December 13, 2018

The Brooklyn Nets were close for the first three quarters against the Utah Jazz, but could not close it out

With losing four consecutive winnable games, it is probably an understatement to say that the Brooklyn Nets are really missing Caris LeVert right about now. LeVert, who was averaging 18 points per game for the Nets, took a spill in a game against the Timberwolves in Minnesota on November 12, 2018, and the team has been trying to find its way to close out games ever since. Last night, was one of those nights when every member on the team probably wished it could rewind the clock and prevent LeVert’s injury because no matter how many people step up to try to fill the void, that vacuum just hasn’t been filled. On Wednesday evening, the Nets were at home to play the Utah Jazz, a fairly evenly matched team. Although the Jazz led at the end of the first two quarters, the spread was very thin. The first quarter ended 17-16, and at the half, the score was 43-42. Surprisingly, the Nets led at the end of the third, 78-70. Then came the fourth quarter where the Jazz outscored the Nets 31-13, ending the game on top with a score of 101-91. This is the third straight home loss for the Nets.

So were the Nets fourth-quarter struggles self-inflicted?

“When you miss shots, you just power downhill until you can break the streak,” Nets center Jarrett Allen responded. “And they just kept up the defense for the whole game really, and you can tell it escalated in the fourth quarter.”

“I didn’t think we had open shots,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media postgame. “I thought they locked us up. I thought that they played great defense. We couldn’t find clear looks and Jarrett (Allen) had one in the lane after a timeout and there was a travel or something, but it wasn’t like Philly where I felt like we had a ton of open looks. We didn’t have open looks. It’s a credit to their defense. I thought they were superb defensively and obviously, we weren’t at our best offensively. The ball stuck a lot.”

With the loss, the Nets fell to 8-14 overall and 3-7 at Barclays Center, while the Jazz improved to 10-12 overall and 8-6 on the road with the win. There were some bright metrics for the Nets last evening, as it recorded a season-high 12 steals, one better than its previous high of 11 steals against the Philadelphia 76ers just a few weeks ago on November 4. Although it didn’t give Brooklyn a win, team Black and White did edge the Jazz 14-8 on the offensive glass tonight. And, entering tonight’s game, Brooklyn was tied for sixth in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game (12.2), which is a bright spot showing that the team hasn’t totally fallen apart.

Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench to lead Brooklyn with 18 points, three rebounds, and two blocks in 22 minutes. Unfortunately, Dinwiddie collected six fouls. The Nets do have to learn to be aggressive without collecting unnecessary fouls, as fouls were one of the things that hurt them against Philadelphia on Sunday. But, on the bright side, among NBA reserves this season, Dinwiddie ranks first in points (351), first in assists (105), first in games scoring in double figures (21) and second in 3FGM (44). If Dinwiddie keeps going with these metrics, he should be a lock for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.

Starters, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jarrett Allen, and D’Angelo Russell each scored 14 points. Jefferson and Allen had 11 and 10 rebounds respectively, while Russell accumulated seven assists and five rebounds. Shabazz Napier, who is part of the Nets second unit, scored 10 points.

Although not a prolific scorer, Ed Davis, known for his defense, pulled down 10 rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.

Leading scorers for the Utah Jazz were starters Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gorbert, and Royce O’Neale, and Raul Neto from Utah’s secondary unit. Mitchell, who is in his second year with the NBA, registered 29 points, five rebounds, and 4 steals; Gorbert, tallied 23 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, and four blocked shots; O’Neale scored 13 points and four rebounds, and Neto chipped in 11 points and three rebounds.

With LeVert, the Nets scoring leader, out for the next few months, don’t think the Nets are falling apart.

“We just want to win,” Allen responded knowing how close the team could have pulled off a win last night and against Philadelphia on Sunday. “We were up two games in the fourth quarter, so we just want to learn how to close it out and finally close a game out in the fourth.”

The Brooklyn Nets get another opportunity to show they can close out games without LeVert when they play the Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow, Friday, November 30, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center.

