Brooklyn Nets

Nets pick up two wins but eliminated from playoff contention

The Nets took a commanding win over the Chicago Bulls, but proceeded to take two back-to-back losses to the Lakers and Pacers. A win in a rematch to the Pacers was a small morale boost but had no lasting effect over their overall record after their elimination from playoff contention. The Nets played lights out basketball on Friday, but were nowhere to be found after back-to-back losses this past week. With only five games remaining in the season and the Nets being five games back from the 10th place spot, it’s officially time to say goodbye to playoff aspirations and hello to the offseason. The Nets currently hold a 30-47 record and are 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Nets tie record with 18 threes in second half to defeat Bulls

The Nets were unstoppable from the perimeter in the second half against the Chicago Bulls to take a 125-108 win. The Nets came off a win over the Washington Wizards last Wednesday, continuing the momentum at home when they hosted the Bulls. The Nets shot nearly 50% from the field in the game with 47% and shot 53% from the 3-point line. The Nets were down by five points entering the second half as the Bulls had a 52-47 lead to end the first half. Both Dennis Schroder and Mikal Bridges had seven 3-pointers each, contributing to the NBA record of most 3-pointers in a half with 18.

It was a close game for the majority of the second half, but midway through the fourth quarter was when the Nets took over the rest of the game. An offensive run by Schroder and Bridges extended the lead to a ten-point game after a 12 to 5 scoring run by the Nets, never looking back to get the win. Bridges credits the defense for the scoring opportunities and the energy that led to the dominant three-point shooting throughout the game. However, interim head coach Kevin Ollie is worried for Sunday’s game and is unsure if the Nets can continue this momentum and three-point consistency against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

For the Nets, Cam Thomas had 29 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, Schroder had 27 points, five rebounds, and seven assists, Bridges had 25 points and four steaks, Nicolas Claxton had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, including four assists and two blocks, and Dorian Finney-Smith had 12 points. Off the bench, TJ Watford had 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. 

For the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan had 31 points and eight rebounds, Coby White had 18 points and nine assists, Ayo Dosunmu had 16 points, and Nikola Vucevic had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, along with four assists. Off the bench, Javonte Green and Torrey Craig had seven points each. 

LeBron hits nine threes in a Lakers’ win over the Nets

The Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Nets in a dominant 116-104 win that saw LeBron James tie his career high of nine 3-pointers in a game. The Lakers wasted no time to begin the game, starting the first quarter with a 17-0 run that included a litany of layups and a couple of 3-pointers by Anthony Davis and Rui Hachimura. The Nets could not get any shot in throughout the first half of the first quarter, going 0-of-8. The Nets finally put themselves on the board with a driving layup by Claxton. The Nets played catch up for the remainder of the game after putting themselves in such a large deficit. The Nets managed to finally cut the lead to single digits after a 3-pointer by Thomas put the score at 90-82. However, the Lakers took away any chances of a comeback after James hit back-to-back 3-pointers and led to another Lakers offensive run. Later in the fourth quarter, James hit another pair of 3-pointers to tie his career high of 3-pointers and seal the game for the Lakers and adding another loss to the loss column of the Nets. The Lakers starters scored 114 of their total 116 points for the night. 

For the Nets, Thomas had 30 points and six assists, Schroder had 14 points, Bridges had 13 points and four assists, and Claxton had 10 points, six rebounds, and four steals. Off the bench, TJ Watford had 15 points and eight rebounds. 

For the Lakers, James had 40 points on 9 of 10 shooting from the 3-point line, along with seven rebounds and five assists, Davis had a double-double with 24 points and 14 rebounds, including three blocks, Hachimura had a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds, D’Angelo Russell had 18 points, six rebounds, six assists, and four steals, and Austin Reaves had 12 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Off the bench, Gabe Vincent was the only one on the scoreboard amongst the bench players with two points.


Nets held to 38% shooting in the first half of blowout loss  

The Nets struggled offensively against the Indiana Pacers in a 133-111 loss. The Nets played their second straight game where they had to catch up to the lead. The Pacers were the dominant team on both sides of the floor, especially on the defensive end where the Pacers allowed a 38% shooting percentage in the first half, while the Pacers shot 58% in the first half. The Pacers went on to extend their lead to go up by as much as 29 points. Myles Turner injured his hand after going up for a dunk in the third quarter and was out for the remainder of the game. The Nets could not stop the relentless and fast-paced style of play that the Pacers had, struggling to cut at the lead all game due to the Pacers’ defense. The Nets were playing a type of basketball that was just scrambling to get points on the board and mitigate the large lead, but the Nets could not go on a scoring run and cut the deficit to an acceptable amount. The Pacers ended the night in a blowout and gave the Nets their second straight loss. 

For the Nets, Thomas had 22 points, Bridges had 19 points and six assists, and Claxton had seven points and 11 rebounds. Off the bench, TJ Watford had 21 points, and Lonnie Walker IV had 14 points and seven rebounds. 

For the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton had a double-double with 27 points and 13 assists, including four rebounds, Paskal Siakam had 15 points and six rebounds, Aaron Nesmith had 11 points and four rebounds. Off the bench, Jalen Smith had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, Obi Toppin had 14 points and four rebounds, and T.J. McConnell had 10 points, four rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. 

Nets take a win over Pacers in second matchup

The Nets picked up a 115-111 win over the Indiana Pacers thanks to a great game from rookie Noah Clowney. Clowney picked up a career high of 22 points and 10 rebounds in the series split, in a win that did not matter for the Nets after being officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Atlanta Hawks victory over the Detroit Pistons solidified their play-in spot, keeping the Nets in the 11th seed for the remainder of the season. The Nets were able to build a comeback after being down 14 points in the first half and compiled a double-digit lead of their own in the third quarter. Clowney scored 14 of his 22 points in the second quarter to help cut the lead down for the Nets and mount a comeback. The Nets’ second quarter comeback also included shooting 60% from the field and taking advantage of the Pacers’ lackluster defense, giving them the confidence and synergy needed in the second half to complete a comeback win. Despite a 3-pointer by Tyrese Haliburton in the final seconds of the game, a pair of free-throws by Jalen Wilson sealed the win for the Nets.

For the Nets, Thomas had 27 points, four rebounds, and two blocks, Bridges had 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals and Claxton had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, including four blocks. Schroder had a double-double of his own with 12 points and 11 assists.

What’s next for the Nets?

It’s time for the Nets to ride out the rest of the season and shift their focus back to rebuilding. Brooklyn's front office can now look at players to draft and build up, and to look towards free agency to grab a quality player. With Ben Simmons out for the season and with an unknown timetable of a return, the Nets should move on and find a replacement superstar or build one of their own. Guys like Tyrese Maxey, Paul George, and LeBron James are available this summer to be acquired but it’s very unlikely that Brooklyn is a desired spot for superstar caliber players.

For the Nets to be an enticing place to play, they have to build up their roster and reputation as a team that can consistently get to the playoffs with a core roster, and a superstar is the key piece they need. While the free agency market has teams interested in the superstar-level players, the Nets should scout the free agent market for players that can be effective on the floor with the Nets’ system and be a great locker room presence, or players that have playoff or championship level experience. 

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