After that first game and a victory against Detroit, it seemed like the Nets were poised for a successful preseason. Unfortunately, the reality set in quickly and the team promptly lost the next four games. By themselves, these losses are hardly alarming – teams with so many new faces always take a while to gel.
The good news? The real games will start very soon. And it can’t be denied Kenny Atkinson tried a lot of different things in order to find out what works, experimenting with different plays, lineups and rotations. The preseason finale might serve as a final experiment and a last chance for some players to crack the rotation.
The team’s backup point guard position is still under a big question mark. With Greivis Vasquez resting against the Celtics, Isaiah Whitehead had a big chance to impress the training staff. However, he went 1-6 from the field (0-2 from 3) and didn’t record an assist in 17 minutes.
After Gutierrez, Beech, Budinger and Mockevicius were waived earlier today, Yogi Ferrell remains the only player with an unguaranteed contract on the roster. He might get a shot against the Knicks, but the odds of him making the final team aren’t great.
Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks 10-20-16 Game Recap
Following another meltdown in the third period, the Nets lost their preseason finale to the Knicks, 116-111. Despite heading into the regular season with a 1-5 record, Kenny Atkinson and the rest of the coaching staff can be happy with how their team looks at this point. Learning to execute an entirely new offensive plan has always been a lengthy process. For now, we should take solace in the fact that the Nets are watchable again.
Thanks to a couple of and-ones early on, the Nets got off to a fast start. However, they had trouble containing Joakim Noah on the defensive end. The French veteran scored 10 points in quick succession, keeping the Nets from pulling away. After the first 12 minutes, the teams were tied at 24.
The second period was the Joe Harris show. He went 4-5 from the field (2-2 from 3), giving the Nets a chance to make some distance. The rest of the team followed suit, converting 6 of their 10 3-point attempts and forcing 7 turnovers. However, the visitors managed to finish off the half with a 10-3 run, cutting the Nets’ lead to 2.
A similar story repeated at the end of the third quarter, with the Knicks making a 13-0 run and grabbing a 9-point lead. As it soon turned out, this was the deciding point. Though the Nets remained in the game until the very end, the visitors never allowed them to retake the lead. They had a chance to tie the game with 19 seconds left, but Yogi Ferrell turned the ball away, allowing the Knicks to score on a fast break.
Jeremy Lin had a busy night. He registered his first double-double for Brooklyn with game-high 24 points and 10 assists, but he also had 8 turnovers to go with it. Thirteen of those points came in the final period, with the Nets making a last-ditch effort to come back. Despite not running the pick-and-roll all that much, Lin has enjoyed a great preseason. He averaged 17.2 points and 5.6 assists on 61.9% from the field and 50% from the three-point land.
Harris finished the game with 15 points in 18 minutes while shooting 3-3 from behind the arc. Lopez, Bogdanovic and Hamilton all recorded double figures as well. Greivis Vasquez bounced back with a nice all-around game, registering 5 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with 21 points on 8-18 from the field.
Atkinson gave a chance to 14 players against the Knicks, with only Isaiah Whitehead staying on the bench. The starting lineup of Lin, Foye, Hollis-Jefferson, Booker and Lopez is not likely to change come the Opening Night. Caris LeVert will not be available until later on in the season, as he’s still recovering from a foot surgery.
In what’s becoming a recurring theme, the Nets were outrebounded again (46 to 36). In a close game like this one, 10 rebounds make a big difference on the scoreboard. Somewhat worryingly, they were also the worst defensive team in the NBA this preseason, allowing 111.2 points in 6 games. The Nets will now get a 6-day rest before heading to Boston for their season opener at the TD Garden.
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