Last game, the Nets dominated the first half only to have notable struggles in the second half in a brutal loss to the Thunder. Tonight was the exact opposite. The Nets second half was one of their best halves all season as they overcame a 16 point deficit to take down the Nuggets 122-116. The Nets move back to .500 with the victory. When he was needed most, Kevin Durant came to play.
First Quarter Struggles for Nets
The first quarter was everything but ideal for the Nets. It seemed as if the Nuggets couldn’t miss. Nikola Jokic proved to be a thorn in the side of the Nets right from the tip. Jokic logged 13 of his 23 points in the first quarter. Will Barton also got it going early for the Thunder. Collecting 10 of his 22 points in the first quarter. Although Brooklyn did trail for much of the first quarter, they did shoot the ball well. The Nets shot the ball 11/19 from the field, 57.9%. However, when Brooklyn struggles, the first place to look is usually at the turnover numbers. The Nets turned the ball over seven times in the opening frame. The quarter would end with the Nets trailing 35-27. Kevin Durant leads the way for the Nets in the first with nine points.
More of the Same for the Nets in the Second
The second didn’t show positive signs for Brooklyn, as the Nuggets could double their lead by the half’s end. However, Caris LeVert came alive for the Nets in the 2nd, highlighted by a beautiful Euro-Step basket. LeVert logged 12 points in the second frame. Although the Nets showed the ability to limit turnovers in the second quarter, it wasn’t enough to stop Denver’s potent offense. The Nuggets scored 35 points in the second quarter, with seven coming from Jamal Murray. The Nuggets would score a whopping 70 points in the first half and carry a 70-54 lead into the break. In the words of Ian Eagle, Brooklyn would need to pull a “rabbit out of a hat” if they wanted to win this game. And that is precisely what they did.
Nets come Alive in Third.
The third quarter was, in my opinion, the best quarter of basketball Brooklyn has played all season. The Nets were down 16 going into the quarter. Twelve minutes and one 27-4 run later, the Nets were back in the contest. Kevin Durant lit up the Nuggets in the 3rd, scoring 14 points to go along with three rebounds and four assists. Joe Harris came out of the break hot, making all three threes he attempted in the third quarter. And the most fantastic part of it all, LeVert didn’t score a single basket this quarter. The Nets would outscore the Nuggets 36-20 in the third, and the quarter would end with the game tied at 90 apiece.
Nets Seal it in the Fourth.
Brooklyn and Denver went back and forth for most of the fourth, but the Nets could pull away late. Mostly in part due to the contributions of Bruce Brown. Brown played critical minutes down the stretch for the Nets and scored six points in the final frame. Brooklyn had a four-point lead in the game’s dying seconds when Kevin Durant hit a step-back three to put the dagger into the Nuggets back. The Nets would go on to win 122-116 in a thrilling victory.
Kevin Durant is unstoppable. Durant logged 34 points, nine rebounds, and 14 assists in this near triple-double performance. Caris LeVert, once again, why people should consider him the third star of this team. LeVert was on fire once again tonight, scoring 20 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Bruce Brown also came up huge for the Nets. Showing why he belongs in the starting lineup. Brown scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds, and added three assists. Brooklyn will travel across town tomorrow to take on the Knicks in an attempt to go back over .500 on the season.