Despite D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie scoring 38 and 31 points respectively against the 76ers, the Nets lose their Brooklyn grit and the game in the fourth

The Barclays Center was rocking with enthusiasm for the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday from tip-off until the buzzer sounded signaling the end of the game. For the first three quarters, it looked like the Brooklyn Nets would get another victory at home against the Philadelphia 76ers this season. Brooklyn led by as much as 20 points at 1:22 in the second quarter, ultimately ending the half up by 14 with a score of 68-54. Things were even looking pretty good for Brooklyn in the proverbial third quarter, as the team was up by as much as 19 points at 6:20 and ending the third with a 13-point spread.

However, the Sixers went into a turbo-charged gear in the fourth quarter. The Nets lost their double-digit lead after an Allen Crabbe foul and Sixers Joel Embiid hits two foul shots with 4:50 left in regulation and the score resting at the moment at 118-110. Over the next few minutes, Philadelphia chips away and takes the lead at 1:03 on a JJ Redick three-point jump shot and now the score is 121-120. Brooklyn takes a slim one-point lead (125-124) on a Spencer Dinwiddie pull-up jumper at 26.8 seconds left in regulation.

Now, here is where it really gets interesting, at 19.7 seconds, Redick misses a jump shot, Jimmy Butler rebounds, there’s a tussle, and a jump ball is called between Butler and Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Butler tips the ball to Embiid and Philadelphia calls a timeout. At 2.3 seconds, the game resumes and Butler hits a step-back three putting Philadelphia in a game-winning position with a score of 127-125. Timeout is called. Game resumes. With .4 seconds on the clock, Nets forward DeMarre Carroll throws a bad pass, Ben Simmons intercepts the ball and its game over.

Postgame in the locker room, Butler reflects on the game-winning shot for Philadelphia.

“Another play drawn up by coach,” Butler said to the media. “My teammates have a lot of confidence in me to take shots late; hopefully I make shots late as well. But I mean I got to the spot that I wanted to get to, raised up, and knocked it down.”

Butler, confident and somewhat humble, didn’t put himself out there as “the guy” since joining the Sixers after a tumultuous early start to the season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“To tell you the truth, it could have been anybody,” Butler said regarding taking the last shot. They do have a lot of confidence in me but I got so much more confidence in those guys. They really got us back in the game. Joel throwing the ball off the backboard, and; everybody else making shots, it’s so fun to play that way. Then, in the end, I just made one play out of the many that were already made as well.”

A winnable game for the Nets, but instead they go down in defeat by a small margin 127-125.

With this loss, the Nets fell to 8-13 overall and 3-6 at the Barclays Center, while the 76ers improved to 14-8 overall and 4-7 on the road with the win.

Looking at the way Brooklyn competed, there were some things for the Nets to feel good about, particularly compared to last season. This team competed and played defense. Overall, Brooklyn out-rebounded Philadelphia by a slim margin 43-42. The 33-29 defensive rebounding score is where the Nets saw some daylight and went into darkness with allowing Philadelphia to beat them on the offensive boards 13-10.

D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with a season-high and Nets career-high 38 points with eight rebounds and eight assists in 34 minutes.

Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench and recorded a career-high-tying 31 points along with three rebounds and five assists inside of 29 minutes within regulation. The first time Dinwiddie scored 31 points, it took an overtime session against the Toronto Raptors earlier this year on January 8, to accomplish this feat.

Other Nets leading scorers were center Jarrett Allen, who is in his second year with the NBA. Allen had a good night, posting his seventh career-high double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes. Allen’s seven double-doubles are the second-most for all second-year NBA players (behind Ben Simmons’ 14 double-doubles). Hollis-Jefferson also scored in double figures, tallying 13 points with six rebounds in 30 minutes in his second start of the season.

Unfortunately, once again, Allen Crabbe, who is part of the starting five, disappeared. Crabbe scored zero (0) points, donuts for rebounds, and one assist in 25 minutes of play.

