Nets Two-Game Win Streak Ends With Loss To Hornets


It was a tale of two halves as the Brooklyn Nets began Wednesday nights game scorching hot and en route towards their third straight victory before blowing a 23 point lead in a 111-105 loss against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Nets led by as many as 23 points on an impressive 50 percent shooting from the field before ending the first half with a commanding 64-43 lead.  It was Brooklyn’s drives to the basket that spaced the floor, breaking down Charlotte’s defense allowing Brooklyn to take a 38-14 scoring edge in the paint.

The bench, which was led by Caris leVert who finished with 13 points, was also a huge factor in the first half, scoring 29 of the Nets first half points.

Defensively they were just as effective contesting every shot the Hornets took while holding them to 36.4 percent shooting from the field, and 0-for-8 from behind the three-point line. To add to their defensive onslaught they had four steals and blocked six shots.

Even with Kemba Walker having a solid first half the Nets came into last nights game ready for whatever Charlotte and their All-Star guard had for them.

Allen Crabbe speaking to media after the Nets blow a 23 point lead against the Hornets. Photo taken by Jonathan Gomez.

It’s not a matter of stopping him, it’s about trying to contain him,” said Spencer Dinwiddie before the game. “It is more about knowing where he likes to go on the court, his stepbacks, and he likes to dribble and pull up threes in transition. We have to cautious of that, and not overreact to his moves because he is shifty.”

Everything was falling their way. Then the second half started and the Nets imploded as Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard, who finished with 32 points and 30 rebounds, utterly embarrassed them in the final two quarters.

In the third quarter the Hornets outscored the Nets 32-25, holding them to 38.1 percent shooting from the field and cutting their lead down to 12.

Brooklyn’s offense became stagnant and predictable. They quickly reverted back to the inconsistent play that fans have been used to throughout the season.

“I don’t think we moved the ball as we did in the first half, I think second is credit to them for just defending our drives better, because in the first half we were driving it and kicking it out and being able to make that extra pass,” said coach Kenny Atkinson after the game. “I don’t think we were getting the downhill separation we needed because they were defending us well.”

But it was in the fourth quarter where the Nets completely fell apart after the Hornets opened with a 8-2 run, cutting the lead 87-83.

As the quarter continued Charlotte kept cutting into the lead, until eventually Brooklyn ran out of gas and gave up the game completely.

Bad shot selection after bad shot selection took a beautifully flowing offense into a scoring drought that had Coach Atkinson frustrated and confused on the sideline.

In the final 4:11 of the game the Nets were unable to hit s single shot and were outscored 36-18 in the final period. They also outscored the Brooklyn 30-6 in the paint during throughout the entire second half and outrebounded them 68-46, behind Dwight Howard’s monster game.

“Obviously the rebounding was a big issue. We couldn’t come up, when we did get a stop, when we made them miss we couldn’t come up with the rebound,” continued Atkinson.

But it wasn’t just their shooting and rebounding that struggled, their defense was also unable to make key stops, leaving Kemba Walker, who finished with 25 points, 5 boards and 6 assists, to dominated the Nets with 11 points in the final quarter of play.

It was a blow to a lowly Brooklyn team that is trying to finish the season strong and has been showing improvement as of late.

“We’ve done a great job the last two games locking down in the fourth quarter and tonight we didn’t do it,” said a frustrated Atkinson. “We never really found a solution to combating their physicality in the second half. I thought they physically overwhelmed us.”

D’Angelo Russell lead the way for the Nets with 19 points, 5 assists and 4 boards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 13 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth.