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UGLY: Nets burned by Suns in Phoenix, 138-112

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Brooklyn Nets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Just when the Nets looked to be gaining some momentum in their young season, they got burned by the Suns. The Nets would’ve had their first three-game win streak of the season, while possessing a winning record after nine games for the first time since 2012-2013.

But Phoenix had different intentions right out of the gate.

The home team hit 10 of its first 11 shots — leading to a 20-point lead less than eight minutes into the game. At that point, the Nets had given up 33 points as Phoenix got whatever they wanted. Call it a foreshadowing, if you will.

Around that same time, Kenny Atkinson received a technical foul after Jarrett Allen picked up a third offensive foul. The Nets rallied behind Atkinson’s cry, answering with a 17-4 — 27-9 extended, which trimmed the 20-point deficit down to two.

Then, the second half started the same way this game started. Phoenix went on a 16-2 run out of the gate and took an 18-point lead. Behind Ricky Rubio and Devin Booker’s lead, Phoenix kept churning out runs — starting with one 8-0 run that gave them a 23-point lead, then another that gave them a 29-point lead with a little less than three minutes left in the third.

Atkinson tried everything — rolling with an 13-man rotation, playing a 2-3 zone, switching on pick and roll defense.

Nothing worked. As Atkinson said post-game: “The biggest issue was the Suns. They dominated us in every fashion.”

The Nets trailed by 26 entering the fourth and contrary to the first quarter, they failed to make a game out of this, losing 138-112, Sunday night. They’ll look to redeem themselves against Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. The Phoenix Suns, meanwhile, are off to their best start in years with a 6-3 record. The Nets are 4-5.

Plenty went wrong for Brooklyn in this one, and it started with the defense. There was little communication - if any at all. Rubio picked them apart and got wherever he wanted, which led to easy buckets for others, namely Devin Booker who finished with 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting. He and Rubio combined to shoot 20-of-30 from the field, score 49 points and dish out 21 assists.

The Suns as a whole, finished with 37 assists (!) They lead the league in the category.

Brooklyn entered Sunday night averaging the most points in the NBA (120.8). They fell short of the quota and turned the ball over 18 times compared to just nine in their victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

AND they missed on 26-of-34 three-pointers.

Kyrie Irving shot a poor 7-of-16 from the field and was a minus-31 on the night and Caris LeVert was nowhere to be found with eight points on 4-of-10 shooting (minus-15).

DeAndre Jordan had his best game of the year with 16 points and 12 rebounds on 8-of-9 shooting, while Spencer Dinwiddie finished with 18 off the bench. Dzanan Musa had the best game of his NBA career with 12 points ... but missed all five of his 3-point shots.

With Jordan playing so well, Nicolas Claxton got garbage time, playing 12 minutes in the fourth quarter. He scored four points and grabbed four boards.

New team, road-trip, etc.,But the Nets need to figure out a way to get their defense intact. This is some ugly basketball that’s being played and it all starts on the defensive end. Also: It’s fair to say this team goes wherever Kyrie Irving takes them.




Kyrie Irving finished with 15 points, ending his streak of 20+ point games to open the season at eight. In his post-game comments, Irving noted that he didn’t go to the free throw line once, evidence that he needs to be more aggressive.


Kenny Atkinson said he’ll bounce back, that he’s too good of a player, but Taurean Prince has now had two tough nights in a row.

He finished with eight points and one rebound in Phoenix after scoring only three points and grabbing only seven boards against Portland.

Prince seemed to take note of the issue in a post-game tweet ... and offered some optimism.


After logging his first NBA minutes on Friday, Brooklyn’s veteran center, DeAndre Jordan, pulled Claxton aside to offer some advice to the young rookie.

Nic Claxton replied to the tweet saying, “I’m all ears OG.”

The best part? Mama Claxton knows just how many teams passed on her son!

For a different perspective, head on over to Bright Side of the Sun, our sister site of SB Nation.


Next up: Nets at Jazz, Tuesday at 9 PM ET.