Brooklyn Nets 101-114 Golden State Warriors: Three Takeaways

OAKLAND – The Nets went toe-for-toe with the defending NBA champion Warriors for three quarters, but their inexperience ultimately cost them in the final 12 minutes in a 114-101 loss.

Brooklyn valiantly fought back after surrendering a 25-0 run – the second-longest run in the NBA this season – to take a 53-48 lead into halftime. In the one of the most exciting quarters of the Nets’ season, the visitors traded shots with Golden State throughout most of the third. However, the Warriors would end that quarter on a 9-2 run and continue that dominance in the final 12 minutes of the game. The home side sealed the victory with a 19-8 run in the fourth quarter.

“[The game got away in the] third quarter,” Kenny Atkinson said after the game. “That’s what they do, I think they have the biggest scoring margin [in the NBA] in the third quarter. We come out and make a few mistakes defensively and they go on a 9-2 run and score 38 in third quarter. Otherwise, I thought we did a decent job throughout the game.”

Stephen Curry led all scorers with 34 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 6-of-12 from downtown, to go along with six rebounds and four assists. D’Angelo Russell paced the Nets with 22 points and 8 assists on an impressive 9-for-15 shooting. The Nets will now try to regroup as they finish their five-game road trip with a return to the East to face the Hornets on Thursday at the Spectrum Center.

Here Are Three Observations:

Nets’ Frontcourt Struggles

Brooklyn laid everything out on the floor, yet they’ll wonder what could have been if their frontcourt was at their best. DeMarre Carroll, Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all struggled with their shooting, going a combined 12-for-38. There a few wide-open opportunities from downtown that if the Nets had converted, they might have been able to steal a result at ORACLE Arena.

It is also worth noting that when the Nets had an 19-17 edge on the boards, they possessed their largest lead of the game (six). Once the visitors fell behind in that area, the Warriors would take control. Brooklyn was also outscored in the paint 54-42.

Russell Shines

Russell had one of his most confident performances of the season, excelling against one of the NBA’s elite perimeter defenders in Klay Thompson.

The third-year guard was able to get scoring opportunities due to his effectiveness inside the arc, going 6-for-9 on attempts from midrange and drives to the basketball. And he was also dangerous from downtown as well, going 3-for-6 – including two timely threes that aided the Nets’ 34-13 run in the second quarter.

“He was really good,” Atkinson said of Russell’s performance. “He did a good job against their switches, picking out where we could have an advantage. I thought he drove the ball well and obviously made some nice one-on-one plays.”

In addition to scoring, Russell showed some improvement with his decision-making as well. He had eight assists to just one turnover against the Warriors.

There’s No Such Thing As Moral Victories, But…

Considering the predictions heading into this game, the Nets played a lot better than anyone could have anticipated or expected.

Brooklyn took a 76-73 lead with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter and there’s a lot of things this team can build on moving forward. With the Nets continuing to evaluate lineups and ultimately players as it looks ahead to next season, these situations could prove to be invaluable for the team’s young core.

“I like the way we competed, I thought we did a lot of good things out there,” Atkinson said. “We got down and we fought back like we’ve done all year.”