Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
On Wednesday night, the Nets appeared to be on their way to end their seven-game losing streak after dominating the Oklahoma City Thunder for most of the game.
Maybe we should have known better. It’s the Nets. No leads are ever safe. They are so good at blowing fourth quarter leads going back to last season. They have topped themselves here by blowing a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter against a tired Thunder team and went on to lose 114-112 at Barclays Center.
It was a thrill of victory for the Thunder and the agony of defeat for the Nets.
After eight straight losses, the Nets have become numb to all this. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson offered this tired spiel (all together now!) about it’s a learning experience that his players have to go through and he hopes the basketball gods will reward his team for their hard work.
Thankfully, Allen Crabbe and Jared Dudley offered real talk to what’s going on. Crabbe mentioned it’s deflating, and Dudley cited it’s like Groundhog Day that the Nets do the same things each game to lose whether it’s not boxing out or playing isolation ball.
Good thing for Atkinson and Nets general manager Sean Marks that no one cares about the Nets for anyone to get worked up and the media to trash them. Still, the three fans that follow the Nets are likely going to demand results sooner or later from this new administration.
This is Year 3 for Marks and Atkinson, and so far, there has not been any progress from the Nets. They are no better than they were when both had the job couple of years ago. The Nets are 8-18 with no signs of getting better anytime soon. They don’t play defense, and they don’t know how to get rebounds based on the third and fourth chances the Thunder received in the fourth quarter. They are often undisciplined.
This is a roster that has no real identity. The Nets are neither powerful not particularly athletic. From watching them execute fourth quarter on defense and offense, it’s clear the Nets don’t possess a good basketball IQ, either.
Stop mentioning Caris LeVert’s absence. It’s not like he is LeBron James, and the Nets weren’t exactly winning with him. There’s no excuse for the Nets to lose to an awful Cleveland Cavaliers team Monday night, and there’s certainly no excuse to blow this lead against the Thunder. The Nets may have limitations, but playing defense does not require skill as it requires only effort.
Maybe it’s time for the Nets to start playing with a sense of urgency. It’s certainly time to demand results from Marks and Atkinson. It’s time for accountability. The players need to start being developed, and wins need to come. This is a team that shouldn’t be this bad.
No one’s calling for Atkinson and Marks to be fired, but it does not mean anyone should tolerate bad basketball and more losses from the Nets, either.
From watching the Nets, it sure seems like a Club Med atmosphere where players and coaches show up to work and do nothing else. They get paid for all this, too. It’s time Atkinson and Marks start showing outrage or even feign outrage that this will not be accepted anymore.
No one has any idea what absentee Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov thinks since he is not talking, not to mention he is in Russia. The opinion here is he enjoying life in Russia to even care what’s going on. It makes one wonder why he is still the owner when he has no interest in the Nets’ day-to-day affairs.
When the owner does not care, why should Atkinson, Marks and the players care or even worry about their job security? Why should they feel responsible to what’s going on?
The time has come to stop talking about development and start demanding wins. This is an organization that has been too comfortable with losing, which probably explains why they blow fourth-quarter leads often.
Maybe it should start with Marks. He hasn’t spoken to the media in a long time. He has been in hiding. It would be nice to get some insight from him. One can only take so much of Atkinson’s variation about the process. Everything starts with him, so he should be saying something.
It would be nice if the Nets were angry after a loss for a change instead of being shell-shocked and accepting it. Go on a rant, break a chair, display a temper tantrum, call out someone or throw the food spread.
Enough of patience. Enough of taking Ls. Enough of accepting it.
Instead of talking about growth or process, start demanding accountability.