The Brooklyn Nets kicked off a five-game homestand with a 96-101 loss to the Sacramento Kings on March 16. With the Nets barely in a position to avoid the play-in tournament, they need to take advantage of every game left on their schedule. Brooklyn was in a position to win the game, but in close games, minor hiccups can have a major impact. Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn alluded to Spencer Dinwiddie complaining to the referees, which cost the team points in the loss.
“I think [Spencer Dinwiddie] is cognizant of the impact that he has on our team. We need every point, so whether he gets a technical or not, we still need every point. I’ll say that to him, which I have before,” Vaughn told reporters after the loss via YES Network.
“I think he’s smart enough to know what to say to the referees at the time of the game, so I’m gonna support him. I want him to continue to put himself in a position to be aggressive for us, and hopefully, we’ll be on the good side of the referees moving forward.”
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Jacque Vaughn Calls Out Nets’ Rebounding Woes
There were several areas where the Nets cost themselves points and possessions that could have put them in a better position to win toward the end of the game. One of those areas is rebounding. The Nets got beat on the boards 57-13. They also got crushed on the offensive glass 13-3, thus giving the Kings extra possessions while simultaneously forfeiting their possessions. Vaughn says if they want to take the next step in evolving as a team, the Nets must buckle down on the boards.
“For us to take another step forward, we talked about it the other day, I think we were 26th (in defensive boxouts) going into the last game. We can’t be in that 20 range. Every guy has to crash. If you’re not touching somebody, then you’re wrong. If you’re not helping your teammate, then you’re wrong,” Vaughn said of the Nets’ rebounding woes.
“We showed a clip at halftime where Nic (Claxton) goes over to block a shot, Seth (Curry) was in pick-and-roll coverage with him, and Cam (Johnson) was the bottom weak side. CJ and Seth both got to come and hit Sabonis. It’s just that simple. You’ve got to be able to give your body up and have contact if we’re gonna ask Nic to go block shots.”
Nets Get Positive Ben Simmons Update
The Nets’ rebounding issues could be resolved by their All-Star forward, Ben Simmons. Simmons, the Nets’ third-leading rebounder with 6.3 per game, has not played a game since the team returned from the All-Star break in February because he is dealing with a knee and back injury. And as the season draws to a close, the less likely it seems he will return this year.
But Vaughn says that despite Simmons’ extended absence, the star forward is “progressing” towards a return this season.
“Yeah, no setback. He’s progressing. So, great to see him. He’s doing some work on the court right now,” Vaughn told reporters on March 17 via NetsWire.
“So, as more updates come out, I’ll definitely give them to you guys but, good to see him, good to see him back on the court, get some work in.”