2. NBA has caught up with Brooklyn’s zone look
During their hottest stretch of the season in December and January, the Brooklyn Nets made hay with a 2-3 zone look at the defensive end that was helping the Nets compensate for their lack of size up front.
But as teams do in the NBA, opponents have adjusted. The Charlotte Hornets picked apart Brooklyn’s zone on Friday night, forcing the Nets into the more conventional man-to-man sets that have been a problem because of size mismatches.
By having power-forward-in-name-only Treveon Graham matched up against Kemba Walker when they were in man looks, Brooklyn was often left with Joe Harris trying to contend with power forwards Marvin Williams and Frank Kaminsky, a matchup that favored Charlotte in a big way.
Williams finished with 11 points and eight rebounds and Kaminsky went for 15 and 7 by pressing their size advantage and getting six offensive rebounds between them.
Brooklyn finished with seven offensive boards as a team.
While the Nets played better defense on the interior in the second half, Charlotte was able to take a huge lead in the first half in large part by going 16-for-23 (69.6 percent) in the paint and getting a 7-0 edge on second-chance points in the opening 24 minutes.
Throw in 15 points off turnovers and it was a recipe for the Hornets to take complete control of the game.
Charlotte shot 56.5 percent (26-for-46) overall in the first half, more than offsetting Brooklyn’s solid shooting (53.7 percent on 22-of-41).
It’s something the Nets have to fix soon, as they let another opportunity against a weaker opponent — on paper, anyway — go to waste in advance of a stretch in mid-March to early April that features 11 of 12 games against teams with winning records, nine of those games being on the road.