Short-handed Nets suffer lopsided 115-86 defeat at the hands of Pacers

Rick Laughland

Take Caris LeVert and Kyrie Irving out of the equation, the Brooklyn Nets look like a bad basketball team. That was no more evident than in the team's listless 29-point home defeat to Indiana on Monday night. 

The Nets lacked any effort and enthusiasm as the Pacers outscored the Nets 41-17 in the second quarter to create a gap that Brooklyn could never close. 

Kenny Atkinson's crew failed to achieve balanced score as Spencer Dinwiddie (28), Jarrett Allen (10) and Garrett Temple (10) were the only players to reach double digit scoring. 

Now at 5-8, good enough for ninth in the East, with LeVert still a several weeks from returning and Irving still dinged up, concern is pervading Barclays Center. 

It's not panic time quite yet, but a win on Wednesday night against Charlotte will help stabilize the ship for now. Brooklyn's next four opponents: Charlotte, Sacramento, New York and Cleveland all sit below .500. 

While no game is a winnable game for a short-handed, 5-8 squad, the schedule is forgiving to say the least. Brooklyn's real test will come when it takes on Boston for a back-to-back matchup on Thanksgiving Eve and Black Friday. 

Irving's return from a shoulder impingement remains a mystery and the team appears to be a rudderless ship without him. While many critics questioned Irving's leadership and attitude, it's Irving's lack of durability and injury prone nature that should garner the lion's share of critic's attention.  

Irving has missed 150 games due to rest and injury of a possible 667 contest or roughly 22.4 percent of his career games. That's an eye-popping number for a player who is being thrown into the MVP conversation and regarded as a top player in the league. 

The Nets need to steady the ship, and quick, before they fall into a deep funk like they did last year when they started 8-18.