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Nets at Suns, final score: Phoenix flattens Brooklyn, 112-104, in a tale of two halves

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Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets were feeling good having won four of their first six games to start the season. Despite ending their four-game home stand on a positive note, much of the chatter of the Nets surrounded Joe Johnson and his remarks about the team being 'selfish'. Whether he directly aimed his comments at a teammate(s) or not, they come at a very opportune time for Johnson and the Nets as they started their three game Western Coast trip, Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns.

The problem for Johnson and the Nets was that he couldn't make the big shots late, despite having the ball in his hands on virtually every possession.

It was a tale of two halves as the Nets squandered a huge opportunity to steal a big win on the road. They lost 112-104, while being outscored 63-41 in the second half. The Nets finished the first half shooting 70% from the field, but their game plan changed to more of an isolation-savvy system, which ultimately led to their downfall against the Suns. The loss comes just days after Joe Johnson's remarks about the team being selfish, and whad'ya know, the Nets go down in large part due to their late-game selfishness. To go along with the recent drama, Lopez was benched late in the game.. Something isn't right with the big fella.

Johnson led the way for Brooklyn, scoring 21 points, five rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes of action.  Lopez scored 16 points in the game, but went 0-for-6 in the second half and grabbed just three rebounds. He was pulled with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, similar to Sunday afternoon vs. Orlando, then replaced with a little less than two minutes. Mirza Teletovic finished with 16 points, Bojan Bogdanovic with 14 and Kevin Garnett with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Lopez lamented his lack of shooting touch.  After scoring 16 in the first half, he couldn't make a shot in the second.

"For the last few games now, my touch has been off," said Lopez. "I feel like I’m taking normal shots and they’re just not going in. I have to keep working at it. … I can’t get too low on myself. I have to stay confident, and just keep going at it."

For Phoenix, Gerald Green and Isaiah Thomas were forces off the bench. The ex-Net scored 28 points in 27 minutes on 7-of-15 shooting to go along with his five rebounds and three assists. Thomas on the other hand, scored 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting in 23 minutes.

Quarter by quarter summary:

The Nets came out of the gate playing like a team. By no means was selfish even a slight thought in the first quarter as the offense was humming their way past the Suns. The team finished the quarter shooting 71% from the field, while dishing out six assists as a whole. The Nets' size poised a huge problem for the quick Suns, as Brooklyn held a 16-8 scoring advantage in the paint. Bogdanovic -- coming off a career-high 22 points -- led the Brooklyn offense, scoring nine points on 3-4 shooting,

Still, it doesn't do the Nets justice only discussing their offense. Their defense was just as good -- if not better -- holding the Suns to 37% shooting and forcing six turnovers which led to 11 Nets' points. The Nets committed just one turnover through the first 10 minutes of the quarter, but finished with five after a sloppy end to the quarter. After one, the Nets had a commanding 29-17 lead.

The Nets took off from where they left off in the first, jolting themselves on a 9-2 run within the first three minutes of the quarter. The defense was a sight to see. Lionel Hollins' squad looked extremely prepared on the defensive side, forcing rushed or contested shots for Phoenix.

That was up until Green took over for Phoenix and kept the Suns' heads above water. The Nets built their lead up to as much as 19, but Gerald Green and his 18-second quarter points cut the deficit down to as low as seven, leading all scorers in the first half. Still, the Suns shot a poor 40% from the field, 27% from three and were outscored 34-20 in the paint. The one category the Suns capitalized off of was the Nets' 11 turnovers which translated to 15 points for Phoenix.

The Nets on the other hand finished the half shooting a fantastic 70% from the field while shooting 56% from three, being led by Lopez, who finished the half with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Lopez scored 12 of his 16 points in the second quarter, looking aggressive and demanding respect from the Phoenix bigs down low.

This was arguably the best first half of the Brooklyn Nets' short season. Statement game in the making?

Score at the half: Nets 63, Suns 49.

It wasn't the picture perfect start Lionel Hollins envisioned to start the second half. The Nets seemed to forget about their unselfish offense and aggressive defense as Phoenix jumped out to an early 13-2 run to cut their 14-point deficit down to three.

The Nets third quarter efforts were laughable compared to their first half effort. The first half Nets were sharing the rock and making plays with their ball movement, but in the third quarter, it seemed as if they were doing the opposite. It was a quarter filled with isolations and stagnant offensive sets, which led to poor shot selection and an atrocious 5-of-16 shooting for Brooklyn. It was an absolute nightmare of a quarter for the team in black as they were outscored 29-21 in the quarter, with six of their points coming at the free throw line.

Fortunately for Brooklyn, they finished the quarter on a 7-2 run following a buzzer-beating three from  Bogdanovic. The Nets led 84-78 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Suns and Nets found themselves in a tight, back and forth final quarter, one in which the Nets seemed to have lost their entire concept of ball movement, and instead resorted to isolations. It was a very motionless type of offense they were playing, while their defense looked soft and timid, allowing Phoenix to score in the paint at will. It also didn't help that Brook Lopez was 0-for-6 in the second half. He was pulled with four minutes remaining in the game.

Things didn't get better for Brooklyn the last four minutes of the game. It was actually a shame to see them play such poor basketball after such a wonderful first half. They shot 27% in the second half , scored just 41 points compared to their 61-first half points and finished the fourth quarter having shot 5-of-24. Overall, the Suns ended up shooting 50% from the field and completely flipped the switch in the second half.

It wasn't much earlier in the game that we were talking about the Nets being up 19 and shooting 71% from the field. It was certainly a tale of two halves, as the Nets squandered a huge opportunity to steal a big opening game on the road, their first of three very tough West-Coast games.

Final score: Suns 112, Nets 104.

The Nets will go up against the Golden State Warriors, Thursday at 10:30pm ET.

For more on the Phoenix Suns, check them out at Bright Side Of The Sun.