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Nets: We need to make major improvements before season
The Nets used Sunday’s game against the 76ers in Brooklyn as a dress rehearsal of sorts, in what was likely the final game for most of the team’s key contributors before the regular season begins next week.
So what was the verdict after they came away with a 92-91 win in front of 10,756 sort-of-interested observers at Barclays Center?
“We’ve got a lot to work on still,” Thaddeus Young said.
Young is right, as while the Nets did manage to win, improving to 2-3 heading into Monday night’s preseason finale in Boston, they looked awfully rough in doing so.
The stats across the board were rough: The Nets shot 41 percent, 23.5 percent (4-for-17) from 3-point range, and committed 20 turnovers that led to 24 points for the Sixers.
If you take away the performances of Brook Lopez (24 points, nine rebounds and four blocks) and Young (15 points, 10 rebounds and two steals), the numbers look even worse. “We’ve got a long way to go,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “[But] I can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”
Hollins had said before the game he planned to play his regular rotation — or at least as close to it as possible — in order to try and get a gauge on where things stand, as the Nets are likely to sit most of their starters against the Celtics.
That would appear to give Wayne Ellington the edge on the starting shooting guard spot over Bojan Bogdanovic, though they basically split the minutes at the position Sunday and both were ineffective (Ellington went 2-for-8; Bogdanovic went 1-for-6).
By only playing Jarrett Jack and Shane Larkin, Hollins eliminated any doubt he will at least enter the season with those two as his top point guards, with Donald Sloan — who didn’t play Sunday — seeming to have the inside track as the third point guard.
Similarly, Thomas Robinson has the third big man spot locked up behind Lopez and Young — despite the fact he didn’t play in the first half.
So what happened?
“I forgot him,” Hollins said. “I looked down the bench two or three times, and once he was sitting on the floor and I was looking at the bench. The other time he’s on the bike, and I get up and I don’t see him, so I think he’s not even out there.”
But Robinson played 17 minutes in the second half, scoring seven points, and is certain to be in line for significant minutes — not only because he was projected to, but because Andrea Bargnani, Willie Reed and Chris McCullough all remain out with long-term injuries.
After Monday’s game, the Nets will have eight days before they open the season at home against the Bulls on Oct. 28. They won’t be lacking for things to work on. “We are going to make mistakes, [but] you don’t really want to take any steps back,” Lopez said. “You want to see what we did right, do more of that, and learn from what we didn’t do right.”
The Nets still have a lot of learning to do.
Source: New York Post