Brooklyn Nets: 5 Big Games from the 2018-19 Season
Looking back at five games that made a difference this season
In trying to pick the most significant Nets wins of the season, we came up with a list of about a dozen. But that adds up to more than a quarter of Brooklyn’s wins, and while that may speak to the wild ride of the season, we had to narrow it down a little bit.
So here are five big wins from Brooklyn’s season that had a major impact on this team and its journey to the playoffs. They all meant something a little more. And if you wanted to pick five different ones, you could get away with that too. That’s the kind of season it was.
Nets 112, Nuggets 110
The first western road trip, a four-game jaunt that seemed like a weekender compared to the March trek. After opening with a win in Phoenix, the Nets headed to Denver, where the Nuggets were off to a fast start on the way to 54 wins and a second-place Western Conference finish.
After being tied five times in the fourth quarter, the Nets were down six with just over a minute to go. They got the ball back with 22.1 seconds to go, now tied again at 100, and gave the ball to Caris LeVert. The third-year swingman had already scored 25 points or more in four of Brooklyn’s first 11 games, he drove the lane for his second game-winner of the young season.
D’Angelo Russell had 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Jarrett Allen had 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
With a road win over the Nuggets, a 6-6 record through 12 games and LeVert’s eye-opening start, the Nets were showing early signs of taking a leap over the previous season’s 28 wins.
Nets 106, Raptors 105 OT
The early optimism had taken a hit. Two nights after the Denver win, LeVert was injured in Minnesota and the Nets lost 10 of 12 — including eight straight — to fall to 8-18. No worries, it was just Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors on the way to Barclays Center next.
Against the team that would finish second in the Eastern Conference with 58 wins, the Nets built and surrendered 14-point first-half lead. D’Angelo Russell scored 15 in the third quarter on the way to 29 for the game. When Toronto’s Pascal Siakam knotted the game at 98 to force overtime, it was the game’s 10th tie.
Russell scored Brooklyn’s first six points of overtime, but Leonard put the Raptors up 105-104 before Jarrett Allen came up with the go-head basket. The second-year center had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win that would launch a seven-game winning streak and come to signal the turning point in the Nets’ season.
Nets 115, Lakers 110
The Nets had stopped their stall with the Toronto win and built some momentum with a win over the Sixers. With LeBron James and the pre-collapse Lakers coming into Brooklyn, the Nets had won five straight.
D’Angelo Russell had 22 points and 13 rebounds, plus a dagger 3-pointer against his former team. Jarrett Allen inserted himself into highlight reels everywhere with his block at the rim of James and the Nets earned a signature win in front of an electrified Barclays Center crowd. The next night in Chicago, they stretched their winning streak to seven games.
Nets 145, Rockets 142 OT
It was one of those trapdoor parts of the schedule that could send a team spiraling if they mixed in an unexpected loss as well. Instead, Spencer Dinwiddie led an epic comeback against the Rockets that helped fuel a six-game win streak.
The Nets headed into Houston after losing to Toronto and beating the Celtics at home. The Rockets, Western Conference finalists a year ago, had righted themselves after a slow start despite injuries, riding James Harden’s historic scoring wave. Harden continued, going for 58, and the Rockets held an 11-point lead with under three minutes remaining.
But Dinwiddie, who finished with 33 points, knocked down three 3-pointers in the final minute of regulation, the last a pull-up 28-footer with 8.4 seconds left to tie the game. Houston led again in overtime, this time by seven, before the Nets scored the game’s final 10 points. Dinwiddie’s three-point play put them up for good, 143-142.
Jarrett Allen had his first career 20/20 game with 20 points and 24 rebounds.
Nets 123, Kings 121
The Nets followed the Houston win in January by coming back from 20 down to defeat Orlando on the road two nights later. The two improbable wins seemed hard to top. And then they got to Sacramento.
The Nets had lost the first three games of their seven-game road trip, the last on a buzzer beater two nights earlier. They fell behind by 28 in Sacramento after the Kings opened the second half on a 20-0 run, and trailed by 25 going into the fourth quarter.
But with D’Angelo Russell surrounded by a scrambling small-ball unit, the Nets outscored the Kings 45-18 in the fourth quarter. Russell scored 27 of his career-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored the game-winner on a drive with 5.9 seconds left to finish with 14 points.
Catch the Brooklyn Nets this Season