Nets’ road trip starts on the wrong foot in Oklahoma City


Final: 03/13/2019

L 96 108

Dread it.

Run from it.

The road trip arrives all the same.

Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets faced their first test of the daunting stretch with the Oklahoma City Thunder. They started strong and had some bright spots that should provide fans hope for their upcoming games — ultimately, however, that does not change the fact that they failed.

The Nets’ offense was humming to start the night even against the stout defenders on Oklahoma City’s roster. The ball never stuck in one player’s hands for too long and the sharp ball movement allowed Brooklyn to pick apart the Thunder early on. It didn’t hurt that players like Spencer Dinwiddie were also dropping circus shots with ease.

The most impressive aspect of the Nets’ play tonight was easily the defense. They forced 10 turnovers in the opening two quarters alone and held the Thunder to 42 points, tied for their lowest-scoring first half of the entire season. Oklahoma City also shot a measly 34 percent from the field thanks to Brooklyn’s focused effort.

You can’t expect that to last against a team as talented as the Thunder.

The tables were not only turned in the third quarter — they were completely flipped. The Nets coughed the ball up seven times compared to their eight in the entire first half and the Thunder scored 38 points to take their first lead of the night. Brooklyn barely stabilized behind incredible shots from Dinwiddie and kept hope alive for a fourth-quarter rally.

Sadly, that hope alone was not enough to overcome Russell Westbrook and Paul George, the Thunder’s pair of MVP-worthy candidates. The collapse of the Nets in the second half was both spectacular and terrible. Watching a team go from lock-down defense and smooth passes to… whatever one would call the third quarter was jarring. The key for the individual players as well as the team as a whole moving forward will be consistency.

Still, at the end of the day, the Thunder have two All-Star closers with a killer’s mentality — that gave them the important, crucial edge. This squad will need to play Brooklyn’s brand of ball for the full 48 minutes if they want to have any hope of stealing games on this road trip.

Spencer Dinwiddie


The stats: 25 PTS, 8-17 FG, 2-6 3PT, 5 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 3 TO

Spencer Dinwiddie is the king of consistency and the rest of the team could take some lessons.

A major factor in Dinwiddie’s dependable production is his ferocious drives to the rim where he is always seeking contact and then looking to finish through it. He shot ten free throws this game, more than double that of any other Net. Look for the Goatee to keep his foot on the gas in the upcoming games.

D'Angelo Russell


The stats: 14 PTS, 6-18 FG, 2-8 3PT, 4 REB, 7 AST, 3 STL, 3 TO

D’Angelo Russell wasn’t anything special tonight and that won’t be enough against these quality teams.

The decision-making was not precise from Russell in the second half, a major part why the offense stalled. He will need to clean up his turnovers and take better shots if he wants to give Brooklyn the best chance to win these games.

Jarrett Allen


The stats: 8 PTS, 3-4 FG, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 0 TO

Tonight was a prime example of just how little a 6’11” man can be.

Jarrett Allen was bullied in the paint by Steven Adams the entire game. Five rebounds in 30 minutes is just tough skating for any starting NBA center, much less someone as important to the Nets as Allen is. This is just another game to add to the list of tapes that Allen should watch while he beefs up over the offseason.

Caris LeVert


The stats: 8 PTS, 3-10 FG, 1-2 3PT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 0 TO

At what point should fans be worried about Caris LeVert?

While Caris LeVert has still been a net positive on the floor due to his defensive effort, he still isn’t even close to what he was before the injury. It has only been a little over a month since his return, but Dinwiddie has been back for an even shorter amount of time. Of course, LeVert’s injury was much more severe, but the point still stands.

Where is the old LeVert and when will he return? Because this team sorely misses him.