Starting Five: Cause for concern with Nets

When things go as bad as they did for the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night in Portland, it’s hard not to think about all the concerns facing the team going forward.

• Perhaps it’s time to abandon the Deron Williams-Shaun Livingston starting lineup. Both got in early foul trouble Thursday night, and it ended up costing the team. Yes, Andrei Kirilenko brings so much energy and effort off the bench, but it’s worthless when the team falls behind by so much early on. Plus, they don’t have a third point guard they can trust. As we’ve written on the blog before, it’s something Nets coach Jason Kidd needs to consider.

• Joe Johnson’s past three games: 12 points on 36.1 percent shooting.

Johnson in February: 13.2 points on 41.3 percent shooting.

Injuries? Slump? Feeling uncomfortable? You’d think it’s one of them -- if not a combination.

• In Andray Blatche's 14 minutes Thursday night, the Nets yielded 152.1 points per 100 possessions. Small sample size, but his defensive rating for the season is an unsightly 106.1. Yes, the Nets are better offensively with Blatche on the court, but he has to defend. He just has to.

• Other issues the Nets face: lack of rebounding; interior defense; and younger, faster, more athletic teams.

Question: What do you think is the Nets’ biggest concern right now? Let us know in the comments section.

In case you missed it: The Nets got pummeled in Portland, and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce weren’t happy about it.

Standings: The Nets (26-29) trail the Toronto Raptors (32-25) by five games in the Atlantic Division.

Up next: Nets at Nuggets on Thursday night.