Being dissed wasn’t impetus enough. Nor was winning Game 1 in Philly’s building, or Saturday’s near win. Nor were the $85,000 in NBA fines and the ability to stick it to Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the entire team of Philadelphia 76ers. Not even Philly fans’ chants of “Dudley sucks” or the excitement of returning to Atlantic and Flatbush Thursday for a Game 6 in front of a sold-out, wild, frenzied Barclays Center Brooklyn crowd was impetus enough for just one more win on Tuesday night.
The Brooklyn Nets played horribly in Philadelphia, Game 5, Tuesday, being outscored 32-15 in the first quarter, and 28-16 in the second, 60-31 at the half. The final score, 122-100.
Philly went on a 14-0 run to start the game before the Nets were able to get their first points, a Jarrett Allen dunk from a Spencer Dinwiddie alley oop at the 6:08 mark.
Brooklyn didn’t score again until 3:19 when Spencer Dinwiddie hit a foul shot after missing the first, 1 of 2.
“I’m surprised we didn’t come out with more grit, more fight,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “There was no real pushback.”
“They did whatever they wanted before we could even get on the board,” noted Nets guard D’Angelo Russell, about the first five minutes and 52 seconds of the game. Decimated, Brooklyn couldn’t overcome the negative 29 points. They were done in the first 24 minutes. The Sixers won the series in five games.
Brooklyn now prepares for the summer while Philadelphia advances to the second round of Eastern Conference playoffs to play the Toronto Raptors.
Brooklyn ended the season with a 42 and 40 regular season record, a sixth place finish to face the Sixers in the first round of playoffs. This was their first postseason appearance since the 2014-2015 season.
The Nets blossomed this year after three straight 20 win seasons, 21 and 61, 20 and 62, and 28 and 54. Although they’re still missing a player or two that will totally define them, Brooklyn has developed an impressive roster that includes Russell, Dinwiddie, Allen, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Rodan Kurocs, DeMarre Carroll and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. This off season will determine whether Brooklyn can stay in the upper echelons, or returns to the lower rungs of the Eastern Conference.