They weren’t ready.
The Nets got their first dose of life without Caris LeVert and they answered with an absolute dud, losing to the 6-8 Miami Heat, 120-107, Wednesday night. The Nets have lost three consecutive games with the three coming against Golden State, Minnesota and now Miami.
And man, they missed LeVert.
“I mean, obviously it’s tough in the fashion that it happened… Just the significance of how the injury happened, him being the heart and soul of the team up until this point, our go-to scorer and facilitator,” Joe Harris explained when asked about what the Nets lose with LeVert’s absence. “Then obviously just the energy and enthusiasm and leadership that he brings, that’s a void we miss a lot and it is going to be an adjustment for us.”
There really isn’t much to be said about this one. They gave up 37 points in the first quarter and trailed by 16 right out of the gate. They had absolutely no answers on the defensive end, as they entered the fourth quarter down by 18.
They cut it to nine late in the fourth, but Miami answered with a quick 8-1 run to put the Nets down 16 with 3:04 left.
“It’s just part of the NBA,” Atkinson said after the game. “You are going to have injuries. We have to have guys that step up. I think that a lot of those units that we threw out there tonight hadn’t played a lot together, but that shouldn’t be an excuse.”
Six players finished in double figures for Miami. They shot 54 percent overall and despite turning the ball over 17 times, the Nets failed to capitalize.
They struggled on the offensive end without their leading scorer. D’Angelo Russell was just 6-of-18 from the field with 12 points and five assists. Spencer Dinwiddie was really the only player to step up in LeVert’s absence with 18 points and five assists in 29 minutes. Ed Davis who finished with eight points and nine rebounds in his first start of the season.
Meanwhile, if there was a time for Allen Crabbe to step up it would now ASAP. Instead, he fouled out and finished the night 2-of-6 from the floor and six points. He’s shooting 27 percent from three and 26 percent from the floor this season.
Tyler Johnson led Miami with 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
The Nets had a minor scare at the end of the first half when Rondae Hollis-Jefferson went down in a heap and had to be assisted off the court. Fortunately for Brooklyn, he returned in the third quarter.
They’re now 6-9 on the season and quite frankly, the vibe just isn’t there. We’ll see if they get it back anytime soon, or if we’ll be talking about Zion by time Caris is back.
LAST SEASON VERSUS THE HEAT
The Nets were 2-0 in Miami last season, 1-0 in Brooklyn, and 0-1 in Mexico City in the four-game 2017-18 season series. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averaged 15.8 points and nine rebounds per game, while. Joe Harris averaged 15.3 points on 67 percent shooting from three. He was also a team-high plus-33.
THINGS THAT MAKE KENNY HAPPY
Entering Wednesday, the Nets were allowing the fewest 3-point attempts per game (24.9) and allow the fewest 3-pointers made per game (8.9). They’re also allowing the most mid-range jumpers in the league (19.7) and attempting the 4th fewest (8,2).
Kenny Atkinson has emphasized in the past how he’d like to cut the mid-range jumpers out unless they’re wide-open, quality shots. They aren’t analytically sound nor are they an appealing aspect to a player’s game (Sorry, Melo.)...
INDIVIDUAL ACCOLADES (NETS PR)
- D’Angelo Russell is 12th in the league in 3-pointers made (37) and is one of seven players to have made 35+ threes and shot 40% or better from distance (40.2%). The others? Steph Curry, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Joe Harris, Josh Richardson and Danny Green.
... He is also one of just six players averaging 16+ points 3.5+ rebounds and 5+ assists while shooting .400 or better from 3-point range, joining Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, De’Aaron Fox, Kyrie Irving and Nikola Jokic.
- Jarrett Allen is tied for ninth in the league in blocks per game (1.9) and is 10th in field goal percentage (60.2%).
- Joe Harris leads the league lead in 3-point field goal percentage (53%), is tied for sixth in 3-pointers made (39) and is seventh in effective field goal percentage (67.5%).
- Ed Davis is third in the league in rebound percentage (21.7%) and offensive rebound percentage (15.3%) and sixth in defensive rebound percentage (29%). The only other players in the league in the top six in all three categories are Andre Drummond and Enes Kanter.
...Davis is also third in the league in rebounds per 36 minutes (17), trailing only Hassan Whiteside and Andre Drummond. Furthermore, Davis is tied for first among all reserves this season in rebounds with 116 total and 8.3 per game and is second in offensive boards with a total of 44.
- Spencer Dinwiddie is second in the league in assists off the bench (58, 4.1 per game), trailing JJ Barea, third in points off the bench (195, 13.9 per game).
For a different perspective, head on over to Hot Hot Hoops, our sister site on SB Nation.
The Nets will face the Washington Wizards on Friday at 7:00pm.
- Game Report: Miami Heat 120, Brooklyn Nets 107 (Box Score) - NBA.com
- Game Recap: Miami Heat 120, Brooklyn Nets 107 (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: MIA@BKN (Video) - Nancy Newman - YES Network
- Atkinson on loss to Heat (Video) - YES Network
- Ellington on win over Brooklyn (Video) - Michael Grady - YES Network
- Harris on defensive miscues (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Heat beat Nets 120-107 to end three-game losing streak - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Nets overwhelmed in first game without Caris LeVert - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets relieved on Caris LeVert injury: ‘He had God on his side’ - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets fall behind early, lose to Heat in first game without Caris LeVert - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Caris LeVert injury turned emotions of GM Sean Marks into ’roller coaster’ - Greg Logan - Newsday
- HEAT 120, NETS 107: DINWIDDIE LEADS BROOKLYN WITH 18 POINTS - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Heat snaps three-game losing skid with much-needed win over Nets - Anthony Chiang - Miami Herald
- Heat keep foot on gas, power past Nets to end three-game skid - Ira Winderman - South Florida Sun-Suntinel