Nets fail to soar on Ian Eagle night


Final: 02/21/2019

L 99 113

The Brooklyn Nets’ first game back from the All-Star break was ripe with storylines. The backups Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier, and Allen Crabbe faced their former team in the Portland Trail Blazers. Caris LeVert started again as he continues to regain his form. Most importantly, though, is that tonight was Ian Eagle night, a time where we can all come together and rejoice in the fact that the Nets have had one of the best broadcasters in the business for 25 years. Through the good years and the bad, The Bird has always been excellent behind the microphone and, if we’re lucky, he’ll continue to provide many memories as this young squad continues to rise.

Unfortunately, the Nets’ play tonight was not nearly consistent as Ian Eagle as they shot 2-for-15 from three in the first half, a scorching-hot 13.3 percent. Despite those insane numbers, the Trail Blazers somehow managed to keep pace with Brooklyn and the game was tied at 50 going into the break. In all seriousness, the players holding up the Nets were the ex-Blazers, with Davis putting up eight points, Crabbe scoring nine, and Napier dishing out eight assists.

Even with those contributions, the team struggled against the immense size of the Trail Blazers’ starting center Jusuf Nurkic and recent acquisition Enes Kanter. This represented itself in the box score in the form of the Nets getting outrebounded 60-49.

Those problems, combined with the squad as a whole shooting below 40 percent, led to Brooklyn trailing by double digits by the end of the third quarter, outscored 34 to 22 in the frame. While six players scored in double digits, nobody took over the game and All-Star D’Angelo Russell had an uncharacteristically quiet night.

The ex-Blazers — plus the newly-returned Jared Dudley — would spark a slight comeback at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but it was not enough as the Nets were unable to overcome the rebound differential and their own poor shooting.

If the team wants to hold onto its hard-earned playoff spot, it will have to secure these winnable games.

Caris LeVert


The stats: 12 PTS, 4-11 FG, 1-2 3PT, 0 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO

LeVert continues to search for his smooth stroke.

While he is as crafty as ever and hasn’t lost a step, his shooting still leaves something to be desired. It will come with more practice, but in the meantime, LeVert’s presence is still a net positive.

Allen Crabbe


The stats: 17 PTS, 7-13 FG, 3-8 3PT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TO

Allen Crabbe is finally starting to play up to his contract.

Many fans consider Crabbe’s immense contract to be one of the very few blemishes on Sean Marks’ record, but after returning from his lingering sore knee, Crabbe has averaged 15 points per game while shooting nearly 52 percent from the three-point line. If he continues to ramp up like this, Crabbe could single-handedly win Brooklyn games with his red-hot shooting.

Ed Davis


The stats: 15 PTS, 6-7 FG, 10 REB, 1 AST, 2 TO

Ed Davis wanted this win the most of anybody on the team, and his play showed it.

He provided strength in the paint when he was on the floor, which was admittedly not as often as the team would have liked due to his early foul trouble. While his greatest efforts weren’t enough tonight, Davis continues to show that he is a top tier bench piece that any team in the league would love to have.

Shabazz Napier


The stats: 7 PTS, 2-11 FG, 1-8 3PT, 1 REB, 10 AST, 2 TO

While Napier was still a mixed bag, tonight his better moments outpaced the bad ones.

While the box score may look suspicious, Napier really did play this game the right way. He started the game looking to distribute and create for teammates and quickly earned himself a double-digit assist tally before being forced to create his own offense. With Dinwiddie out, Napier continues to bear the weight off the bench, even if, more often than not, it tends to ask just a bit too much

Jared Dudley


The stats: 0 PTS, 0-0 FG, 0 REB, 0 AST, 7 MIN

Welcome back, Jared Dudley! You were sorely missed!

While the box score may appear quite bare, that is not unusual for Dudley. In spite of that, his impact on this game was obvious to those watching. The Nets closed the Trail Blazers’ lead as soon as he checked in, and his plus-minus reflects that: plus-eight. Once he checked out, the lead slipped out of reach along with the game.