Even the fourth nor’easter in New York City in the last three weeks did slow down the Brooklyn Nets from playing. But, on Wednesday, the Charlotte Hornets stopped Brooklyn’s hot shooting and came alive in the fourth quarter for the victory. Did we mention the Nets held a 23-point lead in the second quarter?
All streaks must come to an end. (Right, Portland?)
After a rather slow start on both sides — a score of 4-4 three minutes in — the Nets became red-hot. At the 4:07 mark of the first quarter, Quincy Acy broke the Nets’ record for most threes in a season by knocking down his 878th this season.
Acy’s triple ignited a 9-0 Nets run, with Caris LeVert, Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie contributing as well. Brooklyn’s lead grew steadily as a result, increasing to double digits at the 1:21 mark.
LeVert’s fadeaway at the horn brought Brooklyn’s advantage up to 34-20. Check out his buzzer beater and an earlier play where he annihilated Treveon Graham’s ankles (though he didn’t make the shot):
Caris Levert, Breaker of Ankles pic.twitter.com/yRrn13bOfs
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 22, 2018
The Nets’ first quarter success was also marked by dominance mainly in the paint and behind the arc:
Nets' 34 first-quarter points broken down:
-20 in the paint
-9 from three
-3 from free throw line
-2 from a jumper
— Elizabeth Swinton (@eswint22) March 22, 2018
Charlotte still had no answer for the Nets in the second quarter. Only four minutes in, Brooklyn extended its lead to 20, thanks to contributions from Dinwiddie, LeVert Jarrett Allen and DeMarre Carroll. At halftime, the Nets led comfortably, 62-43.
D’Angelo Russell, who finished the game as the Nets’ highest scorer, hit three consecutive shots in the third quarter, including two three-pointers. With everything going the Nets’ way for much of the quarter, frustration began to set in for Charlotte, as Dwight Howard could be seen shaking his head throughout the quarter.
With multiple Nets battling foul trouble and Brooklyn struggling to score in the paint, the Hornets finally showed some signs of life toward the end of the third. Trailing by 18 with 2:53 remaining in the quarter, the Hornets went on a 7-1 run for the rest of the period. A pair of free throws from Malik Monk trimmed Brooklyn’s lead to 12, 87-75.
In the opening minute of the fourth, Monk nailed a triple to bring Charlotte within single digits, 87-78. The Nets struggled to stem the tide in the next few minutes, though a big three from LeVert at the 9:04 mark gave them a bit of relief.
Also, this shot by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was absolutely nuts:
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 22, 2018
Just over a minute later, Harris canned a three to bring the Nets’ lead back up to double digits. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, that did not last for long, as their troubles only increased with Hollis-Jefferson fouling out with 3:33 to go.
Following Hollis-Jefferson’s substitution, the Hornets scored six straight points, powered by Howard and Kemba Walker. That cut the Nets’ lead to only one, 103-102.
Two free throws from Russell extended Brooklyn’s advantage to three. The score stayed stagnant for the next minute and a half as both teams struggled to buy a basket.
With 48.7 seconds remaining, Jeremy Lamb drove into the paint and converted on a layup, allowing Charlotte to stay dangerously close — down 105-104.
LeVert fell short on a pull-up on the next Nets possession, and the Hornets regained possession. Out of a timeout, Walker laid the ball in, plus the foul. After hitting the free throw, Charlotte went up, 107-105, with 18.3 seconds left.
Once again, on the following possession, the Nets accomplished nothing, with LeVert missing a layup and Howard getting the rebound.
Howard, though not an excellent free-throw shooter, nailed both foul shots. He finished the night with 32 points and 30 rebounds, becoming the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to notch a 30-30 stat line against the Nets. (Seriously, 30 rebounds.)
If that wasn’t enough to seal the deal for Charlotte, the Nets managed to turn the ball over before inbounding on the next play, too.
Nets gonna Nets.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Small Forward
13 PTS, 5-13 FG, 3-4 FT, 5 REB, 3 AST, 3 TOV, 3 STL, 1 BLK, 31 MIN
Rondae had to call it a night early after fouling out, but he accumulated a couple of notable highlights. Included are a dunk in the first quarter, and an even more ridiculous layup in the fourth — which seemed to revitalize the Nets in the final minutes. He could not be on the floor as things continued going downhill for the team, though.
Caris LeVert Shooting Guard
14 PTS, 6-15 FG, 2-4 3FG, 5 REB, 4 AST, 1 TOV, 27 MIN
Caris LeVert, expert ankle-breaker. Unfortunately, not clutch enough to hit those two baskets for the Nets in the final minute.
D’Angelo Russell Point Guard
19 PTS, 7-17 FG, 2-5 3FG, 3-4 FT, 4 REB, 5 AST, 2 TOV, 1 BLK, 28 MIN
Fortunately for the Nets, D’Angelo Russell was cooking in the third quarter. That was pretty much it, though.