Nets come so close, yet so far (GRADES)


Final: 12/19/2014

L 91 95

Be honest: given how the last few games had shaken out, you expected worse than a four-point loss, right?

After a few atrocious efforts as of late, the Nets code-switched back to slightly above mediocrity, entertaining a hard-fought game with a team with championship talent still trying to figure itself out.

Even though the Nets shot well over their heads in the first quarter, finishing the quarter with red-hot 67-percent shooting, it wasn’t an anomaly: they opened the game with purpose, spreading the ball around and looking for open shots, and playing smart and aggressive defense. But LeBron James & the Cavaliers took over in the second half, and held onto a slim lead for the victory as the Nets couldn’t get anything better than a double-teamed Kevin Garnett three-point attempt for their last shot.

The Nets had sloppy moments, particularly with some passes that seemed to go feet away from their intended targets, but this was overall a good effort from Brooklyn on the road against a team that has arguably the most top-heavy talent in the league. It wasn’t just a matter of Deron Williams leaving the game, either — they were at their best with him in.

There are kinks to iron out — Plumlee’s still getting there as a rim protector in certain moments, and the team’s plagued itself with silly fouls. But this wasn’t a crushing defeat because of a lack of effort or execution. It was just a loss, the kind that happens during the course of an 82-game season, when Darius Morris is your backup point guard during the second half and Brandon Davies is firing three-pointers a foot wide right.