The high-priced Brooklyn Nets started the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Pistons with a largely unrecognizable lineup. Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were nowhere to be found. Neither were Deron Williams or Brook Lopez, who missed the game with injuries.
Instead, the fivesome of Nets that took the floor in what would be Brooklyn’s fifth straight loss consisted of Mason Plumlee, Alan Anderson, Tyshawn Taylor, Mirza Teletovic and Tornike Shengelia. For once, though, this wasn’t a case of embattled coach Jason Kidd falling asleep at the wheel.
“They deserved to play,” Kidd told reporters. “I should have let them play the whole game or the whole quarter. They’re playing, you know, for each other.”
If that seems like some passive-aggressive criticism of the more famous members of the Nets’ $103 million roster, Kidd wasn’t the only one firing shots across the bow. From the players’ side, Pierce questioned the Nets’ ability to make in-game adjustments, as the Pistons did on Sunday to turn a 51-44 halftime deficit into a 109-97 victory.
“We got to understand teams aren’t going to play the same way they did in the first half as they did in the second half, because teams make adjustments, especially when they are down,” Pierce said, according to the New York Daily News. “And we got to realize that and adjust with that.”
Maybe Kidd and Pierce weren’t taking veiled shots, and maybe we’re just reading too much into it, but it doesn’t seem that way. The chemistry in Brooklyn’s locker room appears to be unraveling, and this latest development could divide the All-Star starters against the bench and Kidd.
If that happens, the Nets’ quest for a championship could be over already.
“The bottom line is, it’s not the starters, it’s not the bench,” Nets forward Andray Blatche said. “It’s the team.”
Truer words were never spoken. Then again, any team with Blatche as its voice of reason is probably in some pretty deep trouble.