Team Effort Carries Nets in Rout of Hornets as Aldridge Makes Debut

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Final: 04/01/2021

W 111 89

The peaks and valleys of an NBA team can be felt throughout a season — in the Nets’ case, it was felt over just two days.

One night after falling into an early rut against the Rockets, the Nets swapped roles and dominated the Hornets from start to finish in a 111-89 home victory on Thursday. Six different Nets scored in double figures while Jeff Green led the way with 21 points.

The Nets go into another level when their defense is clicking on all cylinders. The first quarter was just about as efficient as the Nets have been all season as an energetic squad held Charlotte to just 11 first-quarter points on 17.4% shooting. 

LaMarcus Aldridge made his Nets debut in the starting lineup and was a key to Brooklyn’s blistering start. He gave the Nets a different dimension at center, passing out of the paint, posting up for buckets and even draining from distance. 

Green was another high-impact starter, out-scoring the Hornets 12-11 on his own in the first quarter and finishing with a team-high 21 points. The Nets out-scored Charlotte 36-26 in the paint and out-rebounded 61-46.

The ball was moving with ease as the Nets recorded 34 assists on 44 made field goals while shooting 48.4% and draining 20 three-pointers. Kyrie Irving (8), Green (6) and Joe Harris (6) led the way in assists while the team gave up 15 turnovers on the night, 10 of which came in the second half. 

The Nets led by as many as 32 points in the third quarter as every player except DeAndre Jordan saw playing time. The Hornets went on a 15-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters, but the Nets added back onto their comfortable lead before the bench was emptied.

Charlotte entered the game ranked at No. 4 in the East but was held to 34.9% shooting. Six Hornets reached double digits but no player had more than 13 points. 

No James Harden, no Blake Griffin, no Kevin Durant — and the Nets had no issues against the Hornets on the second half of a back-to-back. They have had their struggles lately with a handful of close contests, but there was no hesitation found on either end of the court as the Nets showed all the effort that Steve Nash has been asking of them as of late.

The Nets remain in first place with the win, and they get two days off before facing the Bulls in an Easter afternoon matchup on Sunday. We don’t know yet who will be active, but the Nets continue to prove they can find chemistry across any lineup. 

Jeff Green

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The stats: 21 PTS, 8-17 FG, 5-12 FG, 8 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO, 31 MIN

Have a night, Jeff Green.

Uncle Jeff got off to a quick start with 12 first-quarter points, hurting the Hornets both inside and out. Jeff got many looks from three and was one of three Nets to drain five of them on the night.

After out-scoring the Hornets in the first quarter on his own, Green went on to drop 17 points in the third quarter. His defense is a game-changer on its own, and his offensive contributions were just a big bonus. 

Landry Shamet

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The stats: 17 PTS, 6-10 FG, 5-7 3PT, 1 REB, 2 AST, 3 TO, 21 MIN

Landry Shamet wasted no time after logging his first minutes since March 21.

The Nets missed Shamet’s sharp-shooting edge, and his impact off the bench was immediately felt against the Hornets. Shamet and Tyler Johnson both shot 5-of-7 from three while helping the Nets’ ball movement pay off.

He was a bit sloppy with the ball with three turnovers, but it’s only good news for the Nets to have Shamet back. Having another reliable shooter off the bench could make the difference between wins and losses going forward depending on how long Harden and KD remain out. 

Kyrie Irving

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The stats: 15 PTS, 7-17 FG, 1-4 3PT, 11 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 4 TO, 34 MIN

Again stepping back into the point guard role, Kyrie Irving nearly logged a triple-double against the Hornets.

Kyrie brought a high energy against the Hornets, shown while interacting with many of his teammates and rooting on Aldridge as he drained his first bucket. That vibe continued on the court as he led the offensive charge and recorded two blocks and a steal. 

Kyrie’s active hands also helped the Nets get some second chances, as he fought for a tip-in and saved a ball going out-of-bounds for a three-pointer. He turned the ball over a bit and missed a few shots, but his impact was felt in other areas while grabbing boards and setting up his teammates. 

Bruce Brown

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The stats: 14 PTS, 7-10 FG, 3 AST, 6 REB, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 29 MIN

Bruce Brown’s game is not the loudest, but it is impactful.

As always, Bruce was active on defense while helping get the Nets off to a hot start. Bruce helped step in at shooting guard with Kyrie filling in at PG for Harden and continued his productive play from the night before.

Bruce fit well alongside Aldridge as well, giving himself more space to work with during his offensive opportunities. On top of it all, he finished as a game-high plus-28, nearly matching Brooklyn’s largest lead of 32.  

LaMarcus Aldridge

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The stats: 11 PTS, 4-10 FG, 1-1 3PT, 2-2 FT, 9 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 30 MIN

It was quite the Brooklyn debut for LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge gives the Nets a whole new look. Rather than relying on pick and rolls and lobs, Aldridge allows the Nets to post-up, space the floor and dish to teammates — as evidenced by his six assists.

As Landry said after the game, “That guy’s a problem.” We may not see much of DeAndre going forward, especially if LaMarcus continues to play like this. 

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