Crazy comeback dwindles as Warriors overtake Nets

B+

Final: 03/06/2018

L 101 – 114

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Photo courtesy YES Network

It was over — at least it should have been. What team overcomes an early 25-0 run by the reigning 49-14 NBA Champs? 

On Tuesday, the 20-44 Brooklyn Nets did, and they made it look relatively easy. 

After going down 35-14 in the first quarter for the largest deficit of the game, the Nets locked down on defense. With Steph Curry on the bench after his early 13 points, Brooklyn made its move and started to go on a run of its own.

A 13-2 run turned into 19-2, and ended up becoming 39-13 by halftime. Not only did Brooklyn overcome the deficit — it took a five-point halftime lead, seemingly stunning the home crowd. 

The change in momentum for the Nets was all about aggression. By getting into the Warriors’ faces, the Nets were able to force more turnovers that turned into easy points. The Nets were even stealing the ball at halfcourt, a feat accomplished by the spark provided by Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

The core four of Jarrett Allen, D’Angelo Russell, LeVert and RHJ was the lifeblood of Brooklyn’s dominant second quarter. The four locked down on both offense and defense, with Russell shining. Joe Harris stepped up too to make jaw-dropping plays like this:

After the Warriors scored 16 points on six Nets turnovers in the first quarter, the Nets flipped the script and forced 12 Golden State turnovers through the first half and 17 on the game, good for 20 points off them. Erasing those easy giveaways also helped spark the run in Brooklyn’s second unit and helped to move the ball better.

The Nets did not continue that efficiency into the second half though, as they quickly turned the ball over twice and allowed Golden State to go on a 9-2 run over the first two minutes. But the game continued to be close through the third quarter, with teams trading shots in a back-and-forth affair.

The player who kept the game close through the third was Curry, who put up 18 in the quarter and 34 for the game. He made his threes, he made his crazy turnaround shots, he made everything. It was unfair, really.

The Warriors went on a 9-2 run to end the third quarter and extended that to an 18-3 run in the fourth. The Warriors took command of the game, with the rest of the Warriors lineup stepping up and the Nets going cold. Brooklyn missed their first five shots of the quarter and did not make many after that.

After being out-scored 28-21 in the fourth quarter, the Nets were reminded why the Warriors are so elite. This wasn’t a nailbiter like the last three have been, but the comeback effort was something else.

Major props to the Nets for making this a game and forcing 17 lead changes, but the Warriors are…the Warriors, and the Nets are…

I’ll let you fill in that blank.

Jarrett Allen

B

The stats: 4 PTS, 2-3 FG, 2 REB, 3 TOV, 20 MIN

Allen was a ball magnet early, drawing in offensive rebounds and getting the ball back out to his teammates. While Brooklyn was cold early and could not take advantage of that, Allen’s defensive presence made a difference. His turnovers were not the best, yet he continues to be a highlight reel:

Nights like these should help make Jarrett better (guarding Draymond Green can have that effect). 

D'Angelo Russell

A-

The stats: 22 PTS, 9-15 FG, 3-6 3FG, 1-2 FT, 8 AST, 3 REB, 2 TOV, 2 STL, 34 MIN

Russell’s shot was silky smooth and his passes were just as good. With a strong shot off the dribble and keeping an open eye for his teammates, this was the most confident I’ve seen Russell in terms of all-around play since the All-Star break. With DeMarre Carroll sorely missing his shot (2-of-10 from three), Russell’s contribution was needed. 

He couldn’t out-do Curry, and no one would expect him to, but it would do the Nets well if Russell keeps this confidence to at least close out the road trip.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

B+

The stats: 9 PTS, 2-9 FG, 5-6 FT, 6 REB, 3 AST, 2 TOV, 25 MIN

RHJ continues to be a spark plug, and he was a difference-maker in Brooklyn’s run overcoming the 21-point deficit. Alongside LeVert, he helped force turnovers at halfcourt that led to immediate buckets. It wasn’t his best offensive night, but he disrupted Golden State’s offense big-time in the Nets holding them to 13 points in the second quarter. 

Caris LeVert

B+

The stats: 10 PTS, 4-11 FG, 1-5 3FG, 1-2 F, 4 REB, 3 AST, 1 TOV, 2 STL, 25 MIN

LeVert scored early but could not carry it over into the second half. He made the biggest impact off the bench in Brooklyn’s second-quarter run and scored all his points in the first half. Russell took some of LeVert’s minutes in the second half since he had the hot hand, but the Nets would not have been able to get back into the game at all early without LeVert. 

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