No one expected the Brooklyn Nets to beat the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, but the way they lost was discouraging. Brooklyn allowed the Pacers to build a 17-point lead after three quarters, coming out flat to start the second half for what seemed like the millionth time this season. After the Nets dropped their fourth game in five tries and fell to 9-18 on the season, head coach Jason Kidd kept reporters waiting about 20 minutes longer than usual. When he emerged, he had some harsh words for his team, via Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:
"It's getting very close to just accepting losing," coach Jason Kidd said after a lengthy delay in appearing for his postgame press conference. "We're kind of getting comfortable with losing. We've got to make a stand with that, because when things get tough do we just give in? Most of the time right now, we do."
That statement says more than the loss itself, as Indiana is currently tied for the league's best record and Brooklyn is reeling from Brook Lopez's season-ending foot injury. It's never good to get blown out at home, but was this worse than losing by one point in overtime in Philly last Friday or losing to Washington at home last Wednesday? The East is such a crummy conference that the Nets' playoff hopes are still alive, but they can't continue to crumble under pressure.
Point guard Deron Williams, who managed just nine points on 3-for-9 shooting, told reporters he disagreed with Kidd's assessment, via Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press:
''I'm not comfortable with losing. It's not fun,'' he said. ''It's not fun not only when we're losing during the game, but when you go home sitting and thinking about it.''
Forward Paul Pierce was held scoreless in 15 minutes, shooting 0-for-7 from the field before clotheslining the Pacers' George Hill in the third quarter, earning himself an ejection. He, along with Kevin Garnett, left the game without speaking to reporters. This isn't the first time the duo has done that this season, and it's not a great sign.
To put it kindly, the Brooklyn locker room does not appear to be a harmonious place heading into the Nets' Christmas Day matchup with the Chicago Bulls. This Nets team will need to get things together in a hurry, though, to avoid more misery. After a game against the Bucks on Friday, they'll embark on a daunting three-game road trip to Indiana, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Yikes.