Brooklyn Nets

Nets start the New Year on a 3-game losing streak 

The Brooklyn Nets struggled this past week despite a win over the Detroit Pistons. They struggled to keep up momentum in the second half of their games, leading to blowouts in the third and fourth quarters, and also failing to capitalize on small deficits that end up extending the opposing teams’ leads. The Nets are still without Ben Simmons, but have recently played their young rookies up against the Milwaukee Bucks in a strange series of events where the Nets did not play three of their starters. However, the rookies were able to put up a tough fight throughout the game against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets gave the Detroit Pistons their 27th straight loss of the season in a 118-112 win on Tuesday. The Nets were able to prevent a Pistons’ win for the second time in a row after previously defeating them on Christmas Eve. Despite a 41-point performance from Cade Cunningham, it was not enough to pull the Pistons to the win as their loss to the Nets made the NBA single-season record at 27 losses in a row.

This now breaks the ties for losses in a row in a season for all-time, beating the 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers, and the 2013-2014 Philadelphia 76ers. The Pistons let the game slip away from them after having a 31-25 lead to close out the first quarter, where the Nets then proceeded to outscore the Pistons throughout the second quarter. A run led by Cunningham in the second half tied the game at 71 where he scored 18 of the Pistons’ 31 points.

However, after a 13-0 run by the Nets in the fourth quarter, Cunningham was able to carry his team close to victory after making a pair of free-throws to bring them within two points. The Nets fired back with a 3-pointer by Dorian Finney-Smith that put the dagger on the Pistons with 38 seconds remaining. The Nets were close to being the team that broke the Pistons’ losing streak, but were able to prevail in the end thanks to some clutch plays. 

For the Nets, Cam Johnson had 24 points, while Mikal Bridges also eclipsed 20 points with had 21 points and four rebounds. Cam Thomas had 17 points, while Nicolas Claxton had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Off the bench, Day’Ron Sharpe also had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Dorian Finney-Smith had 11 points and four rebounds. 

For the Pistons, Cunningham had 41 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Bojan Bogdanovic had 23 points, while Jalen Duren had a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Off the bench, Alec Burks had 15 points. 

In a 144-122 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Nets switched up their rotation by putting up rookies and players on a two-way contract. The Nets were without Spencer Dinwiddie, Claxton, and Johnson, along with Finney-Smith. In their place were rookies Jalen Wilson, Noah Clowney, and Trendon Watford. Playing on a two-way contract was Dennis Smith Jr.

The rookies played hard against one of the top teams in the East for most of the game, trailing by only three points in the final minutes of the third quarter. However, their inexperience caught up to them as the Bucks were able to keep their lead heading into the fourth quarter and finished off the Nets with a large lead. 

For the Nets, Smith Jr had 14 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, while Sharpe had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. Off the bench, Wilson had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Watford had 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Clowney had 14 points and four rebounds. Armoni Brooks had 12 points and 4 rebounds, while Keon Johnson also had 12 points.

For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo had a near triple-double 32 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists along with two blocks. Khris Middleton had a double-double as well with 27 points and 10 assists. Malik Beasely had 17 points, while Damian Lillard had 12 points and four assists. Off the bench, Cameron Payne had 18 points, four rebounds, six assists and two steals. Bobby Portis had 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Marjon Beauchamp had 11 points and five rebounds. 

The Washington Wizards earned a victory at home after defeating the Nets 110-104. The Nets played well for the majority of the game, even going on an 8-0 scoring run in the beginning of the second half and a 86-84 lead to end the third quarter. The game was a back and forth with both teams changing leads throughout the game It was thanks to Kyle Kuzma who was able to lock in and take over the game for the Wizards.

With the Nets up by one point in the fourth quarter, Kuzma scored nine of the Wizards' 11 points in the fourth quarter and led his team to victory. The Nets, however, could not put stops in the fourth quarter that led to their loss. Jacque Vaughn explains his reasoning for the loss, exclaiming that they did not take advantage of the opportunities they had in the game such as ending the quarter the right way or doing a simple pass instead of a complicated or elaborate pass which led to more pressure as they got closer to the fourth quarter.

For the Nets, Bridges led with 19 points and five rebounds. Dinwiddie filled up the stat sheet as he put up 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Johnson had 16 points and seven rebounds, while Claxton had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Off the bench, Thomas had 15 points, while Sharpe had a near double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

For the Wizards, Kuzma had 26 points and eight rebounds, while Deni Avdija had a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds, along with six assists. Tyus Jones had 12 points, four rebounds and six assists. Off the bench, Corey Kispert had 15 points, while Mike Muscala had 11 points. 

The losing streak continued for the Nets as they took a 124-108 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Nets could not put a stop to the Thunder who were on a four-game winning streak, but kept up in the first half of the game. Bridges carried the offense in the first quarter, scoring 15 of his total of 22 points for the night. Despite playing selfless basketball and getting good looks on the court, the Nets could not get those shots up and could not capitalize on their opportunities.

The Nets, similar to their previous games, let their momentum get away in the second half as the Thunder took over offensively. They trailed behind by only two points when a 11-2 run started by Josh Giddey put the Thunder up by nine points. Another run by Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams in the fourth quarter extended the lead even further as the clock was against the Nets, struggling to get a run up and put stops to the Thunder. The Thunder had shot 54% from the field while only allowing the Nets to shoot 38% from the field. 

For the Nets, Bridges had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Claxton had a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds, along with five assists. Johnson had 13 points and six rebounds, while Dinwiddie also put up  13 points, along with five assists. Off the bench, Thomas had 20 points.

For the Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 24 points, four rebounds and six assists, while Giddey also had a 20-point game. Luguentz Dort had 18 points and four rebounds. Holmgren had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, along with two blocks, while Williams had 17 points and five assists. Off the bench, Cason Wallace led with 10 points.

The Nets have had this problem this past week of keeping up momentum in the second half, which unfortunately leads to insurmountable leads by the opposing team and blowout losses for the Nets. Along with that, failing to succeed on opportunities to take a lead or tie the game in the second half has been a consistent problem for the Nets. Star power aside, the Nets need more experience in being able to take over games themselves and to do well on the opportunities given to them throughout the game, especially in the second half. 


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