Dwyane Wade sinks Nets with 28 points as Heat hand Brooklyn fifth straight defeat
MIAMI – The Brooklyn train, falling off its rails and headed to a dumpster fire, made a stop in South Beach and lost because that’s what the Nets are doing these days.
Dwyane Wade went off for 28 points. Joe Johnson missed eight of his 11 field goals. The Nets led three minutes into the game and never led again. Meh. Blah. Yawn.
It’s now five straight losses for Mikhail Prokhorov’s crew following a 104-98 defeat Wednesday to Miami, a result with pathetic playoff implications. The Nets (25-38) fell a season-worst 3 ½ games behind the Heat and Pacers for the eighth spot, solidifying their 11th position in a weak Eastern Conference.
They’re also a season-high 13 games under .500 in the same season Prokhorov vowed to win a title.
“I don’t know if desperation is the word,” Hollins said. “A few more losses in a row and we could completely be out of it.
That is all up to the other teams who are down there with us (Indiana, Boston, Miami, Charlotte). Nobody has won 10 in a row and ran off with anything. That’s why these spots are available because everybody is in the same boat.”
The Nets are falling off that boat, though, without a life raft. They are the biggest longterm disaster in the NBA, a team without control of its own first round draft pick until 2019, immersed in salary cap hell since moving to Brooklyn.
The Nets will get a first-round pick this summer, but it’s pretty much a worst-case scenario: as part of the 2012 deal for Joe Johnson, GM Billy King gave the Hawks the right to swap picks in 2015. The Hawks have the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The consequences of King’s cap-crushing moves could be alleviated by a decision from the NBA’s player’s union, which, according to president Michele Roberts, “unanimously” voted to reject the league’s proposal to gradually raise the salary cap when the lucrative TV deal takes effect in 2016. The idea of a totally unified decision was an exaggeration, however, since two players asked by the Daily News had no idea what was going on.
Regardless, this helps the Nets, in theory, as a big market team with more money to spend, depending on how long Prokhorov hangs on to his investment or who he sells it to. The alternative to the gradual salary cap raise proposed by the NBA is a sudden cap jolt to around $90 million – the biggest rise in NBA history, starting when space finally opens up for the Nets in the summer of 2016. The key is to find top free agents who want to come to a team without a star. Coach Lionel Hollins gave his pitch before the Nets put together another dud Wednesday.
“We have a beautiful arena. We live in a beautiful city – Brooklyn and Manhattan, together. You can live wherever you want,” Hollins said. “I think it’s an ideal place to come and play. Top market. You can do whatever you want to do on the court as well as off the court. It’s a good destination.”
Notice he didn’t say anything about the basketball.
KARASEV OUT FOR YEAR
Nets forward Sergey Karasev is out for the season after dislocating his patella tendon and tearing the MCL in his right knee, the Nets announced just before Wednesday’s game.
The 21-year-old Russian, who was injured in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s defeat to the Hornets, will undergo surgery Wednesday in Manhattan.
Karasev was acquired in July from Cleveland in a three-team trade that also brought Jarrett Jack to the Nets. A member of Russia’s third-place Olympic squad in 2012, Karasev briefly held a prominent role in Brooklyn’s rotation while starting 16 games at small forward.
He finished his second NBA season averaging 4.6 points and two rebounds in 33 games.