In the seventh and final game of their road trip, the Brooklyn Nets ran out of energy in the second half and lost to the Utah Jazz, 116-107. The Nets played well enough in the first half, but their defense was slow in the second half and Utah was able to hit too many difficult shots to allow Brooklyn to stay in the game. Randy Foye led Utah with 26 points and shot 8-9 from 3, with almost all of his scoring coming in the second half. Al Jefferson and Mo Williams both also had 20. For Brooklyn, Brook Lopez had 27 points and 4 blocks while Deron Williams had 21 and 11 assists in his return to Utah. C.J. Watson had 20 off the bench.
The first half tonight was very fast-paced. Neither team was missing in the first quarter and not much defense was being played. The Nets had more turnovers in the quarter and were losing by 5 after 1 because of that. In the second quarter, the Nets got a big lift from their bench, mainly C.J. Watson and Andray Blatche. The Nets also clamped down on defense and began forcing some turnovers. They led by 2 at halftime.
The third quarter was simliar to many third quarters we have seen this year. The Nets collapsed due to turnovers and not getting back on defense after turnovers. Also, this is when Randy Foye got hot. He made five 3’s in the quarter, which all really hurt the Nets. He would continue to hit shots in the fourth. They were outscored by 11 in the third quarter to head into the fourth down by 9. The fourth quarter was similar to the third. The Jazz continued hitting their shots and the Nets couldn’t get stops to allow them to get back into the game.
We can’t be too hard on the Nets after this game. It was the 7th game of their road trip. Most teams don’t have road trips that long all year. Also, it was the second game of a back-to-back at elevation which is extremely hard to play through. This explains the lack of defensive intensity the Nets displayed in the second half. They were just really tired.
With this loss, catching either Indiana or New York becomes especially difficult. The Nets are now 4 games behind both teams with only a handful of games remaining on their schedule. Even though the Nets did not play badly at all on their road trip (4-3), in order to make up the games they were behind, they needed to really go at least 5-2 which did not happen. Now, the goal has to be locking up the 4-seed to secure home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Reggie Evans: C
Reggie did a nice job rebounding again tonight, but his offense and defense both did not show up. Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors both had way too many easy looks and Reggie was not nearly as aggressive on offense as he had been in his last two games.
Brook Lopez: B
Lopez had a great statline: 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks, but many of his points came in garbage time when Utah was really just trying not to foul. 4 blocks are good, but blocks don’t always determine how a player played on defense. Al Jefferson shot 10-17 from the field. That is a better indication.
Deron Williams: B+
Deron was aggressive early on and had a nice 20-10 game in his return to Utah. Towards the end of this game, he was finding Brook Lopez wide open for easy dunks. I wish he would have done that more earlier.
Andray Blatche: B
Blatche played well enough tonight, finishing with 10 points and 4 blocks in 19 minutes. He has been shooting very well from mid-range on this road trip. Hopefully he can stay focused and keep that up when the Nets return home.
C.J. Watson: A-
Watson had a great game for the Nets off the bench. He shot 8-13 from the field and 3-6 from 3 and finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Offensively, he was very good. Defensively, he was not great. Although he wasn’t responsible for most of Randy Foye’s 3-pointers, he was guarding Mo Williams, who scored 20.
Marshon Brooks: C-
Marshon’s defense is seriously becoming a problem, and that is why the Nets need Joe Johnson back now. Marshon allowed Randy Foye to get hot in the third quarter by giving him lots of room. Once Foye got hot, there was no way to cool him off, even after Marshon switched off of him. Offensively Marshon wasn’t very good either, shooting 4-10 from the field. Decision-making continues to be a problem for him.
The Nets will finally return home following tonight’s game and spend a couple of days with their families before getting back on the road for a game in Cleveland on Wednesday. FRWD will have full coverage of that one.