Game Recaps

Recap: Nets 98, Warriors 114 - They Never Had a Chance (Even When They Did)

For 48 minutes Sunday night, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors brought their beautiful machine to Brooklyn, rolling over the Nets 114-98.

The Brooklyn Nets led this game in the third quarter. They actually outscored the Warriors in the second quarter, which against them might even count as some kind of victory. Through the first 20 or so games of the season, the Nets (5-15) aren’t quite as bad as their record and the Warriors (22-0) are somehow, impossibly, inexplicably, even better than their record.

The Warriors started the game, their second of a road back-to-back, playing messy (for them) and out-of-sync on offense. They missed 9 of 14 free throws in the first quarter and their starting point guard had 0 assists. They still led 30 to 16 at the end of the quarter. That was due to the suffocating defense played by the Warriors: they forced the Nets into 6 turnovers in the quarter and feasted in transition, scoring 11 fast break points.

The Nets’ starters were lost on both sides of the ball, Jarrett Jack especially looking outmatched and confused. Brook Lopez picked up 2 quick fouls and was sent to the bench. The Nets didn’t crack double digits until their were two minutes left in the quarter, while Klay Thompson put up a 12-2-2 with 2 blocks. The Nets starting shooting guard, by the way, was Bojan Bogdanovic who scored nothing. The gap in athleticism at nearly every position was obvious, the gap in skill insurmountable. After one quarter, the game seemed destined to be a blowout.

But the Nets battled back. After Lopez picked up his 3rd foul early in the second quarter, Lionel Hollins sent him to the bench and went with a small ball lineup that the Warriors didn’t counter. The Nets played with the intensity and desperation of a team that needed to win and the Warriors played like a team that knew it couldn’t lose.

Thaddeus Young, freed from the perimeter, scored efficiently and made crisp switches on defense. Shane Larkin was a revelation off the bench. Despite his lack of size, he was one of the few Nets players who could keep up with the Warriors physically. As he has all season, he brought defensive tenacity and energy, hounding guards on and off ball and fighting his way through screens. Taking over point guard duties from a moribund Jarrett Jack, dishing 3 assists and grabbing the same number of steals.

And the Nets finished the half with focus and energy, and simply outplayed the Warriors, ending the second quarter with a 12-0 run. The score at the end of the half was 57-54 in favor of the Warriors, but the Nets had the momentum.

And that momentum bled into the second half. The Nets opened the third quarter with a 21-13 run, taking a 68-63 lead with just over three minutes left in the quarter. They did it, again, with energy. Shane Larkin kept up his defensive intensity and Markel Brown joined him off the bench with the same level of energy. But the star was Thad Young: hitting jumpers, playing stifling defense, and grabbing offensive rebounds. The Nets were playing well and the Warriors were playing poorly and for the first time a Nets win seemed possible. Not likely, but possible.

And then it was over. Stephen “Vishnu” Curry woke up, the Warriors played like the Warriors, and the Brooklyn Nets were extinguished by the best team on the planet. A Curry flurry: a 3, a floater, another 3 (off-balance, leaning forward, impossible), a layup-and-one, and finally a backbreaker 3 with :01 left in the third quarter. In three minutes, the Warriors manufactured a 12 point swing. The score was 87-80, there were still 12 minutes to play, but the game was over.

And in the fourth quarter, the Warriors did it with their bench. Their starters played another 3 minutes each and let Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa finish the game. The final score was 114-98, a fair representation of the game, despite the Nets best effort. To their credit, the Nets didn’t let Stephen Curry and the Warriors sleepwalk their way through a win on the road.


  • The Barclays crowd seemed to be about 3/4 Warriors (or perhaps more precisely, Stephen Curry) fans. It is difficult to blame
  • Joe Johnson played poorly and looked outclassed athletically. While the Warriors are a tough matchup, Johnson was matched up with Brandon Rush for much of the night. It continues to look like the end of the road for Joe Johnson, starter. His legs are gone. A buyout is beginning to seem like an option for both sides, as it would allow Johnson to go to a contender and play less minutes and give the Nets more minutes for Markel Brown and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
  • Shane Larkin was fantastic. Whenever he was on the floor the Nets seemed to do everything a little faster, a little crisper, and a little better.
  • Thaddeus Young played Draymond Green (second best player on one of the greatest team’s of all time, future hall-of-famer) to a draw. His contract remains a steal, and the Kevin Garnett trade (the second one, of course) remains the best deal of the Billy King era.
  • The Nets made five 3s. So did Stephen Curry.
  • The Brooklyn Nets lost to the casually dominant Golden State Warriors and are now 5-15 on the season. They play their next game at home on Tuesday, December 8th at 7:30 pm (EST) against the Houston Rockets.