By contrast, all of Philadelphia’s starters scored in double digits. Butler scored 34 points, 12 rebounds, and four steals. Embiid registered 32 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists; Redick tallied 15 points and four rebounds; Simmons added 13 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and three steals, and; Wilson Chandler chipped in 10 points, five assists, and three rebounds.

Landry Shamet, a member of Philadelphia’s secondary unit and a rookie, got into the double-digit scoring action by posting 16 points.

“It’s a shame,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said to the media postgame. “Heck of a basketball game. I thought our guys competed. They led for most of the game and it’s one of those you think you deserve to win it and they pull it out at the end. But listen, credit to them. They hit some tough shots. Obviously, (Jimmy) Butler’s shot at the end was a heck of a shot. We got our best defender (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson) on him, so be it.”

Understand the disappointment, but so be it?

The Nets were up by as much as 20 points in the second and 19 in the 3rd and so be it. What!?

But upon further reflection, Atkinson added: “Listen, we lose the free-throw battle again and I think it seems like every game it’s a 13 free-throw differential, 20 free-throw differential. “That’s not a complaint about the referees, that’s on us. We have to learn how to be active and play physical but without fouling. We lost the free-throw battle, I thought that was big.”

Atkinson is right on the free-throw opportunities. Philadelphia had 33 occasions to get to the free-throw line, making 27 of them. Meanwhile, Brooklyn made 15 out of their 20 free-throw chances.

And, down the stretch, Nets center Jarrett Allen missed an eight-foot floating shot at 4:30 in the fourth that would have put the score at 120-110 giving the Nets a 10-point lead instead of keeping them at 118-110. Then, Allen missed two free-throws at 3:21 when the Nets had a slim 118-114 lead, an ominous sign that this game would probably not be a win for the Nets.

And, Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris summed it up best.

“I think it was how they slowly chipped away at it,” Harris said about how the Sixers were able to get back into the game. “Obviously they have a lot of capable guys, whether it’s JJ (Redick) coming off the screen, (Ben) Simmons getting downhill, (the) ball going to the post to (Joel) Embiid, or now, Jimmy (Butler) being able to go and get buckets for them. So, it poses a lot of difficult matchups and I think a lot of it came down to individual pride, ownership on the defensive end, and us being able to go with the lead when we had it and capitalizing on where we were at 15, 16, 17, 18-point lead. Being able to execute and make the right plays in those scenarios instead of (a) turnover, bad shot, they come down and get a bucket. That’s basically what ended up happening with them slowly chipping away at it.”

The Philadelphia 76ers play the New York Knicks on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, at home in Philadelphia.

Next up for the Brooklyn Nets is the Utah Jazz at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

New Yorkers are happy with the NFL Draft picks of Saquon Barkley and Sam Darnold for NY Giants, and NY Jets respectively; everyone applauds Shaquem Griffin pick

In this episode of What’s The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are talking about the NBA Playoffs, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs, the NFL Draft 2018, the NY Knicks search for a new coach, Shaquem Griffin, and more.

With two primary guards out with injuries, Dinwiddie scores a game-high and career-high 25 points to lead Nets over Jazz

There was a little bit of nervousness going into the Brooklyn Nets home game on Friday night against the Utah Jazz. When these two teams met less than a week ago in Utah, the Jazz defeated the Nets 114-106. But, the loss was not only in points, D’Angelo Russell, the Nets leading scorer suffered a left knee contusion during that session. Prior to last night’s game, Nets general manager Sean Marks gave the media the bad news that there is no timetable for Russell’s return.

With Jeremy Lin out with a season-ending right knee injury and D’Angelo Russell out indefinitely, to the surprise of many, there was a lot to like about the way the Nets played on Friday night. The next man up concept became more than a concept it was a concept in action.

