BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Well, back to the losing.
The Nets enjoyed a two-game win streak, but the scorching hot Utah Jazz came in and put Brooklyn’s joy to an end, 118-107, Tuesday night at Barclays Center.
“Transition defense, pick-and-roll defense, rebounding, physicality, all of this stuff, I think they just dominated,” said Kenny Atkinson afterwards.
Utah has won 10 straight games, while the Nets fell to 18-21. They’ve defeated Utah once in the last nine match-ups since Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson took over.
“I would say right now they are far ahead of us; we’ve got a long way to go to catch a team like that,” said Atkinson.
Kyrie Irving dropped 32 points and 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough.
“I feel good,” Irving said. “Being out gave time to slow down, get healthy and put an emphasis on my body. Early in the season, I had three broken bones in my face & I got hit again in China. I think that’s what attributed to my shoulder impingement, trying to make up for lost time.”
Utah’s head coach Quin Snyder and Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson were assistant coaches together in Atlanta, and Snyder seems to always have the right defensive scheme against the Nets: Defend the perimeter.
The Nets shot just 8-of-26 from deep. Joe Harris was just 1-of-5 and Taurean Prince was 0-for-4. They were forced into a mid-range and paint game, where they scored 58 of their points.
Utah pulled away by the halftime break. They finished on a 14-2 run and led by 14 entering the second half. They were just 3-of-14 from three at the eight-minute mark, but they hit eight of their next 12 and controlled the entire tempo of the game.
The Nets made their runs, though.
Down 14, DeAndre Jordan looked up at the scoreboard, checking the score and the time. He knew the Nets had to make something happen with a game in Philly in less than 24 hours. Out of the timeout, Harris hit a three, then Kyrie Irving nailed a floater to bring the Nets within eight, seven minutes left.
It lasted eight seconds.
Rudy Gobert came out of the timeout and finished with an and-one slam, then Donovan Mitchell put the stamp on the game with a three-pointer, giving the Jazz a 14-point lead with six minutes remaining. The Nets, behind Irving, got it within nine, but Mitchell was too much down the stretch and put home the dagger and-one with 3:20 left, 15-point Jazz lead.
He finished with 25 points, while Joe Ingles torched the Nets all night with 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Gobert was particularly fantastic, finishing with 22 points and 18 rebounds on 9-of-12 shooting.
The big man curse continues...
Utah shot 50 percent from the field and turned the ball over only eight times. The Nets also shot 50 percent from the field, but committed 12 turnovers. Ultimately, their defense failed them and so did their three-point shooting.
Kyrie Irving finished the night with 32 points, 11 assists and five rebounds on 12-of-19 shooting. He also played 32 minutes, which brings forth the question: Is he calling the shots? When Caris LeVert returned, he played one game, then sat the first game of a back-to-back due to “injury management.”
Nobody’s complaining. The Nets would’ve gotten blown out had Kyrie not been on the floor.Spencer Dinwiddie was the only other player to find any sort of rhythm, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Caris LeVert was 5-of-13 from the floor.
The three have yet to click offensively in the two games since Kyrie returned.
“It’s an adjustment... We got to figure out a way to play better off one another when we’re out there on the perimeter,” said Irving. “It’s a big guard front. We gotta use it to our advantage.”
Things aren’t so bad, but it’s going to take time for these guys to gel. They have their moments, but the three-headed monster in Irving, Dinwiddie and LeVert need to get on the same page in order for the Nets to find success.
They’ll have a shot at redemption tomorrow in Philadelphia. Where’s Jared Dudley?!
KYRIE IRVING TALKS GETTING HEALTHY AND THE BACK-TO-BACK
Irving spoke at length the media about how he feels good, intends to play in Philadelphia Wednesday and how the Nets newfound health is going to force the team to adjust...
“I feel good. Being out gave time to slow down, get healthy & put an emphasis on my body. Early in the season, I had 3 broken bones in my face & I got hit again in China. I think that’s what attributed to my shoulder impingement, trying to make up for lost time.”— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) January 15, 2020
- Kyrie Irving pic.twitter.com/mcnu6z2qUp
Kyrie Irving on tough upcoming schedule:— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) January 15, 2020
“I love it... For me, as one of the leaders on the team, I look forward to that.” pic.twitter.com/QJ0OeTOwuj
“It’s an adjustment... We got to figure out a way to play better off one another when we’re out there on the perimeter. It’s a big guard front. We gotta use it to our advantage.”— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) January 15, 2020
- Kyrie Irving on adjusting to a 3-guard set with Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert pic.twitter.com/lMYJhN5zA6
CONGRATULATIONS, IAN EAGLE!
Ian won back-to-back New York Sports Broadcaster Awards, his third in the last four years and fifth overall. Having watched the Nets since Ian first started with them, it’s always a pleasure and thrill when he’s on the call — whether it’s a 40-point blowout or a high-stake playoff game. He’s even better as a person.
Congratulations to Ian. The bird is really a GOAT
DIPPING INTO THE LUXURY TAX
Malika Andrews of ESPN got Sean Marks to admit to what fans and pundits had speculated: the Nets are willing to pay the luxury tax if it means they can contend for a championship.
“We’re going to be a tax team,” Marks told Andrews. “We are married to that. There’s a limited amount of times and ways you can continue to add to your team. You better do it now. You’re gearing up for a run.”
Then, there was this.
Joe Tsai is "absolutely" prepared to pay the luxury tax moving forward. pic.twitter.com/o7LjrOj6MB— YES Network (@YESNetwork) January 15, 2020
So, in case you were wondering... it’s very doubtful Joe Harris is going anywhere.
The full interview will be played on YES Network’s pre-game show at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
For another perspective, head on over to SLC Dunk, our Jazz sister site on SB Nation.
Next up: Tomorrow at Philadelphia!
- Box Score: Utah Jazz 118, Brooklyn Nets 107 - NBA.com
- Recap: Utah Jazz 118, Brooklyn Nets 107 (Video) - NBA.com
- Atkinson on 118-107 loss to Jazz (Video) - YES Network
- Tsai on luxury tax (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Jazz run winning streak to 10 with 118-107 victory over Nets - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Jazz, Ingles win 10th straight in beating Nets - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- Nets waste dominant Kyrie Irving performance in loss to Jazz - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets owner and GM know they are going to be a ‘tax team’ - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving’s huge night not enough in Nets’ loss to Jazz - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- The Nets, embarking on their toughest stretch of the season, will need all the help they can get - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Kyrie’s 32 points not enough as Nets fall to hot Jazz - Anthony Rieber - Newsday
- Nets’ Durant a fan of Q&A on Twitter - Anthony Rieber - Newsday
- Donovan Mitchell talks playing in front of family and friends in New York (Video) - SNY
- JAZZ 118, NETS 107: KYRIE IRVING SCORES 32 IN SECOND GAME BACK - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- NETS VS. JAZZ: KYRIE IRVING, CARIS LEVERT, AND KENNY ATKINSON TOP QUOTES - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: NETS VS. JAZZ - Brooklyn Nets
- Donovan Mitchell’s fourth-quarter surge against Brooklyn Nets gives Utah Jazz 10th straight win - Sarah Todd - Deseret News
- 3 takeaways from the Utah Jazz’s 118-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets - Jody Genessy - Deseret News