November 22, 2019

Spencer Dinwiddie scores a game-high 28 points in loss; no Kyrie Irving and no Caris LeVert

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Indiana Pacers 115-86, ouch! And, with this loss, a few things were exposed. The Nets need its scoring machine, Kyrie Irving, who at this point in the season is averaging 28.5 PPG. Unfortunately, Irving is out with a right shoulder impingement. They also needed Caris LeVert, who averages 16.8 PPG. LeVert is out after having surgery to repair ligaments in his right thumb. The Nets also could have used a more focused second unit, between them, they only netted 24 points. Perhaps, the second unit needs more practice time with the regular starters or more minutes in real games, whatever the scenario, they need to be ready to produce. Yesterday, they looked lost.

“We totally weren’t there tonight,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson responding to a question regarding what he saw from both teams during Indiana’s 32-6 run. “For whatever reason – defensively, offensively, rebounding, physicality – I just think it was total domination by Indiana. I always do this, in a game like this in the NBA you have to give them a lot of credit because they had a lot of guys out too. So, (a) fantastic job by Indiana, a lot of credit. Nets, we weren’t very good tonight. When that happens, much like Phoenix, it’s a 30-point difference.”

Thank God for Spencer Dinwiddie. If for some reason, Dinwiddie was not in the lineup, the referees would have had to call this game. Dinwiddie was one of only three Nets players to score in double digits. The other two players were Jarrett Allen and Garrett Temple. Dinwiddie posted a game-high 28 points (9-of-21 FG, 4-of-8 3FG, 6-of-7 FT) with a season-high-tying eight assists, five rebounds, a steal and a block in 33 minutes; Allen posted a double-double with 10 points and a team-high 12 rebounds in 24 minutes, while Temple recorded 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a team-high two blocks in 32 minutes. The only other player that came closest to scoring 10 points was Theo Pinson, who came off the bench and scored eight points; even Joe Harris aka “Joey Buckets,” who beat out Stephen Curry to win the 3-Point shooting contest at last season’s NBA All-Star weekend, only scored seven points.

So, what gives? The question of the Nets lacking physicality was a concern that came up during the postgame press conference to which Coach Atkinson addressed, “I think it’s a mindset, first of all. I think you have to come with a mindset and of course you have to come with your wears – your physicality and your toughness. Listen, it’s not like we don’t have those things. We’ve shown we have them, we’ve done it, but right now, below-average teams are inconsistent and that’s what we are right now. We’re kind of like this and until we get the group together and find some more consistency – what’s disappointing, I thought that we took two good efforts at Denver and Utah and then an excellent road win and then obviously to come here, in front of our fans, it just doesn’t feel good at all.”

And, it shouldn’t feel good. It shouldn’t feel good to the coaching staff and it shouldn’t feel good to the players and quite frankly, they all should feel downright disappointed. Even the fans were disappointed, as many headed for the exits when it was clear the Nets weren’t just losing this game, they were going down in flames.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen told the media postgame. “We dug ourselves in a hole. We started out strong and then the second quarter they started playing hard and got the lead.”

Allen is right. The Indiana Pacers didn’t just take over right out the gate. The first quarter ended with a tie, Nets 18, Pacers 18. But, the second quarter is where the Pacers outpaced the Nets 41-17 and ended the half with the score, 59-35. In the third stanza, the Nets went on a run and scored more points than the Pacers (33-25), but not enough to close the gap significantly, as the third quarter ended with a nod to the Pacers 84-68. The fourth was no better, as the Indiana Pacers bested the Brooklyn Nets 31-18 and ended the game with an overall score of 115-86.

“I thought our bench came in and gave us a lift,” Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said explaining how his team found a way to win after a slow start. “I thought Naz Mitrou-Long came in and did a good job of making some baskets. We couldn’t make anything in that first quarter and the bench came in and got us going. They got us a rhythm and the lead, and we went from there. Another team effort tonight. I thought both young guards, Aaron Holiday and Naz Mitrou-Long, did a good job tonight.”

Scoring leaders for the Indiana Pacers were Aaron Holiday who scored 24 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds; Justin Holiday contributed 20 points and four rebounds; TJ Warren contributed 19 points and six rebounds; Domantas Sabonis registered 16 points, a game-high 18 rebounds, and three assists, and; Naz Mitrou-Long came off the bench and chipped in 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

Indiana will now return home to get ready to host the Orlando Magic on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET.

The Brooklyn Nets will get to redeem themselves on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, when they play host to the Charlotte Hornets at home at the Barclays Center on at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 
 
 

Kyrie Irving leads Nets with 28 points and Spencer Dinwiddie accumulates 20 points off the bench in the loss to the Indiana Pacers

Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon, and T.J. Warren accounted for 95 of the Pacers’ 118 points; add in Myles Turner’s seven points and the Pacers’ starting five accounted for 102 of their 118-point winning total. Compare the Pacers’ starting five’s 102 points to the Nets’ 72 points from its starters, of which Irving contributed more than a third with 28 points. Caris LeVert totaled 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists in 33 minutes, and; Joe Harris added 13 points and two boards in 30 minutes. With just eight points, Nets center DeAndre Jordan didn’t break through the 10+ threshold to be a “point-scoring leader”, but he more than made up for his 23 minutes on the court, pulling down 17 rebounds.

The Nets needed its bench to step up, but only Spencer Dinwiddie scored in double-digits with 20 points and a team-high seven assists in 27 minutes of play. Except for Dinwiddie, the Nets’ bench was abysmal. How does Rodions Kurucs justify just two points in 20 minutes of play?

Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson on the Game

“We're not really running anything,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about his team’s offense. “In training camp, you're practicing a lot, you have (a) nice flow, you kind of know what you're doing. I think we've lost a little bit of our structure and organization, which is natural with a new team and new guys. Like, I said, I think we have to play with each other more, get to know each other more, get on the same page in all aspects."

The Nets were in the game through the first half, leading the Pacers 63-60. But the Pacers started “out-pacing” the Nets in the third ending the quarter 90-83 and continued their winning pace into fourth.

So, what changed in the third quarter?

“I think our turnovers hurt us,” Coach Atkinson told the media.

Brooklyn turned the ball over eight times compared to Indiana’s two.

“Just overall, they dominated us physically, tactically,” Coach Atkinson continued. “It could have been a lot worse; we've got a lot of things to figure out. It's just a turnover thing, I don't remember seeing a stat line like that since I've been here, so it's just finding that balance. We’ve really got to get to know each other better, I think that's part of it. I knew Indiana was coming in here 0-3 and they've kind of historically took it to us physically and they did again tonight. (A) good lesson for us."

Kyrie Irving concurred, “they just got some separation. (We) turned the ball over a few too many times throughout the game. They were just comfortable, played with a sense of desperation. (Domantas) Sabonis got it going in the paint and had a really good game. (Malcolm) Brogdon hit some really good shots, and they have (Jeremy) Lamb filling in right there and T.J. (Warren) getting some backdoor cuts. Four of the main guys scoring over 20 points; it’s going to be hard to sustain any lead that we have.”

Particularly when you can’t figure out a way to stop them and the team is missing shots.

As for the Pacers’ perspective after getting their first win?

“It feels great,” said Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan. “These guys stay(ed) with it. We talked about having to be patient with this group. I thought tonight we did a better job of organizing on the offensive end of the floor. The defense was connected out there and with the injuries, guys kept believing and staying with it and we got out first win.”

Up Next

The Indiana Pacers will return home to Indianapolis to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets better bring their A++ game on Friday, November 1, 2019, or it probably will be ugly. They play host to James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Houston Rockets team at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The game time is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

 
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