If Nerlens Noel wasn’t the reply for Brooklyn’s backup heart debacle, the Nets had higher discover one other reply — and shortly.
Days after the Nets declined to provide Noel a second 10-day contract, the Nets had been obliterated on the glass in a 101-96 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.
As versatile as beginning heart Nic Claxton is on each ends of the ground, his greatest shortcoming — brute power — continues to be a precedence for the Nets to deal with.
Especially if second-year ahead Day’Ron Sharpe — who was obtainable however didn’t play towards the Kings on Thursday — is out of the rotation.
That’s as a result of the bruiser stays the archetype of participant that stumps and stampedes the Nets at each flip.
What has been true of the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers was true within the Nets’ loss to the league’s No. 1 offense on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.
Just just like the Nets have rotational limitations that make them prone to being trampled over the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid, Brooklyn had no reply for Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis.
Sabonis punished the Nets from opening tip to the ultimate buzzer. Head coach Jacque Vaughn tried a wide range of rotational ways — from staying massive with Claxton to going small with the 6-5 Royce O’Neale taking part in backup 5 — however all of them faltered.
The son of NBA legend Arvydas Sabonis completed with 24 factors, 21 rebounds and 5 assists on the evening. He entered the evening averaging 20 factors, 10 rebounds and 6 assists per recreation towards the Nets since they signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the summertime of 2019. On the season, the Kings’ star is averaging 19 factors, 12 rebounds and 7 assists.
And his play was an embodiment of one in every of Brooklyn’s longest-standing points because the Nets method their ultimate 10 video games of the common season in pursuit of a playoff berth: An incapability to cease the bruiser — of which there are a lot of within the Eastern Conference.
The Nets held All-Star level guard De’Aaron Fox to simply 4 factors within the first half and 18 factors on 5-of-16 capturing from the sphere on the evening. Ex-Net Kessler Edwards hit a pair of well timed nook threes off the bench for the Kings and 4 different Sacramento gamers scored in double figures.
The Kings did their harm, nonetheless, on the glass, out-rebounding the Nets, 57-41. Claxton completed with 14 factors and 14 rebounds, however no different Nets participant grabbed greater than six.
And now the Nets get off to a suboptimal begin to a four-game homestand towards respectable championship contenders. They host Nikola Jokic — one other bruiser — and the Denver Nuggets in a matinee recreation on Sunday earlier than welcoming Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers for back-to-back video games instantly after.
“It’s important in a number of ways. First of all, just because of where we are in the season and trying to take advantage of every single opportunity. Each game as you see, every night that you watch games, they’re all important for some reason or another,” Vaughn mentioned. “I think what I’m looking for is we, on the road, played some really good quarters, we played some great halves also, so can we put four quarters together? That’s what I’m looking for because if you don’t this week, you’ll definitely pay for it. That’s definitely what I’m looking forward to.”