Brooklyn assembles to snap second streak in two nights


Final: 12/08/2018

W 112 104

The Incompletes

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or stranded in space), you’ve heard about the exciting news this week. First, the Brooklyn Nets ended their eight-game losing streak against the best team in the league. Second, Marvel Entertainment dropped the first official trailer for Avengers: Endgame. Now, this article will be spoiler free, but if you haven’t seen it yet, I would recommend you go watch it. But, hopefully, I’m not the only one who noticed how nicely the two complimented each other either!

Saturday night, however, would have the Nets attempt to snap another streak they would rather not hold. They entered the game having lost their last 33 road games on the second half of a back-to-back. The struggling New York Knicks would present the perfect opportunity to break that streak which has held strong since 2015.

The Nets were clearly riding their momentum from last night as they out-hustled the Knicks throughout the first half, enjoying an 11-3 advantage in offensive rebounds. They made good on those extra possessions by shooting 42.9% from three-point range, allowing them to take a double-digit lead into halftime.

After exorcizing one of their demons last night, the normal trepidation associated with the Nets in the third and fourth quarters was somewhat lessened. Coming out of the break, Brooklyn pushed the pace and their lead to 19 as the Knicks struggled to keep up.

The game looked like it would be an easy one to close out as the teams traded baskets back and forth. Of course, nothing with the Nets is ever easy. The Knicks’ bench started to eat away at the lead as the fourth quarter drug on in classic fashion. Head coach Kenny Atkinson subbed in his starters to attempt to stop the bleeding, but the Knicks continued their attack.

Thankfully, a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson layup followed by a timely Allen Crabbe three-pointer, both set up by D’Angelo Russell, pushed the lead back up to 10 for Brooklyn with the time continuing to tick away.

For once, the Nets would hold on to the lead for the rest of the game, mostly thanks to some outstanding offense from Spencer Dinwiddie and impenetrable defense from Hollis-Jefferson. Two nights, two broken streaks. For maybe the first time since Caris LeVert went down, Nets fans can breathe a little easier. The skid down the standings has been stopped and the Knicks have been put back in their place.

The world has been saved — well, relatively speaking…

In the spirit of unquenchable hype — both for the Nets’ new win streak and the Avengers trailer finally dropping — now, onto some superhero-themed grading.

D'Angelo Russell


The stats: 9 PTS, 4-14 FG, 1-2 3PT, 2 REB, 11 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO

D’Angelo Russell is Iron Man.

Early in both of their careers, there were doubts about their level of maturity. People questioned if they had the right mindset to be team players and leaders. Russell’s on-court interview last night was a prime example of just how much his mindset has grown since he entered the league. He has bought into Kenny Atkinson’s system and is willing to do whatever is best to help the team.

Tonight, the best thing for the team was for Russell to fire off laser-like passes to his teammates in transition. Last night, it was by injecting a surge of energy into the squad in taking over a quarter single-handedly with his midrange game. Russell, just like Iron Man, is the most explosive member of the team.

Spencer Dinwiddie


The stats: 25 PTS, 10-17 FG, 1-3 3PT, 3 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 3 TO

Spencer Dinwiddie is Captain America.

Since it began, things were never easy for these two — and they’ve both had to work hard for everything they have. Captain America was a scrawny, sickly kid from Brooklyn. Dinwiddie was playing in the G-League when Brooklyn picked him up two years ago today. Must I continue?

The trait that these two share is their never-quit attitude. No matter the odds stacked against them, they will put their heads down and push through. Dinwiddie went from being cut from two NBA teams to being a finalist for the Most Improved Player Award. His outstanding work ethic is a huge reason as to why he will be enjoying a nice payday either from the Nets with a contract extension or as a free agent this summer.

Tonight, in a 25-point effort, all those commendable traits and more were on full display against their greatest rival.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson


The stats: 20 PTS, 7-14 FG, 2-2 3PT, 6 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is Thor.

Thor is over a thousand years old. Hollis-Jefferson is the only player on the roster who has been with Brooklyn for over two years — okay, this comparison is slightly a stretch, but stay with me. Throughout his tenure, he has endured many struggles and hardships, but RHJ has come out the other side all the stronger for it.

But this strength has been particularly crucial to the Nets, especially on the defensive end. Hollis-Jefferson is almost always tasked with the most difficult defensive matchup, but he is never afraid to step up to the challenge. Why should a chiseled god be afraid of mere mortals like Kawhi Leonard or whomever the Knicks are trotting out these days?

If RHJ can keep tallying points consistently in the 15-plus range, his extraordinary defense efforts will make him an invaluable member of this roster — this year and beyond.

Allen Crabbe


The stats: 17 PTS, 6-9 FG, 5-5 3PT, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO

Allen Crabbe is Hawkeye.

Neither of them are considered fan favorites, but they’re constantly making their presence felt in all the little ways. Sometimes, they might go MIA for stretch of games or movies — but when they show up, they can make all the difference. On nights like tonight, you’d have a hard time imagining how Crabbe could ever miss. Their precision from distance is not the only thing being brought to the table, however. They are both versatile players who can do a bit of everything, even though they aren’t the stars of the show.

Crabbe and Hawkeye forever and ever.

Ed Davis


The stats: 8 PTS, 3-4 FG, 5 OREB, 8 REB, 1 AST, 0 TO

Ed Davis is Hulk.

They’re both big — don’t worry, I’m aware of how lazy a comparison that is, but come on! The man has a huge presence on the glass, something that this team has sorely lacked in recent years. While his temper can sometimes earn him technical fouls, that is a low price for what Davis provides. Every good squad needs a strong guy who isn’t afraid to get in the thick of things when needed.

For the Nets, Davis is that guy.

Rodions Kurucs


The stats: 0 PTS, 0-3 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1 REB, 1 BLK, 0 TO

Rodions Kurucs is Spider-Man.

He’s young, he’s energetic, and he makes silly mistakes — that’s what we love about him! Rodi is never afraid to make the aggressive play, much like everybody’s favorite new version of Spider-Man. His energy is infectious and it makes the rest of the team raise their level of play with the same fire that he maintains. Tonight against the Knicks, a team he’s placed well against twice already, it was more of the same. He’s willing to learn and will, without a doubt, be an important piece of the squad going forward.

Kurucs had to wait his turn just like Peter Parker, but now that he’s here, we just can’t get enough.

Jarrett Allen


The stats: 14 PTS, 5-9 FG, 3 OREB, 12 REB, 2 BLK, 1 TO

Jarret Allen is Black Panther.

Allen is a talented youngster who has already been crowned as the future of the franchise. There are a lot of expectations and some massive responsibilities placed on him because he can handle it. He still has a lot to learn, but the fans can sleep at peace knowing that the franchise is safe in his capable hands.

Another night, another double-double — what else could you want from the kid?

Caris LeVert


The stats: (Miss you, Caris.)

Caris LeVert is Captain Marvel.

They are both more powerful than any of the others. Unfortunately, they aren’t quite here yet.

Imagine how good these squads will be when they finally show back up.

(Miss you, Caris.)