Nets Fall to Timberwolves at Barclays Center

By Cory Wright

Brook Lopez had his first career 20 point, 10 rebound and five assist game, but the big man’s appropriately-sized effort was not enough for the Brooklyn Nets, who fell 100-85 to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday at Barclays Center. 

Lopez led the way, but the Nets did not lead after the first few minutes of Sunday’s game. The game was within reach for the Nets through the first half, but while they were able to overcome early deficits to tie the score, they were unable to overtake the Timberwolves. Minnesota maintained its distance in the third quarter and pulled away in the fourth. 

“It wasn’t X’s and O’s, or anything like that. It was energy and effort,” Lopez said. “They outplayed us. It’s tough coming off well-played games with a dud like this.” 

The Nets got off to a tough start, shooting 28.6% (6-for-21) in the first quarter while falling behind 26-16. Trailing by as many as 11 in the second quarter, the Nets got a brief spark from Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani kicked off an 11-2 run for the Nets with a pair of free throws and Brooklyn turned a 34-25 deficit into a 36-36 tie. 

It was short-lived, as the Timberwolves took back the momentum, going on a 9-0 run and eventually taking a 52-43 lead into halftime. 

“We had our moments, we were tight and had a chance to make some headway at the end of the first quarter and the first half, but both times we lost ground,” Lionel Hollins said. “In the third quarter they kind of got away from us and it continued that way until the end.”

The Timberwolves extended their lead by as many as 14 in the third quarter and 20 in the fourth. First-overall pick – and New Jersey native – Karl-Anthony Towns had a game-high 24 points (10-for-19), while Gorgui Dieng (20 points, 10 boards) and Kevin Martin (16 points) were big contributors off the bench. Andrew Wiggins, the 2014 first-overall pick and reigning rookie of the year, had 16 points. Kevin Garnett had no points and seven rebounds in his return to Brooklyn. 

Hollins credited the Timberwolves youth and speed as factors in the Nets’ loss, but said he wanted to see more energy, effort and compete from his group. 

“It’s about effort, it’s about energy, it’s about competing out there” Hollins said. “I didn’t think we competed today for 48 minutes.”

Lopez and his teammates echoed the coach’s comments and vowed to be better on Monday when they play the Chicago Bulls. 

“We just have to dig deep and bounce back tomorrow,” Lopez said. “I think everyone’s disappointed right now and you know, I can’t see ourselves coming up the same way.”

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