Jazz’s offense overpowers Nets as Kyrie impresses


Final: 01/14/2020

L 107 118

The basketball Gods giveth, and the basketball Gods throw curveballs. 

Kyrie Irving has been money for the Nets since his return, but the team lacked execution and defensive stops against the Jazz on Tuesday. Brooklyn could not break the groove of the hottest team in the NBA, and Utah picked up its 10th straight win.

We have to remind ourselves that it’s only Irving’s second game back. 

Irving looked like he has not missed a beat. He was hitting his jumpers, showing off his handles and set up his teammates in style. His efficiency has also been impressive, following up a 10-of-11 performance with 12-of-19 from the field. 

Still, the Nets looked out of sorts in their rotations. While Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie are still getting used to playing alongside one another, Garrett Temple (right knee contusion) and Wilson Chandler (left hamstring tightness) both were out, leaving Brooklyn without two of its weapons and with more vulnerability on defense.

Looking at the box score, the game seems closer than it was. Both teams shot 50 percent from the field, scored nearly 60 points in the paint and grabbed around 40 rebounds. Despite the Jazz holding a lead for a majority of the game, the Nets even held a five-point lead at one point early on.

The difference came in Utah’s execution. The Jazz entered the game leading the league in field goal percentage (.490), but started out cool from the field. The tides then quickly turned near the end of a difference-making second quarter, when the Jazz gave a taste of what makes their red-hot offense tick.

Utah flexed its offense, and Brooklyn found no way to stop it all night. 

While the Jazz started to click from distance, Rudy Gobert did everything to keep Brooklyn at bay while also providing an offensive boost. He had a double-double in a flash, and his size was too much for Jarrett Allen to counter.

Sorry, Jarrett.

After a third quarter that saw Brooklyn go down by as many as 20 points, the Nets tried to make it interesting in the fourth quarter. While Irving broke the 30-point mark and Dinwiddie added some fuel, Brooklyn still struggled to get stops, a main trend of the night for the home team. Utah countered the Nets and remained at a comfortable distance until the end. 

The Jazz have won 14 of their last 15 games, and that confidence and consistent gameplan frustrated Brooklyn, who has lost six straight games against Western Conference teams. The Nets do not have long to think about it though, with a game in Philly making up the second half of a back-to-back on Wednesday.

More adjustments will be in Brooklyn’s future, and defensive struggles need to be figured out on the fly. 

Kyrie Irving


The stats: 32 PTS, 12-19 FG, 3-5 3PT, 5-6 FT, 5 REB, 11 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 32 MIN

Are we sure Kyrie Irving missed about two months of playing time? 

In his second game back, Irving looked fluid and in charge. He had his mid-range jumper working and showed comfort in his handles.

This was Irving’s third double-double of his shortened season, and he did it all with just one turnover. As Sarah Kustok mentioned, it just shows how Irving’s timing and feel on the court seem to have not missed a beat.

Irving’s play is a great sign for Brooklyn, but the difficulty will lie in the Nets’ rotations getting more reps. And if Irving can keep up his production, he is going to need more help.

Spencer Dinwiddie


The stats: 17 PTS, 7-17 FG, 2-5 3PT, 1-5 FT, 4 REB, 5 AST, 4 TO, 36 MIN

Along with the good for Dinwiddie also came the bad against the Jazz. 

Let’s start with the good — he was Brooklyn’s secondary scorer and tried to give them a chance down the stretch. He also brought down some offensive boards to give his teammates second chances.

Now, for the not-so-good — something still is not right with Dinwiddie. His free throw struggles have continued, and he also gave the Jazz some fastbreak fodder with his turnovers. The Nets not only need their go-to free throw shooter back, but they need Dinwiddie to be reliable offensively.

Some of these points will likely fix themselves with reps alongside Irving, but now that Dinwiddie is not the focal point on offense anymore, adjustments need to be made. 

Jarrett Allen


The stats: 8 PTS, 4-8 FG, 2 REB, 1 BLK, 25 MIN

Pop quiz time: How could Jarrett Allen be held to eight points and two rebounds in 25 minutes?

A. Rudy Gobert

B. Rudy Gobert

C. Rudy Gobert

D. All of the above

Hint: There are no wrong answers.

Gobert’s size and skill were just too much. Jarrett did have a fun block followed by finishing a lob, but he struggled the rest of the way.

Here’s to hoping Jarrett uses the night as motivation against Philly.

Caris LeVert


The stats: 11 PTS, 5-13 FG, 1-4 3PT, 2 REB, 3 AST, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 26 MIN

Caris is still finding himself coming off the bench, and he could not find his stride against the Jazz. He had a few opportunities to drain a three-pointer to give the Nets momentum, but they clanked off the rim.

Brooklyn needed more help offensively, and the team will need more from Caris as he continues to get used to being in a guard-heavy rotation. He is capable of being that momentum-swinging player, but it was not his shooting night against a lethal Jazz offense.

Still, we enjoyed this.

DeAndre Jordan


The stats: 9 PTS, 4-5 FG, 1-2 FT, 14 REB, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 23 MIN

DeAndre Jordan did his job off the bench. He helped counter Gobert’s double-double performance and gave the Nets second chances.

Jordan can be cleaner with his ball-handling, but he was able to connect with his teammates when the Nets needed a hand. Still, against Rudy Gobert, it is not easy to come away the winning party in the paint.