Enter the Brooklyn Nets backup point guard, Spencer Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie, making his fourth start of the season was the player of the game, hands down. Dinwiddie, the engine behind the Nets 118-107 victory over the Jazz, scored a game-high and career-high 25 points (9-of-14 FG, 6-of-10 3FG) with five rebounds, eight assists (no turnovers) and two steals in 31 minutes. Dinwiddie’s six made 3-pointers marked a career high and the most threes made by a Net in a game this season. He has recorded 78 assists with just 14 turnovers this season (5.57:1 assist-to-turnover ratio), which ranks second in the league behind Andre Iguodala’s 5.75:1 ratio.

Dinwiddie’s performance did not go unnoticed by his teammates, no hating on this team.

“He’s showing us consistency and he’s showing us that he’s capable of knocking down big shots,” Nets shooting guard Allen Crabbe said about Dinwiddie’s performance. “ Not only that, but he’s doing other things too. I mean, he had like, what, eight rebounds tonight? And dishing the ball out, so he’s playing great for us and, like I said, just another person like him – telling him, this is your opportunity, so go out there and take advantage.”

“I think as a starter and as a point guard in my position, you try to lead,” Dinwiddie said regarding the need to step up for the team and his career high of 25 points against the Jazz at home. “I didn’t do anything different because of his (D’Angelo Russell) surgery. I would like to think that we won for him though because our heart goes out to him, he is our teammate and our brother. We feel for him in this time. A lot of us have had injuries and surgeries and things of that nature. So, like I said, our heart goes out to him.”

Can anyone say, Spencer Dinwiddie for NBA Player of the Week?

Crabbe, who normally comes off the bench, but started last night, scored 18 points with five boards and three assists in 30 minutes in this game against Utah. In his last two games, Crabbe has recorded averages of 16.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 31.4 minutes per game while shooting .500 (12-of-24) from the field and .500 (8-of-16) from behind the arc.

Team ball was a factor in the Nets success and Crabbe liked the Nets ball movement.

“It makes life a little bit easier for all of us on the offensive end when the ball just moves like that – makes the defense break down as well when you’re not just playing on one side, pick-and-roll and putting up a shot, dropping off to the roller to shoot,” Crabbe explained. “We get other options out of our offense. Sometimes teams break down off of one, two, three passes and he (Kenny Atkinson) came in at halftime and told us we need to keep that up. You saw the lead that we had in the first half. So, like I said, it just makes life easier for all of us when we’re playing team basketball.”

Brooklyn scored 39 points in during the first quarter, which marked the most points the Nets have scored in any quarter this season and scored 65 points in the first half, which marked the most points the Nets have scored in a first half this season.

Other Nets players in double digits included DeMarre Carroll who totaled 17 points (5-of-10 FG, 3-of-5 3FG, 4-of-4 FT), tying his second-highest scoring output this season. In this meetup, Carroll recorded two rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 27 minutes. Trevor Booker added 14 points and Caris LeVert chipped in 10 points.

The Nets shot a season-high .506 (43-of-85) from the field in last night’s victory (previous high: .500 vs. Orlando on 10/20) and improved to 2-0 this season when shooting .500 or better from the field this season. Also, this win snapped Brooklyn’s three-game losing streak to the Jazz and split their season series with Utah 1-1.

The Nets led by as many as 22 points in this game, which marked the team's largest lead at any point in a game this season (previous high: 16-point lead on 10/22 vs. Atlanta). It also recorded a season-high-tying 27 assists (also achieved on 10/22 vs. Atlanta) and edged the Jazz 27-21.

Even with the Nets’ season-high-tying 27 assists, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was a bit tempered in his assessment.

“I thought the first half was fantastic. I thought we were flying around. I told the guys the second half we really regressed and we can’t afford to do that. I thought we really got into isolation ball, that’s not our game. So first half I give us an A and second half I’d probably give us a C in terms of ball movement. Something we can work on before the Golden State game.”

There’s not much time, the Nets meet Golden State Warriors tomorrow, Sunday, November 19, 2017, at the Barclays Center at 6:00 p.m.

