Nets Fail to Find Rhythm as Hawks Lead Wire-to-Wire

D-

Final: 01/01/2021

L 96 114

Brooklyn Nets’ Resolutions for 2021:

  • Step up defense
  • Limit turnovers
  • Practice three-pointers

Those are just a few areas of need that stood out in the Nets’ 114-96 loss to the Hawks on Friday. Atlanta led wire-to-wire by as many as 20 points in the second half of the teams’ doubleheader this week. 

It was clear from the start that Friday’s game was not going to be a repeat of the shooting duel that saw the Nets and Hawks combine for 286 points on Wednesday. Brooklyn struggled offensively and could not rally behind their poor three-point shooting — they made just one in the first half and finished a rough 7-37 from distance.

The Nets had Kevin Durant to thank for staying within nine points of the Hawks at halftime. When all his teammates were cold offensively, Durant was able to pull up from mid-range or drive to the rim for a much-needed bucket. 

Though the Nets tried to put together a run, particularly in the third quarter, their offensive rhythm was never there. The team shot 40.7% from the field, 18.9% from three and continued their struggles with taking care of the ball, registering 15 turnovers. 

Beyond their offensive struggles, Brooklyn failed to contain the Hawks’ scoring for the second straight game and gifted them with 22 second-chance points. The Nets did out-score the Hawks in the paint, 46-42, but there was little help from the bench — and Kyrie Irving struggled with 6-21 shooting. 

The Hawks benefitted from contributions across their lineup, totaling six players in double digits, led by De’Andre Hunter’s 23 points. Meanwhile, the Nets’ bench went from scoring 56 points on Wednesday to just 28 on Friday, their lowest production of the season. 

Next up, the Nets are set to face the Wizards at home on Sunday. They will need more than the Kevin Durant show to get their first win of the new year. 

Kevin Durant

B

The stats: 28 PTS, 10-21 FG, 2-7 3PM, 6-6 FT, 8 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 5 TO, 37 MIN

When in doubt — Kevin Durant.

At times, KD was the only answer to Brooklyn’s shooting woes. KD broke the Nets’ shooting lull from three in the second quarter and led the team with 17 points at halftime. 

It is not to be taken for granted KD’s gift to create and be a consistent threat. Still, he had his struggles in taking care of the ball and missed a few threes himself. KD kept the team alive, but he needs help in supporting the team offensively and applying pressure on defense.

 

Kyrie Irving

C-

The stats: 18 PTS, 6-21 FG, 2-11 3PM, 4-4 FT, 11 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO, 33 MIN

Friday’s game was a struggle for Kyrie. 

He had a great rebounding night, but Kyrie was unable to find the hot hand that led the Nets to their victory over the Hawks on Wednesday or hit his next gear. 

Kyrie is allowed to have off nights, but it hurts the team more when the rest of his teammates are also cold. His 2-of-11 performance from three did not help, either. 

Joe Harris

B-

The stats: 12 PTS, 5-10 FG, 2-5 3PM, 7 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 28 MIN

Other than KD, Joe Harris was Brooklyn’s only other player with some reliability. He also kept his three-point streak alive after failing to hit a shot from distance in the first half.

It is great to see some of the chemistry that has started to form between Joe and KD through these first few games. It would be good to see Joe get even more looks going forward. 

Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot

D

The stats: 2 PTS, 1-7 FG, 0-5 3PM, 1 REB, 1 AST, 2 TO, 21 MIN

TLC was flat-out off. The Nets could have built some good momentum if TLC was able to knock down any of his threes. 

TLC has been productive so far, so the Nets hope this is just a one-off cold game from him — especially if he stays in the starting lineup. 

Caris LeVert

C+

The stats: 8 PTS, 4-10 FG, 0-3 3PM, 2 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO, 27 MIN

The Nets could have used a hot game from Caris LeVert, too. He had some small offensive bursts but could not find rhythm with the bench unit. 

Jeff Green did have a good showing off the bench with seven points in eight minutes. The Nets know Caris is capable of taking over a game, and they will need to rely on him to do so if they continue to play him off the bench. 

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