When it rains, it pours, and tonight, the Chicago Bulls will be wringing their jerseys out for hours after the Brooklyn Nets drenched them from the second quarter on. The good guys defended home court for the fifth time this season and seized a 118-109 victory to draw even at 8-8 for the year.
Before sprinting to the finish, the Nets did have their fair share of hurdles standing in their way. The first one came before tipoff, as the team ruled Nic Claxton out roughly an hour before the game with an ankle sprain. Royce O’Neale started in his place for the fifth time this year.
Chicago then leaped out to a 22-3 lead to begin the game, shooting 8=of-11 on field goals. Brooklyn started a less impressive 1-of-10 from the field.
A rough start to say the least, but the Nets later found their stride and eventually escaped this back-to-back sequence with two victories. For all the fun in between, check in on our game recap. For a few key takeaways from the contest, look no further.
Holy S**t Does this Team Love the Three
One of my favorite lines in The Social Network is when Andrew Garfield, playing Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, asks Jessie Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg if he stole that the Winklevoss twins’ idea when creating Facebook. Eisenberg simply replied, “They came to me with an idea...I had a better one.”
Well, that’s essentially what the Brooklyn Nets did tonight against the Chicago Bulls. After the Chicago started the game a scorching 8-of-12 from beyond the arc, the Nets more or less took their concept, made it their own, and made it better.
The Nets came out in the second period and nailed a league record 11 triples on 16 attempts. The teams small-ball spacing opened up the floodgates and the Bulls got swallowed up like a bug in a drain.
Franchise record 16 3's in the first half pic.twitter.com/AMgRxpXEDk— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 27, 2023
It was an impressive, but necessary explosion, as the Nets had started the game 1-of-7 from deep.
“Nah, not that I can really think of,” said Lonnie Walker IV when asked if he’s ever seen a shooting turn around like Brooklyn’s tonight. “It kinda hit a point where I was just like, damn. I looked at Mikal after Royce hit a three and he was just like ‘oh my goodness this is crazy.’ I’m happy that we kind of found that. That was very fun as a team collectively.”
Brooklyn finished the game shooting 25-of-53 from deep, hitting the second most shots from range in team history (27 vs SAC on 2/15/21). Not quite on par with building a college idea into an $800+ billion company, but you’ll take it all the same.
I applauded Brooklyn’s ability to hunt and make corner threes yesterday. But they came through tonight with an even better encore performance, going 9-of-11 from the corner. Spencer Dinwiddie was on his game driving and kicking even as Chicago shuffled around different defensive scheme’s all night. He finished with a game-high seven assists.
Brooklyn now stands as a top six team in triples attempted and made. We’ve known for some time about their love affair with the 3-ball, but tonight they did about as hard of a launch as you’ll ever see.
Sunday Scaries Are Cured?
Brooklyn entered this game with two Sunday matinees under their belt so far this year. While they split those games, they averaged 100.5 points per game and shot .419/.299 during them both. Compared to their numbers for the season at large, that’s a -14.8 scoring differential, a -5.3 field goal percentage differential, and -9.3 three point percentage differential.
Just two games, sure. But those are significant drop offs.
Well, the Pedialyte must have been getting passed around the locker room today. The Nets dropped 118 points on Chicago. Their historic 3-point shooting night saw them hit from deep at a 37.5% clip. They shot from the field at a solid 48.2% as well.
Once could call out tonight’s 7:30 start time as the culprit behind Brooklyn’s Sunday outburst, as their prior two games tipped in the mid-to-late afternoon. However, today’s game did come as the latter part of a back-to-back, so rest might not be as big a factor as you’d think.
I’ve heard NBA fans complain about their teams putting out Sunday snoozers for years on end, so Brooklyn’s push back against that notion is something to appreciate. It won’t be until over a month from now, but they’ll face a strong opponent as they try to keep it up with their next Sunday matchup coming on the road vs the reborn Oklahoma City Thunder.
Day’Ron Passing More Tests
With Nic Claxton out, Day’Ron Sharpe receiving more burn felt inevitable tonight. Even as the Nets smoked the Bulls with their shooting via their small ball attack, Sharpe still made good on that expectation, logging a season-high 27 minutes.
The third-year North Carolina export didn’t exactly fill a line in a dazzling box score. He finished with nine points, nine rebounds, three assists, and a blocked shot. However, he did come through with some impressive sequences that helped swing the game’s momentum.
Sharpe finished as a game-high +31. Say what you want about plus/minus, but a figure that large has to count for something. We saw him making a difference in ways less accustomed to his game as a roller/rebounder, leading to that figure.
Court vision was on display early. One of Sharpe’s three assists came after whipping the ball to Mikal Bridges in the corner even as multiple Chicago defenders huddled around on him. The shot gave Brooklyn their first lead of the game after previously starring an abominable deficit in the face.
Sharpe has never struck me as a guy unwilling to dive for lose balls and show some grit, but sure as hell made made an impression on me tonight as a guy who will going forward. Are hard hats and steel tips back in fashion?
Also during Brooklyn’s comeback, Sharpe at one point got down for a loose ball after wrestling it away from Chicago off the glass. He got the ball out and it was eventually swung to O’Neale who buried a three. That triple cut Chicago’s lead to single digits. While these plays do not show up in the box score, they resemble major game-altering moments.
All out hustle.— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 27, 2023
17-3 run for the squad! pic.twitter.com/qIEeSGcuLf
Dealing with two completely different types of centers in Andre Drummond and Nikola Vucevic, Sharpe also held his ground at the other end. Chicago’s bigs combined for 4-of-11 shooting on the night with four turnovers.
Obviously Sharpe did not exclusively guard Drummond and Vuc from buzzer to buzzer. Dorian-Finney Smith played admirably as a small ball big yet again. However, Sharpe deserves a nod for his 27 minutes of work against them especially with each one presenting a different kind of challenge.
It’s early, but Sharpe looks like he’s in the process of taking that third year leap the Nets expect him to this year. Brooklyn’s infamous backup center saga might finally be coming to a close.