If the Nets are anything, they’re consistent – they followed up a 26-point second quarter deficit on Friday against the Bucks with another one against the Timberwolves Saturday. Brooklyn scored just 11 points in the first quarter compared to Minnesota’s 30.
It was bad.
To the Nets’ credit, they were undermanned. Both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert were out with groin injuries and D’Angelo Russell got some rest as part of his injury management. To fill the voids, the Nets called up Isaiah Whitehead and James Webb III from the Long Island Nets.
The bright spot of the game for Brooklyn was the second quarter and the early moments of the third. The Nets ended the second quarter on a 31-14 run to cut the deficit to 12 at halftime, led by Allen Crabbe and Nik Stauskas’ eight points apiece. Crabbe, unfortunately for the Nets, went cold in the second half, which has been a common theme as of late.
Once the third quarter hit, a DeMarre Carroll three-pointer and Spencer Dinwiddie drive to the basket brought the Nets within five points of the Timberwolves. When it looked like the Nets could keep rolling to tie the game, Minnesota got some shots to fall and took advantage of Brooklyn’s turnovers.
The Nets’ 16 giveaways gave Minnesota 24 points off turnovers, and the Timberwolves thrived off them. The Wolves also dominated in second-chance points, thanks to a ridiculous career-high 10 offensive boards from Karl-Anthony Towns.
Brooklyn made another slight run in the fourth quarter with Whitehead draining threes and Jahlil Okafor putting up a dominant 21 points and six boards, coming within single digits of the lead. Still, Andrew Wiggins made the shots Minnesota needed to pull away for the 111-97 win.
The Nets thrived the most with Dinwiddie as facilitator, who put up 10 assists to just two turnovers. He did not put up his best offensive numbers, though, finishing with six points.
One of the most thrilling parts of the game came when Kenny Atkinson received his first career ejection after questioning a hard no-call on Joe Harris. Once Atkinson got his first technical, he went absolutely irate at the referee, which led to his second tech. Fans have to love the passion and fight Atkinson has for his team.
The Nets head home (kind of) with the next game coming at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks on Tuesday, Jan. 30. The slow starts are becoming killer for the Nets, no matter how many runs they make. Something has to change in that regard.