The defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors on the road during the second night of a back-to-back — now, what’s so scary about that?
On the bright side, at least Stephen Curry and Draymond Green were out with injuries. Still, by the end, it would not matter in the slightest.
In any case, the Brooklyn Nets were not content to simply raise the white flag. D’Angelo Russell, in particular, came out with fire in his eyes as he put up 10 points in only seven minutes across the first quarter. It was a high scoring affair with the Warriors getting the better of it, eventually shooting 65.8% from the floor in the first half. However, the game didn’t get too far away from the Nets due in large part to Joe Harris, who asserted himself as a key part of the offense.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 11, 2018
Unfortunately, when Joey Buckets went to the bench with three fouls, the Nets’ offense went with him. Sensing the focal point absence, the Warriors, as they do, went on a big run to close out the half with a double-digit lead.
Even though the Warriors were shooting an insanely high percentage, but it wasn’t necessarily because the Nets were playing terrible defense either — they’re just simply the best, sometimes that’s OK. Future Hall of Fame locks like Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will hit shots even if you play perfect defense, that’s not a difficult reality to accept. On the other hand, Quinn Cook may have not had such a performance if the Nets had played the same level of defense that they had utilized earlier in this road trip. While the situation looked dire, there was still a slight hope. If the Warriors somehow came back down to Earth, the Nets would have an opportunity.
Sadly, this is real life, and the Warriors are the Warriors.
While the offense started to warm up under the direction of Spencer Dinwiddie, the team still struggled to get defensive stops. The Nets had a hard time keeping up with the firepower of the Warriors after their slugfest against Denver on Friday. They were outscored by eight in the third quarter and never really found a way back into the game. The Warriors simply shot the basketball better than the Nets — what can you do?
While this result is definitely not what the Nets wanted, going 1-1 against two of the top teams in the Western Conference in a back-to-back on the road is nothing to scoff at. With a day of rest and a Jimmy Butler-less Minnesota Timberwolves coming up next, the Nets still have reason to be optimistic that they can finish this road trip 3-1.
D’Angelo Russell Point Guard
12 PTS, 5-16 FG, 1-5 3PT, 3 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL
D’Angelo Russell started hot but quickly lost his spark.
When he was hitting shots early in the game, the Nets were keeping pace with the Warriors and even had the lead for a couple of minutes. After his first stint on the bench, he was unable to find his rhythm again and the offense stalled under his watch. While some of this can be attributed to fatigue in the second night of a back-to-back on the road, the Nets are still looking for more consistency from their franchise point guard.
Spencer Dinwiddie Point Guard
14 PTS, 5-9 FG, 2 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO
Spencer Dinwiddie was the Nets’ most consistent creator on offense tonight.
When the offense froze under D’Angelo Russell, Dinwiddie came in and got it moving again. His aggressive drives and acrobatic finishes are a large part of why the Nets outscored the Warriors in the paint 52-32, even in a blowout loss. Dinwiddie is still very much so the most consistent ballhandler that the Nets have — that alone speaks volumes.
Joe Harris Shooting Guard
24 PTS, 9-12 FG, 4-6 3PT, 1 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO
Lumber Joe. Joey Buckets. Beef Jerky Joe. Much like the Devil, Joe Harris goes by many names.
While we may not agree on his nickname, we can agree on his performance tonight — absolutely scorching.
He put up 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting in the first half alone. Watching him maneuver his way through the Warriors’ defense was a thing of beauty; while his off-ball movement and cuts to the basket were deadly. Tonight it wasn’t enough to put the Nets on top, but the performance was still incredible to watch.
Caris LeVert Shooting Guard
4 PTS, 1-6 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2 REB, 2 TO
If Caris LeVert was quiet against Denver, he was silent tonight in Golden State.
While his defense against Kevin Durant was admirable for the possessions he was forced to guard him, LeVert never found his way into the offense tonight. He had arguably his worse performance of the season so far, and the team will be eager to see how he bounces back against the Timberwolves on Monday.