clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nightmare in Brooklyn: Nets drop 5th straight in wake of Kyrie Irving news

New, comments
Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Caris LeVert dribbled into a defender, stepped back and nailed a 3-pointer to put the Nets up by one late in the third quarter. In Brooklyn, a sold-out crowd, filled with hyped-up Nets fans, yelled and cheered for LeVert who suited up for the first time in over seven weeks after thumb surgery.

That was the high point of the evening.

The night was perhaps the most bittersweet of the year for the Nets and its fans. LeVert was back and playing well, but superstar point guard, Kyrie Irving, spoke to reporters before the game about the possibility of season-ending surgery if things don’t get better with his shoulder.

But LeVert’s return shifted from a bittersweet day to an utter nightmare, perhaps losing Kyrie for an indefinite amount of time while also losing their fifth straight game 121-102 to the Toronto Raptors, Saturday night. The Raptors played without Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell.

The Nets have lost six of seven and dropped to 16-18 on the season. Furthermore, they’ve lost 17 games out of the last 18 against Toronto.

So, NOW that we know the news, it’s safe to say Kyrie (and Kevin Durant) will not be here to save the day anytime soon. These are the guys they have to rock with. No more excuses.

The Nets once led by 16 points in the second quarter following a 16-5 run, but Toronto answered with a 15-0 run of their own, bridging from the second to third quarter, turning a 16-point lead into a three-point deficit entering the fourth quarter.

To be clear, Toronto finished the first half on a 12-0 run. No timeout from Kenny Atkinson. The Nets couldn’t come up with a stop and couldn’t hold on to the ball.

A foreshadow for the rest of the night.

Since falling down by 16, Toronto went on to hit 18 of their next 34 shots. It was a 17-6 extended run that gave them a 12-point lead in the fourth, yet another hole for Brooklyn to dig themselves out of.

Fred VanVleet hit a three to put Toronto up 108-97 with 3:18 left; Serge Ibaka converted an and-one with 2:21 left to go up 15. And, to cap things off, Kyle Lowry nailed a three-pointer and did the JET celebration on Barclays Center court, as he and the Raptors capped off a 10-0 run with 2:07 remaining.

Game over. Insult to injury.

Lowry dropped 20 points in the second half, while Fred VanVleet dropped 22 in the second half. Lowry had just six in the first half and VanVleet had only seven.

Want more?

The Nets committed 24 turnovers which led to 32 points for Toronto; They were outscored 73-40 in the second half — 85-50 in the final 27:36 of the game. After hitting their first 6-of-10 three-pointers, the Nets finished 13-of-35 — 7-of-25 in the final three quarters.

Spencer Dinwiddie (team-high 23 points) has scored 20+ points in 11 straight games at Barclays Center (dating back to 11/18 vs. Pacers). That’s longest streak of 20-point games at home for a Net since Vince Carter did it in 13 straight games in 2005-06 season.

Kyrie Irving and/or Kevin Durant ain’t walking through that door anytime soon.

It is what it is.

—-

KYRIE IRVING UPDATE

After nearly eight weeks of being sidelined due to shoulder impingement, the Nets finally had Kyrie Irving take the stand and give an update on his injury. The Nets had gone silent about the severity, and remained awfully vague with his recovery.

I spoke about the importance of the Nets being transparent about the injury last night. Thank you, Nets.

It doesn’t sound like Kyrie will be back any time soon. So, it is what it is.

Watch the full stream here:

CARIS RETURNS

Caris LeVert returned to a loud ovation from the Brooklyn crowd, entering the game at the 4:53 mark of the first quarter. He finished with 13 points in 16 minutes on 5-of-7 shooting. He looked like his old self with that quick first step and herky-jerky style of play.

Good to see him back.

NETS MAKE IT OFFICIAL WITH CHRIS CHIOZZA

One day after waiving two-way Henry Ellenson, the Nets announced they had signed Chris Chiozza, a 5’11” point guard off the Capital City Go-Go, to a two-way deal.

In 10 games (nine starts) this season for the Go-Go, he averaged 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 2.6 steals in 31.1 minutes per contest. Chiozza signed a two-way contract with the Washington Wizards earlier this season on Oct. 21, and appeared in 10 games for the Wizards, averaging 2.7 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steals in 12.3 minutes per game. The Nets are expected to add shooting guard Justin Anderson, a 6’5” shooting guard to a 10-day deal.

Next question for Nets will be whether to give Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot a standard NBA deal. Right now, he’s on a two-way deal but has worked himself in Brooklyn’s rotation. Under league rules, a team must decide what to do with a two-way contract once the player reaches 45 days with the parent club. Sarah Kustok said Saturday that TLC has now racked up more than 30 days meaning the Nets will have to move soon.

CLAXTON BACK ‘VERY SOON’

Kenny Atkinson said another of the Nets walking wounded, rookie Nicolas Claxton, would be returning “very soon” from his hamstring soreness. Early in the week, Alex Schiffer reported that the 6’11” big was one to two weeks away.

The Nets plan to have Claxton play himself back into game shape by giving him minutes with Long Island. The Nets G League affiliate could use another big man after the Nets waived Henry Ellenson.

RONDAE RETURNS

Former Net favorite Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was back in Brooklyn on Saturday, once the glue guy for the Nets organization. He was welcomed back with open arms...

In the middle of Hollis-Jefferson’s rookie season in 2015-2016, the Nets fired GM Billy King and head coach Lionel Hollins. Rondae was the only one from the King era to make it out – and last a three years under Sean Marks. Marks kept RHJ and gave him a shot, despite Kenny Atkinson’s offensive scheme which simply didn’t match his game.

But, Rondae had a solid showing in his second year under Atkinson. He was the primary starter at the 4 and had a breakout year, averaging 13.9 points and 6.8 rebounds. However, entering this past season, Hollis-Jefferson was hobbled after straining his hip in Jeremy Lin’s charity basketball game in China.

He fell in and out of the rotation. The Nets had expanded their depth and inserted guys that played the style of ball they wanted to play. Still, his work ethic and high character fit the Brooklyn culture and he helped build on it by being the “glue guy” around the locker room ... and one of the better dancers on the bench. Between the Nets’ analytical-heavy approach and their desire to clear space for free agents, the writing was on the wall.

All the best to him in Toronto.

For a different perspective, head on over to Raptors HQ, our Raptors sister site on SB Nation.

—-

NEXT UP: Orlando Magic on Monday in the Magic City