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Nets lose fourth straight to Rockets, 109-102


The Nets played their best basketball of Summer League Wednesday but it wasn’t enough to get them their first win and they lost, 109-102, to the Rockets at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. They are now 0-4.

The Nets kept it close in the first half, led by Jarrett Allen’s 11 points and nine rebounds. But much like their previous losses, the Nets fell behind in the late third and early fourth quarters, hurt particularly by turnovers. Brooklyn turned it over 26 times, three more than they did vs. the Timberwolves on Monday. They never led.

In addition to Allen, who finished with 13 and 11 —and hit a corner three, Milton Doyle had his best game of the summer. Jacque Vaughn, the Nets assistant who’s handled head coaching duties in Las Vegas, liked what he saw from the 20-year-old.

“If you strip down Summer League and you had minimal goals, that would be a premium for him,” said Vaughn. “Whether it’s a communication with a referee where he thought he got fouled first, whether it’s telling a teammate to sprint back.

“Getting him in different scenarios and hopefully letting him show all his abilities to lead. He has it in him. This Summer League was a precipice to more things to come.”

Allen said the summer league gave him an opportunity to experiment and to lead.

“It’s been good. I’m obviously really out of my comfort zone,” Allen said. “Normally on the regular team we’ve got all these older guys, older vets to have leadership for us. Now I’m here doing it for them.’’

Doyle, who gained a training camp invite last year on the strength of his Vegas performance, scored 21 points on 6-of-15 overall. He also handed out six assists.

Theo Pinson finished with 14, including 4-of-6 from three. He also handed out five assists and blocked two shots. Shawn Dawson had 15, and James Webb III, one of the Nets two-way contracts, scored eight. Yuta Watanabe finished with seven rebounds but only four points, admitting to frustration with the way he was guarded. With one game to go, Dawson is the team’s leading scorer at 12.3.

Other than collectively finding their offense, there were positives for Brooklyn. Doyle played well for the first time and Pinson is now shooting 42 percent from deep, which for a player who shot 22.6 percent in his last year of college, is a big boost for his NBA prospects. The Nets have both players on G-League contracts

For the Rockets, seven players finished in double figures and an eighth had nine. Second round pick De’Andre Melton, a 6’4” guard, put up 17 points. Former Net Markel Brown had 12.

The Nets will close out their Summer League season on Friday vs. the Pacers.

Overall, the roster put together by the front office was never fully available. Ding Yanyuhang (knee) of China and Juan Pablo Vaulet (foot) of Argentina both had to return home without playing a minute. Rodions Kurucs, the Nets second round pick, was prevented from playing because the Nets and his European team couldn’t work out a buyout.

In an in-game interview with Fran Franschilla and Albert Martin, D’Angelo Russell praised the Nets player development staff, noting how they are on hand every day to work with players individually. And he noted as well that the Nets players have “bought in” to the Nets culture.

“Sean and Kenny have created a great atmosphere and players have bought in,” DLo said.

The Louisville native also noted, “I love New York.”