In the first quarter of the Brooklyn Nets’ game in Detroit on Tuesday, Pistons forward Jerami Grant cut inside the paint before dishing the ball to Mason Plumlee. Plumlee, being defended by Brooklyn center DeAndre Jordan, then faked a shot before dribbling right. Jordan, meanwhile, just … stopped, opting to watch Plumlee go up for an uncontested hook shot from about three feet away instead of doing anything that could remotely be considered defense.
On Twitter, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann weighed in: “… I’m still trying to figure out why DeAndre Jordan just stopped defending in the middle of a play.”
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James Harden Frustrated with DeAndre Jordan’s Defense
During a timeout shortly thereafter, YES Network cameras caught James Harden’s frustration with Jordan. Harden, the perennial All-Star whom the Nets acquired via four-team trade on January 14, was seen voicing that frustration by confronting Jordan about his defense during a timeout.
Jordan was beat several times on defense in the early goings against the Pistons. Nets coach Steve Nash also appeared to have a long talk with the 6-foot-11 Jordan, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
Jordan was an All-Star for the Clippers in the 2016-17 season and has twice led the NBA in rebounding, but his play — both on offense and on defense — has dropped off in his age-32 season. Unsurprisingly, the Nets have been reported to be interested in upgrades at center, including Cleveland’s Andre Drummond.
Pistons Entered as One of the NBA’s Worst Offensive Teams
It would be one thing if the Nets were playing the Milwaukee Bucks or Denver Nuggets — two teams that are top-three in the league in points per game. Even the Atlanta Hawks or Charlotte Hornets — teams with middling offenses — would be more understandable.
But Brooklyn was facing the Detroit Pistons — the Pistons that entered ranked 24th in point per game on the season and 29th in offensive efficiency in their last five games. Never mind the fact that they just lost one of the toirp scorers in Derrick Rose, who was traded to the Knicks on Sunday.
Despite of all of that, all Detroit did was drop 38 points in the first quarter against the Nets.
That figure was the most in a single quarter for the Pistons this season, another glaring indictment on the Nets defense, which entered second-worst in the NBA with 118.2 points allowed per game. Brooklyn eventually lost Tuesday’s game 122-111.
Detroit’s 38-point first quarter gave way to a lead that peaked at 20 points early in the second quarter. The Nets, playing without star Kevin Durant for a second straight game, cut the deficit to five points early in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late.
“My message (to the team) was personal pride, connectivity and coming together,” Nash told reporters after the game, via SNY. “Just resistance. We can’t start the game down 10, be down 20 in the second (quarter), expecting it to come easy. This is professional sports. The other team is talented and capable, and we’re short-handed, we’re small, we’ve got to come out extremely sharp, extremely competitive, and with a real fire. And it takes us getting down 20 to find that fire.”