Houston Rockets 123-113 Brooklyn Nets: Three Takeaways

James Harden proves to be too much for Nets in a tough defeat

BROOKLYN – Kenny Atkinson had implored the Nets (19-36) to get back to their “DNA” against the Rockets. For about three quarters, they went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the NBA – then came the unfortunate final 12 minutes.

James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela sparked Houston to 123-113 win at Barclays Center against Brooklyn. Harden led all scorers with 36 points to go along with five assists and three rebounds. DeMarre Carroll paced the Nets with 21 points on 58.3 percent shooting.

"I think we competed better than we did against Milwaukee," Kenny Atkinson said after the game before later adding. "It's pick your poison with them [Houston], so we never really found a solution to stop them." 

Here are Three Observations from the Game: 

Brooklyn Shows Renewed Effort, But Fail to Match Rockets Star Duo

With Quincy Acy sidelined with a finger injury, the Nets used one of its smallest lineups of the season: Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe, Joe Harris, Carroll and Jarrett Allen. For about 36 minutes, it appeared as the new setup would deliver one of the biggest results of the season.

Dinwiddie hit a three from what appeared to be outer space – actually about 40 feet -- with Nene guarding him to give Brooklyn an 84-80 lead. Then the Rockets came storming back, going on an 18-4 run to take a 98-88 lead. When the visitors went up 115-99, it appeared as if the result was in hand – then Brooklyn’s bench showed some fight.

A group of Isaiah Whitehead, new arrival Rashad Vaughn, James Webb III, Nik Stauskas and Jahlil Okafor helped cut the score to 115-107. But in the end, Harden was too much for the Nets to handle as he scored nine points in the final two minutes. Paul would chip as Houston’s second-leading scorer with 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Dinwiddie Goes Off

Despite the result, Brooklyn could take a lot of positives from several performances including Dinwiddie’s night. The 24-year-old proved himself against arguably the best point guard in the league in Paul, going for 18 points, nine assists, three steals and three boards on impressive 5-for-7 shooting in just 25 minutes.

The Nets point guard was especially impressive in the third quarter, as he hit 3-for-4 on three-pointers. The Rockets had no answer for the 24-year-old, especially on the play below.

Carroll’s Strong 2018 Continues

Carroll has been on a tear since the start of the New Year and he had another strong game, this time against the Rockets. The 31-year-old hit timely threes in the first three quarters, going 5-for-8 from downtown.

In his last 10 games, Carroll is averaging 14.2 points, 5.1 rebounds on 44.3 percent shooting.

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