Carmelo Anthony
(Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets battle against Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets, but ultimately fall short because of — who else? — Carmelo Anthony.

  • Brooklyn Nets 111 (3-6)
  • Houston Rockets 119 (2-5)
  • NBA, East, Final, Box Score
  • Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

The Brooklyn Nets are very similar to the Houston Rockets. They both shoot a lot of threes and they both play a lot of pick and roll. That’s becoming the norm around the league, but the Rockets and Nets play very similar styles nonetheless.

Without James Harden, the Nets had an opportunity to strike against a wounded squad that was sputtering to start the season. From the onset, it appeared the Nets would take down the Rockets. Caris LeVert and D’Angelo Russell were unstoppable early and the Nets were able to build a double-digit lead in the second quarter.

Russell didn’t play for the entire fourth quarter. Kenny Atkinson is not afraid to ride the hot hand and lately, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie have been more reliable than Russell, plain and simple.

LeVert was phenomenal, scoring 29 points on 10-for-17 shooting. The Rockets had no answer for him early. For Lumber Joe — as Ian Eagle is affectionately calling the bearded Joe Harris — had another ho-hum night from behind the arc. He dropped 18 points and was perfect on all four of his three-point attempts.

But the young team is still learning how to win games. They’re undoubtedly good enough to play with anyone in the NBA, but they still have to take one more step forward. They let the Rockets climb back to within five at halftime.

The second half was controlled by Carmelo Anthony and the Rockets. They snagged an early lead and kept the Nets at bay in large part due to Melo’s unreal shooting performance. Melo finished with 28 points on 6-for-9 shooting from deep. He must have felt comfortable coming back to New York — yes, Brooklyn counts.

The Nets hung tough in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets showed their experience and never let the Nets complete the comeback. Chris Paul was a monster, scoring 32 points, snatching seven rebounds, and dishing out 11 assists. Box score stats are obviously inflated this year. Teams are averaging around 112 points per game.

Their record may not indicate it, but the Nets are so close to becoming a good team. Games like these will make them better in the long run, but the Nets lose another winnable game and it’s back to the drawing board for Kenny Atkinson.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.