Without D’Angelo Russell, the Nets leading scorer, the Boston Celtics defeat the Brooklyn Nets 109-102

Returning from a West coast swing, Tuesday night at the Barclays Center was the Nets first game at home in 14 days, and they were without leading scorer, D’Angelo Russell who is suffering from a left knee contusion. He was hurt in the loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

As good as the Celtics are, this wasn’t a game where Boston was out front for the entirety and Brooklyn was trying to play catch up all night. The Celtics started 7 of 9 from the field to lead 17-4, and ended the first quarter 30-21. However, the Nets jumped ahead in the second quarter and countered every time Boston threatened to pull away until the final minutes. Ultimately, the Celtics won their 13th straight victory, defeating the Nets 109-102.

What made the difference in tonight’s game for the Celtics?

“I thought, obviously, answering Brooklyn’s runs,” responded Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “You knew they (Nets) were going to come out and the first part we played great but we didn’t sustain it through probably the next two quarters. But then we mustered up enough at the end of the third to get a lead that went quick, which if you watch Brooklyn play that happens all the time. They do a great job of continuing to grind on you and making it as tough as possible. And they come back a lot. You knew it was going to be tough. I thought our group, once it got settled, played pretty well. ”

In the metrics that mattered, Boston out-rebounded Brooklyn 59-48 and the Nets 62.5 free throw percentage was abysmal compared to the Celtics’ 81.5 percent.

Joe Harris, the Nets three-point specialist, led Nets scorers with 19 points and described the Nets deficiencies against the Celtics.

“A lot of times bad shots offensively can make it really tough on your defense and I think that was a little bit of what happened to us,” Harris explained. “When we don’t play together and when we don’t play with the pass, a lot of times we take difficult shots and a lot of times that’s very similar to a turnover and they’re able to get in a good offense off of tough shots that we were taking.”

“I thought we had a lot of periods where we were really good moving it (the ball),” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought Caris (LeVert) gave us a big boost. He really came in and he’s able to break down the switches when they do switch so he can go by guys, go by their bigs when they do switch. But overall, first half we had 15 assists. I’m not sure what we ended up with, 27? So that’s good news for us. That’s higher than our season average so a lot of positives. Obviously frustrated with the result but they’re an excellent team. They have a lot of talent, a lot of athletic talent that you saw on display tonight.”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets; while Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert added 15 points apiece. Spencer Dinwiddie totaled 12 points, a career-high-tying 11 assists (with just one turnover), four rebounds and one block in his third start of the season tonight.

For Boston, Kyrie Irving, who wore a facial mask all night because of a facial fracture, led all scorers with 25 points. Irving suffered a facial fracture in Boston's win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. Marcus Morris scored 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, Al Horford led the Celtics in rebounding with 11 boards, and Jayson Tatum added 19 points.

Next up, Boston meets up with the Golden State Warriors in Boston on Thursday night, while the Nets host the Utah Jazz on Friday at the Barclays Center.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: NBA Free Agency 2017 took NBA fans on a wild ride with expected and unexpected changes

Yes, NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. There were changes that most of us expected and some that very few people saw coming. Let’s talk about the winners and those who didn't win too much.

Winners

Houston Rockets landing Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers, which seemed to come out of nowhere. But rumor has it that the relationship between Chris Paul and Doc Rivers had soured somewhat because of perceived favoritism towards Austin Rivers who is Doc Rivers’ son. The challenge will be how Chris Paul and James Harden will be able to play together.

Other winners include the Boston Celtics landing Gordon Hayward; OKC obtaining the services of Paul George; Minnesota for adding Jimmy Butler to its roster, the Golden State Warriors because Kevin Durant took a pay cut in order to keep the team intact, and the NBA for continuing to make headlines in mid-July.

Biggest Losers

The Chicago Bulls with the trade of Jimmy Butler to Minnesota Timberwolves by many accounts is the biggest loser in the 2017 NBA Free Agency. 

