Brooklyn Nets

Nets defeat Raptors and Wizards to break a 6-game losing streak in a chase for a play-in spot

The Nets take two straight wins this week after losing six consecutive games. With the playoffs looming closer and closer, each game becomes a must-win situation in order for teams to secure a playoff or play-in spot. They are one of the teams attempting to secure a play-in spot but their opportunities are closing with each loss.

The Nets have recently lost six games in a row, and now are five games behind the 10th place standing team currently held by the Atlanta Hawks. With only ten games remaining, they need to pull off a miracle to land themselves in 10th place spot and a play-in opportunity. The Nets are currently 28-45 and hold 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Nets mount a comeback but lose the lead in last minute loss to the Milwaukee Bucks

The Nets were able to cut a 20-point deficit against the Milwaukee Bucks, but a few key defensive plays by the Bucks led to a 115-108 loss. They trailed throughout the entire game, with the Bucks creating a deficit that reached a 20-point lead and had the game unreachable for the Nets. However, the Nets woke themselves up in the fourth quarter by going on an explosive offensive run. They went on a 21-6 scoring run in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.

The final minutes of the game was a back and forth with both teams trading leads. Down by only two points with three minutes remaining, the Nets had an opportunity to tie the game with the score at 103-101. As Dennis Smith Jr. drove into the lane, Damian Lillard stole the ball to extend their lead after a Malik Beasley 3-pointer.

The Bucks sealed the win after Lillard scored an additional five points to further extend the lead. While Mikal Bridges, Cam Thomas, and Nicolas Claxton each scored over 20 points in the game, their offensive performances weren’t enough to grab the win and failed to take the lead in the closing minutes. 

For the Nets, Bridges had 24 points and six rebounds, while  Claxton had a near double-double with 22 points and nine rebounds. Thomas had 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. Off the bench, Noah Clowney had five points and four rebounds, while Dennis Smith Jr. had five points, six assists and three steals.

For the Bucks, Lillard had a double-double with 30 points and 12 assists, along with 2 steals. Giannis Antetokounmpo was close to a double-double with 21 points and nine rebounds, along with five assists and two blocks. Brook Lopez had 17 points and five rebounds, while Beasley had 16 points and six rebounds. Off the bench, AJ Green had 15 points.

Knicks were the dominant New York team over the Nets on Saturday night in rivalry matchup

The New York Knicks take a 105-93 win over the Nets, grabbing their fifth win of their last six games and giving the Brooklyn Nets their sixth straight loss. They kept the game close throughout the first half, holding a one-point lead heading into halftime. Both teams traded leads amongst each other in the third quarter, but the Nets collapsed defensively in the fourth. In a consistent pattern for the Nets, they created a deficit and struggled to cut the lead back down.

Donte DiVincenzo opened up the fourth quarter with seven consecutive points, including a 3-pointer. DiVincenzo’s run helped the Knicks keep the deficit and create a 12-0 scoring run. The Knicks also dominated on the rebounding end, especially when it came to offensive rebounds. The Knicks had 16 offensive rebounds compared to the eight offensive rebounds for the Nets, and created more second chance scoring opportunities for the Knicks in their win. 

For the Nets, Thomas had 19 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Bridges also had 19 points, along with four rebounds and five assists. Cam Johnson had 13 points. Off the bench, Lonnie Walker IV led with nine points. 

For the Knicks, DiVincenzo had 31 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Miles McBride had 26 points. Isaiah Hartenstein had a near double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds, along with four steals and two blocks. Jalen Brunson had 17 points, four rebounds and eight assists, while Josh Hart had six points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Off the bench, Alec Burks had five points.

Nets finally grabbed a win in a victory over the Raptors

The Nets defeated the short-staffed Toronto Raptors in a 96-88 victory on the road, breaking their six game losing streak. The Raptors were without seven of their players on Monday night, out due to personal reasons such as RJ Barrett and Johntay Porter. The Nets were able to use the lack of depth on the Raptors roster to their advantage and outmatched the Raptors. Claxton helped on the rebounding end with 16 rebounds, and Schroder was able to score 19 points against his former team.

Trendon Watford also scored 19 points in the game, 11 of which came in the second quarter. The 16 rebounds by Claxton helped the Nets on the rebounding aspect of the game, as they out-rebounded the Raptors 50-30. The Nets were hit with the injury bug with Thomas, Johnson, Smith Jr and Keita Bates-Diop all unavailable in the matchup against the Raptors. Regardless, they were able to play better basketball on Monday night and were able to take out the Raptors who lacked their own depth as well. 

For the Nets, Dennis Schroder had 19 points, five rebounds and seven assists, while Bridges had 13 points and four assists. Jalen Wilson had 12 points and five rebounds, while Dorian Finney-Smith had 11 points and five rebounds. Off the bench, Watford had 19 points and seven rebounds, while Clowney had seven points and six rebounds. 

For the Raptors, Gary Trent Jr. had 18 points, while Javon Freeman-Liberty had 15 points and four rebounds. Ochai Agbaji had 11 points and five rebounds, while Kelly Olynyk had 10 points, four rebounds and nine assists. Off the bench, Bruce Brown had 10 points.

Nets defeat Wizards in overtime thriller

The Nets win a close one against the Washington Wizards 122-119 in overtime to give them a two-game winning streak ,while also snapping a three-game winning streak for the Wizards. Both Thomas and Jordan Poole matched with 38 points for the night, but Poole missed a vital 3-pointer that would have tied the game at 122 and sent the game to a second overtime.

It was a close game throughout the entire period, as the game was a back and forth contest with the exception of a 10-point deficit created by the Nets in the second quarter that the Wizards were able to chip away and keep the game close again in the third quarter. Thomas led the team to victory in overtime after making a couple perimeter shots. The Wizards made a push of their own, cutting the deficit after shots made by Poole and Kyle Kuzma.

Corey Kispert missed one of two free-throws that could have tied the game at 120, but Schroder extended the lead to 122 after making a pair of free-throws. The Wizards could not tie the game up after the missed 3-pointer by Poole, leading to the loss for the Wizards, but the second straight victory for the Nets. 

For the Nets, Thomas had 38 points and seven assists, while Schroder had 21 points, four rebounds and eight assists. Bridges had 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks, while Claxton had a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, along with two steals and three blocks. Off the bench, Watford had 12 points. 

For the Wizards, Poole had 38 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, while Kuzma had a double-double with 24 points and 10 assists, including six rebounds. Deni Avdija had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Kispert had 15 points. Off the bench, Marvin Bagley III had 18 points and six rebounds. 

What’s next for the Nets?

With the six consistent losses, it may be officially time for the Nets to kiss their playoff aspirations goodbye. They are currently five games behind the Atlanta Hawks who hold the final play-in spot. The Nets should now just go on cruise control and to shift focus towards the offseason. Unless the Nets can pull off a miracle in these last nine games, they should put this season to rest.

Even if they can create a consistent winning streak and somehow land the 10th spot in the play-in, it’s more than likely they will be eliminated from the play-in but the Nets will at least garner from playoff atmosphere experience. For now, the focus should be towards the offseason and let the rest of the season be on cruise control.