Remember the hype that was the Brooklyn Nets' 2012-13 campaign? The first in the newly built Barclays Center on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn?
(For those in New York, it was more of a relief that the construction at Barclays was done.)
Do you also remember the "#HelloBrooklyn" trend and the flooding of black and white Brooklyn paraphenalia throughout the city?
My, my how long ago that seems.
But the team that went 49-33 last season, snatched the fourth seed in the eastern conference and laid down against the Chicago Bulls—while failing to lay up—after seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs has been anything but that this season.
"Hello? Brooklyn? Are you alive?"
Going into tonight's cross-borough matchup against the New York Knicks, the Nets not only need to win for the sake of being the "better" team in New York City, but also to prove that this team is still breathing and not just spilled all over the court.
Both teams split the four-game regular season series last season, with the Nets taking the first match in a thrilling 96-89 thriller at Barclays, the Knicks taking the next two games and Brooklyn winning the last.
That was also while both teams were relevant. This year, it's a battle for the Best of the Worst.
The Nets, just a mere 5-13 on the season, have shown glimpses of what they can do in their five wins, including a shocking one-point win over defending champions Miami Heat in Brooklyn in the second game of the season.
Key word being "glimpses."
Their only two decisive wins in their five came against Utah on Dec. 5th (104-88) and at Memphis on Nov. 30th (97-88).
But, they've lost 11 of their past 14 games going into Thursday night.
Brooklyn is 22nd in points per game (95.3) and in field goal percentage (43.2%), and it also has the third worst +/- in the league at -7.6.
Injuries and lack of production have scarred the Nets in their 18 games, including the lack-of-anything from their star players.
According to reports from ESPN, Deron Williams is, again, out for tonight's game with a sprained ankle, marking the eighth straight game he's missed this season, and his 10th overall.
Shaun Livingston and Tyshawn Taylor have fared okay for the Nets in relief of Williams, but both haven't been as consistent to keep the Nets as afloat as they'd like to be.
Newly acquired Kevin Garnett is currently shooting a career low 36.3% from the court and scoring just 6.5 points per game, just a third of his career average. Not that it's much of a surprise, considering his field goal percentage has been going down since the 2007-08 season.
His partner in crime, forward Paul Pierce, isn't doing as well either, shooting just 36.8% from the court and 26.8% from three-point land, while averaging just over 12 points per game.
But regardless of who's been struggling how, they're playing the Knicks.
The 3-13 New York Knicks who have lost nine in a row entering tonight's game. The 3-13 New York Knicks who have a star in Carmelo Anthony who wants to leave, as reported by Ian Begley of ESPN, and is showing it. The 3-13 New York Knicks who have no team chemistry. The 3-13 New York Knicks who are 27th in field goal percentage (42.1%), third worst in three-point percentage (32.2%) and who average the fifth least points in the league (92.8).
The only thing separating the Knicks from being the worst in the NBA are the Milwaukee Bucks. Barely.
New York City can be a very cruel place when you lose. Ask the Giants, Jets, Yankees and Mets.
New York City already has enough bums and such toiling through the streets and subways. These Nets don't want to be a part of that life.