Nets Lose Mirza Teletovic for the Season
SALT LAKE CITY – The Brooklyn Nets suffered a blowout loss Thursday night in Los Angeles that they have been able to put in the rear view mirror.
“We talk about last-second losses, they hang with you, but you get over them," said Coach Lionel Hollins. “Big blowouts, probably you forget about it really quick because nobody can say, if I’ve done this."
Getting over the loss of forward Mirza Teletovic, who will not play the rest of this season after doctors found blood clots in his lungs, has been much more difficult.
To a player, the Nets were shocked to learn about Teletovic’s condition Friday morning. Some saw the news on TV. Others got text messages.
The Nets were reassured throughout the two days leading up to Saturday night’s game against the Utah Jazz after learning how quickly Teletovic received expert and thorough care.
“The good thing is that Tim went with him," Hollins said of veteran trainer Tim Walsh, who oversaw Teletovic’s care. “Tim made him do a CT scan and they found out about it because he could have gotten on the plane and he could have actually died."
Walsh is as humble and unassuming a man as you’ll find in the NBA. Walsh received the NBA Trainers’ Association Joe O’Toole Athletic Trainer of the Year Award.
According to those familiar with the award, it goes to a trainer that saved the life of a player or staff member in the previous year. Walsh didn’t even want that recognition made public.
While Walsh, who slept in a chair in Teletovic’s hotel room, was making sure of the medical care, other support members were in touch with Teletovic’s family.
His wife, Maja, who gave birth to twins in April (the couple have four children), flew to Los Angeles to be with her husband. General Manager Billy King visited Teletovic in the hospital to show the franchise’s support.
The Nets clearly were emotionally drained, losing 108-73 to Utah in Energy Solutions Arena. The loss dropped the Nets to 18-26. Utah improved to 16-28.
Teletovic, 29, had quietly emerged as one of the more popular players on the Nets. He often goes up against Kevin Garnett in practice and helped rookie Bojan Bogdanovic adjust to NBA life.
"Miss him a lot,’’ said Bogdanovic. “He’s from my country, speaks my language. We’re close friends."
Teletovic had mentioned some shortness of breath about 10 days ago. After shooting almost 36 percent on three-pointers in December, Teletovic’s numbers had dropped to almost 33 percent.
“I think it kind of explains why he was struggling in games," said Mason Plumlee. “It’s like, wow, that makes sense.
“Because he is a better player than he was playing, and you feel for him because he was trying to fight through it. But, looking back, it was tough and admirable of him, but it’s more important that he’s taking care of his health."
KEY PLAY: It happened in Thursday night’s loss at Los Angeles when Teletovic left the game in the second quarter with what was later diagnosed as blood clots in his lungs. The Nets were stunned Friday morning by the news and played like an emotionally-drained team.
KEY STRETCH: The Nets trailed 25-21 after the first quarter. Hollins tried to get Jarrett Jack, who played the full 12 minutes in the first quarter, a blow. The Jazz pounced with an 8-1 run to seize a 33-22 lead.
KEY STAT: The Nets were outscored 16-1 on fastbreak points in the first half and trailed 58-37.
TALK: “We just got to keep grinding," said Joe Johnson. “It’s not pretty right now. It probably won’t be pretty, so we just got to fight through it."