DALLAS — This back-to-back factor isn’t only a psychological barrier now. It has change into an actual brick wall, and the Nets hold banging their heads into it, to no avail.
The most recent failure was Wednesday, once they wasted an opportunity to construct on a stirring rally the night time earlier than towards Miami, and as an alternative misplaced to Dallas, 119-113, at American Airways Heart.
The Nets (8-11) normally play nicely towards the Mavericks, however that didn’t matter. Not up towards their distress in back-to-backs. They’ve gone 4-1 on the primary half of back-to-backs, however fallen to 0-5 on the second leg.
“It’s positively necessary getting over that hump,” D’Angelo Russell stated earlier than the sport. “We haven’t received any to date, in order that’ll be a very good problem for us.”
It was a problem the Nets haven’t confirmed as much as. Regardless of Russell’s 17 factors, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, they stayed winless on the tail ends. And after going simply 4-11 final season — and with 9 extra on the schedule — it’s an issue that’s gotten into their heads.
“[The media] speak about it on a regular basis, so now, it’s seeped into the locker room,” coach Kenny Atkinson stated. “I feel that’s the subsequent step for us. Can we recover from the bodily barrier? Can we recover from that psychological barrier, which is the true factor? I’m actually to see how our focus is after a very good win [Tuesday].”
Likelihood is Atkinson didn’t like what he noticed. Apart from Allen Crabbe breaking out of his hunch with a season-high 27 factors, it wasn’t their greatest effort.
The Nets trailed by as many as 14, and seemed torpid on each ends of the courtroom.
Offense? They shot simply 14-of-42 from deep, and mustered simply 18 factors in a tepid second quarter.
Protection? They couldn’t keep in entrance of Harrison Barnes (a game-high 28 factors, 5-of-Eight from 3-point vary). They coughed up 61 factors and 52.Four % capturing in a primary half that noticed them path by 11 on the break.
Ed Davis (17 factors, 9 rebounds) single-handedly saved the Nets afloat within the first quarter, his 11 factors within the interval topping his season-high. Contemplating he hadn’t exceeded 10 factors all yr, that was by no means going to final. And when he cooled off within the second, so did the Nets. They’d no solutions and no offense.
Atkinson went with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as an alternative of beginning energy ahead Jared Dudley to start out the third, and it labored — after a trend. Hollis-Jefferson’s protection and vitality had helped flip across the victory in Miami a day earlier, and he sparked the Nets once more.
They outscored the Mavs 31-24, with Spencer Dinwiddie scoring 9 of his 19 factors within the interval to assist Brooklyn shut inside 4. Davis knotted it at 85-all with a putback, and once more at 87-all on a layup with 10:13 to play.
“It is a brutally powerful recreation. We’ve got not matched up nicely with these guys. They beat us final yr just a few instances,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle had stated beforehand, warning the Nets would hold clawing. That’s precisely what they did: It simply wasn’t sufficient.
“Typical of how they play. They hold attacking. They’re relentless, they don’t get discouraged in the event that they’re behind; they dangle in there. [Caris] LeVert is out: That’s an enormous loss. However Russell has stepped up his recreation in a serious means this yr, and Spencer Dinwiddie might be a Sixth Man of the Yr candidate.”
Nonetheless, after having drawn even, the Nets instantly conceded a 12-Three run. They fell behind 99-90 on a driving layup by Barnes.
Crabbe practically introduced the Nets again by himself. He hit 4 3-pointers in a 2:22 span to tug them to inside 103-99 at 4:36 left. And Jarrett Allen scored to chop the deficit to a single basket. However that’s as shut because the Nets acquired.