Also, the Indiana Pacers losing Paul George to OKC, and the Utah Jazz losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics. Indiana and Utah are both small market teams who are losing their draw and possibly revenue.

Trevor Booker lifts Nets through loss; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson shows his efficiency

A 101-89 loss is not a way for the Brooklyn Nets to ring in the New Year. But, that is exactly what happened at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Monday night. At the end of the night, it was the Jazz 101, the Nets 89.

And, this was coming off a huge 118-95 loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday and with two days’ rest, one would think that the Nets would have played harder to protect their home turf. No such luck, the Jazz was just a bit too overpowering. Nets center Brook Lopez, stifled by Rudy Gobert, only managed a 6-of-16 shooting night. Before the evening’s end, Lopez was a step away from fouling out picking up five fouls.

But there was hope, the Nets were able to build a 65-57 lead deep in the third quarter something this team doesn’t do too often. However, team Black and White could not sustain the momentum. Going into the fourth quarter, it was a totally different story. With the score tied at 70-70, it was downhill from there for the Nets.

“I thought it started in the end of the third,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “We were plus eight. Then plus eight went to even and they got the momentum and carried it into the fourth quarter. Listen, I am proud of our team’s defensive effort. I thought we really got after it. We were physical like we asked the players to be. I thought they really responded. Our offense wasn’t great; obviously, we were one-for-fifteen from three in the second half. I think it is hard to beat a team like that especially with Gobert in there. You have to make some of those and we got some decent looks, but they are an excellent defensive team. They’re a top five defensive team and Gobert, he changes things when you are diving to the rim. I am sure we will look at it and say, ‘Man we could’ve shared it a little better. We could’ve made the extra pass.’ I was proud of their defensive effort tonight. ”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, with only two years in the NBA, felt similarly about Gobert.

“I would say it’s definitely tough when you’ve got a guy that big and his wingspan is like 7’7” or whatever,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “That’s definitely in the back of your mind, but it’s about being aggressive and trying to create for your teammates is the best thing to do when you’ve got a guy like that in the middle.”

At game’s end, Trevor Booker had a great night. With a double-double, Booker led the Nets with 17 points and 15 rebounds.

“Trevor (Booker) had great energy tonight,” Atkinson added. “I thought he led us with his rebounding. Typical Trevor.”

Other Nets players in double figures were Lopez with 14 points and six rebounds. Isaiah Whitehead, who is starting at the point for the injured Jeremy Lin, scored 12 points and six rebounds and Hollis-Jefferson added 11 points in 14:19 minutes.

“I think Rondae is getting more in his comfort zone,” Atkinson said. “You know we are playing him at the four a lot more and he gets mismatches on his drives and can use his speed and quickness that way.”

And, what does Atkinson think of Whitehead’s performance?

“Isaiah is a heck of a competitor,” Atkinson continued. “Even at the end there we put him on (Gordon) Hayward. I was like, ‘Well let’s put him on Hayward.’ He has got a big body and I thought his defense was excellent tonight. I thought at the end of the third quarter we lost Hayward a few times on screens that was big. He kind of got going but again, good defensive effort by us.”

For the Jazz, Gordon Hayward was extremely efficient. He led the way with 30 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block in 35 minutes. Gobert added 15 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks. Rodney Hood also contributed 15 points, and Shelvin Mack chipped in 15 points and three steals.

Nets win game but lose Jeremy Lin to a reinjured left hamstring

Check out the Nets vs. Hornets Video Highlights

With the Brooklyn Nets, you never know what the outcome of the game is going to be. On Monday night, the Nets (7-22) met up with the (17-13) Charlotte Hornets at home at the Barclays Center. The Nets are fourth in the Atlantic Division and the Hornets are leading the Southeast Division. In fact, every team in the Southeast Division has a better record than the Nets. So to think that the Nets might lose this one wouldn’t be too far-fetched.

