It looked like the Nets could see the light at the end of the tunnel there for a second. That was at least the case with Brooklyn’s off-the-court issues. Now the focus is back to what’s happening (or not happening) on the court.
Outside of questioning Ben Simmons’ passion for the game, the Nets got their behinds whooped on Tuesday night against the Sacramento Kings. Brooklyn allowed 153 points and lost by more than 30.
The results have been a bit of a roller coaster for Brooklyn so far this season. After splitting the first two games, the Nets went on a four-game losing streak. Things effectively turned around in the seven games that followed by winning five times. Now the squad is on a two-game losing streak.
That happens to the best of teams, but was the effort there in Sacramento? It depends on who you ask. Kevin Durant, who led the Nets with 27 points, thought it was there:
Kevin Durant: "They made shots. That's demoralizing when you see teams making shots. It's not like we didn't try. It just felt like they were just on the offensive side of the ball… I wouldn't say it was a lack of effort or guys didn't care." pic.twitter.com/1WhZH6Z4pH
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) November 16, 2022
If you ask head coach Jacque Vaughn, though, he’d give you a different answer after watching his squad get blown out:
Jacque Vaughn: "I don't know if our minds our bodies and souls are still in LA. LA will do that to you sometimes. We definitely gave maximum effort against the #Clippers and we've been reeling since." #Nets
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) November 16, 2022
Vaughn didn’t directly say the Nets lacked effort. However, the above quote certainly makes it seem like he thinks Brooklyn didn’t leave everything on the floor Tuesday night.
A letdown game is bound to happen a handful of times each year. The NBA season is a grind and the Nets are currently in the midst of a West Coast road trip. But the regular season isn’t even a month old yet and this isn’t the first time Brooklyn has dealt with a lack of effort. That’s a little troubling.
Brooklyn intends on giving Vaughn a legitimate chance to compete with the Nets’ current roster, but instances like this won’t help that cause. An effort to salvage the road trip comes on Thursday against the Portland Trail Blazers before coming home to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
That’s followed by three more road games against the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, and Indiana Pacers. Once that stretch is complete, Brooklyn will finally settle into a seven-game homestand. Some progress will need to be made over the next couple of weeks, as the Nets currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 6-9 record.