Failing Grades: The Brooklyn Nets fall to the Miami Heat despite a Brook Lopez offensive explosion.The Brooklyn Nets came into last night as losers of 19 out of their last 21 games and the owners of the worse record in the NBA. To start the game, the Nets played like they had something to prove, rallying behind their seven-foot center, Brook Lopez, and his career-high six threes in the first half.
After taking an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter, everything began to fall apart for the Nets. Lopez, who scored 31 points through three quarters, was unable to maintain his offensive firepower. The Heat held the Nets big man to two points in the fourth on 0-4 shooting.
Dion Waiters took over the game, scoring 14 of his 24 points in the fourth, including a dagger three with 6.8 seconds remaining in the game.
The Nets continue to struggle to close out games. They have lost a league-high 16 games while leading after the first two quarters. After the game, Head Coach Kenny Atkinson addressed his team’s sloppy fourth quarter play, “We couldn’t get stops … You can’t give up thirty-eight points in the fourth quarter, that’s way too many”.
In the fourth, the Nets abandoned their game plan. They started to force the ball to Lopez in difficult positions, therefore, making it easier defensively for the Heat. The Nets desperately need one of their young players to mature and become a complimentary piece to Lopez in the offense.
Things don’t get easier for the Nets who face the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Friday night.