The Brooklyn Nets will not be the first team to beat the Golden State Warriors.
The Nets lost to Golden State 114-98, letting a tight game slip away from them in the fourth quarter. The Nets played the Warriors tough and even leading at points in the second half, but ultimately a surge from Stephen Curry and a strong fourth quarter by the visitors proved to be too much for Brooklyn.
“Once [Curry] starts to get it going, get into a rhythm, it’s hard to stop him, it’s hard to their whole team,” said Thaddeus Young, who had a team-high 25 points and 14 rebounds. “They wouldn’t be 22-0 if they weren’t a good team.”
The Warriors jumped out to an early lead, tipping off the game on a 9-0 run en route to a 30-16 first quarter. The Nets, who let Friday’s game slip away from them early, responded with a season-high 38 points in the second quarter. Young led the Nets with 10 points (shooting 4-for-4) while the Nets shot 77.8% from the field. The Nets capped off the comeback quarter on a 9-0 run, trailing 57-54 at the half.
“We definitely fought back,” Brook Lopez (18 points, 8 boards) said. “[Our second group] gave us a lot of energy and they were out there fighting. We definitely made it a game for a bit, we’ve just got to win.”
The Nets built off their strong second quarter, taking the lead early in the third and getting up by as many as five. But with the Nets up 70-67, Curry turned it on, scoring 14 of Golden State’s next 20 points, hitting three three-pointers, three field goals and a foul shot. The Warriors took an 87-80 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t close the quarter very well,” head coach Lionel Hollins said. “We took a couple of untimely tough shots, they came down and made 3’s. We turned the ball over a couple of times during that stretch as well. They got some energy.”
This time, the Warriors carried over the momentum, leading by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, despite leaving Curry on the bench to start. The Warriors outscored the Nets 27-18 in the fourth.
“We battled, scratched and clawed, but they just stayed with their game,” Hollins said. “They overwhelmed us later on.”
Curry started the game slow by his standards, but finished with 28 points (11-for-17) with five three’s and five rebounds, largely off his 16-point third quarter. Draymond Green had 22 points (7-for-10) and nine boards, while Klay Thompson finished the game with 21 points (8-for-18).
The Nets were shorthanded, as rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson sat out Sunday’s game with a sprained right ankle. Bojan Bogdanovic took his place in the starting lineup. Markel Brown also saw extended minutes Sunday. Bogdanovic and Brown finished with five and seven points, respectively.
The Nets continue their homestand on Tuesday, when they host the Houston Rockets at 7:30 p.m.