There isn't a word for what happened to the Nets Friday night vs. Minnesota. Blowout doesn't really describe it. Beatdown's inappropriate, too. Because in both cases, that means that both teams competed, and one was hugely better than the other. Instead, Friday night was like if the Nets just hadn't shown up.
They had an 83.7 offensive efficiency Friday night (points per 100 possessions) and anything below 95 is basically dreadful. If dreadful was a person, this version of dreadful had the flu and one of its arm chopped off. They gave up a 113.1 defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) and anything above 107 is a disaster. That's like if a disaster threw up on itself.
After the game, the team's comments were no longer, "Oh, we're going to figure it out," or "I'm not worried." It was "We have to figure this out now," "the message isn't getting through," and most alarming "management will do what they'll do." From the New York Post:
“We can talk about it, but the actions have to kick in at some points, and we're not doing that on either end,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “We've written [it] on the board. We've talked about it. The coaches have talked about it. As players, at some point they have to accept it … maybe our message isn't clear enough.”
“We've created this monster, and we've got to deal with it,” Kevin Garnett said when asked how to keep the negativity surrounding the team's rough start from permeating the locker room. “It is what it is.
“You're going to have the business of basketball come into play, I'm sure, and management is probably going to do what they've got to do, and that's out of our hands. We control our destiny, who we are as individuals and players, so you've got to, again, for the fifth time I'm saying this, you have to look at yourself and try to fix this thing.”
“They are good enough,” Kidd said when asked if he believed his players were good enough to follow through on the messages he and his coaching staff are giving them. “We believe in those guys.
“There are teams that go through spurts of not playing well when the ball is not bouncing their way, and right now the ball isn't bouncing our way. We've just got to stay together.”
“I'm just struggling right now, simple and plain,” said (Paul) Pierce, who is 7-for-34 since sitting out last Saturday's game against the Clippers with a sore left groin.
“I think I'm getting great looks. I've just got to be able to knock them down. I've got to be able to step up with these guys out and I've got to be able to play better basketball.”
“We're trying to soul search right now and see who we are,” Garnett said. “Each individual has got to look themselves in the mirror and try and see what they can do better. Period. Point blank.
“We're better than this, and we know it. I don't know what it is … a broken record? We keep playing the same old song and we're playing the instruments, so it's on us.”
A coach throwing the players under the bus? Pierce saying he's just struggling? Garnett talking about the "monster" they've created and how management is going to "do what they've got to do?"
The Nets have been devastated by injuries, with Andrei Kirilenko having barely played, Deron Williams having rolled his ankle, and Brook Lopez missing time. But they've also looked slow, overwhelmed, and unprepared. They look nothing like a professional basketball team and that's been the case whether Lopez and Williams play or not.
There's plenty of time. Maybe their December will be like their November last year.
But things are getting awfully bad in Brooklyn.