Good morning! The Nets are 4-4. Here’s how, and why:
What happened: The Brooklyn Nets dropped their second straight on the road, falling 107-99 to the Golden State Warriors in a 10:30 EST start in California.
Where they stand: At 4-4, the Nets are still second in the Atlantic Division, a half-game ahead of the Boston Celtics.
That was… I mean… yeah… you kind of figured. The Nets were clear underdogs heading into this one; the Warriors are one of the league’s most well-rounded teams, and played at home with more rest than the Nets on the second half of a back-to-back.
Considering the circumstances, the Nets didn’t play poorly. Deron Williams went toe-to-toe with Stephen Curry and arguably outplayed him when the two were on the floor together. Brook Lopez didn’t need to pass the ball in the first half, considering how clean his looks were. Jarrett Jack went supernova against his former team.
In the end, it wasn’t enough, not with Andrew Bogut making Lopez look overmatched by patrolling the paint defensively, and the Warriors offense dominanting at all the right times, racking up 30 assists on 45 made field goals. But be honest: on the second half of a back-to-back, against a darkhorse NBA Finals candidate, with an aging roster facing a young backcourt… you expected worse, didn’t you?
Game Grades: Read ’em here.
The Nets loss aside, one awesome thing happened this game: Jarrett Jack. Jarrett Jack happened all over his former team, hitting ten shots without a miss en route to a 23-point night. Jack forced the issue throughout the night, getting tough shots to fall inside and running the point during a key fourth-quarter run that brought the Nets deficit down to five.
Listen closely to Grant Hill, who at one point tries to explain away Jack’s sorcery by pointing out his veteran status. I appreciate the effort, Grant, but this is just Jarrett Jack doing ridiculous things for revenge against a team that didn’t want him. Your explanations, though professional, are inconsistent with the Jack.
Jack is only the fifth guard in NBA history (since 1985-86, when the NBA started keeping track of these things) to shoot ten shots without a miss, joining Doc Rivers, Byron Scott, Gary Payton, and Darren Collison.
My thoughts at the half: Well, that didn’t end so well.
The Warriors ended the second half on a 22-6 run, with “run” being the operative word: they took advantage of a fatigued Nets roster not getting back on defense.
Lionel Hollins Mood Check, First Half Edition:
— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) November 14, 2014
That’s right: former wrestler Hulk Hogan took to throwing pregame barbs at the Nets, then ran the official Warriors Twitter account during the game. Considering his nemesis during his wrestling career was The Ultimate Warrior, I can’t tell if this is bad or brilliant marketing.
You’re In Deep Trouble: The Nets entered the night as one of the league’s more dominant three-point shooting teams, averaging 8.6 made three-pointers per game at a 40.5 percent clip, good for second in the NBA and even ahead of the Warriors. But the Nets only took five three-pointers in the first half, missing all five, and finished the night a poor 3-16 from three-point range. Not a recipe for success.
Our First Trillion! Andrei Kirilenko was a surprise first man off the bench for the Nets, replacing Kevin Garnett midway through the first quarter for a “small” look that featured Kirilenko at power forward. Kirilenko did nothing for four minutes and was taken out.
That’s not an exaggeration; Kirilenko performed the famed “trillion” feat, not recording a single relevant box score statistic in those four minutes. No points, shot attempts, free throw attempts, rebounds, steals, assists, blocks, turnovers, or personal fouls for Kirilenko.
Considering how Kirilenko made his career as a box score stuffer, it’s still a bit staggering to see such a precipitous decline. Sure, it’s just a “four trillion,” but it’s not an outlier this season.
Lionel Hollins Mood Check, Second Half Edition:
Overpaid and Underrated: On TNT’s postgame show, Bleacher Report columnist Howard Beck put Nets wing Joe Johnson on his “All-Underrated” Starting 5, then debated Ric Bucher over Klay Thompson, Bucher’s selection at shooting guard. Hard to disagree, even if Johnson’s had a couple of underwhelming nights since calling out his team for selfishness.
But Hey, They Beat The Spread: The Warriors were favored by ten points, and with the Nets trailing by 11 with seconds left, it appeared safe for anyone that bet on Golden State. But Draymond Green committed a late turnover, and Deron Williams buried a three-pointer for the Nets to cover.
I WOKE UP IN A NEW JOE JOHNSON:
Joe Johnson is funny. Looking at In-N-Out burgers in the locker room, he said, "Man, I can't put that stuff in this Bugatti body, man."
— Andrew Keh (@andrewkeh) November 14, 2014
There is a Shake Shack right across from Barclays Center, an establishment that will never see Joe Johnson unless they start offering Bikram Yoga classes in their deep fryer.
Next up: The Nets have Friday off to travel to Portland, where they’ll take on the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night in the third and final game of this West Coast trip.