The Nets only found one positive Wednesday night in Philadelphia: they didn’t lose. Aside from that, Brooklyn turned a gimme against a woeful franchise into a nail biter that needed attention to detail.
After storming out to a 20-point lead, the Nets squandered all of it and fell behind by two in the fourth quarter. They held on to win, 99-91, but the positive vibes around the Nets’ locker room following the game are masking some serious issues.
The record of the teams the Nets have beaten this year: 17-61.
The Sixers fell to 0-15 with the loss. Only the 2009-10 Nets were worse at 0-18. But to be fair, that Nets team would mop the floor with this group in Philadelphia. With eight undrafted free agents, the Sixers are little more than a D-League team.
The Nets had a few players who could legitimately play. Brook Lopez and Devin Harris were two of them. Courtney Lee currently starts for the Memphis Grizzlies, the best team in the west. Kris Humphries suited up in the starting lineup of another playoff-bound team Wednesday night, the Washington Wizards.
That team only managed a 12-70 record. This Sixers team will be hard-pressed to find more than six wins on their schedule. They could have made it one against the Nets.
The Sixers turned the ball over three times on the first three possessions. The Nets somehow bested that ominous stat; they turned the ball over 24 times in the game.
Typically, this Nets group, coach included, will credit the opponent by saying they’re NBA players as well. As Kevin Garnett has often said, they’re paid to play. But for most of the Sixers, that will last just this year.
Lionel Hollins’s team certainly has the talent to play better than they currently are. But great talent does not equate to a great team. One thing to keep in mind is that last year’s team needed most of the year to gel. That was mostly by necessity, though.
In 2013-14, the Nets were decimated by injuries in the first half of the season. As they got predominantly healthy, they elevated into a playoff team. This year, however, the Nets have lost just two man games to injury — the first two games that Lopez missed with his foot sprain. Otherwise, the Nets have had a clean bill of health.
The jury is out on how they’ll rebound when guys start to miss the odd game with the wear and tear of a normal NBA season. Outside of Jarrett Jack and Mirza Teletovic, the bench is pretty barren. Alan Anderson rounded out the group of essentially the eight men that Hollins rode throughout the night.
That is the Nets’ core. They will need to make it work with the guys on the roster as they lack the assets to make any moves. Luckily, Hollins has the proven track record to get the team going.
They return to action Sunday at home for an afternoon game against the Chicago Bulls.