Brooklyn Nets

Nets struggle post All-Star Break after firing head coach

The Nets made their most significant acquisition this year as they fired head coach Jacque Vaughn and named assistant coach Kevin Ollie interim head coach. Vaughn was fired last Tuesday after a horrid performance against the Boston Celtics on February 14th, where they lost by 50 points. Vaughn exits the head coach position with a record of 21-33 for the season and 11th place in the Eastern Conference. 

Ollie was previously the head coach for Overtime Elite from 2021-2023. He was also the men’s basketball team at UConn from 2012-2018 where he helped the Huskies win an NCAA championship in 2014. Ollie was hired onto the Nets coaching staff at the beginning of the 2023 season and is now the interim head coach. Despite the new hire, the Nets extended their losing streak this week as the NBA returns from the All-Star break. They lost two in a row, extending the losing streak to four games and their seventh loss out of the last eight games played. The Nets hold a 21-35 record and are 11th in the Eastern Conference. 

Nets Get Blown Out Against Toronto Raptors

The Nets lost in blowout fashion to the Toronto Raptors in a 121-93 defeat. The Raptors took out the Nets and prevented a win in Ollie's debut as the interim head coach. They struggled in every department on Thursday night, but especially in turnovers. The Nets had 20 turnovers for the night, their season's highest total so far. This allowed the Raptors to score, and they did, as they could grab 32 points off the turnovers.

The Nets looked to take the lead in the third quarter after a three-pointer by Cam Thomas put the deficit down to just a single point, but the Nets could not stop the Raptors, who went on a 14-2 scoring run to answer back. The Raptors took complete control for the remainder of the game as the Nets struggled on both sides of the ball and had difficulty adjusting to their new head coach.

Mikal Bridges led with 21 points and four rebounds for the Nets, while Thomas had 19 points, four assists, and two steals.

Gary Trent Jr. led the way with 25 points for the Raptors while shooting 5-7 from the three-point line. Immanuel Quickley had 24 points on 5-8 from the three-point line. Scottie Barnes had a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, along with three steals.

Nets Drops Fourth Straight After Falling In Twin Cities

The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled themselves together in the fourth quarter to grab a 101-86 win over the Nets. Both teams struggled offensively for the night, as the Nets shot 34% from the field and the Timberwolves shot 43%. However, this shooting slump did not stop the Timberwolves from grabbing the win in the fourth quarter, as Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards scored 11 points in the fourth to help lead his team to victory. 

The Nets held their own for the first half of the game and outrebounded the Timberwolves, who were without Rudy Gobert due to an ankle injury. They led by three points after a layup by Nic Claxton, who put the Nets up 45-42 to end the first half. It was still a close game throughout the third quarter, with the Timberwolves able to hold onto a slight lead to end the third quarter, but it was the fourth quarter when the momentum shifted in favor of the Timberwolves.

It was Edwards’ 11 points, along with a 24-foot three-pointer by Mike Conley, which capped off the win for the Timberwolves in the final minutes. The three-pointer was met with frustration by Schroder, who proceeded to get at Conley, causing four technical fouls, two for Schroder and Dorian Finney-Smith and two for Jaden McDaniels and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. 

Thomas led with 18 points and six rebounds for the Nets, while Bridges filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, six rebounds, and eight assists. 

Edwards led with 29 points, eight rebounds, and two steals for the Timberwolves, while Karl Anthony-Towns had 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Conley had 14 points, while Kyle Anderson had 12 points and nine rebounds.

What’s Next for the Nets?

Even with the removal of their head coach, the Nets still struggled to win any games despite the opponent. However, the Nets could end this losing streak soon after an adjustment period to their new head coach, but it needs to be sooner rather than later as the days inch closer to the playoffs.

If they’re lucky, Brooklyn could grab themselves a spot in the play-in to have some playoff experience under their belt, but it’s likely they will not land themselves a spot and have to slowly rebuild throughout this upcoming off-season and possibly many more off-seasons in the future.