Down 22 points at halftime and shooting 28 percent from the field, it looked like a stretch for the Nets to make any meaningful cut into Golden State’s lead. The Kevin Durant-less Warriors were rolling, led by Steph Curry.
What did we learn? Never doubt the under-manned Nets.
It was the third quarter where Brooklyn first came alive. After the deficit became as large as 28-points, the Nets outscored the Warriors 42-34 to make it a 14-point game. Allen Crabbe led Brooklyn’s comeback attempt, putting up 18 points after three quarters.
Golden State won the bench battle to start the game, but Brooklyn edged itself back into the game with Caris LeVert providing an off-the-bench spark. He put up 13 points on the night, a majority coming in the second half.
The three ball also helped the Nets in their high-scoring third-quarter, with Crabbe, Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson making it rain.
With Curry benched for the first half of the fourth quarter with five fouls, the Nets continued to inch closer to the lead. Brooklyn came as close as four points of the Warriors with under three minutes to go, with the crowd and bench on Brooklyn’s side.
An opportunity arose for Brooklyn when Curry fouled out of the game on a charge against Quincy Acy with three minutes to go and Golden State’s lead down to five. He left with 39 points, but it was up to his teammates to finish out the win.
Crabbe attacked first with a three-pointer, and Klay Thompson answered with a three of his own. Brooklyn’s response? Another Crabbe three ball. He had 25 points and six three-pointers on the night as he led the comeback effort.
Following that, Dinwiddie heaved up a three but it came short, which ultimately led Brooklyn to foul. That was the end of what was a thrilling momentum burst from the Nets.
The Nets were the aggressor, forcing turnovers and making a shot at the win possible. Brooklyn held Golden State to just 20 fourth-quarter points, but time ran out for the Nets to come back all the way.
Brooklyn’s free throws hurt them tonight, as they made just 27-of-39, good for 69.2 percent. The Nets ripped away the momentum from the Warriors, but with free throws not falling, a 28-point comeback is hard to do.
The Warriors also dominated on defense in the paint, recording 14 blocks to Brooklyn’s two on the evening.
A game fully expected to be a blowout at halftime turned into an exciting contest, and that’s something the Nets’ identity can be defined by – they might not have a shot at winning, but they play like they don’t know that. That makes basketball in Brooklyn exciting, despite the 6-10 record.
Next up? The Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Nov. 22. The Cavs will be looking for revenge on the Nets after their defeat earlier this season, but from this game, there’s one thing we know – the Nets like some competition.
The stats: 16 PTS, 5-14 FG, 1-3 3FG, 5-6 FT, 12 REB, 5 AST, 4 TOV, 1 STL, 31 MIN
After turning the ball over three times in the first four minutes, RHJ turned his game around big-time. While he struggled from the field, he led the team in boards and recorded his first double-double of the season.
RHJ also recorded a season-high five assists. While his four turnovers stand out, those were barely a factor in the second half as the team made its run.
Poor start, but big showing from RHJ tonight in his composure.
The stats: 21 PTS, 4-13 FG, 2-8 3FG, 11-13 FT, 2 REB, 8 AST, 2 TOV, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 31 MIN
Dinwiddie was another player with an unmemorable start. He got into quick foul trouble, limiting his minutes (and the team) in the first half.
In the second half, though, Dinwiddie showed flashes of the impressive player he’s been recently. He dished eight assists and was the best player at the free throw line. He showed he can step up alongside his teammates.
The stats: 6 PTS, 3-4 FG, 3 REB, 1 TOV, 1 BLK, 12 MIN
With Trevor Booker out of the game at halftime with a sprained left ankle, Jarrett Allen stepped up and played meaningful minutes during Brooklyn’s run. He had a big block early in the second half, set his defensive pressure and got some shots to go down in the paint.
We haven’t seen Allen in a while, but he gelled with the rotation in his return to the court.
The stats: 25 PTS, 9-19 FG, 6-11 3FG, 1-2 FT, 7 REB, 2 AST, 3 TOV, 34 MIN
It was a lot of fun to watch Crabbe battle with the some of the best three-point shooters in the league. With Brooklyn cutting the Warriors’ lead to as little as four, Crabbe drained his threes to keep up with the threat on the other end.
One of the most exciting stretches was when Crabbe and Thompson went head-to-head in a three-point competition at the end of the game, but Thompson and the Warriors ultimately came out victorious.
Crabbe came in clutch when needed, and when the rotation is working on all cylinders, he can be the most fun of all.