The Warriors were too much for the injury depleted Nets.
Although it’s not time to hit the panic button just yet, there are definitely some concerns in “Nets World” right now as the team is currently in a free fall down the Eastern Conference standings. Saturday night saw a chance for Brooklyn to pick up a much-needed signature win however that would not be the case as the Warriors thwarted the Nets’ comeback efforts to hold on for a 110-106 win.
Heralded as The Splash Bros (Curry/Thompson) vs The Dribble Bros (Kyrie/Harden), the matchup lost a little gusto when it was announced an hour before the game that James Harden was out due to a right-hand strain. So, it would just be the Kyrie Irving show against one of the top teams in the league.
And what a show it was! Kyrie Irving (32 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) put one arguably his best performance of the season so far.
He started the game a bit slow shooting-wise but found a rhythm by getting to the foul line. The Warriors also did a good job of blitzing and sending double teams at Irving to get the ball out of his hands.
Irving was Brooklyn’s only real means of offense in the first half aside from a couple of Patty Mills’ three-pointers in the second quarter.
The third quarter is really where Irving shined as he scored 14 of his team-high 32 points. In a sense he channeled his inner Uncle Drew, hitting every and any type of shot to will Brooklyn back from their second-half deficit.
His determined effort carried over into the fourth as Brooklyn leaned on him down the stretch. After Klay Thompson hit what looked to be a dagger three with 12 seconds left, Irving responded with a three of his own to keep the Nets alive from the same spot he hit his infamous shot over Stephen Curry in the NBA Finals.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 30, 2022
Unfortunately, Irving would be on the giving end of a questionable inbound foul that wasn’t challenged by Steve Nash.
The Nets received solid contributions from their big men all night. It was shades of the Tampa Bay Rays and their pitching. Nic Claxton served as the opener and had a very nice opening quarter.
Blake Griffin provided a spark, and some hustle plays during the middle of the game and LaMarcus Aldridge was one of the key catalysts for the Nets during their run in the third and fourth quarters. Unfortunately for Brooklyn Aldridge left the game midway through the final period and did not return to the game.
Overall, this was one of the grittier performances from the Nets on the year. Already coming into the game as underdogs with the tandem of Irving and Harden, Brooklyn gave the Western Conference’s second-best team a run for their money.
The duo of Curry and Thompson didn’t have their most dominant game as the Splash Bros only combined for 35 points. However, the two did their damage in the fourth quarter when it mattered the most. Andrew Wiggins (24 points, eight rebounds) was also a driving force for Golden State, particularly in the first half.
Despite shooting an abysmal 34 percent from the field (4-for-14 on threes) in the first half, the team was able to right the ship offensively in the second half. Trailing by as many as 19 points, Brooklyn went on a 20-4 run to close the third quarter thanks to not only Kyrie but also some heady defense and timely threes from James Johnson and Patty Mills.
Patty would actually be Brooklyn’s second-leading scorer, pouring in 24 points while sinking six triples in the process.
Following the loss, Brooklyn now sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. They’re 2.5 game behind the first place Chicago Bulls in the conference and one game back of Philadelphia in the division. It’s a tumultuous time for Brooklyn right now as they seem to be limping toward the All-Star break.
Although James Harden should return for the remainder of the road trip, the status of LaMarcus Aldridge is up in the air as it is yet another blow dealt to a team already without its best player in Kevin Durant and best shooter in Joe Harris.
Not a good sign for Nets — Aldridge headed to get checked out. On crutches as he gets out of locker room. pic.twitter.com/Lf4sOBE2lh
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) January 30, 2022
Ironically this road trip couldn’t have come at a better time as it looks as if Brooklyn will be needing every ounce of Kyrie Irving they can get.