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KAT goes off for 37 as Nets drop fifth straight, 129-109

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Last night they took an ‘L’ and tonight they [didn’t] bounce back.

Following a loss in Cleveland last night, the Brooklyn Nets (9-38) lost for a fifth straight time 129-109 to the Minnesota Timberwolves (18-29). The Nets didn’t lead at any point of the game and most of that was due to the unstoppable play of Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns was an absolute monster and finished with 37 points, 13 rebounds, four blocked shots and one steal. The Nets had zero answers for him, or really, anybody on the Timberwolves.

Brooklyn’s defense allowed 100+ points for a 23rd straight game. They haven’t held an opponent to less than 100 points since December 14 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

To go along with the five straight losses, the Nets are now 2-21 on the road and even worse, uncertain about the condition of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who exited the game at half with a sore right ankle. The same one he injured last season.

The Nets struggled to get over small bumps in the first quarter, which essentially served as the story of the night. It was a step backward from their effort against the NBA champs on Friday. Brook Lopez called the lack of energy, “no question, unacceptable.”

“We keep stressing habits’’ Kenny Atkinson said before the game. “Despite the results, it’s our habits, and we’re building habits, building a culture,. I was thrilled [Friday] how we moved it, how we shared it, I loved our pace, the ball was moving around. We’ve got to build on it. We’ll have our games where that doesn’t happen, but for the most part, we’re improving in that area.”

Minnesota opened the game with a 14-point lead, but behind the reserves – namely Isaiah Whitehead, Caris LeVert and Justin Hamilton – the Nets went on an 11-0 run and kept their heads above the water.

But that was about it.

They would get within 3-to-5 points, but the Wolves would answer with mini spurts and keep control of the game. Zach LaVine ended the half appropriately with a silky smooth buzzer beater to give his team a 63-55 advantage, while leading all scorers with 15 points.

As mentioned, Brooklyn’s bench kept them alive, scoring 35 of the 55 points in the opening half. Brook Lopez had 10, followed up by Spencer Dinwiddie (five points) and Randy Foye (five points). Both Bojan Bogdanovic and Trevor Booker were held scoreless in the half.

Anyway, onto the second half we went and, well, you may not believe it but it was a very similar script.

Lopez carried the team with 11 of the team’s 23 points in the third quarter. Late in the quarter, however, Lopez took a breather and the Wolves immediately took control. They went on a 10-0 run, 13-4 extended to finish out the quarter and led by 14 heading into the fourth.

There was no fight, no talk of grit yet again as the Nets failed to get this thing within single digits. Game. Over.

The Nets shot 48.2 percent, led by Lopez who finished with 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, plus seven rebounds, two blocks and one steal. Whitehead had one of his most complete showings of the season with 10 points, eight assists, one blocked shot and two steals. It was the first time this season he had back-to-back double figure games. LeVert also chipped in 10 off the bench.

The bench, who finished with 49 points – led by Sean Kilpatrick (14 points).

LaVine and Andrew Wiggins chipped in 20 points apiece, while Gorgui Dieng finished with a double double and Shabazz Muhammed with 18 points and seven rebounds.

It was Quincy Acy’s last game on his second and final 10-day contract. The Nets need to decide by Monday afternoon on whether to extend him for the rest of the season... and beyond. In 16 minutes, he finished 2-of-6 overall, 1-of-2 from deep and grabbed two rebounds.

The Nets will now fly from Minneapolis to Miami for Monday’s game with the Heat.

ACY DECISION

Quincy Acy played the last game of his second 10-day contract, which expires this Monday before the Nets play Miami. He’s averaged seven points and a little more than two rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting from 3-point range (11 games). He received 17 minutes after Trevor Booker committed his third foul in the second quarter. He finished with five points and two rebounds.

And thus, Sean Marks is faced with another decision: does he stay or does he go?

Next up: Monday at Miami.