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The End: Nets finish season with loss in Boston, 110-97

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The end.

It wasn’t your storybook ending, nor was it your storybook season. It was difficult, but the small victories almost —almost— outweigh the wins and losses during this rebuild.

This 2017-2018 chapter of the Brooklyn Nets’ saga ended with a 110-97 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics, who played without Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Jayson Tatum. The Nets won three of the last four.

Unfortunately for Brooklyn, this game simply didn’t represent the way they’ve competed most of this season. But as they say: You are what your record says you are.

It all started with a 19-3 extended run that put Boston up 10 in the first quarter. They led by 10 at half and brought it up to as many as 23 in the third quarter. The Nets played extremely sloppy and were destroyed on the glass, 61-45. Aron Baynes led that charge with 26 points and 14 rebounds.

The Celtics clamped down on D and forced the Nets to shoot 41 percent from the field and 28 percent from three. On a positive note, Allen Crabbe reached 200 3-pointers on the season and scored 16 points. Nik Stauskas led the team with 18 points off the bench. No, Jahlil Okafor didn’t play.

The Nets finished the season with a 28-54 record – eight games better than last season. That’s a 40 percent improvement. Progress and improvement, improvement and progree. They’ve been preached since Day One of the Markinson Era. It’s the only the only realistic expectation entering this season.

FRATELLO’S MESSAGE TO NETS FANS

From a coach who won 666 games in the NBA and has watched Nets teams up close for a decade...

AND THE DRAFT PICKS WILL BE...

The Nets know where two of their three picks will fall on June 21. The two picks acquired in the DeMarre Carroll-for-Justin Hamilton trade, one first and one second, are set for the 29th and 40th slots. The second round pick acquired from the Bucks for Tyler Zeller will be either 45 or 46. The tie will be broken Friday by lot at the NBA headquarters.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Cavaliers will have the eighth best chance in the Draft Lottery next month using the Nets pick. That’s just a 2.8 percent at the top pick and a 9.9 percent chance to land in the top three. That’s a big disappointment considering when the Cavs traded Kyrie Irving to Boston, they were expecting a lot bigger prize on Draft Night.

TOP TWENTY’S

Individual Nets did reach some milestones this season. Joe Harris finished 17th in 3-point percent at 41.9 percent. Jarrett Allen finished 19th in blocks per game at 1.23 per game. Allen Crabbe finished 11th in 3-pointers made at 201, a new Nets record. Spencer Dinwiddie finished 10th in assists per game at 6.6 and second in assist/turnover ratio at 4.23.

NUMBERS AT THE END

The Nets finished 3-3 in April and won five of their last eight, seven of their last 13. Their longest winning streak was three; their longest losing streak was eight. April (3-3) was their best month; February (1-9) was their worst.

A total of 23 players suited up for the Nets, one more than last year’s 22, but the Nets also signed two players last year to quickie 10-day deals bringing the total to 24.

D’Angelo Russell was their high scorer at 15.6 per game; Spencer Dinwiddie was tops in assists at 6.6; Jarrett Allen was tops in blocks at 1.23 and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was tops in rebounds at 6.8. Joe Harris led the team in 3-point shooting at 41.9 percent. While with the Nets, Sean Kilpatrick shot 95 percent from the free throw line and Allen shot a team-leading 58.7 percent overall.

SHOUTS

Brooklyn Nets beat writers (Left to right): Brian Lewis, yours truly, Bryan Fonseca, Alex Labidou, Mike Scotto and Greg Logan. As DeMarre Carroll said: “One of the hardest jobs out there.”

NETS RADIO GUYS

The voices of the Brooklyn Nets, and just two overall great people: Tim Capstraw and Chris Carrino. These guys have been providing us with great radio analysis since the New Jersey days and they are greatly appreciated.

Support Chris Carrino’s Foundation for FSHD here.

NETS ON YES CREW

We’d like to express our gratitude to the Nets on YES crew who have done all they possibly could to keep us all entertained while watching these games. A special shout-out to Sarah Kustok, a pioneer and great person, who finished her first year as color commentator. She’s the NBA Local TV’s first solo female analyst. Also want to give Michael Grady a shout-out for his great first season with the YES crew. And the man behind the scenes: Producer Frank DiGraci.

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For a different perspective, head on over to CelticsBlog.

To all of our NetsDaily readers, we’d like to thank you for sticking with us and wish you a happy and safe summer! Next up: DRAFT TALK