Nets embarrassed by Utah Jazz in 7th straight loss: 3 Takeaways

Brooklyn Nets
Elijah Hughes and Brooklyn Nets forward James Johnson play for a loose ball in the fourth quarter at Vivint Arena.
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets dropped their seventh straight game on Friday night in an embarrassing 125-102 blowout. The game was never close as the Jazz started the game on a 10-0 run before Steve Nash called a timeout.

It would only get uglier the longer the game went on, getting outscored 35-23 in the 2nd quarter and 37-26 in the 3rd quarter. The Nets trailed by as many as 34 at one point in the game and have fallen to 6-14 in their last 20 games.

Nash said he was proud of the way his team competed through the end of the game.

The Nets coach, as he has done during this losing streak, has tried to keep the perspective that a number of the guys in the lineup right now wouldn’t be playing under normal circumstances. Nash is hoping that the team can fight its way out of their current losing streak.

For a majority of the game, the Nets simply could not make a shot. In the first half, they shot 33% from the field while only scoring 47 points and they would finish 41% from the field at the end of the game.

One of the only bright spots was rookie Cam Thomas, who set a career-high in scoring with 30 points in only 31 minutes, on 11-for-19 shooting. In addition to Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe, who has been out of the rotation recently, played well by posting 11 points and 8 rebounds in only 16 minutes of action.

What is going on with James Harden?

James Harden was a late addition to the injury report once again (he was also a late scratch against the Golden State Warriors) being ruled out with left hamstring tightness. News broke soon after that the Nets were suddenly open to trading James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers. Nash said, “the team wants to take a cautious approach with Harden and his hamstring.”

It was also reported later in the night that James Harden was not on the Nets bench during the game against the Jazz. Clarification was later brought out when Alex Schiffer reported that Harden was in the back getting treatment.

This Harden situation is certainly something to monitor going into next Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

Cam Thomas impresses

Cam Thomas was the lone bright spot for the Nets Friday night. He showed his scoring prowess all night, dropping a career-high 30 points and becoming the second-youngest Net to ever score 30+. Thomas will be a crucial member of the Nets bench for the playoff run as he has demonstrated that he is one of the few players who can get their own bucket.

Thomas said postgame that he would have rather gotten the win than the individual performance he had and that it didn’t matter much since the Nets still lost. It was a similar answer that Nic Claxton gave on Wednesday after the loss in Sacramento.

When asked if Cam Thomas is earning a starting spot following Friday nights performance Steve Nash said that “anything is possible.”

Injuries keep mounting up

In addition to losing James Harden before tip-off, the Nets lost Nic Claxton at halftime due to hamstring tightness. While already being down LaMarcus Aldridge due to an ankle sprain, the Nets were incredibly shorthanded in the frontcourt and Sharpe should be expected to get more run in the coming days.

Hopefully, Claxton’s injury is nothing serious as he has struggled with injuries all season, and during his three seasons with the Nets. Claxton has missed 27 games already this season, where the Nets have gone 17-10.

Nash said he didn’t know until halftime that Claxton’s hamstring tightened up on him. He had no update and wasn’t sure if he would have been able to play if the game was closer. Nash also went on to say that he had not spoken with the performance team yet.

Defense needs to improve

The Nets continue to struggle defensively against the Jazz. They have been the third-worst defensive team in their last three games, giving up an average of 119.3 points per game. In the first 32 games of the season, the Nets were 11th in points allowed (106.6), second in opponents FG% (42.7) and first in opponents three-point percentage. In the last 20 games, the Nets have been 27th in points allowed (116.5), 19th in opponents FG% (46.8), and 18th in opponents three-point percentage (35.9).

Following the loss, to the Jazz, Friday Cam Thomas said  Utah “shot 50% or something crazy like that from three. They hit a ton of shots.”