A big loss was expected. The worst game of the season was not.
The depleted Nets suffered a blowout loss to the Jazz in Salt Lake City, losing 125-102. With the crushing defeat, Brooklyn’s losing streak extends to seven games, falling to 29-23 on the year. They are now tied with the Raptors for the sixth seed in the East.
“Tough, tough game. I felt for the guys. They worked hard and I was really proud of them for keeping their spirit the whole game,” said Steve Nash after the 125-102 defeat to the Jazz Friday night. “We’re going through a tough stretch. We’re undermanned. We’re asking guys to do more and played against an excellent offensive team. The reality is it’s a very good team, played very good basketball, made shots and our guys stayed together and fought through it. I’m proud of them for that.”
Without James Harden, who wasn’t on the bench but instead was getting treatment elsewhere in the arena for his left hamstring tightness, and Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving was the lone member of the “Big Three.” And Irving didn’t have the game the Nets needed to give Brooklyn some hope.
“We got to get out of that hole with just one win, and then start a new streak from that point. It’s no time to feel like our season is in doomsday or we need to push the panic button at all points,” said Irving on the league-high losing streak.
Irving finished the blowout defeat with 15 points on 6-of-20 shooting from the field and 3-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. He grabbed three rebounds, dished three assists and had one turnover as well in 31 minutes of play. He did not play in the fourth quarter.
Cam Thomas did his best to provide some hope. The rookie guard scored a career-high 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting overall and 3-of-7 shooting from behind the arc in 31 minutes off the bench. He became the second-youngest player to tally a 30-point game, behind Cliff T. Robinson (45 points). Outside of Thomas, there weren’t many bright spots.
“You always want to win with it but it’s good to get a little accolade here and there, but it doesn’t really mean nothing because we lost by 30 as well,” said Thomas on his career-high 30-point performance. “I’d rather have the win and accolade but it’s always good to have a little accolade like that in your rookie year.”
Patty Mills finished with 11 points and DeAndre’ Bembry recorded 13 points, two boards, one assist and two steals in 27 minutes off the bench. After logging only five minutes of play, Nic Claxton reaggravated his left hamstring tightness and was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
“We didn’t know till halftime. He said he had a hamstring awareness or tightness. I just got word from the performance that at halftime he was out,” said Nash on Claxton’s hamstring tightness. “I actually haven’t had a chance to follow up on that yet.”
If you couldn’t tell, the game wasn’t pretty. In fact, Brooklyn didn’t register a single lead in the loss. The Nets started their 27th different starting lineup of the season — Irving, Mills, Claxton, Kessler Edwards and James Johnson. Brooklyn started sluggishly. The team missed their first five shots and the Jazz forged an 8-0 burst in the first 1:47 of play, resulting in Nash calling a quick timeout.
Utah went on to build a 13-point lead in the first quarter. The Nets were able to trim the lead to 33-24 after one quarter of play. Blake Griffin and Thomas led the team with seven points each while Irving had a quiet period with three points on 1-of-6 shooting overall.
The damage continued to pile on Brooklyn. Thomas attempted the keep the ship afloat and within striking distance, but Utah (shot 59.5 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point range) got any bucket they wanted against Brooklyn’s physicality-challenged defense, hitting three after three and getting easy finishes around the rim.
Brooklyn got a scoring punch from Thomas and Mills, who combined for 25 points, but failed defensively, letting up 68 points in the first half, and going down by 21 at the break.
There was little hope for a massive Nets comeback in the first half and there was none for a comeback in the second half. Brooklyn’s lackluster defense progressively got worse and by the end of the third, the deficit was 32 points and the blowout ended with a 23-point margin.
The Jazz was led by Donovan Mitchell with 27 points in 22 minutes of play. Former Net, Bojan Bogdanovic tallied 19 points in 29 minutes. Utah ups their record to 32-21 with the win.
“He was sharp tonight. When he’s able to get to his spots and be so accurate from three, it puts a ton of pressure on the defense,” said Nash on Mitchell’s performance for the Jazz. “There’s not a lot of schemes where we’re going to contain him with how sharp he was tonight.
As Sponge Bob might say...
The Nets will return to action on Sunday, February 6 when the team travels to Denver to play the Nuggets for the final game of the five-game West Coast swing. The game is scheduled to tip at 3:30 p.m. ET.
“Just stay positive. Stay through this. Stay together through this and eventually, we’ll get out of this,” said the Nets head coach on the seven-game losing streak.
For a different perspective on Friday night’s hoops, check out SLC Dunk — our sister site covering the Jazz.
- Box Score: Utah Jazz 125, Brooklyn Nets 102 - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: Nets falls to Jazz, 125-102 (Video) - Nancy Newman - YES Network
- Steve Nash on tough loss against Jazz (Video) - YES Network
- Cam Thomas on 30-point game vs. Jazz (Video) - YES Network
- I Did Not Know That: James Harden makes Nets’ All-Star history (Video) - Michael Grady - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? Utah edition (Video) - YES Network
- Mitchell scores 27 in return, leads Jazz past Nets 125-102 - Matthew Coles - AP
- Donovan Mitchell returns, scores 27 to lead Jazz past Nets - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- Nets thrashed by Jazz for league-high seventh-straight loss - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets could be open to James Harden-Ben Simmons blockbuster at trade deadline - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Joe Harris ‘confident’ he’ll be back for Nets with injury frustration mounting - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving: Brooklyn Nets need to face reality but not push ‘panic button’ after 7-game skid - Nick Friedell - ESPN
- Nets lose seventh straight, reportedly open to trading James Harden - Anthony Reiber - Newsday
- Nets reportedly open to trading James Harden - Anthony Reiber - Newsday
- James Harden to the 76ers? Here’s how it could happen - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets open to discussing James Harden trade with 76ers: report - Ryan Morik & Ian Begley - SNY
- Are Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trying to push James Harden out of town? (Video) - Craig Carton & Evan Roberts
- GALLERY: NETS VS. JAZZ - Brooklyn Nets
- Analysis: Donovan Mitchell puts on a show in return as Jazz beat Nets easily - Sarah Todd - Deseret News