Nets Gains and Loss: Nets May Have to go Small

By Lenn Robbins | @lennrobbins

BROOKLYN—The Brooklyn Nets are in the middle of their most grueling 3-game road swing of the year and they are in no emotional place to take a beating.

After a 104-93 win over the Milwaukee Bucks that snapped a four-game losing streak, the Nets lost, 105-91, in Indiana before heading to Houston and Oklahoma City.

Coach Jason Kidd used his 13th different starting lineup of the season in the win over Milwaukee, teaming starting point guard Deron Williams with backup point guard Shaun Livingston. The Nets got off to a 31-18 first quarter and never looked back.

It clearly is a lineup that Kidd can use in the future. He was not able to do so against the Pacers. That two point guard lineup gives the Nets two ball handlers but it forces them to go small, with Kevin Garnett moving to center and Paul Pierce moving to strong forward.

Kidd went back to starting Williams and Joe Johnson in the backcourt with Pierce at the small forward and Mirza Teletovic at the 4 against Indiana. But one of the problems that has haunted the Nets all season – rebounding – was an issue against the Pacers.

The Nets got outrebounded, 41-28, and gave up 42 points in the paint. Go back to the season-opening 98-94 loss in Cleveland. The Nets were outrebounded, 48-37, and gave up 34 points in the paint.

Since the Nets seem incapable of being a better rebounding team – especially without Lopez’s 7.3 career rebounding average – then going small might be a good way to go on occasion. Here’s the rub:

The Nets went into this season believing they had two advantages almost every night on the court : Size and depth.

Going small negates the size and the loss of Lopez negates the depth, especially while Andrei Kirilenko remains sidelined with back spasms.

TELETORCHING IT: Mirza Teletovic, who has been getting more and more time, especially in the wake of the season-ending injury suffered by center Brook Lopez (right foot fracture), has been one of the league’s most pleasant surprises this season.

Teletovic averaged 10 points on 41.5 percent shooting on 3’s in December. The 6-9, 242-pound forward from Bosnia, allows Kidd to use him at both forward positions. He received the Spanish League Rising Star Award in 2008.

M.A.S.H.: The Nets got back Jason Terry (knee), who had been out since Nov. 18. He missed 15 games before returning on Dec. 23. In his first four games, Terry hit -7-of-14 3’s and averaged 6.8 points in 19 minutes.

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