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Unforced errors haunt Nets in double OT loss to Trail Blazers, 148-144

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Missed free throws. Bad fouls. Regretful turnovers. That just about sums up Brooklyn’s double OT loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, 148-144.

Up by one with 27 seconds left in regulation, D’Angelo Russell turned the ball over with 5.9 seconds as Seth Curry and the Portland Trail Blazers were out on the run. The Nets were in the bonus and for some unknown reason, Spencer Dinwiddie fouled Curry and gave him a chance to take the lead.

He hit one of two and this one headed to overtime, where the Nets are now 6-2 on the year.

In the first OT, the Nets trailed by two with less than 26 seconds left. Dinwiddie drove and missed, but Joe Harris grabbed the offensive board and handed off to Russell for a layup — his 39th point of the night. Jared Dudley came with a double team and forced a Damian Lillard heave (and miss).

The Nets were headed to a second overtime with Ed Davis and Jarrett Allen out with six fouls. Jusuf Nurkic tore them up all night and finished with 32 points and 16 rebounds, but exited the game on a stretcher following a gruesome left leg injury. Nurkic was later diagnosed with compound fractures of left tibia and fibula, an injury so severe Nets players turned and ran away in horror. He is out for the year.

Portland rallied behind his injury and scored five straight points, taking a seven-point lead with less than one minute left.

Then came Brooklyn’s final comeback attack.

It started with a DeMarre Carroll three-pointer, followed by a Joe Harris three to cut it down to three with 35 seconds left. However, for a second time, Dinwiddie unnecessarily fouled Portland as the Nets were in the bonus.

The Nets went down four and never fully recovered, as Portland nailed their free throws down the stretch — something the Nets didn’t do (31-of-44). Their last attempt at getting a chance came when Jared Dudley chased Rodney Hood down and grabbed the ball. Refs called for Portland ball despite it being a clear jump-ball.

It was a comedy of errors: In the final 15 minutes, Brooklyn had nine turnovers (five by Russell 5). Portland had one. Did the grueling road trip finally leave them gassed and subject to mental errors?

The Nurkic injury had a devastating effect not just on Portland.

“That’s what our guys are talking about in the locker room right now,” Kenny Atkinson said of Nurkic’s injury. “They’re not talking about the game or the loss. They’re talking about a player was having a great game and a heck of a player, and you just pray.”

Of the game, the coach said, “Disappointed. We had — especially in regulation — we had a chance to close it out.”

Portland won its fourth straight with C.J. McCollum out, while the Nets (38-37) are just one loss away from potentially falling out of the playoffs. They’re 2-4 on the brutal seven-game road-trip with their final one coming in Philly on Thursday.

Russell became the first Net guard since Deron Williams to score 20+ points in five straight games — finishing with 39 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Finally, he, Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert were on the same page, as Dinwiddie finished with 22 points off the bench; LeVert with 17.

The Nets out-rebounded Portland, shot 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from three. But simple mistakes did them in. They trailed by six late in the third and went on a 24-7 extended run which gave them a 10-point lead.

They couldn’t hold onto it.

VETERAN PRESENCE

DLo said it before the game, they all answered the call.

DeMarre Carroll: Nothing new for DeMarre, who received another starter’s nod with Allen Crabbe out. The Swiss Army Knife was all over the place with 18 points and five rebounds including four three-pointers.

Ed Davis: Davis was huge all night with Jarrett Allen struggling to cover bigger players such as Jusuf Nurkic. Davis finished with 14 rebounds in 25 minutes, but fouled out in the first overtime.

Jared Dudley: You couldn’t count how many big plays he made — things you don’t necessarily see in the box score. His IQ alone enables Atkinson to play him. For starters, his idea to double team Lillard at the end of the first OT was crucial in forcing a bad shot. Furthermore, running back on defense and almost coming up with the biggest defensive play of the game. It would’ve been if the correct call was made.

***

This could’ve been a game that took the Nets out of the bubble. Every team around them is scorching hot and the Nets are one loss away from potentially falling out. They have eight games left on the season.

At this point, you just want to get home and sleep in your own bed. Maybe that will help avoid the silly mistakes that lost them this game.

MUSA REACTS TO NURKIC INJURY

In a tweet, Dzanan Musa offered his thoughts to his Bosnian national team teammate.

Translated, here are Musa’s thoughts...

“I can not believe what just happened. You will return, my brother, even stronger. You are a beast and you will be an even bigger one after all this!!!”

PLAYOFF RACE

The Nets entered Monday’s game with a 12 game advantage over the Detroit Pistons and only two games ahead of the nine-seed Orlando Magic. Magic won their fifth straight game against the 76ers earlier Monday.

But after the night’s games, the Nets playoff picture was muddled at best. While tied with the Pistons, Brooklyn is only a game ahead of the eighth place Heat and only a game and a half ahead of ninth place Orlando. And the Nets have the toughest schedule —by far— of the four teams.

SHOUT OUT TO DAWN AND JOHNSON

... 8,000+ miles to watch the Nets. Amazing.

RJ IN THE STUDIO

Let’s make the obvious clear: Richard Jefferson has been a huge addition to the already-fantastic Nets on YES crew. RJ was in Chris Shearn’s seat on Monday — and will be a few more times. He’ll be joined by The Athletic’s Frank Isola Thursday and Saturday.

A few moments...

“No one cares, you’re a Knicks fan”

Then, he went Ron Burgundy on us!

For a different and far more fearful perspective, head on over to Blazers’ Edge, our sister site on SB Nation.

***

Next up: The final game of the trip — Thursday against the 76ers.