Nets Notes: Tired Nets dominated by Mavs. Winning streak snapped at 8
(PHOTO CREDIT: NBA/BROOKLYN NETS)
Looking to grow their winning streak to nine games, Steve Nash and the Brooklyn Nets hit a huge roadblock on Saturday night at the Barclays Center.
On Friday, it was announced that Kevin Durant’s hamstring issue is far more serious than first believed to be. KD has not played a game since his return to Golden State on February 13th and will be out through the All-Star break, where he was supposed to captain a team. Just hours before the game on Saturday, it was also announced that Kyrie Irving would not play due to a shoulder injury. To make matters even worse for Brooklyn, the Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, meaning that had the Nets won this basketball game against the then .500 Dallas Mavericks, they would have moved to first place in the Eastern Conference. They have managed to win games without Durant and Irving in the past, but tonight’s game belonged to Dallas since tip-off, even though parts were close.
After a hot stretch of play which they looked to continue for the first time in a while, Brooklyn showed a few signs of fatigue. On the bright side, Nash’s Nets did not play down to the Mavs at all, something they struggled with earlier in the season.
Brooklyn was outscored by 12-points in the first quarter (38-26). A common theme for the Nets in this game was turning the ball over. Dallas also had multiple and one’s and took advantage when given a chance.
The Nets hit their stride in the second quarter, scoring 38-points compared to Dallas’ 30. With the score tight at 68-64 in favor of Dallas heading into halftime, this game was up for grabs.
However, from the beginning of the third quarter on, Dallas was in full control of this game. In the third quarter, Dallas recorded 26-points compared to Brooklyn’s 18. Trailing by 12-points, the Nets were still very much in this game, but the Mavericks were still carrying the momentum.
The fourth quarter was no different; Dallas tightened up their defense and shut the Nets down, outscoring them 21-16 and officially snapped their eight-game win streak. The final score was 115-98.
As usual, James Harden was brilliant. In 33 minutes, Harden had 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. The gap between Harden and the Nets’ other two leading scorers (Bruce Brown and Jeff Green) was 17-points. Brown had 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. Green had 12 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. Joe Harris had 9 points, 7 rebounds, and an assist. Landy Shamet had 9 points and 2 rebounds. Chris Chiozza had 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The bottom line is, when their top centers do not show up and play elite defense, the Nets are not the same team, especially without two of their three elite scorers. Nic Claxton and DeAndre Jordan struggled tonight. Bruce Brown remains stellar and playing very consistently on both sides of the court. As a team, the Nets need to become more disciplined, give their opponents nothing, and stop turning over the ball. This does not fall on any particular player.
It’s not even close to time for Nets fans to hit the panic button. With the excitement and expectations running high lately, it is important to remember the mental and physical fatigue the basketball game brings. They must get rested and back on track to face a formidable opponent in their next matchup.
After such a nice stretch of play and a long winning streak, losing to a team that Brooklyn is better than hurts a lot. Brooklyn must forget about this game and shift their focus to Monday night, where they travel to San Antonio face off against the Spurs, with tip-off set to take place at 8:30 PM Eastern Time.