Coming off of a big win in Phoenix, the Brooklyn Nets looked up the steep hill to the top of the NBA standings and, standing there, was Chris Paul, Doc Rivers, and the Los Angeles Clippers. To make matters worse, Nets’ head coach Kenny Atkinson announced that Brook Lopez would be sitting out the game to rest, in hopes of performing better in the second game of the back-to-back on Tuesday night against the Lakers. Right then and there, the hill then grew twice as tall as Justin Hamilton was forced into the starting lineup at center against the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.
The first quarter was one to forget for Atkinson and company as Brooklyn was outscored 39-14 in the stanza, the Nets finally reaching double-digits with 1:01 to go in the quarter.
Blake Griffin reached double digits with 3:52 to go, so, yeah.
The Sean Kilpatrick point guard experiment hit a large roadblock in Chris Paul’s defense and the Nets’ sharpshooter had 5 turnovers, tallying 21 as a team in total. To sum it up quickly, the Nets missed Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez, all while the Clippers’ big three all did what they do best. The everlastingly elite Paul dropped 21 points, 9 assists, and 5 steals; Griffin rode his 13 first quarter points to a total of 20 points, tossing in 6 rebounds and 6 assists for good measure; and Jordan grabbed a ridiculous 14 rebounds.
At one point in the fourth quarter, the Nets trailed by 40, but perhaps there’s no much to be ashamed about. In fact, the Clippers have done this to multiple teams, even multiple playoff-bound teams at that! Last Wednesday, the Clippers lead the Portland Trail Blazers 93-50 heading to the fourth, so yes, Nets fans, it could have been worse.
During their 7-game win streak, Los Angeles has now scored more than 110 points in 6 of those contests and their point differential is +16.6. Silver linings?
Bright spots, yes, there were some of those as well, we promise. In the blowout, Yogi Ferrell got plenty of burn (26 minutes) and he can get bench buckets efficiently. Atkinson kept the hot hand on the court in light of Kilpatrick’s turnovers and Ferrell did not disappoint. When Lin returns, minutes will all but disappear for the former Hoosier, but he showed that he’s capable of coming off the bench for Atkinson and contributing. Elsewhere, Bojan Bogdanovic looked like he was shooting a golf ball into the ocean, hitting 8 of his 11 takes from the floor — but, because of the score, he was largely unused in the second half.
Now time for more one final bad statistic: 7 Nets finished at -10 or worse on the +/- scale, including all of the starters, except Bogdanovic. Now, compare that to the Clippers’ starters who were all +39 or better and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Tomorrow, they’ll be back against the lesser team from Los Angeles, but one that’s impressed many so far this year. With Lopez in tow, anything could happen, but it’s almost guaranteed to be better than this.
The stats: 8 PTS, 2-3 FG, 2 REB, 1 AST, 2 TOV
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson shot the ball efficiently for the second game in a row, hitting on 2 of his 3 shots from the field, but finished at a game worst -39 during just 20 minutes of action, yikes.
The stats: N/A
See you tomorrow, Brook.