With a back-to-back set on the road and coming off a win, predicting what the Nets would look like tonight was a toss-up. Brooklyn brought intensity the night before in a city 1,300 miles away, and Nets fans have seen their team have an empty tank on the second night of a back-to-back before.
Yet, as always, someone had to make it interesting. This time it was Allen Crabbe (!), who wanted to skew the narrative to positive in a breakout night.
Crabbe came alive as bomb after bomb rained down from three. It was invigorating, but Dallas had that extra edge to hold Brooklyn back.
It was a winnable game, yet defense fell short.
First, when the Nets played a first half that largely lacked exclamation points, it confirmed the doubt heading into the Thanksgiving-Eve game. Brooklyn’s defense was less-than-stellar, and Dallas took advantage to build as large as a 14-point lead through the first half.
But a spark for the Nets came in the form of Crabbe — who made back-to-back threes to start the game and had a season-high 27 points. His shots gave the Nets momentum, while key player Ed Davis kept the team fresh with his offensive rebounds and extra effort.
DeAndre Jordan gave the Mavericks the paint presence they needed, while Luka Doncic was there to provide a boost and pull down rebounds as well. While Brooklyn had the 50-38 advantage in points in the paint, Jarrett Allen, got in early foul trouble and had difficulty gobbling rebounds and stuffing the rim (shoutout Ian Eagle with the Thanksgiving references), finishing with just six points and six rebounds after three straight games in double digits offensively.
While it seemed like Dallas started to run away with the game after building another double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, Crabbe starting firing away. On a breakaway or on a catch-and-shoot — he could not miss. His seventh three brought Brooklyn within four of Dallas with just over four minutes left to play, despite Brooklyn’s foul trouble that kept the Mavericks at the line.
Spencer Dinwiddie also stepped up, making plays Brooklyn needed to give the team a shot. Yet, Harrison Barnes put up a season-high 28 points that gave Dallas the cushion it needed. Ex-Net Devin Harris helped too with 18 points off the bench, well above his season average of 4.3.
D’Angelo Russell could not find the bottom of the net as consistently as he did the night before, and Joe Harris is still in a slump, but the 17-point production from Davis off the bench helped fill the void.
Ultimately, the Mavericks kept up with Brooklyn. Dallas’ 49 points off the bench was an X-factor, and a 32-of-41 performance from the free throw line put them over the top, even while the Nets made a slight push near the end.
So, Nets fans, on this Thanksgiving Eve — be thankful for the breakout of Crabbe, and maybe one day everyone can be thankful for when the Nets find consistent shooting performances from everyone involved. Still, be thankful!
Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at The Brooklyn Game!
The stats: 27 PTS, 10-16 FG, 7-11 3FG, 3 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 30 MIN
Welcome back, Allen Crabbe! Nets fans missed you and your three-pointers.
Crabbe drizzled in his threes after making two to start the game, but he really came alive in the fourth quarter. With Joe Harris making just 1-of-7 from distance on the night, and D’Angelo 3-of-10, Crabbe really filled the void.
Kenny Atkinson even called Crabbe’s performance “huge” after the game. It’s hard to argue with him.
"OH! IT'S A CRABBE FEST! IN DALLAS!"
It's not a "yam," but Bird's call and Crabbe's triple make it a four-point game! #NETSonYES pic.twitter.com/zhJsuHTOTy
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) November 22, 2018
Crabbe’s teammates recognized he was on fire, and dished him the ball to get him into his groove. It was fun to see him with so much confidence and draining his shots. This was just his fifth game this season scoring double-digits.
Can he keep it up?
The stats: 17 PTS, 8-8 FG, 1-1 FT, 9 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 20 MIN
Hey Ed Davis, we wish you played more! He was perfect from the field and put up a near-double-double in 20 minutes off the bench. He gave the Nets second chances, many of which he converted on his own in the paint.
The Nets needed this from Davis with Allen having a quiet night. If Crabbe and Davis can bring more of this one-two punch, we’re all for it.
The stats: 19 PTS, 5-11 FG, 1-5 3PT, 8-10 FT, 2 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 28 MIN
Spencer became the go-to option in the second half as he fueled the offense both with his production and his dishes. Spencer had an eye for Crabbe through the second half and got him the ball consistently. That brought good results for BK.
And, can any game be considered official if Spencer doesn’t drain at least one three he heaves up? I don’t think so.
The stats: 17 PTS, 6-18 FG, 3-11 3FG, 2-2, 5 REB, 4 AST, 2 TO, 26 MIN
While the 17 points pop off the box score, D’Angelo did not continue his recent tear. He was not alone, as Joe Harris struggled as well.
When one player rises, another one takes a step back. With time potentially will come the consistency D’Angelo is looking for with his teammates.
The stats: 9 PTS, 3-7 FG, 3-5 FT, 8 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 3 TO, 27 MIN
It was not a big night for RHJ, and he turned over the ball more than anybody, but he was a positive presence on the court tonight. His plus-14 led the team, and his rebounding presence helped fill the void Jarrett left.
RHJ even started the second half, showing the effect he had in the lineup tonight. The Nets just needed a bit more from everyone defensively.