Brooklyn Nets basketball is back, and for once in a very long time, all players were healthy. This was supposed to mean a great start to the 2017-18 season (more on that later), since the team was not injury-free last season until March. (That only lasted for one game, too. Ouch.) The Nets came into their season opener from an impressive 3-1 preseason campaign, though they were absolutely obliterated in their final preseason matchup against the 76ers.
In this matchup, despite the Nets being extremely careless with the basketball in the first half (13 turnovers), they still only trailed by two, 65-63, at halftime. As you can see, not much defense was going on in Indiana.
Brooklyn was quite impressive from behind the arc (shooting at 40 percent), with D’Angelo Russell, Jeremy Lin, Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert each contributing at least one. A couple of baskets by Jeremy Lin and Crabbe’s triple capped a 9-0 Brooklyn run to tie the game at 57. The Nets closed the second quarter on a 15-8 run and remained just a hair behind Indiana.
Unfortunately for Brooklyn, the turnover woes continued to begin the second half. The Nets committed three more turnovers within the first three minutes of the third quarter, allowing the Pacers to climb to a double-digit lead, 75-65. Oh no, the third quarter Nets are back.
Indiana dominated most of the third quarter, but thanks to LeVert and Quincy Acy’s late surges, the Nets were able to stay within somewhat of a striking distance, getting the deficit down to as few as five points. The Pacers had a 106-98 advantage entering the final period. That’s right, this was the score after only three quarters.
It looked like the Pacers would be able to pull away once again as they went on an 8-0 run, with Brooklyn going cold from all over the court. Then, a three from Quincy Acy, followed by one from Russell, again pulled the Nets back within seven points. This was the beginning of Brooklyn’s own 8-0 run, and the team continued to cut into the Pacers’ lead throughout the quarter. Bad news struck the Nets around the five-minute mark though: Lin was escorted off the court after a hard fall that appeared to affect his right leg.
Even without their lead point guard, the Nets still remained close and got within four points with two minutes to go. Unfortunately, it would be too little, too late for Brooklyn.
Overall, it was not pretty team basketball by the Nets tonight. 10 Nets turned the ball over at least once, and the team as a whole finished the night with 20 turnovers. Individually, players might have performed better, but all the turnovers added up, and it did not help that Brooklyn was letting the Pacers get whatever shot they wanted.
The Nets have now lost five straight season openers. Ironically, this game was the most points they have ever scored in a season opener, but also the most points they have ever given up.
D’Angelo Russell Point Guard
30 PTS, 12-22 FG, 4-8 3PM, 3 REB, 5 AST, 2 TO
If anyone had a good game tonight, it was D’Angelo Russell. Russell carried the Nets in the first half, leading the team with 16 points and three assists. This included two triples from around the same spot! He finished with three threes (oops, a pun) in total. Ice, ICE is in his veins.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Power Forward
14 PTS, 3-4 FG, 8-8 FT, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 TO, 1 STL
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson may have only attempted and knocked down three field goals, but he nailed all eight of his free throws. Not too shabby for a guy who has been working on his shooting form all summer. Showing that Brooklyn GRIT.
18 PTS, 5-12 FG, 1-2 3PM, 4 AST, 3 TO
Jeremy Lin got off to a rough start in the season opener, turning the ball over three times in the first half, but was still able to settle into his shooting. Not a bad game for Lin, even though his playing time was cut short due to another unfortunate injury. Get well soon, Jeremy!
20 PTS, 7-10 FG, 0-1 3PM, 10 REB, 2 TO
Trevor Booker is the epitome of Brooklyn Grit, and he showed why in the first game of the season. This also comes after an awful performance in the Nets’ final preseason games, which is a relief. Many of Booker’s 10 boards tonight allowed Brooklyn to get an extra possession, and that’s what he should continue to do for the team moving forward.
Caris LeVert Shooting Guard
12 PTS, 5-15 FG, 1-4 3PM, 2 REB, 4 AST, 1 TO
Caris LeVert kept the Nets alive in the second half, after his spark late in the third quarter. He contributed in a lot of different places, exceeding double figures in the third, as well as notching four assists and three steals on the night. Not to mention, there were three forms of LeVert: “LeVertical,” three ball LeVert and continuation LeVert.