Let’s forget about free agency for a while, and rejoice in the fact that Brooklyn Nets basketball is back! Well, sort of. It’s Las Vegas Summer League, baby!
The Nets got off to a very slow start, missing their first three field goals, and with much of the first quarter looking lopsided in favor of Atlanta. With under three minutes to go, however, the Nets found their groove and went on a 13-1 run, inching their way back to take a 23-21 lead.
Brooklyn continued on this momentum in the second quarter and quickly took control of the game. First half contributions from familiar faces Archie Goodwin, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (three of whom started!) helped put the icing on the cake for the Nets’ 42-31 advantage at halftime. Forcing turnovers also played a huge role in the Nets’ dominance, as Atlanta committed 11 in the first half.
The third quarter told the same story for the Nets, who kept piling point after point to their lead. It appeared to be the point of no return for the Hawks, with the Nets’ “veterans” leading the pack in Vegas, but Brooklyn got lackadaisical in the fourth.
A big run from the Hawks to open the fourth helped them get within six, and the Nets battled a dangerously close score in the final minutes. Atlanta outscored Brooklyn 24-11 in the final period, and the aftermath involved the Nets fighting at the skin of their teeth until the very end. Luckily, the Nets were able to hang on, and it wasn’t pretty, but captured their first win in Vegas.
Nathan Boothe: A-
11 PTS, 4-10 FG, 3-8 3PT, 3 REB, 1 AST
A little birdie told me the Nets are in need of a big man or two. Keep a close eye on Nathan Boothe in Vegas! The 6-foot-9 center showed a smooth stroke from downtown, and even knocked down a big trey in the final minutes to bring Brooklyn’s advantage back to five.
Spencer Dinwiddie Point Guard
10 PTS, 2-7 FG, 1-5 3PT, 5-5 FT, 3 REB, 3 AST, 5 STL
The Spensation got into early foul trouble, which threw off some of his momentum, but he capped off the night in a stat line that other Nets were lacking in: steals. And, five of them. That’s right, five steals.
14 PTS, 6-10 FG, 2-2 FT, 6 REB, 1 AST
Archie Goodwin was quite good and winning just about everywhere tonight. His 14 points and six rebounds tied for team-highs, and did I mention, he shot 60 percent from the field?! Keep on being you, Archie.
Isaiah Whitehead Point Guard
14 PTS, 5-17 FG, 0-3 3PT, 4-8 FT, 5 REB, 1 AST
Whitehead, despite tying with Goodwin as the Nets’ highest scorer in the game, struggled with his shot, and even put up an air ball in the third. His skirmishes, particularly at the free-throw line, were even more frustrating toward the end of the game, when things were looking quite precarious for the Nets. Don’t worry Isaiah, it’s only Summer League, and it’s only the first game.
Caris LeVert Shooting Guard
12 PTS, 3-9 FG, 0-3 3PT, 6-10 FT, 6 REB, 2 AST
LeVert got a lot of his work done at the free-throw line, as he too, struggled with his shot. But, his dunk at the end sealed the deal for the Nets! It ain’t about the journey; it’s about how you finish.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Small Forward
7 PTS, 3-9 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-1 FT, 6 REB, 1 AST
Nothing too extraordinary from Rondae tonight, though he certainly had his flashes in style while rocking the top knot and mask. His shooting form also looked a lot better, which should be great news for Nets fans to hear.