Nets Falter Against Mavericks, Suffer Fourth Straight Loss

D+

Final: 05/06/2021

L 109 – 113

via YES

The Nets have found themselves in some close contests lately, and wins are more elusive than ever.

In a game they trailed by as many as 10 points early, the Mavericks emerged as the better team in the fourth quarter to secure a 113-109 victory on Thursday. The result extends Brooklyn’s losing streak to four, the longest of the season, while the Bucks are just a half-game back in the standings.

It was a lack of stops that again hurt Brooklyn as Dallas used a 13-2 run to take a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter and did not look back. The Nets cut the deficit to as little as three with five seconds remaining, but Tim Hardaway Jr. drained a free throw to keep Brooklyn at bay. 

Irving was sharp throughout the night while dropping a season-high 45 points, but he was largely alone. Kevin Durant had one of his worst games as a Net, managing to score just four points in the second half on a night he was needed. 

Adversity is good at times, but the Nets have fallen short lately on both sides of the ball. Not only has Brooklyn had inconsistent offensive performances, but the Nets allowed the Mavericks to build momentum off 19 second-chance points while gaining the scoring edge in the fourth quarter. Brooklyn also turned the ball over nine times in the second half after just four giveaways in the first half.

The Nets outscored the Mavericks 51-47 over the second and third quarters and seemed to find energy, but they again did not have the answers to start and end the game. Irving largely carried the team on his shoulders while the team missed good looks and could not get stops down the stretch. 

The Nets shot 43.2% on the night and a poor 13-of-37 from three, while the Mavericks shot just 44.9% themselves while making 15 three-pointers. Luka Doncic did not have his best night but still led six Mavericks in double figures with 24 points on the night. 

It grows clearer with each game that the Nets need to find some sort of spark, and the only answer at this point seems to be James Harden. Harden said on Thursday that he is confident he will be ready to play by the time of the playoffs, but Brooklyn’s supporting cast has just fallen off lately as the Nets continue searching.

The No. 1 seed seems out of reach for Brooklyn at this point, and the No. 2 seed is quickly turning into a question mark. The Bucks hold the tiebreaker after their recent two-game sweep as wins are hard to come by for the Nets.

Next up, the Nets have another tough matchup against the Nuggets on Saturday night. The competition does not get easier, but the stakes continue to remain high.

Steve Nash said adversity is a good thing. Let’s see if that holds true — and if the team answers. 

Kyrie Irving

A

The stats: 45 PTS, 17-31 FG, 7-13 3PT, 4-4 FT, 5 REB, 4 AST, 4 STL, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 39 MIN

Kyrie had one of his best games of the season, too bad his teammates did not want to join him.

Kyrie was sharp from the start as he took over on offense and dropped 25 first-half points. He came up with some buckets late to try to keep things interesting, but he did not have enough help.

Kyrie was solid defensively and could have gotten his teammates involved more, but no one else seemed to have a hot hand. Kyrie did his best to do it all, the Nets just needed more balance and stops.

Kevin Durant

C-

The stats: 20 PTS, 7-21 FG, 0-4 3PT, 6-6 FT, 9 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 26 MIN

KD had arguably his worst game as a Net.

After scoring a respectable 16 points in the first half, KD shot 1-for-10 in the second half where he just could not find his rhythm. No matter the look, KD could not string together buckets to help keep the Nets in the running.

Nights like these for KD are obviously an anomaly, so there is no reason to worry, but a reliable performance from him could have led to a different result. Luka did not have a spectacular night either, so it came down to the supporting cast on both ends — and the Mavericks won that battle.

Jeff Green

B

The stats: 11 PTS, 3-7 FG, 2-4 3PT, 3-4 FT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO, 22 MIN

Jeff Green was one of the lone Nets to provide offensive help.

Green had a strong third quarter, where Brooklyn seemed to have the upper hand at the time. He worked well off the bench while helping to drain some three-pointers.

Uncle Jeff provided some good movement and activity against Dallas, which helped lead to offensive opportunities. He largely did his job while helping to provide a boost in the third. 

Blake Griffin

B-

The stats: 10 PTS, 4-10 FG, 2-4 3PT, 10 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO, 27 MIN

Blake had a quick start with his second double-double as a Net.

A big left-handed slam clinched the double-double for Blake in the third quarter, but he did not score another point after that. Blake had some trouble finishing and was also a bit sloppy with the ball. 

Blake was able to stretch the floor with two three-pointers, but the Nets needed more late. The double-double was great, but it was disappointing to not see Blake build on it beyond the third quarter. 

Landry Shamet

D-

The stats: 0 PTS, 0-5 FG, 0-4 3PT, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 24 MIN

Landry Shamet stays searching for his three-point shot.

It has been a minute since Landry has been hitting consistently from distance. Joe Harris has not been on point, either, with a 2-of-6 performance from distance. 

The Nets need their shooters to be on point to succeed. They may have to shoot themselves out of the slump, but Landry and Joe are needed now more than ever. 

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