The Brooklyn Nets moved to a new arena in a new city, but the start of the season has that same old Nets feel. The slow-starting Nets we remember from New Jersey may have crossed the Hudson disguised as a new team from Brooklyn.
The Nets fell to 1-2 on the season Wednesday night, losing by 30 points on the road against the defending champions Miami Heat.
At the beginning of the season head coach Avery Johnson preached defense, saying he wanted his team to be a top ten defensive team. So far through three games, the Nets are giving up 103 points per game and are worst in the league in rebounding.
It’s still early in the season, but the message Johnson was trying to deliver in training camp is yet to hit home.
Much of the Nets defensive woes can be attributed to the injury of Gerald Wallace, who missed the past two games because of an ankle sprain. Wallace is listed as day-to-day and is expected to miss Friday’s game in Orlando.
Johnson inserted gritty veteran Keith Bogans into the starting lineup, but he is undersized at the small forward position. Newcomer Joe Johnson has been filling in as well when the Nets go to a three-guard rotation, but the lack have of size has been detrimental so far.
To make matters worse, the team across town has been playing lights out and are the only undefeated team in the league. The New York Knicks are 3-0 with impressive victories against the Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Much has been made about the crosstown rivalry between the Knicks and Nets, so much so that the season opener slated the two New York teams against one another. However, the game was postponed because of Hurricane Sandy.
Hurricane Sandy is nothing to joke about, but it may have saved the Nets from being the joke around town. The Knicks were poised to ruin the Nets home opener at the brand new Barclays Center, but they’ll have to wait until the end of the month to play their first game in the neighboring arena.
Yes, it’s still early in the season, but the Nets need to come together quick. Expectations are higher than they were in New Jersey and New Yorkers aren’t as patient.
Another couple of losses and the Nets may as well pack up their bags and head back across the Hudson.