The Brooklyn Nets cut a 21-point Houston lead into four near the beginning of the third quarter, but the Rockets ended up extending the lead again and riding their 43-point first quarter for their 16th win of the season.
The Nets were more undermanned than they were Sunday night against the Grizzlies, as DeMarre Carroll (upper respiratory), Allen Crabbe (sore lower back), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (sprained right ankle) and D’Angelo Russell (left knee surgery) were all out. To make up for the lack of bodies, Isaiah Whitehead was called up from the G League after dropping 32 points and 10 rebounds for the Long Island Nets on Nov. 25.
Whitehead came off the bench and made the most of his minutes, putting up a team-high and career-high tying 24 points, along with three assists and five turnovers. His 10-16 shooting from the field was improved, but the turnover problem remained the same.
Whitehead was a big factor in the success of Brooklyn’s bench, recording a 30-32 advantage over Houston. The Nets also outscored the Rockets in the paint 54-40.
Where the Rockets really killed the Nets was from distance, as they made 20-50 of their threes, good for 40 percent. James Harden was 8-13 on his own from three, making up some of his 37 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
The Nets, on the other hand, struggled greatly from three, making 10-39 of their long shots, good for 25.6 percent. The teams even broke the NBA record for most three-point field goal attempts in a game with 89. Who held the previous record? A game between the Nets and Rockets from last season.
After being outscored 43-26 in the first quarter, the Nets came back and outscored Houston 29-13 in the second quarter. The Nets continued that run to come within four points of the lead, but the Rockets finished the third quarter on a 25-13 run to seal the lead.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, as a battle of the benches solidified Houston’s win.
Now that another 1-1 back-to-back series is complete, the Nets have one night off before facing the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 8:30 p.m.
Since Whitehead’s highest-scoring games have all come against Texas teams, he may be looking forward to this next Texas matchup.
The stats: 13 PTS, 6-14 FG, 0-5 3FG, 1-2 FT, 2 REB, 6 AST, 2 TOV, 2 STL, 29 MIN
Caris LeVert seems to play with a little pep in his step when Whitehead is on the floor.
LeVert had a great first half, recording a tied-team-high 13 points at halftime. By the beginning of the third quarter, he registered a season-high tying six assists, but could not expand on that.
Good start from Caris, but after a quiet first half and a 0-5 performance from three, he needs to expand his game through all four quarters.
The stats: 10 PTS, 4-11 FG, 2-6 3FG, 4 REB, 1 AST, 2 TOV, 28 MIN
Joey Buckets was slotted into the starting lineup but could not keep up his recent production. His performance ended his stretch of games with at least four three-pointers made at four.
Some tired legs might have been in play with Joe tonight, and it showed. If that’s the case, he can bounce back a bit come the matchup against Dallas.