The Brooklyn Nets lost their 51st game of the season and 18th out of their last 19, beaten by the Portland Trail Blazers 130-116. Bright side? Jeremy Lin had another impressive scoring performance, and so did Sean Kilpatrick, who for me is the biggest disappointment this season, although the conditions around him didn’t really help nurture positive progress for anyone.
Jeremy Lin: After a rough game, his worst since the return from injury, Lin was very efficient to say the least, when he had the ball in his hands. Lin scored 18 points in only 22 minutes, the most he’s scored and played since coming back. He knocked down four 3-pointers, adding 3 rebounds and 2 assists, with a steal and a block. After looking winded and a bit overwhelmed by the physical Jazz 24 hours earlier, things were much better for him in Portland. With this point barrage, Lin’s scoring jumps to 20.9 points per 36 minutes, and an even more impressive 24 points per 36 minutes over the last five games, including 46.5% from the field and 56.3% from beyond the arc.
Would the Nets be better off with Lin focusing on feeding others and acting less as a scorer? Maybe if this was a competent team, but right now, Lin taking 14 shots in 22 minutes is probably the best thing they have in their arsenal. Without reliable scoring options to play off except for Brook Lopez, Lin and his passing skills can only do so much. Getting his shooting touch back is a lot more difficult than getting his passes to connect. The better Lin is, the better it is for the Nets, and right now the best thing for both of them is Lin focusing on getting the ball in the net. Making others better will come later, especially when there are better players to play with.
The rest of the Nets: Lopez led the Nets with 26 points, as they continued to play with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in the lineup. RHJ finished with 12 points while Randy Foye couldn’t provide defense and some smart decisions with the ball, scoring 0 points in 16 minutes. Caris LeVert finished with 7 points and 6 assists, but the big surprise was Sean Kilpatrick, scoring 20 points off the bench, including six 3-pointers. It was Kilpatrick’s first 20-point game since December.
As always with Brooklyn, the third quarter was when the game got away from them. They tied it at 55-55 near the end of the second quarter, heading to the locker room behind by just one. However, the defense was a no show in the second half, giving up 72 points, and not keeping up. They got outrebounded by 17 (53-16). In short, a typical Nets game, with some individual bright spots, that aren’t enough when overall the team looks like nothing worth talking about.
Up next: Lin and the Nets get a day of rest before playing in Memphis, which might spell trouble for the Nets. The Grizzlies have lost their lost two, and Chandler Parsons has looked bad in his attempt to bounce back from a nagging injury, but they’re a physical team, the kind who usually makes the Nets look extra bad. Lin? He can have a big night, and we’re likely to see his minutes go up, but as of now, the Nets aren’t good enough to take advantage of these kind of performances.