The Nets looked like contenders in the first game against the reinvigorated powerhouse Boston Celtics, dropping a 100-97 game that was within their grasp. But the second preseason matchup between these Eastern Conference teams was a slapdown by Boston, with the Nets looking outclassed. Firing up 32 3-pointers but making just 11, the Nets failed to utilize Jeremy Lin’s first-rate penetration and failed to bring the defense too.
Lin played just 18 minutes. And it could be that Lin’s penetration was waylaid by the chase he had to give on defense, as Boston’s guards — especially Isaiah Thomas — gave the Nets all sorts of problems. The other cause could be the uninspired play of big man Brook Lopez, who is supposed to form a formidable pick-and-roll tandem with Lin. Lopez played just 18 minutes, too, not enough to judge. But the connection with Lin wasn’t there and Lopez seemed less than purposeful in his role during the brief stint, going 2-of-8 from the field. That said, it was the second unit that gave the game away, as Coach Atkins is using minutes to evaluate his personnel, not to win. Nervous fans are a natural result. Lin had 13 points on 71% shooting in his 18 minutes.