Jason Kidd trotted a full complement of star-power onto the Barclays Center hardwood Wednesday night, but the Nets proved they still lack some championship qualities that need addressing.
The Washington Wizards marched into Brooklyn and pounded the Nets on the glass en route to a 113-107 win.
The Nets accomplished all they needed on the offensive end of the floor, but the defense failed them as the Wizards grabbed 19 offensive rebounds. Going through the box-score, the Nets got everything they wanted on offense. Paul Pierce erupted for 27 points and Deron Williams added a double-double.
On the other side, however, seven Wizards scored in double-figures, and Washington’s rebounding prowess allowed them to take 14 more shots.
“They crashed [the boards] with three or four guys each time and they were able to get offensive rebounds and offensive rebounds means second shots,” power forward Kevin Garnett said. “We didn’t do a good job of controlling that and making that adjustment.”
While the Nets’ offense is clearly clicking, the Nets must find answers on the other side of the ball. Much of that starts in the middle as Brook Lopez (22 points) grabbed only three defensive rebounds in 32 minutes of play. He hauled in five total boards on the game.
Lopez did assume responsibility in his first game back from an ankle injury, saying he was “disappointed in (himself).”
“I didn’t do a great job boxing out my guy, whoever it was, and he kept getting the rebound and scoring,” Lopez said.
And despite his 10-for-12 shooting night, Pierce did not want to talk about his personal successes.
“We come out here and try to win as a team,” Pierce said. “It is not about how good Paul Pierce is feeling. Tonight we had the inability to rebound, defend the three and that is what cost us the game.”
While the Nets have causes for concern, they’re still headed in the right direction. The offense continues to roll and Wizards’ head coach Randy Wittman felt his team needed one of its best efforts to get past a rolling Nets squad.
“I’m really pleased. I thought it was one of our better overall games,” Wittman said. “A win is a win and it is tough to get a win in this league. I thought tonight was as good a game we’ve played in a long time from start to finish.”
Kidd will continue to hammer home his defensive philosophies, which evolved after Lawrence Frank’s demotion. And the Wizards pose a matchup nightmare for the Nets with faster guards and athletic bigs.
The Nets will get back on track when they play the Philadelphia 76ers for the second time this week Friday night on the road.