Brooklyn Nets

The Nets take two straight wins, winning five of their last six games

The Brooklyn Nets have been a force this past week, winning five of their last six games and are currently on a three-game winning streak. It was thanks to an absolute offensive clinic that Mikal Bridges has been able to put up, along with great efforts from guys like Nicolas Claxton and Cam Thomas, who have also been crucial in this current Nets run. The Nets now hold a 12-9 record and are eighth in the Eastern Conference. 

The Nets took a close win in a literal back and forth game against the Atlanta Hawks. Their last meeting also had a tight ending to it as well, with the Hawks taking the victory. The game was a literal back and forth, with there being 43 lead changes throughout the game, which is the new record since 1996 when the NBA play-by-play was created. The Hawks only led by as much as seven points, with the Nets only leading by no more than four points throughout the game.

The Nets were able to get a clutch win at the end and redeemed themselves after losing a potential game winner when they faced the Hawks in their last matchup. Bridges was able to hold onto the ball and drain down the clock with 17 seconds remaining, then hit a mid-range shot over De’Andre Hunter for the one point lead.

The Hawks did have an opportunity to win the game with four seconds remaining, but Hawks point guard Trae Young failed to try and get in between Bridges and Dennis Smith Jr. as he stumbled and put up an off-balanced shot that missed. The Nets were able to celebrate this time around rather than sulk in defeat after a very tight knit game. 

For the Nets, Bridges had 32 points, five rebounds and six assists. Cam Johnson had 17 points and 6 rebounds, while Spencer Dinwiddie had 13 points and four assists. Off the bench, Dorian Finney-Smith had 15 points and five rebounds, while Smith Jr. had 13 points, four assists and two steals. 

For the Hawks, Young had 30 points and nine assists, while Saddiq Bey had 21 points and seven rebounds. Hunter had 14 points and four rebounds. Dejounte Murray had a  near triple-double as he finished off with 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Off the bench, Bodgan Bogdanovic had 20 points and four rebounds. 

A 124-97 win over the Washington Wizards put the Nets at a three-game winning streak and won the last five of their six games. The Nets shot a low percentage of 39% from the field for the first half, but were able to heat up in the second half and outscore the Wizards 74-50. Aggressiveness on defense and making their 3’s played a big part in the blowout win, with Bridges leading the charge with 21 points for the night.

The Wizards struggled throughout the whole night on the perimeter, making only six of their 33 attempted 3-pointers. It was also thanks to their size and opportunities to get mismatches throughout the night, that the Nets were able to gain advantages on offense and get a comfortable win over the Wizards. 

For the Nets, Bridges had 21 points, four rebounds and two blocks, while Thomas had 17 points and four rebounds. Dinwiddie nearly finished with a double-double as he had 14 points, nine assists and four steals, while Claxton finished with a double-double as he had 13 points and 15 rebounds, along with two blocks. Off the bench, Day’Ron Sharpe also had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, along with four assists. Royce O’Neale had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. 

For the Wizards, Kyle Kuzma had 13 points, while Tyus Jones finished with 14. Deni Avdija filled up the stat sheet as he ended up with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Off the bench, Bilal Coulibaly led with a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. 

The Nets have had a better than average season so far, winning some unexpected games and have had a record over .500 so far. While they have most of their roster back, the biggest missing piece is obviously Ben Simmons. How he impacts the team remains to be seen but so far, it seems that the Nets seem to do fine without him. The Nets expect a loaded schedule this week, playing the top Western teams such as the Kings, Warriors, Suns, and Nuggets. Their performances against these teams will be a good litmus test on how this Nets roster fares against the West.