Brooklyn forces 28 (!) turnovers in 122-97 rout of Philadelphia.
The Nets are (FINALLY?) showing they can win in multiple ways. Nets games are usually high-scoring bonanzas, but with both teams struggling to put the ball in the hoop in the first half, it was a battle of physicality and toughness at Barclays Center. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter where both teams started to find a rhythm and the Nets did well enough to take a 51-47 lead into the half. With the Nets struggling, Caris LeVert carried them with 18 points; the highest scoring half of his career. It wasn’t until the third quarter where the Nets got going, led by D’Angelo Russell’s bounce-back performance. Russell led the Nets on an 11-0 run in the third to pull away from Philadelphia. Even with a big lead, the Nets continued to play hard on both ends, putting the cherry on top of a dominant second half performance. At 4-6, the Nets have done well to weather the early season schedule and are right where they should be heading into their west coast trip.
D’ANGELO RUSSELL (21 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds – 10/21 in 25 minutes)
Heck of a bounce-back performance from D’Angelo Russell. Despite shooting just 4/12 in the first half, Russell was active defensively and once again took good shots within the flow of the offense. It wasn’t until the third quarter when his shot really started to fall. As Kenny Atkinson touched upon postgame, Russell thrived off of the 28 Philadelphia turnovers as it gave him the opportunity to display his skill and vision in the open court. Great bounce back from DLo. Take that, haters.
CARIS LEVERT (20 points, 2 assists, 5 rebounds – 8/20 in 29 minutes)
With the Nets struggling to score in the first half, Caris LeVert took the lead and cut up Philadelphia for a career-high 18 first half points. LeVert single-handedly kept the Nets in the game on the offensive end. With Philadelphia switching just about everything, LeVert often found himself matched up with the slow-footed Dario Saric and Mike Muscala and he took advantage, slashing to the rim with ease. Although quiet in the second half with Russell and others getting involved, LeVert has established himself as a consistent 20-point scorer for Brooklyn night after night. Another good one for Caris.
SPENCER DINWIDDIE (12 points, 8 assists, 1 rebounds – 4/10 in 22 minutes)
Although unspectacular, Spencer Dinwiddie did a good job tonight to keep the Nets from missing a beat when LeVert and Russell were off the floor. Dinwiddie is a steadying force for the Nets and his big shot-making ability always seems to come up huge for Brooklyn. As a trio, this might have been the best game for Brooklyn’s three main guards.
JARRETT ALLEN (15 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks – 5/7 in 27 minutes)
Another tough task tonight for Allen, matched up with arguably the best center in the league, Joel Embiid. Although Embiid got his, the star center finished with just 16 points — three in the second half, well short of his season average of 30 per game. Allen and the Nets forced Embiid into foul trouble throughout the night, which is probably the only way to minimize the impact of the Sixers center.
RONDAE HOLLIS-JEFFERSON (21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists – 9/14 in 30 minutes)
The shot-making wasn’t always there for the Nets tonight, but the defense and energy of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was a constant. Matched up with Mike Muscala on the second unit for much of the night, RHJ took full advantage of the edge he had in foot speed; blowing by Muscala continually at ease. Playing 30 minutes, RHJ had his best game of the season for the Nets and it looks as if he’s starting to round back into form. It shouldn’t be long before RHJ is reinserted into the starting five.
JOE HARRIS (11 points, 3 assist, 1 rebounds, 3 threes – 4/6 in 29 minutes)
From watching tonight’s game, it was easy to tell that Brett Brown and the Sixers highlighted Harris as a key to stopping the Nets. Philadelphia stayed glued to Harris the entire first half, giving the Nets marksmen very little opportunity to unleash from deep. Harris got loose to the tune of three three-pointers in the second half and registered 11 points on the night on just six shots. Given Harris’ improved play this season, expectations change as well. Despite Harris’ strong game tonight, it’s tough to give him more than a B+ as we’ve come to know Harris is capable of doing even more than the stat-line he produced. Oh yeah, he’s now shooting 60 percent from three for the season!