The Brooklyn Nets have been trapped in a downward spiral for weeks, but getting blasted (twice) on Christmas might mean they've finally hit rock bottom.
After watching his team suffer its fourth straight loss, this a 95-78 beating by the undermanned Chicago Bulls, Nets coach Jason Kidd reportedly ripped into his players in the locker room, via ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk. Once Kidd was done, Kevin Garnett reportedly followed with his own rant before hitting the showers.
Sources told Youngmisuk that Garnett supports Kidd and is one of the few players who seems to be affected by the team's performance.
When Kidd finished with his players, he put his gloves back on and landed a few more punches in his session with the media.
"The bottom line is effort, and we're not doing that right now," Kidd said, via Youngmisuk. "At the end of the day, the coach can only hold you responsible for energy and effort. If you're not giving it, I have to take you out."
Despite missing former All-Stars Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, the Bulls—a team shooting just 42.4 percent on the season—torched the Nets for 48.6 percent shooting from the field. Brooklyn converted only 35.2 percent of its looks and finished with 11 assists against 16 turnovers.
After trading blows over the first two quarters, the listless Nets could not recover from another third-quarter collapse.
"Chicago's not a team that scores a lot of points and in that third quarter they scored 36," Kidd said, via NBA.com's Jake Appleman.
"We've just got to be able to weather the storm," Paul Pierce said, via Youngmisuk. "I think it's just that we lose confidence, like we are expecting things to go south...It's embarrassing to lose on Christmas and in front of millions of people watching, but I'm not going to keep my head down."
That embarrassment sparked a smattering of "Fire Kidd" chants in the Barclays Center, via Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News, which was then replaced by a chorus of boos.
"We thought we were this championship team, but we’re not showing it right now,” Andray Blatche said, via Abramson. “Getting booed at home, that tells us we’re not."
Brooklyn has taken some devastating shots already this season. The roster has been ravaged by injury, none more crushing than the broken foot that will keep Brook Lopez on the shelf for the remainder of the year.
But this group has struggled to meet adversity and respond to it, a similar flaw seen in last season's team that got bounced in the opening round of the playoffs by these same Bulls.
There seems to be a focus that's missing, an energy that's lacking and a toughness that comes in spurts or never comes at all. Kidd, a first-year coach with no experience to draw from, cannot find all of those solutions on his own.
For his sake, let's just hope this is rock bottom. There are still plenty of games left and many more stumbles his Nets can take if they don't figure things out soon.