Brooklyn Nets

Mikal Bridges shines as the Nets get back on track

The Brooklyn Nets seemed to have picked themselves back up this week with a 3-1 record, with the only loss being a very tight game against the Charlotte Hornets where they only lost by a point. The team seems to be doing quite well despite missing some key players, but they also gained back a key bench player in Cam Thomas, who returned from an ankle sprain. The Nets were able to improve their record and currently hold the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference. 

The Nets grabbed a 118-109 win over the Chicago Bulls in one of the best comebacks in NBA history. They created one of the most incredible comebacks against the Bulls when they were down 30-9 nearing the end of the first quarter. The Nets had to slowly crawl their way back towards the nearly insurmountable lead while also getting good defensive stops.

They were without some of their key players Nicolas Claxton and Cam Thomas for the night due to injury. It was thanks to an NBA season record that the Nets had set where they shot 25 three-pointers in the game to grab the comeback win. They turned their gears on in the second quarter, outsourcing the Bulls 44-19 by halftime.

The Nets just continued their momentum from then on, preventing the Bulls from regaining the lead for the entirety of the game. There was a positive 25 point differential which was the most in any second quarter in team history, and the 44 points by the Nets was the second-highest in a second quarter in franchise history. They were able to control the pace on offense and get good looks from the perimeter.

Those 25 three’s by the Nets were thanks to guys like Royce O’Neale and Lonnie Walker IV who both had six three-pointers made for the night, and Mikal Bridges had four three-pointers for the night as well. It was a phenomenal feat for the Nets to get the comeback win against the Bulls and the momentum they needed for the next game. 

For the Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie was the leading scorer with 24 points, five rebounds and seven assists. O’Neale had 20 points with six made three-pointers, along with nine rebounds and four assists. Bridges had 15 points and six assists, while Cam Johnson had 10 points, four rebounds and six assists. Off the bench, Walker IV had 20 points, while Trendon Watford had 11 points and four rebounds. 

For the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan was the leading scorer with 27 points, six rebounds and six assists.  Coby White poured in 23 points on 5-12 shooting from the 3-point line, along with five rebounds and four assists. Patrick Williams also eclipsed the 20-point mark  as he finished with 20 points on 4-5 shooting from the three-point line and grabbed four rebounds. Zach Lavine had 20 points, six rebounds and four assists. Off the bench, Ayo Dosunmu led with five points. 

The Nets took a 115-103 win over the Toronto Raptors, but were unfortunately eliminated from the in-season tournament. Tuesday’s win made it the third straight win for them and played a hard-fought game against the Raptors. They were close to a wild card entry but due to certain circumstances such as a New York Knicks blowout win to the Charlotte Hornets placed the Knicks in the wildcard.

The game was back and forth all throughout, with neither team leading by more than double digits throughout the entire game. In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Bridges was able to change the momentum for the Nets and took a two-point lead after Bridges made a floater shot that included an additional free-throw. A three-pointer by Bridges extended the lead for the Nets, with additional opportunities from the free-throw line by other Nets players to help secure the win in the final minute of the game. 

For the Nets, Dinwiddie had a near triple-double with 23 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Bridges had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, along with five assists. Johnson had 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists, and Claxton had 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Off the bench, O’Neale led the way with 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. 

For the Raptors, Pascal Siakam led the way with a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Scottie Barnes also had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, along with six assists and three steals. Dennis Schroder had 14 points, five rebounds and nine assists, while O.G Anunoby had 10 points. Off the bench, Gary Trent Jr. had 15 points, and Chris Boucher had 13 points. 

Their three-game winning streak was broken in a 129-128 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The Nets took this three-win streak and tried to extend their streak to four wins in a hard fought battle but were short by a point against the Hornets. The Hornets were without their star player LaMelo Ball and no. 2 draft pick Brandon Miller, but they were able to squeeze out a win thanks to a stellar offensive performance by Terry Rozier, who had 37 points for the Hornets. Thomas returned after an ankle injury to give 26 points, but his effort was not enough.

The Hornets went into Thursday’s game with a two-game losing streak and managed to snap their streak after the win over the Nets. They collapsed in the fourth quarter, as the Hornets were able to contain them and let the Nets shoot 9-27 in the fourth quarter. The Hornets, on the other hand, were able to make their last six of their eight field goals of the night, but nearly lost the game. A missed mid-range shot by Rozier gave the Nets an opportunity to win the game, but Johnson missed an attempted three-pointer to extend the win streak to four games. 

For the Nets, Bridges had a near double-double with 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Claxton finished with a double-double as he put up 20 points and 14 rebounds. Johnson had 15 points and 6 rebounds, while Dorian Finney-Smith had 14 points, six rebounds and two steals. Dinwiddie had 9 points, four rebounds and nine assists. Off the bench, Thomas had 26 points.

For the Hornets, Rozier had a double-double with 37 points and 13 assists, along with four rebounds and two steals. Miles Bridges had 23 points and five rebounds, while Gordon Hayward also put up a 20-point performance as he finished with 22 points, six rebounds and six assists. Bryce McGowens had 14 points, while Mark Williams had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, to go along with three blocks. Off the bench, P.J. Washington had 10 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. 

The Nets got themselves back on track in a 129-101 blowout win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday, picking up where they left off after their loss to the Hornets. Bridges was dominant and could not miss throughout the night against the Magic. He outscored the entire Magic team with 26 points in the first quarter, while the Magic ended the first quarter with 22. Bridges also explained his frustration over the loss to the Hornets and seemed to take it out on the court, leading to an exceptional performance.

It was the most points in the opening quarter of a game since the 2021-2022 season when Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic scored 28 points in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nets were able to break a nine-game winning streak by the Magic, ending a quite impressive run for the Magic. 

For the Nets, Bridges had 42 points, five rebounds and three steals. Dinwiddie had a big performance as well with 22 points and 24 rebounds, his first 20-20 game of the season. Thomas finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Off the bench, Dennis Smith Jr. recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, along with six assists and two steals.

For the Magic, Franz Wagner was the leading scorer with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Paolo Banchero had a near triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Off the bench, Cole Anthony had 20 points and five assists, while Moritz Wagner had 18 points. 

The Nets are an offensively aggressive team thanks to spectacular performances by Bridges, Dinwiddie and Thomas. They seem to be getting their groove back and grabbing good wins, even a big win over the Orlando Magic and breaking their nine-game winning streak. If it weren’t for the loss to the Hornets, the Nets would be on a five-game winning streak, but they were able to net a positive record this week. The Nets are now 10-9 in the standings as they get some well deserved rest until Wednesday where they face the Atlanta Hawks.