Monday night’s debacle just the latest home court loss for Brooklyn.
Earlier this season I wrote about how Nets fans needed to do better by their team after being shown up by Warriors fans during their November contest at Barclays Center. However, now it’s the Nets’ turn to do right by their fans.
To say the last two months have been rough for the inhabitants of “Nets World” is an understatement. Between Kevin Durant’s injury, James Harden forcing his way to Philadelphia, and the ongoing circus that is the Kyrie Irving part-time status, things have been bleak for Nets fans who should be enjoying a smooth ride to the playoffs.
Monday night saw the Nets get absolutely dog walked by the Toronto Raptors, a team they are currently chasing in the Eastern Conference standings.
The 36-point loss was Brooklyn’s largest margin of defeat to Toronto since 2007. Mind you this coming with the Raptors missing all-star guard Fred VanVleet and young stud OG Anunoby.
The numbers aren’t pretty
Unfortunately for Nets fans, losses like this have become all too common since the turn of the calendar year. Brooklyn has lost 10 of their last 13 home games since January 1 with seven coming without the services of Kevin Durant.
On the year Brooklyn holds a 13-17 record at Barclays Center.
Losing games without your star talent is understandable but the way the Nets have lost some of their recent home contests is not. Since the start of the year, Brooklyn is losing by an average of 17.5 points at home. Eight of their 10 losses have been by double digits with four of them coming by 20+ points and two coming by 30+ points.
Over their last four games, however, the team is losing by an average of 27 points and opponents are averaging over 126 points per game. Brooklyn on the other hand is putting up a meager 99.2 points per game over that same span.
Who’s to blame?
The elephant in the room obviously is that these hometown blues are easily remedied if Kyrie Irving was vaccinated. And even if they did somehow still lose, the losses wouldn’t be as embarrassing.
But accountability has to be taken with the players that are available to play as well. These aren’t just scrubs or roster fillers on 10-day contracts. These are former all-stars and NBA champions with the exception of the spattering of minutes the rookies get. Where is the pride? Where is the fight?
To be outclassed by opposing teams who, on paper are not much better than you is embarrassing. Following Monday’s loss, Bruce Brown said it was “unacceptable” what the Raptors did at Barclays Center.
Well, the Nets have been letting teams get away with this “unacceptable behavior” for the past few weeks. Something’s got to give.
Bruce Brown on getting a win tomorrow against Toronto: “It’s huge. We’re two games back now. We got to get this win in Toronto.”
Brown called it “unacceptable” what the Raptors did tonight at Barclays Center.
— Chris Milholen (@CMilholenSB) March 1, 2022
Listless and lifeless are how one could describe the way this team has played, primarily to begin games. We all remember the horrific start against the Celtics a few weeks ago when the team was losing 28-2 in the first quarter. Brooklyn has trailed by double digits during the first half in three of the last four home games.
Defensively, this team at times looks like it has no idea what its rotations are supposed to be, and on offense, it looks like five guys who are meeting each other for the first time.
Yes, with the stars out, some guys are playing bigger roles than originally intended however that’s no excuse for the performance Nets fans in attendance have had to witness. Those jokes about Brooklyn being a softer place to play sure seem to be ringing true at the moment because it is amazing how this team isn’t showered with boos for their recent play.
And the truly frustrating part is that it doesn’t have to be like this. We’ve seen this group put forth valiant efforts in games. The first game for Seth Curry and Andre Drummond the Nets defeated the Kings in convincing fashion.
And the very next game they came back from down 28 points to beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
This same group that played such inspired basketball this past weekend against the defending champs looked like they’d never picked up a basketball before against the Raptors.
The fact that the Nets have only been able to squeak out three wins since the start of the new year, all of which have come against the dregs of the league (Spurs, Pelicans, and Kings) is also concerning.
Losses to teams like the Nuggets and Celtics are easier to digest due to them just having more talent. However, losses to teams like the Wizards and Raptors (double-digit ones at that) are not. Especially when they’re missing key guys themselves.
Even with the NYC mandates being lifted soon there still appear to be some hurdles the Nets and Kyrie have to cross before he is suiting up to play at The ‘Clays. Kevin Durant should be making his return very soon which should help quell these home nightmares.
The fact of the matter is that for the past two months the Nets have failed their fans and season ticket holders should be the angriest of all. How can you continue to show up and support a team that phones it in when the stars aren’t there?