Beggars can’t be choosers, and the Nets are certainly beggars in a season where something as simple as a two-game win streak seems inconceivable.
On Wednesday, the Nets snapped a 16-game losing streak with a convincing wire-to-wire victory over the Sacramento Kings. With a little bit of momentum heading into the fourth game of the gruesome eight-game road-trip, the Nets had a tiny ray of hope to notch their first win streak of the season.
However, against the 38-win Utah Jazz, this seemed unrealistic. And it was. Unlike Wednesday, the Nets were on the wrong side of the wire-to-wire victory and lost, 112-95, Friday night.
The loss can be attributed to a few things, but none more than the still glaring issues on the defensive side. The pick-and-roll defense was nonexistent – the same way it’s been throughout the season. The NBA’s slowest paced team took advantage of this. They took their time in sets and got whatever look they wanted all night.
They scored 38 points in the first quarter and 28 in the third, while shooting 51.4 percent from the field.
Another issue was the matchup between Jeremy Lin and George Hill. Lin – who’s still playing on a minutes restriction – struggled with Hill who scored a game-high 34 points and handed out seven assists. His ease with the pick-and-roll did wonders for Utah’s offense ... and the Nets simply couldn’t guard him.
The Jazz assisted on 25 of their 38 made field goals (also 51.4 percent), compared to 12 assists on 36 field goals for Brooklyn (40.4 percent).
Lin, meanwhile, scored just seven points. He committed three turnovers and five personal fouls (-14). The minutes restriction has left Lin little time to get into rhythm. Yet, that didn’t appear to be the issue on Wednesday when he scored 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Maybe it was a bad night.
There’s plenty more to talk about, some lack of adjustments and, well, just being outmatched as the Nets are on most nights. So, that’s officially 50 losses on the season with a 3-26 record on the road.
The rout started early…
Unlike Wednesday in Sacramento, the Nets failed to find any rhythm early. The Jazz got off to a solid start and led 19-7 – following a 12-2 run -- and that was that. The Nets were lost on both sides, especially defending the pick and roll – a problem they’ve endured all season.
Hill and Derrick Favors combined for 25 of Utah’s 38-first quarter points, while the Nets scored 26 and trailed by 12.
It looked like Utah would take control when they built a 12-point lead and had possession, but Brook Lopez came up with a huge block that sparked the Nets a bit. They were persistent as per usual and kept chipping away, but they were unable to get over the 5-6 point hump.
Utah led 60-51 in a somewhat close half. Then, the second half proved even that was unsustainable.
As Utah skipped the ball around the perimeter, Gordon Hayward capped off a 12-2 run with a thunderous slam to extend the lead to 16. The Nets didn’t really get closer from that point on. They went the opposite route and the Jazz eventually pushed the lead up to 21 late in the third. This time it was a 9-0 run that did the Nets in.
The Nets shot 25 percent in the third and were on the wrong end of 28-19 quarter.
On the bright side, Quincy Acy had one of his best games in a Net uniform with a season and team-high 18 points. Lopez had 17.
Joe Harris left the game in the first half after taking a hard fall. He didn’t return after the Nets checked for concussion-like symptoms.
K.J. McDaniels and Andrew Nicholson both logged some minutes together in the fourth quarter. Neither has really played since acquired by Brooklyn – McDaniels just one minute and Nicholson zero prior to Friday. They combined for six points. McDaniels had two steals in his first two minutes on the court.
It’s the first game of a back-to-back. Tomorrow: 10pm at Portland.
- Box Score: Utah Jazz 112, Brooklyn Nets 95 - NBA.com
- Highlights: Nets vs. Jazz (Video) - NBA.com
- Highlights: George Hill (Video) - NBA.com
- Diaw gets the block (Video) - NBA.com
- Hayward throws down the hammer (Video) - NBA.com
- Gobert throws down the jam (Video) - NBA.com
- Gobert goes up (Video) - NBA.com
- Booker flies in (Video) - NBA.com
- Gobert cuts to the basket (Video) - NBA.com
- Favors goes up for the oop (Video) - NBA.com
- Post Game Plus: BKN@UTA (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson discusses road loss (Video) - YES Network
- Nets postgame: Brook Lopez (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson on facing Utah (Video) - YES Network
- RECAP - Utah 112, Brooklyn 97 - AP
- Hill carries Jazz past Nets - Reuters
- Nets back to losing ways with defeat vs. Jazz - Jon Clifford - Newsday
- Nets lose their 50th game of the year in blowout at Utah (Game Grades) - Benny Nadeau - The Brooklyn Game
- Utah Jazz: Vintage Derrick Favors performance a boost to whole team - Tony Jones - Salt Lake Tribune