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No Steph, no problem: Nets blown out in Golden State, 116-100

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

The Brooklyn Nets had something different about them, a swagger that hasn’t been seen in quite a while. They’d won three straight games — two coming against elite teams in Philadelphia and Denver.

On entering Saturday’s match up with the Warriors, it seemed as if the stars (literally and figuratively) aligned for Brooklyn to have a shot at grabbing a few wins they would’ve had no business winning last year.

And in this game, the Nets believed they had a chance against a depleted Warriors team, missing Steph Curry (adductor strain), Draymond Green (foot) and Shaun Livingston (foot).

But what does depleted even mean for a team like the Warriors? No Steph, Draymond or Dot? No problem. The 11-2 Warriors defeated the 6-7 Brooklyn Nets, 116-100, Saturday night in Golden State.

“We ran out of gas, we ran out of energy,” said Kenny Atkinson. “I thought our second group had the ball stick a lot more. I thought we played too much iso-ball and you can’t do that against this team. You can’t just line them up and play one-on-one basketball. One thing I am disappointed in is that we weren’t playing Nets basketball.”

The Nets played well in the first half behind the lead of Joe Harris, but they never found a rhythm. Kevin Durant and Quinn Cook combined for 38 points, while the Warriors shot 66 percent and led by 12.

Caris LeVert was quiet with four points on 1-of-6 shooting and left the game in the third with a knee injury that was serious enough to keep him out of the game the rest of the way, but not serious enough to keep him off the bench at game’s end. At one point, he as good enough to head to the scorers table to check in, but Kenny Atkinson had second thoughts and sat him back down as the Warriors pushed the lead to 20.

Summing up, the Warriors had the personnel to switch and stop him every chance they had in the first half. Hey, it happens, particularly on the back end of a back-to-back.

White towel. On to the next... While Brooklyn came back from a 19-point deficit in their last match up with Golden State, not this time.

Overall, Golden States shot 55 percent on the night, while Durant led the way with 28 points, Cook with 27.

D’Angelo Russell scored 10 points in the first five minutes of the game but finished with just 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting. It’s become a trend where Russell starts off hot, sits, and then comes back cold.

On the bright side, Joe Harris scored a team-high 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Harris, who entered Saturday averaging more than 13 points per game, has arguably been one of Brooklyn’s most consistent players.

It’s never OK to accept a loss, but this is as close as it comes. With or without two stars. They could be, after all, the best team in the history of the game.

CHANGES IN ALTITUDE

Steve Kerr said post-game that Brooklyn had a big disadvantage in coming off a back-to-back in Denver, the Mile High City.

“I was breathing heavily early on just thinking about Brooklyn’s ordeal. I watched the game, it was an unbelievable game, and Brooklyn had an emotional win at the end with (Caris) LeVert’s bucket. Then you had the 45-minute ride to the airport in Denver and now you are coming back from altitude.

“A back-to-back that involves Denver is the toughest one in the league. We all know that. That played to our advantage tonight.”

Kenny Atkinson didn’t disagree.

“I think the fatigue played a big part of it and mental sharpness. I think all around the team was not sharp, especially the defensive and offensive coverages. We were not where we needed to be to compete with this team tonight.”

NETS TO MISS BUTLER

Jimmy Butler was traded from the Timberwolves to the Sixers on Saturday. With a trade conference call Monday and physicals scheduled after that, neither Butler, nor the players coming in return —Dario Saric and Robert Covington— will be ready for Brooklyn’s final game on the trip in Minnesota on Tuesday. (Minnesota also got Jerryd Bayless, who’s been hurt and has yet to see the court this season.)

D’Angelo Russell said he and the Nets aren’t thinking the game will be easy.

“They still got a lot of talent over there, a lot of guys capable of stepping up for his (Jimmy Butler) place, kind of going with the game plan and attack that,” said DLo.

NETS ENTERING TONIGHT (NETSPR):

  • The Nets are 16-1 since the start of last season (3-0 this season) when they hold their opponent under 100 points.
  • The Nets are 10-2 since the start of last season (2-0 this season) when they hold their opponent under .400 from the field.
  • The Nets are 4-0 this season when they record fewer turnovers than their opponent.
  • The Nets have outscored their opponent in the paint in eight of 12 games. In the last three, they’ve posted a 172-124 (+48) edge over the Sixers, Suns and Nuggets.

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS - TRIBUTE TO COLIN KAEPERNICK

We’re monitoring Dinwiddie’s shoes throughout the season. His selection for Game No. 13 at Golden State: Colin Kaepernick who last played for the 49ers.

LONG ISLAND NETS ON YES

As part of building the Long Island Nets’ brand and further proof of the ever evolving G League, YES will host the Long Island Nets match up against the Delaware Blue Coat at 3pm, Sunday

The Long Island Nets are 3-0 this season with NBA worthy players, namely Dzanan Musa, Theo Pinson and Alan Williams.

Rodions Kurucs, who played with Long Island on Opening Night, scored seven points Saturday in eight minutes.

For a different perspective, head on over to Golden State of Mind, our sister site on SB Nation.

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Next up: Timberwolves on Monday, 8pm ET.