Playing for the first time without at least one of the James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant trio in the lineup since Harden was acquired in mid-January, the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, 118-88.
It was the first game Harden has missed as a Net after playing in his first 30 games with the team. Brooklyn had won six of seven since the All-Star break and 16 of 18 overall going into the game against the league-leading Jazz.
The Nets rolled out their 23rd different starting lineup of the season and recent 10-day contract signee Alize Johnson became the 25th player to play for the Nets this season.
He made his Brooklyn debut — his first NBA game of the season after playing the last two years with the Pacers — a memorable one. Johnson led Brooklyn with 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting and made it a double-double with 15 rebounds.
“He was great; stuffed the stat sheet, played good defense, tons of energy,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “I don't think he's really played since the, you know, the G League bubble, so I heck of an effort from him. I'm proud of the way he played.”
After signing on Monday, Johnson flew direct to Utah on Tuesday while the Nets were playing in Portland, met Nash on Wednesday morning, then played 33 minutes on Wednesday night.
“I got here last night and they got me in here early before the game started and go over a couple things and they did a really good job with that,” said Johnson. “It was pretty simple and I knew kind of the stuff they were running just from being in the league for a couple years and it just kind of showed that I have a feel for the game and I just applaud those guys for getting me ready for the game.”
Chris Chiozza had a double-double as well with 10 points and 11 assists. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had 14 points and Reggie Perry scored 12 with eight rebounds. Bruce Brown finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Jazz jumped out to a 38-17 lead after the first quarter, but Brooklyn opened the second quarter with an 11-2 run as Utah missed its first nine shots of the quarter. But when Utah found the mark from 3-point range again, the Jazz rolled on to a 63-38 halftime lead.
Utah opened the second half with a 15-2 run and took a 90-61 led into the fourth quarter.
“That’s the team with the best record in the league, we went out there severely undermanned and most importantly they stuck together, played hard, defensively were pretty good; maybe gave up too many 3s, but otherwise did a lot of good things defensively,” said Nash. “And I just told them I was proud of them. And it was great to see some of those guys get some minutes, get some opportunity to make some buckets get some rebounds and stops and just kind of develop. So lots to be thankful for and we move on to Detroit.”