Nets Fall Short of Comeback Against Jazz in Final Scrimmage

B+

Final: 07/27/2020

L 107 112

Brooklyn is no stranger to near comeback victories, and Monday’s scrimmage fits the bill. 

After trailing by as many as 16 points, the Nets fought back to within two in the fourth quarter but were unable to make the final leap. The Utah Jazz, led by Rudy Gobert’s 20 points and seven rebounds, held on for the 112-107 victory in Brooklyn’s final scrimmage before seeding games begin. 

While the Nets held the advantage in points in the paint (50-42), their lack of size was clear as Utah out-rebounded Brooklyn 54-45. Jarrett Allen recorded his third double-double in as many games, but still did not receive much help with Donta Hall held out of the contest alongside Jamal Crawford. 

Allen had a strong connection with Caris LeVert throughout the contest, who looked sharp offensively and recorded 23 points. The Nets were distributing the ball well, finishing with 27 assists on 42 field goals, and showed they could take care of the ball better than initial contests, recording 12 overall turnovers. 

In addition, the Nets found success on the fast break, recording an impressive 13 steals and scoring 21 points off 17 Jazz turnovers.

That chemistry provided momentum in a back-and-forth final quarter for Brooklyn, but the team ultimately fell short due to lost opportunities at the free-throw line. For the game, the Nets shot just 13-of-27 from the charity stripe, good for 48.1%, and 10-of-28 from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Jazz made 23-of-32 free throw opportunities and finished an and-1 to help seal the deal.

Rodions Kurucs was a spark down the stretch, though he seemed to have walked off the court with a limp following the scrimmage’s conclusion. The Nets hope he can rebound in time for the team’s first seeding game on Friday at 2 p.m. against the Orlando Magic.

Outside Brooklyn’s poor showing against the Pelicans, the team largely showed a strong offense in its 1-2 scrimmage slate. To keep their playoff spot, the Nets will have to improve on the defensive end, battle for rebounds, make free throws and continue to take care of the ball. 

The roster may be different, but we now know a bit more about what this team is made of–now let the bubble games begin. 

Caris LeVert

A-

The stats: 23 PTS, 11-22 FG, 0-3 3FG, 1-2 FT, 3 REB, 6 AST, 1 TOV, 1 STL, 31 MIN

Caris LeVert continued to show how fun he is to watch. 

Though he was lacking his shot from distance, LeVert was working his way to the bucket with ease, powered the team on the fast break and continued to connect with Jarrett Allen. The Nets will need those two to continue their chemistry into the seeding games to provide a foundation for the team’s offensive identity.

LeVert recorded six assists to just one turnover, a welcomed sight after the team’s struggles in the first scrimmage. The Nets will be relying on LeVert to carry a large load in the bubble, and he showed what he can contribute on Monday. 

Jarrett Allen

A

The stats: 19 PTS, 9-12 FG, 1-4 FT, 10 REB, 2 AST, 1 TO, 2 STL, 2 BLK, 31 MIN

Mr. Double-Double was at it again, but this time he stepped up his offensive production and nearly recorded a 20-10 game.

Allen put up the best of his scrimmage performances on Monday, looking comfortable alongside his teammates and getting to the paint. He was up against some talented big men in Gobert and Royce O’Neal but rose to the challenge with two steals and two blocks added to his stat line. 

The Nets still need more size, and Hall should help. But Allen has proven he is as reliable as any of the Nets come, and Brooklyn will be in need of similar performances from the Fro going forward. 

Rodions Kurucs

A-

The stats: 13 PTS, 5-9 FG, 3-4 3FG, 0-1 FT, 6 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 22 MIN

Rodions Kurucs made the most of his 22 minutes of playing time, providing a spark when the Nets needed it most. 

Kurucs provided the Nets some sorely-needed points from distance, leading the team with a trio of three-point shots. He also added six rebounds and two blocks in his time on the court, stepping up with Brooklyn’s lack of size. 

Towards the end of the game, Kurucs was forced to exit with what seemed to be an irritation with his hip that caused him to carry a bit of a limp off the court. He did not need immediate treatment so it may not be a serious injury, but losing Kurucs would be a blow to an already-depleted Nets squad. 

Tyler Johnson

B

The stats: 11 PTS, 3-7 FG, 2-3 3FG, 3-4 FT, 2 REB, 1 STL, 18 MIN

Tyler Johnson played well off the bench against the Jazz and provided a sharp-shooting hand. 

Coming off his 17-point game against the Spurs on Saturday, Johson continued his hot streak and was reliable both in shooting from distance and making free throws–two areas in which the Nets were lacking. He has proven to be a key part of Brooklyn’s offensive success. 

If the Nets can get this type of offensive production from Johnson, they will likely be happy going forward as they finish the regular season. 

Joe Harris

C+

The stats: 8 PTS, 3-11 FG, 0-2 3FG, 2-4 FT, 6 REB, 2 AST, 3 TO, 29 MIN

Joe Harris brought some power to the paint, but he did not find his three-point shot against the Jazz.

After making his scrimmage debut on Saturday behind 12 points, Harris struggled a bit with taking care of the ball on Monday, recording three turnovers to two assists. Perhaps he is still finding his rhythm, but a 3-of-11 performance from the field is not what Nets fans have grown to expect from Joey Buckets. 

Harris always gives the hustle, but the Nets will need him to start taking–and making–three-pointers as the seeding games begin. 

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