The Brooklyn Nets came into tonight’s game on a 3-game losing streak and slipping fast in the playoff standings. With just 17 games left in the regular season and a tight race for the last 3 spots in the east, the Nets desperately needed to get out of this funk, and tonight they did. They hosted the Dallas Mavericks, a team that came into this game with a record of 27-35 as the number 14 seed in the west. The Mavericks have traded away a lot of their top players and are rebuilding for the future, so it was a perfect game for the Nets to get back on the winning track.
Rodonos Kurucs got his first career start at power forward with Treveon Graham missing tonights game due to back soreness, and he made it count in his 24 minutes of play. He scored 19 points with 6 rebounds and 1 assist shooting 7-12 from the field and 5-7 from beyond the arch. Kurucs was not the only Net to have a big game tonight. Veteran forward DeMarre Carroll had himself a night as well tonight shooting nearly from the field. He scored 22 points in just 22 minutes of play while shooting 7-9 from the field and 5-7 from three.
Caris Levert was not in the starting lineup tonight with head coach Kenny Atkinson trying to shake things up a bit and Levert came through to make the coach look like a genius. In Levert’s 27 minutes of play he scored 18 points with 5 rebounds and 5 assist, filling up the stat sheet just like the entire Nets bench did tonight, combining for 68 points in this dominating win. The Nets were able to obtain their largest lead of the season; at one point they lead this game by 44 points, which speaks for itself with how well the Nets played on both sides of the ball.
The Dallas Mavericks won’t be making the postseason this year but their fans do have some young players to look forward to watching and that includes young phenom Luka Doncic. A lot of experts and analyst said that they didn’t think Luka would be able to translate to the NBA game and boy were they wrong, Doncic has bursted onto the scene to be one of the best young rookies in the NBA this season averaging 21.0 Ppg 7.2 Reb 5.6 Ast. But tonight he didn’t look like his normal self.
It all started in the first few minutes of the first quarter when Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris put Luka on roller skates, making him fall on a pump fake and hitting the shot to complete the play. The crowd and Nets bench really enjoyed that play from sharpshooter Joe Harris. Luka played 29 minutes shooting 3-7 from beyond the arch and just 6-16 overall from the field: a disappointing performance for his standards.
The newly acquired Dallas acquired guards played in their first game back in New York since being dealt from the cross-town rival New York Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks in a blockbuster deal just before the deadline. In this trade the Knicks sent former 4th overall pick Kristaps Porzingis along with Tim Hardaway Jr, Trey Burke and veteran Courtney Lee to Dallas.
Hardaway Jr had an awful shooting night just like he has been having all season. In his 25 minutes of play he shot 0-5 from 3, and 3-11 overall on the night with just 7 points. His shooting woes continue and it doesn’t help a team that’s starving for points.
Now on to the big man on campus so to speak tonight, Dirk Nowitzki. He was possibly playing his last ever game in the Barclay’s Center. In his career he has had great numbers again the Nets with an overall record of 25-13 while averaging 21.0 PPG 7.2 Reb 2.5 Ast he has scored in double figures in all 38 games that he has played against the Nets in his career; until tonight.
He was 0-7 from the field entering the 4th quarter and was on the bench until coach Carlye inserted him into the game. With the road crowd cheering on the future hall of famer, he finally was able to get one to fall. So even though he broke his 38 game double-digit scoring streak against the Nets it was still a nice treat to see the big man score a bucket. He ended up finishing with just 4 points in 19 minutes of action shooting just 2-13 from the field overall, but if this is indeed Dirk’s last go around at the Barclay’s it was nice to see him put a couple thru the hoop.
Now that the Nets have broken this 3-game skid in impressive fashion, dominating the Mavs with a final score of 127-88, they have to get right back on that horse and play the woeful Cavs at home on Wednesday night. This is a game that they must have considering the Cavs are in the cellar of the league and playing for a top lottery pick at this point. The Nets and Cavs had themselves a wild duel to close out the first half of the season right before the All-Star break in a game that went to triple overtime. The Cavs gave the Nets a scare throughout the game but Nets start PG D’angelo Russell was able to turn a bad game into a dominate winning performance after owning the 3rd overtime and lifting his team to victory. The Nets now have 16 games remaining in the regular season with 10 of those games on the road including 7 on a West Coast trip. It is safe to say there is nothing easy about the remaining schedule for the Nets who are making a push to make the postseason for the first time since the 2013-2014 season. Before tonight they held the 7th seed in the east with the Detroit Pistons recently surpassing them with their recent red-hot streak. With the Nets win tonight they go back into an even tie with the Pistons for the 6th seed with the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic lurking behind them. The Nets host the Detroit Pistons on Monday March 11th at the Barclay’s Center which will be one of the biggest games of the year for both teams. Consider it a playoff game and I’m sure it will be a playoff atmosphere at Barclay’s, making it can’t miss basketball.