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We’re only 10 games in, but there’s a whole lot to be said about Nets after loss to Jazz

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The Nets blow a 15-point lead, fail to close out against the Utah Jazz: 119-114

Brooklyn Nets v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Utah is different than most, and they’ve had Brooklyn’s number for years, you know, like last night when they beat the Nets in Salt Lake City.

And in a weird way, they’re the West coast version of the Nets.

Just like Kenny Atkinson, Quin Snyder, another Mike Budenholzer acolyte had to work his tail off to get a job as a head coach. The two even worked together for a year in Atlanta, and raved about one another before the game, Snyder even mentioning Kenny’s coffee routine!

Once Utah officially made him the guy, they’ve grown an identity to out-work opponents with whatever talent they have.

Sound familiar?

Rudy Gobert is the cornerstone, much like how the Nets want Jarrett Allen to be their Rudy Gobert, and have spoken such in the past. You get the point.

Nets always struggle against Utah and Snyder’s adjustments. They’re 0-3 since Markinson and Snyder took over, two of three losses by double digits.

This was a huge test for them especially Caris LeVert sitting with a still mysterious thumb injury. However, these aren’t your same Nets, the ones that had legitimate excuses for losses. Atkinson has more talent than he ever had.

The Nets started the night with a 10-4 lead, mixing up their looks defensively in the pick and roll causing discomfort in Utah’s attack. Snyder called a timeout and the Jazz immediately answered with six points in 53 seconds.

Full timeout Nets — a necessary one for Atkinson.

As the Nets and Jazz went back and forth, the Nets started pulling away midway through the second quarter — a 7-0 run which blossomed into a beautiful ending, a corner three from Prince followed up by a tough bucket from Kyrie ... 18-point Nets lead.

They limited their defensive breakdowns, Kyrie got hot, and the role players, namely Prince and Temple, chipped in their dues. Utah was 1-of-13 from three and Brooklyn held their bench to 1-of-12 first half shooting.

But it was Snyder’s time to adjust at half. His team came storming out of the gates with a 13-0 run, trimming 15-point lead down to two. Brooklyn’s 92-84 lead turned into a 97-96 Utah lead real quick, off the back off a 10-2 run.

Joe Harris halted Utah’s momentum, nailing three’s when the Nets were down 103-98 and then another when they went down 105-104. Later, he put home five straight points to give the Nets a two-point lead with 4:27 lead.

But Joe Harris only took one more shot after that. And Brooklyn soon regretted it.

Suddenly, it became the Kyrie Irving show. Brooklyn held Utah without a field goal for over three minutes, but they failed to hit the big bucket. Irving missed six straight shots — his sixth being the biggest.

With the Nets down by two, Kyrie went iso, again, and side-stepped into a three-pointer that clanked off the rim and into Utah’s hands with 7.6 seconds left. They left the door open for Brooklyn, missing the second of two free throws, but Bojan Bogdanovic knocked it out and Utah grabbed the offensive board.

The Nets lost by a final of 119-114, dropping to 4-6 through the first 10 games.

It was yet another disappointing ending, perhaps one that included too much hero ball in the end. The feel for most of this game was one I’ve felt before: the Nets needed everybody to step up, which most did. That “Next man up” mentality became a thing again — their identity under Atkinson.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who kept the Nets afloat in the third, was benched for the final 9:47 of the game. He scored 21 points in 24 minutes. Irving finished with 27 points on 10-of-30 shooting and 2-of-12 from three, to go along with four turnovers in 37 minutes.

“Sticking with the hot hand” has been a common phrase in the past. With Harris’ lack of touches in the final stages and Dinwiddie’s benching, you have to wonder where that’s gone.

Atkinson said he liked the match ups in the end.

The Nets were outscored 66-44 in the second half, so the defense wasn’t particularly great in the end. But had they stayed with their principles, we might be talking about a different result. But hey, this is life with a superstar, right?

It’s something that will take time getting used to, for Atkinson and for the rest of the Nets.

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THE POSITIVES!

  • DeAndre Jordan looked like his prime time self, finishing the night with 15 points and 17 rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting. He was crucial in the late stages of the game, filling in for Jarrett Allen, who fouled out. DJ came up with a huge offensive board and tip-in, Brooklyn’s final bucket of the night, tying it at 114 apiece.
  • Dzanan Musa dropped nine points in 15 minutes on an efficient 4-of-5 shooting. He hasn’t played much, but it looks like he’s beginning to look more confident and comfortable out there. Atkinson praised him after the game for not “being afraid of the big moment.”

NO WORD YET ON CARIS LEVERT

What me worry? The Nets still haven’t provided an update on Caris LeVert’s thumb, which he injured in Phoenix. He had X-rays after Sunday’s game, then an MRI exam before the Utah game. But no update on the severity of his injury or a timetable for his return.

KD’S WORK IN CALI

Here’s the latest on Kevin Durant, who makes three-pointers look like free throws.

KYRIE SHOWING LEADERSHIP

There’s been a lot said about Spencer Dinwiddie arguing with the refs, even himself who recently told NetsDaily that it’s an area he feels he’s getting better in. Michael Grady of YES discussed how Kyrie Irving has been a big voice in his ear regarding this.

Meanwhile, Irving gave fans a quick update on his situation via Instagram ... including news about his engagement!

For a different perspective, head on over to SLC Dunk, our Jazz sister site at SB Nation.

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Next up: Denver Nuggets on Thursday, 10:30 PM ET.