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"It was all good just a week ago," once said the famous Brooklyn poet Shawn Carter.
On the final night of November, the Brooklyn Nets smacked around the Orlando Magic to improve their record to 11-4. Then, a funny thing happened after climbing to the top of the Atlantic Division: They haven't won since.
The first few games they dropped were no big deal. Who doesn't come up short on occasion to the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder? Sure, they were out-classed in both games, but it happens.
Then they lost three more.
The victors in these contests—the Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks—are no slouches either, so it isn't like they are losing to the Phoenix Suns or Cleveland Cavaliers.
But a loss is a loss is a loss, of course, so there is reason to analyze the problems.
When you do, one stands out.
All this negativity has coincided with Brook Lopez getting hurt. Those are just the breaks when you put so many eggs in one basket.
As far as the rest of the frontcourt, Andray Blatche has played well in Lopez's absence, and Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans are two of the NBA's finest rebounders. But neither of those latter two can score on their own, and they don't play imposing defense. Lopez doesn't either, but he at least makes up for it on the other end and has shown improvement this season on both his rotations and general awareness.
Mostly, this seems to be a team that is struggling because it misses an indispensable player—due to role, if not talent. Coach Avery Johnson says he isn't worried about the injury, however, rating his concern as a two on a scale of one to 10.
I'll take that to mean they are being cautious by not flying Lopez to Toronto (according to Howard Beck of The New York Times), and I'll continue to think that, until they start losing a lot of games at full strength—with Lopez—there is little to worry about.