Monday nights game was an example of same story, different night. The Nets, who lose third quarters by an NBA worst 6.8 points on average, were outscored 32-15, and fell to the Washington Wizards 118-113. Brooklyn now heads into Wednesday’s game against Denver losers in ten of their last eleven.
For the Brooklyn Nets, it was both a birth and a funeral today in terms of the two storylines that dominated the afternoon. While the Houston Rockets’ matching of Donatas Motiejunas was disappointing, if not predictable, the professional debut of Caris LeVert — the Nets’ 2016 draftee — signifies the beginning, hopefully, of the next successful age of basketball in the borough.
After missing the first nineteen games of the season recovering from foot surgery, LeVert was listed as available for Monday’s game. Expect LeVert to slowly be brought along, even with the Nets still missing their starting point guard Jeremy Lin. Trevor Booker returned to the starting lineup after missing Saturday’s game with an illness, as Anthony Bennett started in his place.
The Wizards are off to another slow start, but not from a lack of production from point guard John Wall, who’s averaged 22/9/4 (points, assists, rebounds) this season. However Washington came in having won two of their last three games, at Orlando and vs Phoenix.
After the first quarter, the Nets held a 32-29 lead, thanks to a game high nine from both Bojan Bogdanovic and Brook Lopez. John Wall lead the Wizards with 8 points and added 7 assists.
All in all, this felt like a completely different Nets team throughout runs of this game — from the incredible ball movement (17 first half assists) to a red-hot shooting display (62%), you wouldn’t have guessed these were conference cellar-dwellers. There were just so many individual efforts worth praising too, like Booker’s nifty fast break assist, Bennett’s determined transition defense, and Randy Foye’s swiss-army knife line of 5/4/4 — truly, this was joyous basketball.Heading to the break, the Nets held a 66-51 lead on the Wizards, thanks to Brook Lopez’s game high 16 points. Sean Kilpatrick, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Trevor Booker also scored in double figures for the Nets, while John Wall’s 10 was the most among Wizards.
Then, the dreaded third quarter. Washington came out of the half on a 13-0 run, trimming the Nets lead to just two points, as Brooklyn failed to set anything up on offence. Kenny Atkinson took an early timeout, hoping to kill the Wizards momentum. Saturday’s game in Milwaukee was just the second time all season the Nets won a third quarter, as they give up nearly thirty points on average in the third.
It took just over six minutes for the Wizards to tie the game, then take the lead with free throws as the Nets collected their fifth team foul with 5:40 to go in the period. Washington went up 79-74, and at that point was outscoring Brooklyn 28-8 in the frame.
At one point, the Nets turned the ball over on six of seven possessions, and had seventeen turnovers by the end of the third quarter.
The Wizards carried a two point game to the fourth quarter after outscoring Brooklyn 32-15 in the third. Brook Lopez had a game high seventeen and Trevor Booker had registered a double-double. Otto Porter Jr lead the Wizards with fifteen points, John Wall had fourteen points and eleven assists.
Like Saturday’s game, the Nets tied the game midway through the fourth quarter, the game would be decided on the Nets execution in the back half of the fourth.
John Wall stole the ball from Joe Harris and scored to give the Wizards a three point lead, 109-106 with 3:09 remaining.
The Nets stuck around, always within striking distance, until Bradley Beal swiped an exchange between Trevor Booker and Joe Harris with the Nets down three and only nine seconds left. John Wall hit a pair of free throws to ice it, as the Nets were unable to recover from another woeful third quarter, falling 118-113.
John Wall and Brook Lopez each scored 25 in the game, and the Wizards had seven players score ten or more in the win.
Caris LeVert although listed as available, did not see playing time, and will wait until at least Wednesday to make his NBA debut.
Brook Lopez also collected his 3,691st career rebound to move him into 2nd all time in Nets history.
The stats: 25 PTS, 8/15 FG, 6 REB, 5 AST, 3 BLK, 0 STL, 1 TOV
Brook Lopez balled out, matched up with Marcin Gortat, a gritty defensive center, Lopez kept him guessing. Switching his game up from backing down in the post, to shooting from behind the arc. Lopez scored sixteen in the first half, more than Saturday’s entire game. His ability to score all over the court makes for a difficult matchup for any center if Lopez is hot.
You knew he was getting a grade tonight. When Caris LeVert takes the a basketball court for game action for the first time in almost a year, you will hear about it. Welcome home Caris.