The Nets trailed the Hornets by nine points (40-31) at the closing of the first quarter, and then again the same point spread at the closing of the first half, Hornets 63 – Nets 54. Given the way that the Nets have been losing steam in the third quarter, it was amazing to see the team keep its composure and close the gap, ending the third stanza with only a five-point deficit 88-83. Equally important was that Nets guard Jeremy Lin re-injured his left hamstring during the third quarter; he abruptly left the game, and the Nets didn’t seem to miss a beat.

It was the fourth quarter where things got very interesting. The Nets showed their Brooklyn Grit; they kept the game close and went back and forth with the lead. Brook Lopez even scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth. Sean Kilpatrick added 10 of his 23 points in the fourth.

As the minutes wound down, and with just under two minutes left in regulation, the score was tied at 111-111. Kilpatrick hit a three, then Hornets center Cody Zeller dropped a cutting dunk to bring the score to 114-113, and then at the 1:06 mark, Nets shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovich hit a three to bring the score to 117-113. With 32 seconds left, Hornets guard Nicolas Batum posted up a three-pointer bringing Charlotte within one at 117-116. Now, at the four-second mark, the home crowd audibly engaged holds their collective breath as Hornets point guard Kemba Walker drives for a layup, but it is blocked by Nets power forward Trevor Booker. However, Zeller grabs the rebound and makes a putback layup putting the Hornets ahead by one point (118-117). Brooklyn calls a timeout to regroup with two seconds remaining on the clock.

When Zeller grabbed the rebound and then made the putback, Nets backup guard Randy Foye, listed at 6-foot-4, was right there; but Foye, no match for the 7-foot center, couldn’t get the block.

But when the timeout was over, Foye redeemed himself.

Foye stationed behind the arc received an inbound pass from Bogdanovich. With just .9 seconds left in regulation, Foye pushed up, released the ball just before the buzzer and drained a three to seal the deal. And, just like that, the Nets stung the Hornets with a 120-118 win.

Making that buzzer beater and winning the game, didn’t stop Foye from feeling a little bit guilty that Zeller got that putback layup to put Charlotte up by one.

“It was my fault,” said Foye, diagramming the team’s defensive scheme. “It’s my fault he got the layup. Trevor [Booker] switched and blocked the shot. I was supposed to block out Zeller.”

“You know, Zeller put that basket down with a few seconds left, but the way our team maintained focus, and our mental strength, was fantastic,” said Lopez. “It was a great validation for our guys.”

It sure was.

Foye’s buzzer-beating three marked his first points in 21 minutes off the bench on Monday night.

In the win, Bogdanovic led all scorers with 26 points. In fact, this was the second game this season that Bogdanovic, Kilpatrick (23 points) and Lopez (21 points) all scored 20 plus points in the same game. The last time was against the Lakers on December 14, 2016.

Booker posted 12 rebounds, Lin scored 17 points before his departure in the third quarter, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in 10 points.

Brooklyn shot .533 from the field (40-of-75 FG) and .484 from 3-point range (15-of-31 3FG) in the win. The Nets’ .484 shooting from 3-point range marked a season high (previous high: .481 vs. Detroit on 11/2).

In the loss, Charlotte had six players in double digits; Batum had 24 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals; Jeremy Lamb scored 17 points, and Walker and Zeller each had 15 points.

Next, up, the Nets are on the road to play Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, Washington Wizards on Friday, and then back home to play the Utah Jazz in the New Year on Monday, January 2nd, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Phoenix, Utah, and Denver Path for Nets to Win on West Coast

Brooklyn Nets have a tough test ahead as the team heads out to the west coast to play the Portland Trailblazers, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Brooklyn Nets stayed competitive up to close of 2nd Quarter; Utah’s 37-point third quarter doomed Nets recovery

Different opponent. Same result. Same old Brooklyn Nets.

