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Brooklyn grit not enough in loss to Heat

In the Brooklyn Nets first game since the Caris Levert injury the team fell to the Miami Heat 120-107. A 13 point differential is not a close game by any standards, but the final box score did not show how bad the game actually was. Not only was Levert not playing due to his injury, but Jarrett Allen missed his second consecutive game due to illness.

The Nets certainly could’ve used Allen’s presence as a shot blocker against a Miami squad that likes to score in the paint. Miami had 70 points in the paint in this game, and it wasn’t just the big men (Whiteside and Adebayo) scoring down low, it was the guards who faced little resistance on their way to the rim. Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson scored 21 and 24 points, respectively.

While the Nets had runs in the 3rd and 4th quarters to cut Miami’s lead to single digits, the Heat always stopped the momentum with a floater or layup in the paint. The Nets pride themselves on being gritty but this loss showed they don’t have a certain energy on defense.

Yes, the Nets didn’t have their starting center but even if he was, they can’t have Allen on the floor for 48 mins. The Nets need to show more effort on the defensive side of the ball if they want to be a playoff team this year. Against some of the top big men in the game in Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and Karl-Anthony Towns, the Nets have let up 60, 56, and 52 points in the paint to their respective teams.

The worst type of team, in my opinion, to be in the NBA is a middle of the pack team. This guarantees that you won’t have a top draft pick and that you won’t be in the playoffs. The Nets finally have control over their first round pick in what feels like decades, and even though they have done well with the picks that have had in the late first round; this year is different as there is a generational talent in Zion Williamson. Imagine Zion and Allen in the paint; I promise you that that team is much better defensively and that duo would help the nets score 70 in the paint.

While this loss stings. I still think the Nets are a playoff caliber team and while that will ensure that the Brooklyn won’t draft Zion it would help show possible free agents that the Nets aren’t a joke. This team could contend for the east title without a couple more pieces. The Nets could go after Jimmy Butler (if he feuds with his new 76er teamates), Kevin Durant (long shot but Brooklyn still has a market, or Draymond Green (if Green feels the Warriors organization isn’t there for him based on the altercation with KD). Any of the players stated above would help the Nets.

While the season is young the Nets have to find their identity quick and without one of their young stars in Caris Levert. #BrooklynGrit

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