Losing woes, injuries and all haunting the Nets (39979)
Losing woes, injuries and all haunting the Nets (39978)
Losing woes, injuries and all haunting the Nets (39977)

Slow starts and sluggish first quarters are things the Nets can ill afford. Truth be told, no team likes to be last out of the block, especially struggling teams. Nonetheless, the Nets did everything wrong earlier this week in a 108-87 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

“They just got going on us early,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “Teams like that…The mindset is to come out and try to throw a knockout punch in the first quarter and set the tone.” That statement by Johnson is the epitome of this week’s lesson in basketball: Struggling teams need to play well early. A bad first quarter or half usually spells doom.

The Nets dressed nine players and trailed by 32 in the game. Johnson offered no excuses for the loss. “I don’t think I let them off the hook,” he said. “We’re banged up, but we’ll practice, we’ll watch video, we’ll hold them accountable and we’re going to look at pretty much every one of our mistakes on both ends of the floor.”

Making matters even more depressing was the fact that the Bulls only had Derrick Rose for 10 minutes. It was also the third straight loss for the Nets, who last night (Wednesday) hosted Detroit.

“Because we don’t have much margin for error, we can’t start off games like we did [against the Bulls],” Johnson added. “The first quarter has been a sore thumb for us.”

It’s worth noting that Keith Bogans, Shelden Williams and Shawne Williams were in the starting lineup. Anthony Morrow was away from the team dealing with a family issue, Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks were both out with injuries and Mehmet Okur was out with a sore lower back. Basically, the Nets need to play perfect basketball to avoid getting blown out. We know that’s not possible, so what the Nets need to do is start strong and hope to have a shot in the fourth quarter. That’s about all you can ask of this team right now.