It doesn’t matter who lines up as the next challenger, the Nets just can’t catch a break. Tonight the same old tune repeated itself, this time, featuring the Utah Jazz. With Derrick Favors, Dante Exum, and Alec Burks all out of the rotation due to injuries, Gordon Hayward, one of the league's most underrated players, scored a team-high 21 points with nine assists, leading the Jazz to a commanding 108-86 win over the Nets. The Nets fell to 11-33 on the season, their fifth straight loss while the Jazz improved to 19-24, a half-game out of the 8th spot in the west.

Hayward scored 10 of his 21 in the 1st quarter alone, hitting four of his first five shots which included two threes. Despite Haywards hot-start, the Nets, surprisingly enough got off to a good start. They held a narrow one-point lead over the Jazz going into the second quarter, but like most of the Nets losses this year, the 2nd half continues to be a problem and on Friday night that fact was validated once again.

The Nets gave up a whopping 37 points to their 17 in the third quarter. After ending the 2nd quarter on a run, the Jazz‘s offensive success carried over to the beginning of the third where they would enjoy a 13-4 run in the first five minutes of the quarter. Rudy Gobert, who provided highlights all night on both ends, along with Rodney Hood, Raul Neto and Trey Lyles are all responsible for increasing what was a reasonable eight-point lead to a 17-point advantage with a little over seven minutes left in the third.

Moments later, the Nets would call a 20-second timeout to regroup, with under five minutes to go, while hopefully disrupting the Jazz’s momentum but it didn’t matter. Seconds later, Hayward would evade Thaddeus Young, using a nifty crossover dribble between his legs, drive baseline, and convert a beautiful reverse layup, putting the Jazz up by 20, 71-51 with 4:23 left in the third.

“He’s scoring the ball and drawing a lot of attention now and the guy is stepping up and knocking down shots when they come to him,” said Hood reflecting on Hayward’s big night. “He’s just being aggressive, being who he is, being who he’s been all season really.”

It signaled one of the highlights of the game. It signaled what was going right for Hayward and the Jazz who clearly did not want to leave NY 0-2 after losing to the New York Knicks in OT on Wednesday night. It signaled another Nets loss. The Jazz would continue to pile on the points in the third entering the fourth with a 28-point lead, 85-57. Hood finished with 16 points, and Gobert, Neto and Lyles all chipped in 10 points each.

When the final buzzer sounded, the crowd treated the Nets like a Knicks loss during the Isiah Thomas era. The boos rained down on the home team and it felt like some of the darkest days the Knicks had to endure during that era.

It was too bad because the Brooklyn Nets had an encouraging first quarter. Every Nets starter scored, except Donald Sloan who recorded four assists. After that, the offense fell apart.

“I thought we had a good rhythm to start the game, and after the first quarter, we kind of lost it,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Tony Brown said post-game.

Brown continued to say that after giving up 37 points in the third quarter, the game was over which compelled him to give some minutes to other guys like Sergey Karasev and in the process, ending Brook Lopez’s night. The team’s best player scored eight points in just 19 minutes of play which could be one of his worst outings of the year. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Nets with 14 points coming off of the bench which is a major problem.

Joe Johnson wasn’t much of a factor scoring only eight points and Sloan ended his night with just two points. Offensively, the Nets are definitely challenged but it doesn’t help that the team is struggling to take care of the orange as well. The Nets only committed 11 turnovers on Friday night but it’s the timing of the turnovers that are hurting the Nets the most.

“The same song and story as it’s been the last couple of games,” a dejected Young said in the locker-room. “We get off to good starts, we have good first halves then in the second half we’ll have two or three crucial turnovers that kind of turns the momentum of the game and it just slips away from us.”

As bad as this year has gone for the Nets with no letup in sight as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat in their next two games before they head westward, Brown is not giving up on his squad.

Brown wants to continue encouraging the guys to do things the right way.

“I am not going to change my approach,” Brown said. “I am going to keep coaching, but you know, there is some soul-searching to be done. I am going to keep fighting, I just hope they do.”

Don’t, we all.

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