Nets miss opportunity for 4-1 road trip with loss to Thunder

Nets miss opportunity for 4-1 road trip with loss to Thunder

The Brooklyn Nets completed a five-game road trip with a 3-2 record but missed out on an opportunity to make it 4-1 by blowing a double-digit lead in a 121-107 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Paycom Center.

Despite the loss, the Thunder’s ability to space out and attack was acknowledged before the game by Dorian Finney-Smith, who said they play well together and have been getting better all year.

The Nets had every opportunity to win the game and make it six wins in their last seven, but they couldn’t hold a 16-point lead in the second quarter as they wilted down the stretch.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a game-high 35 points for the Thunder, while Lu Dort added 24 points, nine boards and shot 6-for-11 from 3-point range.

Mikal Bridges had a team-high 34 points for the Nets, and Cam Johnson added 23 points.

The Nets built a big cushion of 62-46 after a pair of free throws by Spencer Dinwiddie with 1:23 to go before halftime but allowed an 18-3 run over a 4 ¹/₂-minute stretch of the third quarter, which they couldn’t recover from.

The Nets lost the battle of the paint and were unable to cut off drives, allowing the Thunder to spot a quick lead right from the opening tap, falling behind 7-0 on a driving reverse by Gilgeous-Alexander just two minutes in. However, the Nets promptly seized control and mounted an 18-5 run to take a six-point lead.

Johnson drilled a 3-pointer on a Nic Claxton kick-out, capping the run and putting the Nets ahead 18-12 with 5:37 left in the first quarter.

Dinwiddie’s free throws padded the Nets’ cushion with 1:23 left in the half, and they still led by 10 going into the break. After holding the Thunder to 2-for-13 shooting from deep in the first half, the Nets conceded the first six points coming out of the locker room, with a Dort 3-pointer cutting the lead to just 64-60. Soon, it disappeared altogether.

A Dinwiddie basket pushed the lead back to 69-63, and Bridges’ baseline dunk made it 73-65 and sent Oklahoma City into a timeout with 7:11 left in the third.

However, the Nets couldn’t maintain their momentum, and the Thunder’s fast-paced play and ability to create turnovers disrupted the Nets’ offense.

Gilgeous-Alexander cut the lead to 75-73 before knotting the score on a finger roll with 4:28 left. Then Dort untied it, drilling a 3-pointer off a Josh Giddey feed.

The Nets were down 78-75 with 3:40 remaining in the third when Vaughn called a timeout, but it was to no avail.

Giddey fed Isaiah Joe for a runner that capped the 18-3 blitz and left the Nets in an 83-76 hole. The deficit swelled to double digits at 90-80 in the final minute of the third quarter.

»Nets miss opportunity for 4-1 road trip with loss to Thunder«

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