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Nets put up a fight, but Warriors remain the Warriors

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It went the way you thought it would.

The Brooklyn Nets (9-49), went into Golden State, fell behind, fought back, and the Warriors (49-9) ultimately pulled away for the 112-95 victory Saturday. The loss marks the Nets’ 16th consecutive defeat.

In the first quarter, it appeared as if the Warriors were ready to pull away, mounting for 30 points in just over 10 minutes, as the Nets found themselves in familiar territory. However, after one, the Nets only trailed by four, thanks to a late 7-2 run to close out the first.

In the second quarter, the Warriors were bending but not breaking, as the Nets trailed much of the quarter by one or two possessions, as Steph Curry cooled off, and Golden State reserves were dominating the minutes.

Back-up center and Shaq nemesis JaVale McGee energized the crowd in the second with his outstanding hustle and even shut down Brook Lopez, who couldn’t get it going early on, over the course of a few plays. Lopez, in fact, was held scoreless in first half for just fourth time as a starter. He finished with nine points on 3-of-13 shooting as the Warriors doubled him up early. He also had four rebounds and five assists, but no blocks.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of the Net bench, led by Spencer Dinwiddie and Sean Kilpatrick, along with starter Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the Nets kept it close, and even had a one-point lead, which quickly evaporated and turned into a 62-51 Warrior advantage heading into halftime.

Going the rest of the way, the Nets played hard, per usual, but could never make the big run and overtake the juggernaut Warriors, who played without Kevin Durant.

The Nets had a bevy of second half highlights; Rondae’s double-double, cutting the lead to single digits, the bench play, and Isaiah Whitehead’s dunk of the year.

All in all, no surprises tonight as the Warriors inch closer to win number 50, and in turn, the Nets limp closer to loss number 50.

For the Nets, Hollis-Jefferson, who sat during much of the fourth, played well and finished with his third double-double of the season, pacing the Nets with 16 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes of play. Hollis-Jefferson shot 6-of-13 from the floor, was effective in transition, and reached 15+ points in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.

"Put me anywhere and I'll play, but at the 4 I feel comfortable playing my game and just going out there and competing,” said RHJ after the loss.

Speaking of double-doubles, Sean Kilpatrick (15 points and 10 rebounds), and Trevor Booker (12 points and 10 rebounds) both had their own off the bench. Spencer Dinwiddie, who was an early entry for Jeremy Lin in the first quarter, finished with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. Dinwiddie also hit 2-of-3 from downtown, putting his three point percentage for three’s above 50 percent in the last 20 games.

In fact, in the month of February —10 games— Dinwiddie is averaging 8.4 points and 3.7 assists, while shooting 42.9 percent overall, 47.6 percent from three and 90 percent from the stripe. He’s averaging less than a turnover a game in that stretch as well.

In Lin’s second game back from injury, the former Warrior logged 15 minutes, scoring nine points and dishing out two assists. Notably, rookie guard Isaiah Whitehead had nine points, five rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes in a reserve role ... including a late monster slam off a neat feed from Lopez.

The Nets ended the night with 51 bench points. Newly acquired K.J. McDaniels saw a minute of action in garbage time, but Andrew Nicholson has yet to see any minutes. Luis Scola also spent the night on the bench.

Kenny Atkinson said of the team’s losing streak, which is two shy of the franchise record, "If we're going to get out of this rut, we're going to have to be unified and do it as a team."

For the Warriors, the Steph Curry Show was on, as the multi-time MVP finished with 27 points and five threes, while his backcourt mate Klay Thompson added 24 points, 11 of which were scored in the third quarter. With the win tonight, the Warriors clinch a playoff the spot, the first contender to do so. Last season, they clinched on February 28.

Game three of the eight-game road trip comes on Wednesday, March 1, where the Nets will face the DeMarcus Cousins-less Sacramento Kings. They’ll be looking for season win number 10, before loss number 50.