The Nets dropped to 4-7 on the season after a frustrating 101-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Brooklyn came roaring out of the gates with a 35-point first quarter and led by as many as 16 in the second period. They appeared primed to end their two-game skid, but instead, extended their streak to three after a disappointing second half.
Kyrie Irving ran the offense like a well-oiled machine, dishing eight assists in the first half alone. Then, everything began to fall off the rails. The Nets hit a cold spell, and Brooklyn put up enough bricks to build a highrise.
Despite regaining a 14 point cushion early in the third quarter, they weren’t able to hang on for the win. Denver gouged a porous Nets defense for 52 points in the final two frames, and the offense sputtered to collect 32 total second-half points.
While the game was a tale of two halves for Brooklyn, it also told a larger story that has defined their season thus far. 48 minutes of inconsistent execution, another blown double-digit lead, and the inability to finish a tight contest.
Brooklyn entered the night sporting the league’s sixth-best scoring offense at 119.2 points per game, but fell pitifully short, scoring a season-low 93 points. And when you’re a team that depends so heavily on the three-ball to seal your fate, knocking down 8-of-38 long-distance attempts is a death sentence.
Of course, failing to score in the final 3:31 of the game did nothing to aid the Nets’ cause. Neither did the absence of Caris LeVert, who missed consecutive games for the first time this season after suffering torn ligaments in his right thumb in a loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
Though Kyrie Irving played through the pain of a right shoulder impingement, it was clear he wasn’t operating at 100% out on the court. He led the way for Brooklyn with 17 points and nine assists but found little help elsewhere.
Joe Harris, Taurean Prince, Garrett Temple, and Spencer Dinwiddie combined for 45 points on an abysmal 17-of-55 from the field. The quartet wasn’t shy when it came to shooting their shot, and it might have been better to show some restraint.
The Nets nightmare of a road trip ends Saturday when they travel to the Windy City to take on the 4-8 Chicago Bulls. Brooklyn has just one win away from Barclays Center this season, and this might be their best chance to add a second to their rotten road resume.