Game Recaps

Recap: Nets 99, Warriors 107 - Valiant Effort Comes Up Short Again

The game itself was much closer than the score would appear. Vegas had the Nets as 16-point underdogs after Klay Thompson was ruled out. Nobody would have expected the Nets could go into overtime with the unbeaten defending champions.

Coming into this contest, reigning MVP Steph Curry had hit more threes (52) than the Nets as a team combined (41). The Warriors lead the league in treys with a plus-56 made (168 points), while the Nets were second to last at a minus-32 conversion rate (96 points). Literally two teams on the opposite spectrum of offensive efficiency had the writing on the wall to be one of the most lopsided games in our young season. But like this year’s NBA campaign goes, “This is why we play.”

The Nets came out firing on all cylinders and raced out to an early 17-point lead over the defending champs with 10:27 left in the 2nd quarter. Thaddeus Young started hot, hitting his first eight shots, and helped the Nets control the tempo in the first half. The Nets scored an incredible 36 points after the first quarter, and led the Warriors by 15 after the first.

None of us were really surprised when the Warriors outscored the Nets by 13 in the second quarter and trimmed the lead to two after the second. At halftime, the Nets were shooting at an unsustainable 25-for-48 (52%), while holding the Warriors to 18-for-41 (44%). The combination of Brooklyn playing out of their minds and the defending champs coming out sluggish helped the Nets stay in this game throughout.

The second half was just as startling as the first. The Nets outscored the Warriors by five in the 3rd quarter and led the whole way until the 4:36-mark of regulation, when Curry converted on a reverse layup to give Golden State their first lead since 5-4. Maybe it was playing against his old team, but Jarrett Jack played his best ball since his fabulous 6th-man role with Golden State back in 2013. Jarrett Jack was instrumental in knocking down timely jumpers and setting up his teammates for high percentage shots. Like a conductor with an orchestra sight-reading musical notes for the first time, Jack showed his veteran presence and controlled the tempo enough from the game getting out of hand when the Warriors took the lead late in the 4th.

As this Nets season has shown fans, things are always too good to be true. Several terrible things happened to the Nets in the final 20 seconds. After Curry missed a layup attempt with 22.9 seconds left and the Nets up one, Young corralled the rebound and gave it to Jack to patrol up the court. From that point on, we still have no idea what happened. Either Jack was waiting for the Warriors to foul him or Lionel Hollins was unheard as he was screaming for a timeout. Brooklyn committed the cardinal sin with the team leading and less than 24-seconds on the clock, with an 8-second backcourt violation.

Even then, Curry committed a turnover as Young picked his pocket and was fouled, converting both free throws to put Brooklyn up three. Combined with how much of a potent offense Golden State had with their three-point attack and the simple math of fouling your opponent to shoot two free throws up three, it’s absolutely inexcusable as to what happened next. Finals MVP Andre Iguodala drills a three to tie the game with five seconds left in regulation. What makes matters worse is that Iggy hasn’t shot over 65% from the free throw line since his last year in Philadelphia (2012). From there, Golden State had full momentum and pummeled Brooklyn in overtime, as Brooklyn only scored two points the rest of the evening.

If two opportunities to steal the victory weren’t enough, the Nets happened to make it the trifecta. With 0.5 seconds to inbound under the hoop, Brook Lopez missed a point-blank one-footer.

From there, Golden State had full momentum and pummeled Brooklyn in overtime, as Brooklyn only scored two points the rest of the evening.


Food for Thought

  • Brooklyn didn’t get much from their bench as Hollins went to a 9-man rotation on a back-to-back. Andrea Bargnani, Shane Larkin, and Wayne Ellington all got under 15 minutes in a 53-minute game. Bojan Bogdanovic was the only bench player to get massive minutes—35 minutes—but combined to shoot 4-for-18 from the field with fellow shooting guard Joe Johnson.
  • Jarrett Jack had his best game of the young season going 9-for-20 from the field, 8-for-8 from the charity strike, two threes, nine dimes, two steals, and 28 points. Just watching his body language, you could tell this game against his former squad meant so much more to him than any game he’s played after his lone year stint with the Warriors.
  • Thaddeus Young finished with 26 points, 12-for-22 shooting, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 39 minutes. Once Draymond Green dialed in and guarded him, Young slowed down considerably after his hot start shooting, going 4-for-14 after hitting his first eight shots. As I said previously, Young needs to learn to shoot the three in order to provide the necessary spacing for his teammates in the open court. Young has only attempted six long balls all season.
  • Stephen Curry’s final statline: 34 points, 13-for-31 shooting, 5-for-16 from three, and 6 assists. Just another day at the office for the 27-year old MVP. With his 3-point field goal in the third quarter, Steph Curry surpassed his father, Dell Curry, of 1,245th 3-point field goals made and is now tied for 41st all-time with recently retired Hedo Turkoglu. Steph’s already done this in just 427 career games, while it took his father 1,083 games to get there. Steph is easily becoming the best basketball player on the planet with his career-high averages across the board this season.
  • Brooklyn finished 2-for-18 from three, while Golden State went a subpar 12-for-34 on their standards. Like the Memphis Grizzles, the 3-point differential is quickly becoming the Nets’ Achilles heel. With their current roster construction, this won’t be a quick fix.
  • The Nets finish 1-4 on their 5-game road trip and return home on Tuesday to face the 8-3 Atlanta Hawks at Barclays 7:30 EST.