So, what is up with Brooklyn? Two wins against top Eastern Conference teams, the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons, home and away, and a one-point road loss to the Oklahoma Thunder Tuesday night that could have extended the Nets’ win streak to three games.
“We gave up 35 points in the fourth quarter, and made a ton of mistakes,” said Brooklyn’s head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I loved our competitive spirit all game, how we defended, but I thought in the fourth quarter we made some fundamental mistakes.”
OKC’s three-point shooting, five-for-eight, rallied them in the fourth quarter after hitting only two of their 17 attempts, but it was point guard Russell Westbrook’s lay-up with 3.3 seconds remaining in the game that put the Thunder on top 109-108 after coming from 15 points behind. Spencer Dinwiddie had just given Brooklyn the lead, 108-107, with a lay-up of his own. Westbrook put down 32 on the night and Paul George 28. Carmelo Anthony, the third member of their Big 3, was held to 10.
Brooklyn was only down by four points going into the second quarter, where they outscored Oklahoma 33-17. Brooklyn only lost the third quarter by one. The loss was their 30th (18 wins) this season.
Shooting guard Joe Harris led all Brooklyn scorers with 19 points off the bench, followed by 13 points each by DeMarre Carroll and Dinwiddie. Allen Crabbe and rookie Jarret Allen each contributed 12 on the night.
Brooklyn continues their five-game road trip in Milwaukee tomorrow night (Friday) against the Milwaukee Bucks, now coached by former Bucks assistant Joe Prunty, named the interim. Former head coach Jason Kidd, who got his first head coaching job with the Nets, was fired Monday afternoon before Milwaukee’s game against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns also fired their head coach earlier in November, the first team to do so this season. Kidd was fired after two-and-a-half years on the Bucks’ sidelines.
The Nets, who’ve dropped from 11th place earlier this month to 13th, conclude their travels for the month with a game Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, a back-to-back, and then against the New York Knicks Tuesday night in Manhattan. They’ll play the Philadelphia 76ers at home at Barclays Center Wednesday, Jan. 31, another back-to-back to end the month of January.