The Brooklyn Nets losing to the Golden State Warriors isn’t a surprise. But how it happened, including blowing a huge lead in the second half, left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouths, as Jeremy Lin was two rebounds short of a triple double, but didn’t end up having the kind of game you remember for the better.
The second half was a mess. The Nets let a 16-point lead get away from them. They knew the Warriors would trap aggressively, and they still couldn’t avoid turning the ball over and letting the amped up Warriors completely disrupt their game. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were awful from beyond the arc in both halves, but with the Warriors getting so many easy points in the second half, the Nets couldn’t do much defensively, losing by 32 points and scoring just 36 in quarters three and four.
Lin finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists, 8 of them coming in the second quarter, as they held Golden State to just 16 points. The Nets shot 9-for-20 from beyond the arc in the first half, as Brook Lopez, finishing with 28 points, scored 23 in the first. It’s not something new for the Nets to look very good early on in the game, but as most players mentioned in the postgame interviews, they were unable to do their thing. Obviously, it has a lot to do with the Warriors taking it up a notch defensively and not letting the lead or misses throw them out of focus, nor the absence of Draymond Green. But the Nets being a team that executes poorly and seems to be clueless when it comes to reacting to certain situations played a huge part in the second half collapse.
Lin had a big block on Curry in the first half and generally did a good job of staying with him. I still don’t understand why Kenny Atkinson went off on Lin in the second half in a play that was about the team not being able to clean up and grab a rebound. Coaches yell at their players all the time, but Lin didn’t exactly seem to love getting the finger pointed at him by his head coach for no reason. Again, this might be some overreaction: Better and more experienced coaches than Atkinson talk $%^&^ all the time to their players in high volumes, but this moment stood out just before the Nets fell apart.
The Nets finished the game with 26 turnovers, including six by Lopez and five by Lin. Players around them didn’t give them quick options when they were double teamed, and things quickly got out of hand. Looking at this result from a numbers standpoint only, this is a loss the Nets could live with. But they’re on a bad losing streak without the schedule getting any softer for at least a few more games. If something is going to change, it has to come from within, and not just wait for things to get easier. For example, Trevor Booker averaging just six points over the last five games, including 4 in 24 minutes against the Warriors.
The Nets are looking down the barrel of one difficult stretch. Raptors, Warriors, Cavaliers, Hornets, Bulls, and it’s not a whole lot easier afterwards. Not sure what can be considered easy when you’re tied for the worst record in the conference, losing six of the last seven, and boasting the worst point differential in the NBA. It’s easy to say that losing to the Warriors isn’t a true indication of where this team is. But their inability to learn from previous mistakes, coaches and players alike, is making this season into a more and more frustrating affair by the minute.