Brooklyn Nets
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The Nets cruise through the week with two straight wins, but take a defeat by the Miami Heat

The Brooklyn Nets had a good week of having a two-win streak over the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic. They were able to prevent their large leads from getting squandered and also having huge momentum on offense in the beginning of the game. However, falling to the Miami Heat shows that the Nets are missing a vital All-Star level player on their squad. 

The Nets started the week strong with a win over the Washington Wizards in a 102-94 victory after blowing a lead that nearly cost them the game. They were able to cruise through the first quarter, allowing less than 10 points for the first 10 minutes of the first quarter as the Nets racked up the points and were leading by 16 points. The Wizards were able to rally on offense in the second quarter where they were able to slowly cut down the lead with a couple of 3-pointers and inside shots. The Nets then fired back with their offense to keep an eight-point lead heading into halftime.

The Wizards did their best to stay afloat in the second half as they were able to cut down the lead in the third quarter, then suddenly after not leading for the entire game, the Wizards tied the game up at 80 after a two-pointer by Corey Kispert. The Nets got themselves into some trouble as they were the ones trailing behind as the Wizards took the lead. The Wizards struggled to hold on to the ball in those final minutes as they committed three turnovers, which the Nets were able to make use to their advantage.

With time against them, it was an offensive rally by Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges in the final minutes of the fourth quarter that helped spark the Nets to victory. Spencer Dinwiddie sealed the win with a pair of free-throws in the final seconds of the game, saving them from a disastrous loss.

Bridges led the Nets in scoring with a double-double, scoring 27 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Johnson had 14 points and six rebounds, while Dinwiddie had 12 points, four rebounds and two steals. Nicolas Claxton had a double-double as well with 10 points and 13 rebounds, along with four blocks. Off the bench, Royce O’Neale led with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. 

For the Wizards, Kyle Kuzma led with 15 points, four rebounds and two blocks. Deni Avdija had  a near double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Jordan Poole had 12 points and five rebounds. Off the bench, Bilal Coulibaly led with 20 points, eight rebounds and four steals, while Danilo Gallinari had 12 points. 

The Nets took care of business on Tuesday against the Orlando Magic in the In-Season tournament game where they took a dominant 124-104 win. This win places the Nets at 2-1 in Eastern Conference Group C of the In-Season tournament. The victory over the Magic also made it their second straight victory after defeating the Wizards on Sunday. The Nets looked sharp on both ends of the floor, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They were able to start off strong in the first quarter just like how they did against the Wizards. The Nets made their presence known with an 8-0 lead to start the game, and continued their momentum onward.

However, the momentum swayed the other way by the second quarter and throughout the third quarter as the Magic were able to pull the lead away from the Nets and garner a lead of their own. They struggled to get some stops on guys such as Franz Wagner and Cole Anthony, who were able to get a small lead for the Magic. In the fourth quarter, the Nets locked in on offense and went on a 22-9 run on the Magic. It was a constant barrage of three-pointers in the fourth that made the game far out of reach for the Magic and the Nets were able to secure their second straight victory. 

For the Nets, Dinwiddie was the leading scorer with 29 points, five rebounds and nine assists. Bridges had 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Johnson had 20 points, five rebounds and three steals. Off the bench, Lonnie Walker had 11 points,  while Day’Ron Sharpe had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. O’Neale finished with 13 points and 4 rebounds.

On the Magic side, Wagner had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Paolo Banchero had 19 points on 4-7 shooting from the 3-point line, six rebounds and two steal. Goga Bitadze had 14 points, while Jalen Suggs had 10 points. Off the bench, Moritz Wagner had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. Joe Ingles had 11 points and four assists, while Anthony had 10 points and six rebounds. 

The win streak was short lived as the Nets were toppled 122-115 by the Miami Heat in their seventh straight win. The Heat were able to turn things around for themselves this past week as they looked to set themselves on the right track as a top team in the East. The Nets fought a hard battle against the Heat, but a foul by Johnson that sent him to the bench changed the momentum of the game in favor of the Heat that lasted through the rest of the game.

The Nets had no answer for Jimmy Butler as he scored 18 of his total 36 points in the third quarter. They didn’t slack on their part when it came to the offensive side as both Bridges and Walker IV had over 20 points, in which a similar performance landed them a victory in their last meeting against the Heat. Claxton was also 7-7 from the field which showed he was no slacker on the offense, but the Heat were just too much for the Nets to handle. 

For the Nets, Bridges led with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Claxton had 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks, while Johnson had 16 points and four rebounds. Dorian Finney-Smith had 11 points and six rebounds, while Dinwiddie had 10 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Off the bench, Walker IV had 23 points. 

For the Heat, Butler had 36 points on 12-19 shooting from the field and also dished out five assists. Duncan Robinson had 26 points on 6-10 shooting from the 3-point line, while Bam Adebayo had 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Off the bench, Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 10 points, four rebounds and five assists. 

Even without key players such as Cam Thomas and Ben Simmons, the Nets were able to cruise through the week with a couple of victories. How long until the Nets can regain their full squad remains to be seen, but the Nets seem to just be staying steady and keeping their heads up in the season so far. Nothing too bad or too good is happening to the Nets team, but they’re able to remain steady which is better than expected.

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