With a tough stretch of games now behind them, the Brooklyn Nets need to pick themselves up and end their losing streak before things get even worse.
Still without a win to boast about during this new decade, the Brooklyn Nets appear stuck in a funk thicker than Jarrett Allen‘s afro. After dropping games against Knicks, Rockets, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Raptors, and Magic, Brooklyn failed to defend home court Tuesday night against the Thunder as they tallied up their 7th consecutive loss.
Not only did Brooklyn’s recent defeats prior to their bout against the Thunder add further gravity to the loss on Tuesday, but a missed go-ahead free throw from Spencer Dinwiddie followed by a lackluster overtime performance just added further salt to an already painful wound.
Although the always relevant injury bug continues to serve as the primary culprit responsible for Brooklyn’s losing skid, the team’s resurgence of defensive struggles and inconsistent shooting certainly warrants some attention as contributing factors.
Oklahoma City’s comeback victory against Brooklyn offers perhaps the most adept example depicting the team’s defensive flaws, as they failed to stop veteran point guard Chris Paul, who successfully ran the same pick-and-roll offensive attack, for three consecutive possessions down during the fourth quarter’s closing minutes. Upon switching with Dinwiddie after a Steven Adams screen, Allen found himself alone covering Paul, who showed no shame in taking advantage of the mismatch time after time.
While Allen’s incapability to cover guards outside the painted area may certainly stand as a potential portion of his game for him to improve on, his primary duties lie elsewhere, as he continues to develop as a rim defender. However, this only sheds light on the more pressing issue of why Brooklyn failed to make any adjustments as Paul continued abuse Allen down the stretch.
Whether the team needed a timeout and defensive adjustment from Kenny Atkinson or perhaps just a more robust team approach to their defensive attack, it mattered not as neither occurred and the Nets failed to patch up the wound and proceeded to surrender yet another game.
Besides the contest against Oklahoma City, Brooklyn has also shown vulnerability in the half court and around the perimeter. The team continues to get get beat off the dribble and allow transition hoops while also continuing mismanaging their pick-and-roll defense and consequently offering too much space for opposing three-point shooters.
Nonetheless, an aggressive offensive attack can often make up for a team’s defensive struggles in today’s NBA. But unfortunately for Brooklyn, they appear locked into a serious cold spell, playing without rhythm and consequently missing open jump shots. This has forced Dinwiddie to play far too much “hero ball.” Although he continues to put up impressive scoring totals, Dinwiddie’s tendency to take contested shots taken has caused him to post a field goal percentage 8.0 points below his season average over this stretch.
So where do things go from here? More discipline one defense and putting an emphasis on making the proper in-game adjustments will certainly help Brooklyn bring their opponents’s scoring totals back down to an appropriate level. Meanwhile, just a few hot shooting games from beyond beyond the arc as well as the mid-range area should force opposing teams to trap Dinwiddie less and instead help Brooklyn space the floor more effectively, consequently allowing their offense to run smoothly again.