The Brooklyn Nets lost 96-88 in overtime to the Dallas Mavericks Monday night, falling to 16-18 on the season, and losing their second straight since hitting the .500 mark Friday night. Here’s three quick takes on the loss.
1) You might have blinked… and missed Brook Lopez’s ridiculous scoring downpour in the first quarter. Though some of them were tough looks, notably his first fallaway shot out of the left block, Lopez had good, strong looks either in the restricted area or open jump shots.
It looks like the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat could serve as a turning point for Lopez’s season, when he finished the game 5 for 7 from the field on smart shots. But, and here’s the downside: he’s still getting very few dunks or layups, and he only scored four points on 2-9 shooting after his hot start.
It’s a slow process towards his greater goal, and if he’s getting open jumpers and close looks like he has in the past two games, he’ll at least be effective in his role as a finisher. But the next step is regaining the meager explosiveness he had, which is hopefully not gone forever.
2) Lopez’s scoring burst almost takes a backseat… to that other thing he did that he almost never does: he grabbed ten rebounds by the half and 13 for the game, which would’ve been a season-high had it not been for his anomalous 16-board performance in the team’s 95-93 overtime win against the Spurs.
Most of Lopez’s early rebounds were easy and uncontested. Only three of Lopez’s rebounds came with even one Mavericks player nearby, as Dallas weirdly sent most of their lineup back in transition defense when a shot went up. If the Mavs didn’t have a player in the paint already when a shot went up, they just punted the look and got back to prevent a fast break. Even Tyson Chandler took a few possessions off from the glass.
Still: 13 rebounds for someone who averages less than half that is nothing to sneeze at, and he did fend off Greg Smith & Tyson Chandler for those three contested rebounds. He could’ve even had more in that first quarter if his teammates didn’t swoop in. But I wouldn’t expect a sustained change on the glass from Monday night’s performance alone.
3) The Nets were lucky to even be in this one… As a defense, they allowed 80 points in regulation and below 40 percent shooting to the league’s best offense. On the outset, looks like a surprisingly stout defensive effort.
But a ton of luck was involved in this too: the Mavericks shot just 35 percent on “uncontested” field goals, meaning they barely converted shots even when they were wide open.
Monta Ellis? Hit one of seven open shots. Dirk Nowitzki? 3-for-10. Rajon Rondo? 0-for-6. Chandler Parsons? 1-for-6. These are shots the Mavericks wanted to create that just didn’t fall. The Nets did have some good moments defensively, particularly in the first half, but they also just struck luck against a great team.