Nets lose winable game in OKC before tough homestand – The Mercury News


The Nets’ five-game road trip ended with a 121-107 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

They now travel back to Brooklyn for a four-game match that will define the rest of the season.

Thunder All-Star star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – with help from rising star Josh Giddey and net killer Lugentz Dort – ended Brooklyn’s impressive streak, which included convincing wins over two NBA championship contenders: the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets.

Tuesday gave the Nets an opportunity to clinch a win in a game that could have helped the team make the playoffs.

Instead, the Nets fell short – just before the schedule changed.

Gilgeous-Alexander had his 38th 30+ point game of the season, Giddey recorded a triple-double and Dort hit six threes for 24 points and nine assists.

He has scored at least 20 or more in each of his last four games against the Nets.

The Nets, who built a reputation as the best team in basketball in the third quarter over the previous six games, went into halftime with 10 points but finished the third quarter with eight points.

Mikal Bridges finished with a team-high 34 points, and Cam Johnson was 23 on 7-of-13 shooting from the field.

The Nets led by as many as 16 points in the first half before the offense exploded in the third quarter.

And after the Thunder found ways to cut through the Net’s defense down the stretch, Brooklyn is ready to host the NBA’s elite at Barclays Center for a four-game stint that is sure to test the limits of their newfound No. 1 defense.

The Nets host the Western Conference’s No. 3 Sacramento Kings on Thursday, host Nikola Jokic and the West’s No. 1 Nuggets at a matinee on Sunday, then welcome Donovan Mitchell and fourth-placed Cleveland Eastern Conference Cavaliers. back games.

The Nets just defeated the Nuggets in Denver in one of their best games of the season, but the Nuggets believe they were caught sleeping.

The stretch then continues on the road in Miami against a Heat team that may have turned the curve as it reached seventh in the East, followed by a trip to Orlando hours later in the second straight game against a long, athletic, agile Magic team.

The Nets came out of the All-Star break with the NBA’s seventh toughest remaining schedule in all of basketball. They lost their first four games out of halftime, then won five games in six attempts before losing the ball to the Thunder on Tuesday.

From this point forward, the Nets have the 12th lightest schedule, although their next six-game stretch is the toughest on a list of games any team must face.

Brooklyn entered a virtual tie with the Knicks on Tuesday for fifth place, and the two teams are tied 2-2 in the season series, meaning the tiebreakers would drop to a divisional record. The Knicks are 8-8 in the Atlantic Division and the Nets are 7-8 in their final divisional game on April 9 in Brooklyn in the season finale against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.

And if the Nets finish with a more favorable record than the Knicks in their final sprint to the postseason, they could escape No. 3 76ers, who are three and a half games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a much more favorable first-round opponent if the Nets hold on to fifth place in the East.

If they don’t, with the Heat rising, there’s no guarantee the Nets will keep six, meaning every game counts going forward if the Hets want to remain a playoff team this season.

Starting with a close stretch at the Barclays Center – hosting Sacramento, Denver and Donovan Mitchell twice – before a trip to Miami to face a motivated Heat squad in the back-to-back first leg soon after.


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