A strange but fun evening in Indiana as the Nets were prepared to rest their starters, and rotational players and face the consequences later. Turned out to be quite a competitive game as Dayron Sharpe and Cam Thomas led the way to a Brooklyn Nets victory. The play of Patty Mills and Markief Morris kept the young group fighting until the final buzzer.
There were a number of media who were not happy with the decision of the Nets to hold their players out. However, this has been going on in the NBA for quite some time. I am unsure if there will be a better solution in the future but there was something else noticeable in this game other than missing star power.
No, it wasn't the style of play, it wasn't the fact that the Nets were all supporting each other off the bench, and no it was not that Kevin Durant was missing from the sidelines after the Nets kept him from traveling.
It was the officiating. As many of you watch, as I do, the Nets have problems on the defensive end at some points because of how limited they can play aggressively. The roster is improved immensely since the last few seasons on that side of the ball. However, the consistency of the whistles is very discombobulated. Some allow aggressive play and it gives a player confidence and somewhat gets away with a more physical game. Other players named Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons and sometimes even Steph Curry are suffering from these inconsistent styles of officiating. In this game and who was on the floor, the Nets were allowed to play physically and aggressively. They looked different because they were officiated differently.
Sadly, this affects the approach during gameplay. Passive and lack of intensity can disappear because of the feel and dictatorship of calls being assessed. I know that reads like an excuse but looking through all around the league the examples of horrendous officiating keep piling and it is hugely hurting games and their outcomes.
Hopefully, by the postseason, things are cleaned up and not totally one-sided. Also, there are many stars out duel other stars in officials' respect. There is no question Irving and Durant do not have that star power whistle anymore for whatever reasons. The Nets will be on the court tonight playing the Wizards, will be interesting to see how this one is approached by Jacque Vaughn.