Nets drop sixth straight 114-101 to Clippers
The Brooklyn Nets have been playing lethargic and sloppy basketball recently. Nothing changed Monday night.
Kenny Atkinson's squad posted another underwhelming performance Monday, losing 114-101 to the Clippers.
The Nets have lost six straight and dropped 10 of their last 11. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert were inactive again for the contest.
While Brooklyn has been deficient in most areas throughout this stretch, defense has been the most glaring issue.
The Nets have been consistently playing from behind in losses. Brooklyn trailed from the start once again Monday night after allowing 34 first-quarter points.
Opposing teams continually get easy looks at the basket against Brooklyn. This is largely due to the Nets' pick and roll defense. This has been a problem for Brooklyn since the beginning of the season and not much has changed.
There has been a noticeable lack in effort when getting over the top of screens throughout this stretch of losses. Opposing guards come off of high ball screens for open jump shots or two on one opportunities with a rolling big man.
Atkinson acknowledged this pressing issue postgame, "Way too many paint drives. We knew we had to keep them out of the paint and we couldn't do it."
On the offensive end, the Nets are struggling to get quality looks near the basket, further aggravating their defensive woes. Brooklyn attempted just 10 free-throws but hoisted 40 three-point attempts in the loss.
The offense looked stagnant. Guards were often standing around the three-point line as Dinwiddie or Russell played isolation.
The Nets trailed by 23 at the end of the third. Russell heated up in the fourth, scoring 14 points to ignite a small run. Brooklyn was able to cut the lead to nine, but that is as close as it would get.
Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 20 points off the bench. Russell and Joe Harris scored 16 points apiece to lead Brooklyn.
Rebounding was another problem, as has been the case all season for Brooklyn. DeAndre Jordan dominated the glass, grabbing 17 rebounds and scoring 16 points.
Atkinson attempted to play Quincy Acy at center to force Jordan out of the paint on defense. However, Acy isn't forcing anyone out of the paint when he isn't making his shots.
Acy has shot just 26.2% (11/42) in the Nets' last 11 games. Outside of the three-pointer, Acy can do nearly nothing on the offensive end. This is illustrated by the fact that 205 of his 265 field goal attempts this season have been three-pointers.
When the three-pointer isn't falling, Acy's value to the team is extremely minimal. This may make some wonder why Atkinson played him 31 minutes against Los Angeles.
Brooklyn will need to take a serious step back and reevaluate their play. There has been a serious lack of energy on both ends of the floor throughout this losing stretch.
The Nets will look to pick up a much-needed win before the All-Star break as they host the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night.