It can’t be easy to know that you were hired to be a seat warmer, to know that you have zero chance of keeping a job that was probably once your dream.
Tony Brown, however, understands the deal. Not long after the Nets fired Lionel Hollins and elevated him to interim coach, he had to figure out that he didn’t have a strong enough team to make a miracle run. Unlike Kurt Rambis, his interim counterpart with the Knicks, Brown is not a close friend of the team’s general manger/president so that isn’t working in his favor either.
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So as the Nets season winds down, Brown is refusing to get nostalgic or lobby for his job or even complain about his fate. Instead he’s doing what any good professional would do: Show up for work and try to do the best with the hand he has been dealt.
“We’ve got two games left and I feel like the situation has been tough from the beginning,” Brown said before the Washington Wizards handed the Nets their ninth straight loss by beating them, 120-111, at the Barclays Center. “I’ve tried to make the best of it and will continue to do that the last two games. Whatever happens, happens. I’m not worried about my fate with this organization. I’m just trying to give these guys a great opportunity to showcase their skills.”
Coaching Monday night’s game against another team not going to the playoffs shouldn’t have been easy, or much fun. Especially, after Washington opened with a 20-0 run. The game featured all the defense of an NBA All-Star game but none of the stars. Injuries and the fact there was really nothing to play for conspired to keep John Wall and Bradley Beal on the bench for the Wizards, while Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young have been shut down since last week.
The Nets were able to come back and tie the game and then take the lead, 56-55, with a little more than four minutes left in the second quarter. It remained a tight game until the final quarter when the Wizards went on a 17-6 run to take control for good.
Though the Nets (21-60) have lost nine straight, this is the first game in that stretch they did not lose by double digits. Shane Larkin and Bojan Bogdanovic led the Nets with 20 points each. Larkin also had seven assists and six rebounds.
Washington (40-41) were led by Ramon Sessions’ 21 points and 12 assists. Marcus Thornton added 19 points.
The Nets play their final game of the season Wednesday against the Raptors. A loss would give them the fourth-worst record in franchise history. With Monday night’s loss, they are 11-33 under Brown.