January 20, 2022

Down by as much as 28 points, the Nets tie the game to send it into OT on an Allen Crabbe 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation

Saturday’s Brooklyn Nets game against the New Orleans Pelicans was schizophrenia on display. In the first half, it was the timid, sluggish-looking, run over me Nets, as they ended the first-half with a 20-point deficit, New Orleans 72 and Brooklyn 52. A really ugly way to start a professional basketball game, and it didn’t end there. The Nets carried their slow-start style into the third quarter and dug even a deeper hole, as midway through the third quarter the Nets were down by 28 points (89-61). And, it was at that point, it was as if the team had a light bulb moment that there was a way to dig out of the hole they had gotten themselves into. The Nets went on to cut their deficit nearly in half and ended the third quarter only down by 15 points, 100-85. In the fourth quarter, powering through and chipping away, Brooklyn closed the gap and on an Allen Crabbe 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation, tied the score at 116-116 and forced overtime. Oddly enough, it was an Allen Crabbe bobble-head doll night.

Brooklyn took its first lead of the game with 3:45 remaining the game’s first overtime period and led by as many as four points before being outscored 14-4 in the game’s second overtime period to seal a Pelicans’ win.

So what changed?

“…We obviously started the game small,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media post-game. “We started with DeMarre (Carroll) at the four and then we put DeMarre back at the three and we brought Quincy (Acy) in, so we were just bigger. Being bigger helped us rebound and really helped us immensely.”

“I think in the second half we got ourselves in a big hole again, and we owe it to our fans not to get blown out like that,” Crabbe said. “Obviously, we didn’t play like us, as an organization wants to play in the first half, so Coach didn’t even come in and yell at us. He said y’all figure it out and get it together. I feel like we had a good effort in the second half but you can’t keep playing catch up all the time. It was a big hole, 27, 28, I guess we were down. Like I said, in the NBA, you can’t do that. We gave ourselves a chance, but didn’t make the plays we needed to make down the stretch.”

Crabbe scored a team-high 28 points (10-of-24 FG, 8-of-18 3FG) with six rebounds, one assist and, one steal in a career-high 44 minutes on Saturday for the Nets. Spencer Dinwiddie recorded 24 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and three steals in a career-high 43 minutes tonight vs. New Orleans. Dinwiddie posted his sixth-career double-double (and fifth this season). He also became the first Net to record a points/assists double-double in consecutive games since Deron Williams in the 2014-15 campaign (4/6 – 4/8/15). D’Angelo Russell posted 21 points (7-of-18 FG, 5-of-13 3FG, 2-of-2 FT) with a season-high nine rebounds, five assists and one steal in 32 minutes off the bench. Both DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris tallied 12 points, while Harris 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a career-high-tying two blocks in 34 minutes in his ninth start of the season for Brooklyn. Additionally, Harris recorded his second-career double-double tonight (previously done for the first time on 1/6/18 vs. Boston). Carroll added nine rebounds and five assists to his 12-point total. Newly acquired Dante Cunningham made his Nets debut tonight and recorded two points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 20 minutes off the bench. For New Orleans, Anthony Davis led all scorers with 44 points and 17 rebounds. Rajon Rondo scored a triple-double with 25 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. Jrue Holiday added 22 points, seven rebounds, and five assists; Nikola Mirotic had 21 points and 16 rebounds, and E’Twaun Moore chipped in 12 points. All was not lost for Brooklyn as its bench outscored New Orleans’ bench 44-14, during Saturday’s duel. With 21 points off the bench, D’Angelo Russell single-handedly outscored New Orleans’ reserves.

Next up for Brooklyn, it plays the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, February 12, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at home at the Barclays Center.

Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo, Dwayne Wade team up to push back Nets 118-88

The Chicago Bulls came into the Barclays Center on Halloween night to play the Brooklyn Nets with an undefeated 2-0 record; and it was apparent from the start, that the Bulls were determined to leave with its undefeated record intact.

Although Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez won the tip over his brother Robin, the Bulls set the tone early, running roughshod over the Nets, taking the First Quarter 38-20. Bulls forward Jimmy Butler wasted no time making his presence felt early. Butler knocked down 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter.

“I think they are playing with more pace,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson stated. “I think (Bulls point guard Rajon) Rondo helps with that. He pushed the ball up the court. They’re versatile off the bench so they can give you different looks with (Nikola) Mirotic coming off shooting. I think they set the tone, they set the pace, they really made their imprint on the game and we definitely did not have it tonight.”

“They were the more aggressive team,” Atkinson continued. “I thought they really came out and really got into us. I thought, for some reason, we were back on our heels a little bit and they took advantage of that. Give them credit. I thought they played really well. They played a great game.”

There’s no question the Bulls played really well. The numbers tell the story.

