The losing streak is over for the Brooklyn Nets, stunning the Los Angeles Clippers 127-122 in double overtime behind a huge performance by Sean Kilpatrick and a big one from Brook Lopez, all the while pissing off Doc Rivers. Whether or not this means some positive consistency in the games ahead? Hard to see it happening while Jeremy Lin is still out with his hamstring injury.
It’s been four weeks since Lin last played for the Nets. They’ve now finally won their third game without him, overall going 3-9 over that stretch, including a 7-game losing streak that ended in the win over the Clippers. And it’s hard actually learning something from this win against the Clips because this isn’t some consistent development the Nets are one, outside of a few individuals. This happened to be a game that developed in a weird way, and until the Nets have their point guard again, they’ll continue to look inconsistent, usually in the wrong kind of way.
But why be negative when they beat one of the best teams in the league, handing the Clippers their fifth loss of the season? Kilpatrick is averaging 24.8 points over the last four games, and finished with 38 in the win against the Clippers, including 20 in the fourth. He wasn’t that accurate, shooting 14-for-34, but he did knock down four 3-pointers to take his eFG over 50%, and was incredible on the boards with 14 rebounds. The Nets need him in the starting lineup, even when Rondae Hollis-Jefferson returns.
Brook Lopez finished with 27 points, including four 3-pointers. Lopez isn’t some stretch ‘5’ all of a sudden; he did knock down shots from mid range and under the basket too. However, the process of re-inventing himself on the offensive side of the ball seems to be working well, hitting 37.6% of his 3’s this season on 5.7 attempts per game. Lopez did grab 8 rebounds and add 4 assists, but rebounding on the Nets has little to do with him most of the time. Kilpatrick did a huge job in helping out against DeAndre Jordan, and Trevor Booker finished with 11 rebounds too. Not having to face Blake Griffin helped, but it’s not like the Nets aren’t missing key players as well.
Huge help came from Joe Harris, who played 39 minutes and scored 15 points. Harris isn’t exactly a reliable scorer, even in the few minutes he does get each night, but the Nets are trying to find contribution wherever it resides. Without an actual point guard (Isaiah Whitehead and Randy Foye fill that position, but don’t exactly play that role), the Nets have to rely on the ability of their perimeter scorers to create for themselves and others. It didn’t work well with Bojan Bogdanovic this time (2-for-7, still scored 14 points), it did with Kilpatrick.
As we mentioned, the Nets won’t find any stability on both ends of the floor until Lin comes back. Giving up 122 points isn’t that rare for them, but actually outscoring teams with 115-120 points each night is going to be difficult when it relies on whether Kilpatrick can pull off these kind of feats on a regular basis. It’s nice to have these wins, especially against a strong team like the Clippers and annoying coach like Doc, but in the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn’t change much, not until Lin returns.