3. Will Nets bring a stronger effort?
After Wednesday night’s deceptive close 125-116 loss to the Washington Wizards, a game in which the Brooklyn Nets were down by as much as 28 points, center Jarrett Allen was frank in his assessment of his team’s effort, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
"“We played like doo-doo. I just attribute it to us not preparing well and not being mentally focused. In the NBA you have to prepare for every single game like they’re a top seed. You could tell our minds weren’t there.”"
Coach Kenny Atkinson agreed with that assessment, for the most part, and extended it beyond just the guys in uniform.
"“In soccer they do the ratings for each player, the coach. I thought they had higher ratings for every position, including the coach. They were nines and 10s and we were six and five at every position, including the coaching position. They outplayed us. It’s just that simple.”"
Washington crushed the Nets on the glass with a 57-41 rebounding advantage and ran out to 22 fast-break points, nearly double the 11.1 points the Nets surrender on the break per game — the third-lowest in the NBA.
Seventeen of Washington’s rebounds were on their offensive window and Brooklyn is just 25th in the NBA, allowing 14.3 second-chance points per game.
Since going with the super-small starting five they’ve featured the last five games — a unit with Allen and four guards, essentially, the Nets are allowing 16.4 second-chance points a night, 27th in the NBA.
Allen has been starting with D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris and Treveon Graham over the last five games, beginning with their triple-overtime win on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 13.
Brooklyn’s next six games are against teams with sub-.500 records before they embark on a grueling 12-game stretch on March 13 that featured 11 opponents with records better than .500.
It’s crucial for the Nets’ playoff aspirations to stack as many wins over this next stretch as they can.