A sloppy and sluggish Nets team falls to the Nuggets, 109-87

USA TODAY Sports

In what was deemed the toughest game of the Nets 8-game circus road trip, the Nets were in Denver tonight to take on a Nuggets team that entered the game having lost just three home games all season -- and currently on a 17-game home winning streak. Not too shabby.

Both teams were dealing with major injuries, as the Nuggets were without Ty Lawson and the Nets were missing Joe Johnson from their lineup. The problem for the Nets, though, was their interior defense which was awful. The Nets had buried themselves early, with giving up far too many points in the paint, too many transition points and missing nine first-half free throws. It's tough enough to beat the Nuggets in Denver, let alone come back from a 17-point halftime deficit.

You also can't turn the ball over 17 times and miss 18 free throws, and expect to win.

In the end, the Nets fell to the Nuggets, 109-87. They are now 4-2 on the current 8-game road trip, while the Nuggets have won 18 straight at home.

Reggie Evans, for the second straight game, was the Nets best player, posting 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 16 rebounds.

Next up, tomorrow night the Nets take on the Jazz in Utah.

Game Flow

The Nuggets went inside early, scoring eight of the first 10 points in the paint, while the Nets went to, uh, Reggie Evans? Coming off his 20-20 game in Portland, Evans came out active and looking to create some offense. And seeing as the Nets were without Joe Johnson, they could use any help they could get on the offensive end against the offensively-gifted Nuggets. Evans went for seven points and six rebounds in the first quarter.

It was the interior defense that did the Nets in early. They had no answer for Kosta Koufos. He scored 10 points in the first seven minutes of the game.

MarShon Brooks was the first Net off the bench, coming in at about the 5-minute mark in the first. The Nets needed to get something going offensively, hence the Brooks substitution. Still, even though Brooks provided a nice spark off the bench (only two points, but two nice assists), the Nets struggled with their interior defense -- Nuggets scored 22 points in the paint in the first 12 minutes -- as they trailed 26-23 after one.

In the second, things really fell apart for the Nets. They turned the ball over five times in the first 5-plus minutes, while being outscored 17-5 midway through the second. The Nuggets were active, quick and got far too many transition looks. Meaning, they played Denver Nuggets basketball.

The Nets shot 34.2 percent from the floor in the first half and missed nine free throws. They were outscored 29-15 in the quarter, leading to a 55-38 halftime deficit.

In the third, the song remained the same. The Nets continued to turn the ball over and let the Nuggets get out on the fastbreak. It got to the point where Denver built up a 23-point lead early in the third quarter which, well, was all she wrote.

The Nets got a little help, as the Nuggets bigs (Koufos, JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried) combined for 14 fouls after three quarters. Still, the Nets couldn't make their free throws, which is killer when you're trying to make a late run.

In the end, the Nets shot 40.5 percent from the floor and 50 percent (18 missed free throws) from the free-throw line. Again, it's no easy task to overcome a 20-plus point deficit in the second half against Denver and their 17-game home win streak, which is ultimately why the Nets weren't able to keep pace with the Nuggets, even as they inched closer. Just far too many turnovers and missed opportunities.

For more on the Nuggets, see: Denver Stiffs

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