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LeVert benched in OT as Thunder hands Nets 7th straight loss, 111-103

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Oklahoma City Thunder v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nets didn’t have Caris LeVert Monday night against Orlando.

And they didn’t have him in when it mattered most against the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night.

The Nets had a seven-point lead with 3:44 left in the game. LeVert was cooking and scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, shooting 7-of-16 in 22 minutes of action. He was the reason why the Nets had the lead in the first place.

Then, OKC made their comeback and closed out the fourth on an 8-2 run. The Nets had two chances to win after Chris Paul turned the ball over, tied at 101 apiece, with 11 seconds left. Jarrett Allen was fouled before the Nets inbounded the ball, which meant the Nets got a technical foul shot and possession.

Spencer Dinwiddie missed the free throw.

So, it became hero ball... for Dinwiddie. He drove and got a decent look on a floater, but it was too strong. The Nets scored two points in the final 2:50, and the teams went to overtime, tied at 101 apiece.

“Obviously the two last shots are very disappointing because we had a chance to win, well, the free throw and last shot, so one and one,” said Dinwiddie. “But that’s extremely disheartening. My teammates trust me to make those plays and I didn’t, so, this one’s on me for sure.

“This one’s on me for sure,” a deflated Dinwiddie said after the game.

LeVert was on the bench to start... and finish.

The Nets sat him last night due to injury management. He had a minutes restriction, but the Nets had lost six in a row entering Tuesday night. Would two or three minutes kill? Plus, didn’t he sit last night because the back-to-back was coming up? I understand the minutes restriction but it’s hard to agree with the decision.

“That’s how we work,” Kenny Atkinson said. “We were thinking about his long-term health.”

LeVert sat and the Nets struggled. They scored two points in the five minutes, shooting 1-of-8 from the floor with three turnovers. Chris Paul made them pay with his killer mid-range jumper, sinking two straight buckets to put the Thunder up by four and eventually pull away.

The Nets lost their seventh game in a row and eight out of the last nine. They’re now 16-20 on the season and continue to be in a free fall.

Final score: Thunder 111, Nets 103.

Taurean Prince picked up the recent scoring slack with 21 points with five three-pointers. Jarrett Allen came up with two monster blocks and two monster dunks which gave the Nets energy during a time when they needed it most.

But, the Nets still relied on the three ball... and it wasn’t working ... again. Prince hit his, but aside from him, the Nets were just 6-of-27 from the floor with 17 turnovers.

Chris Paul finished with 28 points, while Steven Adams grabbed 18 boards.

Despite the end, Atkinson said he likes LeVert’s progress.

“The timing is good on this,” Atkinson said. “We need his insurgence of energy. We need his, the dynamic player he is. He can help that second unit. He can help the first unit. It’s good timing.

“I want him to obviously get off the ground as quickly as possible. He obviously needs some minutes to catch his rhythm.”

Again, there are no moral victories in Brooklyn. This was another winnable game that they couldn’t close out. Missed shots, missed free throws and unforced turnovers certainly didn’t help.

Neither does sitting your best player in overtime.

JARRETT ALLEN HIGHLIGHTS

We don’t have much else. Enjoy these.

NETS SCOUTING LOTTERY PICK, YOUNG ISRAELI PROSPECT

Twitter has picked up a couple of Nets scouting trips in the last few ways...

Edwards is a 6’3” combo guard. Kennedy, who left College Station in May, is a new Nets scout.

Similarly, Madar is a 6’3” combo guard. He’s projected second round in 2020.

The Nets could have two first rounders in what is seen as a rather mediocre draft. Their own first goes to the Hawks unless the Nets don’t make the playoffs. They also have the 76ers lottery protected first rounder and a

Thanks to @Mr_Jose_82 for finding the Draft nuggets.

For a different perspective, head on over to Welcome to Loud City, our Thunder sister site on SB Nation.

Next up: Miami Heat on Friday, 7:30 PM ET.