As Caris LeVert said, gone are the days of moral victories, but a six-point loss to the defending champs is difficult to be mad about. The Nets started well, trailing by just three, 32-29, after one quarter. Then, the bench came in and they just didn’t have it. The Nets were outscored 31-20 and dug themselves a big halftime hole. A strong fourth quarter, led by D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, and Allen Crabbe gave the Nets a shot, but ultimately, the Warriors proved to have too much firepower for the Nets to overcome.
D’ANGELO RUSSELL (25 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds – 9/14 in 30 minutes)
DLo was cooking tonight. This is the type of performance Russell needs to show on a more consistent basis if he wants to take a leap this season. A major development in the early going is Russell’s improved three-point stroke. Russell added another five threes tonight and is now shooting 48.6% to start the season with 11 three’s in the last two games. Not to mention, he and Caris LeVert are starting to look great in tandem; back to back 20+ games each for Brooklyn’s Backcourt.
CARIS LEVERT (23 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds – 9/18 in 30 minutes)
Caris LeVert continued his strong start, scoring at will and dishing with ease. An encouraging sign for LeVert was his ability to connect from deep. CLV shot 4-of-7 from behind the arc as he did his best to match Kevin Durant’s offense output. On the Durant matchup, LeVert competed and hung in there well, defensively, despite giving up four inches. Like DLo, LeVert was up for the challenge tonight.
SPENCER DINWIDDIE (12 points, 1 rebound – 4/9 in 24 minutes)
With the integration of Shabazz Napier in the rotation, Spencer Dinwiddie has seen more time off the ball and as a spot-up three-point shooter. Dinwiddie made the Warriors pay, knocking down four long balls on the evening. Although unspectacular —and scoreless in the first half, Dinwiddie is establishing himself as a high-level option coming off of Brooklyn’s bench.
JARRETT ALLEN (11 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks – 5/6 in 29 minutes)
Although he only finished with three rebounds, Jarrett Allen had an positive effect on the game. Allen led the Nets with a +15 plus/minus, which is fairly impressive considering the starpower in the Warriors starting five. There’s no doubt the Nets need more from Allen on the glass, they were out-rebounded 47-37 (after winning the battle of the boards in New Orleans), but Allen did a good job of making his impact felt in other areas tonight.
JOE HARRIS (7 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 threes – 2/6 in 30 minutes)
Joe Harris had a very meh game. The Warriors did a good job of staying attached to him behind the line and he seemed to run into trouble every time he tried to penetrate the lane against superior athletes. Despite his subpar performance, Harris still managed to connect on two three-pointers, but when the Warriors left the door slightly ajar for the Nets to complete the comeback, he was unable to knock down the big corner three off of the steal in the final possessions.
ALLEN CRABBE (14 points, 2 assists, 5 rebounds – 4/11 in 28 minutes)
One of the biggest positives coming out of the game was the play of Allen Crabbe. Just back from a preseason injury, Crabbe had struggled to find his range. However, in going 4-of-7 from behind the arc tonight, his shooting struggles might become a distant memory. The Nets need Crabbe to take a step this season and command that third scoring role behind Russell and LeVert; this is a step in the right direction.