BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Talk about a letdown.
Better yet, talk about an embarrassment.
One night after storming back from a 21-point deficit, on the road, against Boston, the Nets got absolutely annihilated on their home floor, 118-79, Wednesday night by the Grizzlies (31-31). The 79 points were the least they’ve scored this season as they fell to 27-34 and 19-11 at home.
Moreover, the 39-point margin was the worst of the Nets Brooklyn era.
Kenny Atkinson took an unusual amount of time to come out and speak to reporters post-game.
“Kenny talked to us for a little while, some guys on the team spoke up, talked about our performance tonight,” said Joe Harris. “We talked about the high compete level, high spirit level.”
Caris LeVert had 51 points on Tuesday night, setting all sorts of records. On Wednesday, he shot 6-of-19 from the field and 0-for-5 from three. LeVert entered Wednesday averaging 25 points on 38 percent shooting since the All-Star Break.
It didn't help that his backcourt counterpart, Spencer Dinwiddie, shot 1-of-9 from the field and 0-for-7 from three. The Nets as a whole shot 33.3 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from three (7-of-42).
The Nets were out-rebounded 59-42 as Memphis destroyed them every which way in the physicality department. Memphis scored 21 second-chance points, 26 fast break points and 61 points from the bench.
The Nets had 10 second-chance points, 15 fast break points and 27 points from the bench.
The crowd emptied early in the fourth quarter. As time expired, loud boos came ringing down from the Brooklyn faithful, disappointed in their team’s effort. That lack of effort has only been an issue this year.
The one positive? Chris Chiozza. Brooklyn’s two-way point guard finished with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, providing a nice spark in the first half.
It was a somewhat close game for about 12 minutes. After that, the Grizzlies began to run away with it. They started the second half on a 12-2 run and took a 17-point lead. Later, Josh Jackson hit a 3-pointer to go up 19 in the fourth. At that point, the Nets were hardly playing him despite a 4-for-7 shooting night from three.
It got even uglier.
As Kenny Atkinson waved the white towel in the fourth, the Nets deficit only grew. Tyus Jones hit a pair of 3-pointers to put them up 27. The lead ballooned all the way up to 41.
Five players finished in double figures for Memphis, led by Jackson (19 points), Jones (18 points) and Ja Morant with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Gorgui Dieng grabbed 14 rebounds off the bench, while Jonas Valanciunas grabbed 16.
They shot 43 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three. They are on a roll, beating the Laketrs over the weekend and destroying the Hawks by 39 two nights ago.
Make what you want out of the loss. It was embarrassing. It was ugly. There was little resistance, little fight in the second night of a back-to-back. But we continue to see who these Nets are — a team that lacks an identity and still hasn’t found any sort of rhythm as we enter the month of March.
“Yeah, I mean obviously [last night] was a big win for us and you hope momentum carries over… At the end of the day, you can’t stray from things that are in your control,” said Harris.
After the game, Kenny Atkinson took forever to leave the Nets locker room and address the media, perhaps the longest he’s taken in his nearly four years at head coach.
“We didn’t like our compete level and our spirit wasn’t where it needed to be,” Atkinson said. Described it as an “old-fashioned great communication.”
MORE NEWS ON KD’S REHAB ... FROM THE PLAYER HIMSELF
Kevin Durant joined Ian Eagle and Richard Jefferson in the second quarter of the the YES Network broadcast to reveal that he has been playing in 3-on-3 scrimmages against his teammates at HSS in Brooklyn.
“I feel all right. It’s been fun, playing 3-on-3 with the guys every day,” Durant said. “I miss the routine. I’ve missed getting up every day and being one of the guys, going to practice, going to shoot-arounds.
“It’s been difficult, being away from the scene. But I’m about nine months out [from surgery], so I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.”
Durant also joked that his teammates have not gone easy on him, “Yeah, definitely,” Durant said. “Especially Theo (Pinson) — he’s a hack.”
No word on when he might go 5-on-5 ... and what that would lead to. KD did talk about how the he sees the game —and his teammates— from his perch on the bench.
“I’m just looking at a game from a different lens, just seeing the landscape of the league, definitely just looking at our team and just seeing guys get better every day,” Durant said. “I’m seeing practice habits. I’m seeing how they transfer to the games. It’s a different feel, I guess.
”You look at lineup switches and which guys can play well with each other in the half lineups. So all that stuff, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s best for myself and for the rest of the team. And having the guys like (Joe) Harris, Kyrie, myself, Taurean (Prince) and Spencer (Dinwiddie) that can score the basketball, it’s definitely going to make us unpredictable, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Grizzlies bench did the Nets celebration dance after blowing them out pic.twitter.com/KlbmcptIhK— The Render (@TheRenderNBA2) March 5, 2020
Too bad we won’t play them in the Finals.
AN RJ MOMENT
“Richard, can you tell my wife hi?”— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) March 5, 2020
RJ: I’ll text her
There are never too many RJ moments.
NETS2020 DOT COM
Oh and by the way, and this all happened on the night the Nets advertised Kevin Durant on flyers and sweatshirts for season ticket holders. Unveiled a new website and all.
“Kings of New York?!?” Wait a minute! With all of the Knicks issues this week —including more fans being tossed from the Garden on Wednesday— could the Nets be planning a full frontal assault on the Knicks?
For a different perspective, head on over to Grizzly Bear Blues, our Grizzles sister site on SB Nation. They’re happy over there.
Next up: Spurs on Friday.
- Box Score: Memphis Grizzlies 118, Brooklyn Nets 79 - NBA.com
- Recap: Memphis 118, Brooklyn Nets 79 (Video) - NBA.com
- Jefferson and Eagle reflect on Nets loss (Video) - Richard Jefferson & Ian Eagle - YES Network
- Atkinson on frustrating loss to Grizzlies (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Grady breaks down historic game vs. Celtics (Video) - Michael Grady - YES Network
- Atkinson on program building win (Video) - YES Network
- Grizzlies rout Nets 118-79 in Brooklyn for 3rd straight win - Michael Scotto - AP
- Grizzlies demolish Nets, climb back to .500 - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- Nets suffer massive letdown in loss to Grizzlies - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Nets’ Kevin Durant is ‘playing three-on-three’ every day - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Marcus Smart loses it on refs after Celtics’ meltdown against Nets - Jeremy Layton - New York Post
- Nets booed out of Barclays Center after mauling by Grizzlies - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- One night after comeback win, Nets suffer letdown - Laura Albanese - Newsday
- Nets’ Durant: Warriors dynasty ‘will never be duplicated’ - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Is Caris LeVert now the Nets’ third star? And other thoughts on the team - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic New York
- Nets’ Kevin Durant shares Achilles rehab update with eye on 2020-21 - Garrett Stepien
- GRIZZLIES 118, NETS 79: BROOKLYN DROPS ITS HOME RETURN - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: NETS VS. GRIZZLIES - Brooklyn Nets
- Grizzlies find shooting touch, turn up defense in win over Nets - Evan Barnes - Memphis Commercial Appeal