It was a night to forget for the starless Nets. With James Harden and Blake Griffin ruled unavailable after last night’s game, Brooklyn was forced to use a depleted squad in their 118-88 loss against the Utah Jazz. For the Nets, Alize Johnson led the scoring with 23 points while Donovan Mitchell shined for the Jazz with 27 points. It was such a lop-sided loss that Brooklyn never had the lead in the entire 48-minute game.
Rough First Half for the Nets
The lack of star power was apparent from the get-go. In the first quarter, the Jazz outscored the Nets 38-17. Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot lead the scoring for the Nets with six points and was one of only four players who managed to score. Both Mitchell and Mike Conley scored in the double digits, going a combined 4-5 from behind the arc. Brooklyn had a measly 18.2 3P% compared to 63.6% for Utah.
While the first quarter was dreadful, the second wasn’t nearly as bad. Things looked promising for the Nets as they started the quarter on an 11-2 run. After that, however, things evened out as the Jazz came storming back. Despite that great start, the Nets were still outscored 25-21. By halftime, Mitchell already had 20 points, five assists and was 4-6 in three-pointers. For the Nets, Luwawu-Cabarrot and Chris Chiozza both led with just seven points. Joe Harris, who had 17 points in Tuesday’s win against the Trail Blazers, was held scoreless. The Jazz led 63-38, holding a 25-point lead.
More of the Same in the Second
When the game resumed, not much changed for the Nets. The Jazz one-upped the Nets’ earlier streak by starting off the third quarter on a 15-2 run. At one point, Utah opened up a 38-point lead–their largest of the night. Once again, however, things began to balance out between the two teams. Johnson started to heat up, leading his team with eight points in this quarter. On the other side, Bojan Bogdanovic had a strong quarter going 3-4 from three and scoring 11 points.
Johnson couldn’t stop scoring, going 5-5 in the fourth quarter with 11 points. He was the only Net to score more than 10 points in a single quarter for this entire game. Despite the 30-point difference at the end of the game, the Nets managed a better FG% in the second half: 43.2% to 40.9%. However, the Jazz outshone their opponents from behind the arc; in the second half, they had 41.4% compared to 25%. Additionally, despite the loss, Brooklyn’s bench scored more points than Utah’s bench: 53-40. While it was mostly a negative game for the Nets, there were some positive signs to be found.
After this brief west-coast road trip, the Nets travel to Detroit to play the Pistons on Friday. From there, they have the weekend off before returning home to play the Timberwolves on Monday. That game will be the first of a three-game homestand that sees them play the Rockets and Hornets as well.
Hopefully the spaced-out games will provide the Nets with enough time to get their stars back. It is unclear whether or not Harden will be ready for Friday’s game; he is dealing with neck soreness that he was able to manage for Tuesday’s game against the Trail Blazers. Harden sitting out tonight was to help “to protect him against himself,” according to head coach Steve Nash. As for Griffin, his absence was more of a precaution to prevent further injury in his left knee. With the day off tomorrow, he should be ready to play on Friday. Nets’ fans will be hoping he is because, as they witnessed tonight, they are a much different team without their bright stars.