The NBA lost an icon today.
Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were among nine casualties after Bryant’s helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif. on Sunday. The NBA family, and us here at The Brooklyn Game, grieves for the Bryant family. RIP, Mamba. You will be missed.
Despite the circumstances, the Nets and Knicks still played their scheduled game, although the only thing on the minds of the players, coaches, fans and announcers was the unfathomable tragedy. Kyrie Irving, who had a very close relationship with Bryant, sat out tonight’s game. Per Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily, Irving left Madison Square Garden after hearing the devastating news.
In Irving’s stead, Dinwiddie returned to the starting five. He started alongside Garrett Temple, Joe Harris, Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen. The Nets followed up last night’s OT victory in Detroit with a blowout loss to the Knicks.
To begin the game, each team took a 24-second shot clock violation to honor Kobe’s legacy. The crowd at the Garden chanted “Kobe” as each team took the violation. This was a day where petty differences were put aside.
At the half, the Knicks led 55-52. It was a very uneventful 24 minutes, as neither team could pull away from the other. Despite trailing, the Nets had the three-ball working early. They went 8-23 (34.8 percent) from deep.
The second half featured a poor start by the Nets — who ultimately trailed by nine points entering the fourth quarter. The offense simply vanished and never returned, while no player could impact the game on the offensive end of the floor.
But at the end of the day, this loss does not sting. Given Bryant’s tragic death, it is difficult to put anything into perspective.
Fans will never forget the impact Kobe Bryant had on the game of basketball.
The stats: 11 PTS, 5-10 FG, 1-5 3PT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 2 TO, 31 MIN
Joe Harris has not been himself as of late from beyond the arc, but his performance on Saturday may be a sign of good things to come. Harris made four of his ten three-pointers, most of which came when Brooklyn needed them most.
On Sunday, Harris struggled to get his shot to fall, scoring just 11 points in 31 minutes. It was an unremarkable performance in a game the Nets needed him to get hot.
The stats: 23 PTS, 7-17 FG, 2-4 3PT, 7-10 FT, 4 REB, 5 AST, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 32 MIN
In his first game back on the bench on Saturday, Spencer Dinwiddie scored just 10 points (3-8 FG), but the box score did not do him justice. Dinwiddie made a key layup down the stretch in regulation, and also made another important layup in OT.
With Irving out on Sunday, Dinwiddie got the start. Dinwiddie scored 12 points in the first half, leading all Nets, and in the second half, Dinwiddie could not get the Nets over the hump.
To be fair, his teammates were not of much help.
The stats: 7 PTS, 2-12 FG, 0-6 3PT, 3-4 FT, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 22 MIN
Caris LeVert has yet to find his stride.
After scoring 11 points in Saturday night’s victory, LeVert started 0-7 from the field on Sunday. He missed five threes, most of them wide open. It was hard to watch.
The second half was a tad better for LeVert, but still quite abysmal.
More playing time may just be the remedy for Caris going forward.
The stats: 5 PTS, 2-3 FG, 1-2 FT, 5 REB, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 31 MIN
Jarrett Allen has become a double-double machine this season, not to mention his proclivity for sending opponent’s shots into the stands. Allen is on pace to shatter his double-double total (24) from last season after he notched No. 21 on Saturday.
But on Sunday, Allen struggled tonight against the combination of Taj Gibson and Mitchell Robinson. Needless to say, the late arrival from Detroit could have played a role in the Fro’s woes against the Knicks.