They never quit, but it doesn’t make losing any easier.
The Nets, down 23 in the second, fought their way back and cut this thing down to one late in the fourth, then took it into overtime.
Here’s how it went in the fourth… a typical Nets comeback, starting with 3:19 left.
What looked like a potential blowout loss suddenly turned into a winnable game. They hit three straight 3-pointers and then Caris LeVert put home a fastbreak dunk bringing the deficit down to one.
They made a couple stops and found themselves on the break again.
LeVert passed up an open three to hit Jarrett Allen down low, who passed up a decent look to hit Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Hollis-Jefferson then tried to hit LeVert in the corner but turned it over. John Wall put Washington up by three at the line, 16 seconds: Nets ball.
Washington forced a difficult shot from Dinwiddie, but LeVert tipped it out to Quincy Acy who nailed the biggest shot of his Brooklyn Nets career. They stopped Wall on the ensuing defensive possession and this one headed to overtime despite the Nets trailing by 23 in the third quarter.
The big moment…
Overtime was the game in a nutshell.
The Nets dug themselves in a hole following a 7-2 start for Washington, but they continued to fight. Wall hit two clutch buckets in the final 40 seconds to put Washington up by five with 16 seconds left. The Nets missed two 3-pointers on the following possession and this one was over.
Final: Wizards 119, Nets 113.
This time, they got praise not just from their coaches and the opponents’ coaches, but players from the other team.
Meanwhile, over at NBA TV, Mike Fratello and Matt Winer talked about how, despite the loss, there’s a plan.
Fratello: “One thing about Sean Marks, who’s the head of the organization, obviously their GM right now, he had made it clear, along with Kenny Atkinson, that they are going to treat this whole thing just like they’re Golden State, just like they’re San Antonio, just like they’re Boston. Everything is first class for the players. They treat their players as if they’re the most important people in the world. And the players feel that… the facility, the practice facility, what they do…
“Going into the season, every player but one —and this is incredible— lives in Brooklyn. This didn’t happen before when they were over in Jersey . Some were in New York, some were in Jersey. When they first came over to Brooklyn, guys were all over the place. They got a commitment from them and these guys, some of them want to be back and get a long-term contract, not just the one-year deal.”
Winer: “They’re building a roster. They’re building a reputation as well. Remember when Marks came in and hired Atkinson, they were in a bad, bad way. Depleted of assets from the Kevin Garnett – Paul Pierce trade … still don’t have their own pick in this upcoming draft.
“They’ve got a long road to go, but boy, they play their hearts out.“
So, it goes…
The Brooklyn Nets are now 16-27 on the season and 2-7 in the second game of back-to-backs. They’ll face the Knicks on Monday.
Hollis-Jefferson finished the night with his seventh 20-point game of the season with 22 points and a career-high seven assists. DeMarre Carroll had another stellar game since returning from his knee injury with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Jarrett Allen tied his career-high with 16 points and eight rebounds.
LeVert shot just 5-of-16 on the night but maneuvered his way into every play a dictated the tempo in the second half. He finished with 12 points and eight assists, but turned the ball over five times. Spencer Dinwiddie had an even worse shooting night, going 4-of-16. Allen Crabbe was only slightly better at 5-of-15.
For Washington, John Wall finished with 23 points and 16 assists but turned the ball over eight times. Bradley Beal was the high scorer of the night with 24.
HOW IT WENT
It looked bad when the Wizards went up 20-4 to start the game. They continued to build on the momentum and took a 20-point halftime lead.
But then the Nets chipped away in the second half. They cut it down to 10, then eight and then three before you could even blink. It was a 14-2 run that brought them back. They continued to fight as Washington took their foot off the pedal a bit – cutting the 20-point deficit down to nine entering the fourth quarter following a 35-24 advantage.
Nets from 3-point range in the 1st 3 quarters: 6-of-25 (24.0%)
Nets from 3-point range in the 4th quarter: 5-of-10 (50.0%)
You can’t fault the Nets for this one. That being said, if they don’t come out so lethargic, they probably win this game. Instead, it’s another tally in the loss column.
For a different perspective, head on over to Bullets Forever.