, Brooklyn is one of the deadliest first half teams on their home court. They register upwards of 56 points over the first 24 minutes, which puts them in some tremendous company.

However, I’m not sure if the team naps during halftime, but their second-half play puts insomniacs to sleep. The Nets get blown away following the intermission and usually squander their halftime leads because of their -8.4 differential in quarters three and four. They’re hard-pressed to crack 48 points.

Unfortunately, I don’t have shooting numbers for this, but I’m not sure Nets fans would want to see them. There also aren’t individual player numbers, but, when the scoring is a bad as it is, no one’s separating themselves and, if they are, it almost doesn’t matter.

What’s even more puzzling is that there aren’t many long spurts of good play. Even with bad teams, they can put together a couple of minutes of outstanding basketball that makes you question their record, but this hasn’t been the case with the Nets.

They have good possessions, but putting a bunch of them together is like watching a baby try and walk for the first them. They stand up, and you gasp and stay silent hoping they take another step.

And then they fall.

If we continue with the baby analogy, they’ll eventually get it together, and it’ll become second-nature. But all babies reach that point at different ages.

All stats are from NBA.com or Teamrankings.com unless otherwise noted.

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