Friday in Dallas, the Brooklyn Nets wrapped up their annual circus road trip, in a season that’s been comparable to one. Going back to free agency there was the highs of possible Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe signings, the low of both being matched. Then there was the high of signing Jeremy Lin, with the hopes of Linsanity takes New York part deux, the low? Lin missing all but nineteen of the Nets first sixty-three games.
With the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament at the Barclays ending this week, the Nets can all but smell being back on the home floor in Brooklyn against the Knicks on Sunday, and as you can guess, the cross country road trip has been difficult on the Nets.
I think we’ve hit every single US time zone 1-3 times on this road trip lol. Last leg before going homeee
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) March 9, 2017
Brooklyn looked for their third win of the eight game trip against the most recent member of the thirty thousand point club, Dirk Nowitzki. The Nets were without Joe Harris and their own sharp shooting big, Brook Lopez, who’s nursing a sprained right ankle. It’s also the first matchup between former Net Yogi Ferrell and who Sean Marks brought in to replace him, Spencer Dinwiddie. Many Nets fans lost their minds after Ferrell dropped thirty-two including a late three to ice a win vs Portland in his first game as a Maverick, but since then the production has dropped to twelve points per game. Speaking of production, Sean Kilpatrick has been lights out the last three contests, scoring more than twenty in each game off the bench, the first Net to do so since…. Andray Blatche!
Quincy Acy started the Nets off on the right foot, drilling a corner trey on the first possession, quickly followed up by a Jeremy Lin three. Brooklyn forced the Mavericks into five first quarter turnovers, and outscored them in bench points 11-4 in the frame, as the Nets held a 26-23 lead. Lin continued to provide some consistency at the point guard position and scored a game high eight in the quarter, Harrison Barnes and Wes Matthews each scored seven.
In the back half of the second quarter the Nets went away from driving the basket and started to chuck threes, with no success. Seth Curry pulled Dallas back into the game with his – first half points, while Harrison Barnes scored a team high – in the half. After hitting his first shot of the night, a three, Sean Kilpatrick missed his next six attempts.
The Nets went into recess with a 49-46 advantage, thanks to Jeremy Lin’s game high twelve points, out of just twenty-one by Nets starters. Randy Foye was the only Net to see floor time and not score, as the Brooklyn reserves outscored Dallas’28-13. With all the struggles the Nets have gone through this season, the bench has not been a problem, as they sit tenth in the league in bench plus/minus at plus three.
Isaiah Whitehead has been the biggest benefactor of Lin’s return although he’s seeing a few less minutes on the floor every night. Splits from ESPN show Whitehead shooting better from both in and outside the arc, and scoring a couple more points as well.
Seth Curry connected on a three plus a foul mid way through the third quarter to put an exclamation point on a 10-0 Dallas run to take the lead, and held the lead through the end of thirty-six minutes. The Nets kept to their average in the third quarter, being outscored by four points (30th in NBA) and trailed 74-73 after three. The point guards Lin and Whitehead each scored fourteen to lead the way.
Dallas forced Brooklyn into foul trouble as Spencer Dinwiddie was called for his fifth with nine and a half minutes to go, but it was also the teams third in under two and a half minutes. A basic summary of the night, the bench played well, starters, not so much. Of the Nets first eighty points, the bench scored fifty, and Lin had fourteen of the starters thirty. With the starters in the Nets fell behind by as many as seven in the fourth quarter, and kicked the ball out of bounds under the hoop on back to back possessions turning it over. Dallas went on a 13-1 run that ended with three minutes to go as Jeremy Lin hit three free throws. Whitehead hit a three to trim the defecit to 83-80 at the eight minute mark, the Nets next field goal came with 3:10 left, by then, they were down 98-86. The Mavericks outscored Brooklyn 31-23 in the fourth and walked away with a 105-96 win.
The Mavericks were dead last in the NBA in rebounding plus minus but killed the Nets on the glass 47-35.
Brooklyn finished the circus trip 2-6, picking up wins in Sacramento and Memphis and welcomes their New York rival Knicks to the Barclays Center on Sunday.
18 PTS, 4/9 FG, 5 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 0 BLK, 2 TOV
Jeremy Lin lead the Nets in scoring in the first half with twelve points, but also provides stability for the starters. He was one of the few Nets to continue driving the lane in the second quarter when the Nets began pulling three’s every possession, as he hit all five of his free throw attempts in the half, and finished nine of ten from the line.
12 PTS, 5/7 FG, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 0 BLK, 1 TOV
Quincy Acy showed he was ready to start when he drilled a corner three on the first possession of the game. He hit both of his threes, and shot five of seven from the field, but was crushed in the rebounding category. The Mavericks are the worst rebounding team in the league, but dominated the glass. Acy grabbed just four rebounds in comparison to nine by Salah Mejri.
24 PTS, 5/9 FG, 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 3 TOV
Isaiah Whitehead looks exponentially more comfortable coming off the bench and playing behind Lin has contributed to his development. Post all-star break (since Lin returned) Whitehead is averaging 9-2-2, more than what you can expect out of a rookie point guard coming off the bench. In games where Whitehead doesn’t start, he averages two more points and shots fifty points better from both two and three point range.
9 PTS, 3/11 FG, 2 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 0 BLK, 3 TOV
Friday was not Sean Kilpatrick’s typical day at the office, after scoring twenty in each of his last three games (20, 23, 27). Kilpatrick hit his first shot of the night, then missed five of his next six, including hitting his first three pointer, then missing his next seven looks from downtown. Kilpatrick distributed the ball well with his five assists but was a Nets low -18.