Nets shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovic led all Nets players with 15 points. Other Nets players in double digits were Jeremy Lin with 14 points, four assists, and four steals. Sean Kilpatrick and Brook Lopez each scored 13 points. A telling stat regarding Lopez, he only had two boards and both were offensive rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Bulls had seven players in double digits. Two of the top three Bulls scorers came off the bench. Butler led all players with 22 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Mirotic posted 16 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists off the bench. Isaiah Canaan, another backup player, scored 15 points and six assists. Bulls starting forward Taj Gibson contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dwyane Wade, against a backdrop of cheers, showed the crowd he still has it, tallying 12 points, four assists, and three each in the rebound and steals columns.

It’s early in the season, but the Nets have to get the fire in the belly and stand up to the better teams, or it’s going to be a painful season.

Joe Johnson Bewildered Over Nets Loss to Chicago

After losing in pitiful fashion to the Milwaukee Bucks, 96-73, Sunday afternoon, you would think that the Brooklyn Nets would rebound tonight against the Chicago Bulls with the playoffs on the line right?

But they didn't.

Their struggles against the young and energetic Bucks, presented itself once again hosting the Chicago Bulls, and they without a doubt paid for it.

The Nets fate was sealed early and the Bulls had their way, all game long embarrassing the basketball pride of Brooklyn, 113-86.

The Bulls improved to (49-32) on the season while the Nets dropped their second straight game, now 37-44.

With this loss, the Nets find themselves in a must-win situation on Wednesday night, hosting the lowly Orlando Magic, a team fuming off of a 100-93 loss to the Miami Heat-tonight as well.

You know Orlando will be inspired.

They are young, rebuilding and probably won't mind playing the role of spoiler in their last game of the regular season before they begin their off-season/vacation early.

As for the Nets, that inspiration seems to be lacking.

They know what's at stake.

They know what they have to do, and instead of following through on their goals they seemed destined to reach-just a few days ago- they now resemble a team questioning themselves and unsure of where they are going.

"We lost, plain and simple," Joe Johnson said post-game finishing with 12 points. "I really, honestly can't explain it. I don't even know how that's possible with this being a very important game. So, I really don't know."

A 27-point loss will do that to you, and after competing for the majority of the first half, the Nets crumbled under the defensive pressure that makes the Bulls a title contender, if Derrick Rose is well-of course, and they delivered.

The Bulls registered eight total blocks in this game. Four of those blocks occurred in the 3rd quarter.

And not only did the Bulls defend, they also provided the nail in the coffin that came a quarter early.

With the Nets down by 15, 78-63, and over two-minutes remaining in the 3rd, Bulls rookie Forward, Nikola Mirotic, exploded for three treys in the last minute and 20 seconds to improve what once was a 15-point lead to 22, entering the fourth with a very comfortable 87-65 advantage.

The Bulls never looked back from that point. It was smooth sailing and because of that, Rose, who finished with 13 points was awarded the final quarter off.

"I wanted to play, but at the same time there is nothing wrong with resting," Rose said post-game.

"Not tomorrow I'm going to shoot a little bit more to make up for the five or six minutes that I was supposed to play in the fourth quarter."

This game isn't about what the Nets failed to do, it’s a clear example of who they are not.

They're not the Bulls.

They were not picked in the pre-season as one of the favorites to win it all stemming from the Eastern Conference.

Heck they're not even the Washington Wizards.

They are a team with talent that has struggled to find a healthy level of consistency this entire season, and in the end, that might doom the Nets.

On their best days, they will tell you that they can play and hang with anybody in the league and this is true.

They have recorded wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, the San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks.

And then they have head scratching nights like tonight.

What was working for the Nets the last month and a half did not show up today.

Brook Lopez only scored 13 points on 5-11 shooting.

Brook Lopez 600x591Brooklyn Nets center, Brook Lopez talking with the media

The Nets, as a team, compiled just 12 assists, compared to the Bulls 26 and the Nets shot 36.8% from the field opposed to the Bulls 50% from the field.

It does not sound like a recipe for success and because of that, here we are.

"We really don't have control," Johnson said post-game.

"It's in Indiana's control. We just got to look forward to Wednesday and come out and play."

And that's all they can do.

The Indiana Pacers have two games left to their season hosting the Washington Wizards on Tuesday and at the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Upon hearing those final two games, you the Nets fan are already thinking loss, but here are the facts: the Wizards have already clinched their playoff berth as the fifth seed as well as the Grizzlies positioned 6th in the Western Conference.

Both of these teams don't have to play hard, but the Pacers do, aiming to make their fifth straight postseason appearance, fueled by the return of their franchise player, Paul George, now PG13.

The Nets are a half-game out of 8th place and now have to resort to prayer.

The Nets cannot look back at the fact that five Bulls scored in double-figures tonight, including Pau Gasol (22 points), Taj Gibson (15 points), Jimmy Butler (17 points), Rose (13 points) and Mirotic (26 points).

The Nets have to look towards Wednesday night as the end-all be-all and handle their business against a team nowhere near contending.

It's their Game 7, unfortunately but honestly, the Nets made it this way.

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