Searching for their fourth win in five games, the Brooklyn Nets Monday fell to Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors 109-98 at Barclays Center.
The loss drops the Nets to 20-29 on the season and one and a half games back of the Atlanta Hawks for the last play-in spot.
Brooklyn wasted a prime opportunity to get a win over the Warriors who made four of 22 threes. That’s as good as it gets against sharpshooters like the Warriors, yet the Nets couldn’t do it.
Brooklyn was quite shorthanded, a common theme this season as Ben Simmons, Day’Ron Sharpe and Dorian Finney-Smith were all ruled out. Much like their game in Phoenix, the Nets missed what these players brought in their size and defensive prowess.
As a result, the Nets lost the rebounding battle 38-60. It also doesn’t help your chances when Curry comes to town and your home court resembles the Chase Center based on who the fans cheered for the entire game.
Cam Thomas led the way in scoring for the Nets with 18 points, shooting a dreadful 4-21 from the field. Nic Claxton and Mikal Bridges tacked on 15 and 13 points to go along with seven blocks from the lanky center.
Cam Johnson had himself an efficient night of shooting, making three of his six three point attempts with 13 points total and was also a force on the defensive side, adding a steal and two blocks of his own.
Initially, the Nets smothered the Warriors with relentless pressure and active hands. The Nets had tipped passes galore, with five steals and eight blocks in the first half that led to several transition buckets.
With all of the turnovers and sloppy play, the Warriors were lucky to only be trailing by six at the end of the second quarter.
Curry’s first three of the game came with 4:29 left in the first half which energized the majority Warriors crowd and brought their deficit to within three points.
After Jacque Vaughan’s second successful coach’s challenge, both teams went shot for shot in the final three minutes of the half.
At the start of the third quarter, both teams picked up right where they left off, seeing who would blink first. Unfortunately, it was the Nets.
The Warriors set the tone in the first five minutes of the second half led by the young upstart Jonthan Kuminga, who scored the first six points of the third for Golden State. He finished the game with a 28 point double-double, one point below Curry who had 29 points, and was the only Warrior with a made three.
Steve Kerr adjusted in the second half and exploited Brooklyn’s switch-heavy defensive scheme with a good dosage of cutting. On the defensive side, the script seemed to switch as the fatigue set in for Brooklyn’s injury riddled squad.
As he often does, Curry hit another gear in the fourth. He exploded for 12 points, including several clutch baskets that culminated in a teardrop floater plus a foul, icing the game after sinking the free throw with 1:19 left and an 11 point lead.
To add insult to injury, Nic Claxton got ejected towards the end of the game after shoving rookie Brandin Podziemski to the floor after getting out hustled for a rebound. The incident perfectly encapsulated how the Nets felt after letting the game get so far away from them so quickly.
The Nets have been quite competitive in a lot of their losses. However, without Ben Simmons, the play-in does not look realistic.
The Nets host the Dallas Mavericks tonight at Barclays Center.