Nets defense sputters in 107-99 loss to Warriors

Klay Thompson adds 25 points against a terrible Nets defense.Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
Klay Thompson adds 25 points against a terrible Nets defense.

OAKLAND – The schedule called for a tough one and the Nets weren’t ready. They were just overmatched and overwhelmed.

Brooklyn dropped its second in a row Thursday, falling to a quicker Warriors team, 107-99, as the defense sputtered again and Brook Lopez continued a disturbing trend of failing to rebound.

A late run made the score closer than it seemed, but the Warriors (6-2) cruised in the final two minutes with Klay Thompson scoring a game-high 25 and Stephen Curry dropping in 15 of his 17 in the second half.

For the Nets (4-4), Lopez scored 18 points while missing 10 of his 17 shots. More importantly, he grabbed only five rebounds in a fast-paced game as the Warriors secured 14 offensive boards. Deron Williams added 18 points and the Nets only managed 19 total assists.

“I expect a lot of myself,” said Lopez, who is averaging 5.2 rebounds and was outrebounded Friday by Andrew Bogut, 14-5. “The team is playing well despite me right now.”

Brooklyn came out trying to outscore the explosive Warriors, a tactic that worked for the first quarter as they built a seven-point advantage.

But the Nets are older and slower than the Warriors, plus they were operating on the second game of a back-to-back. It caught up with them late in the second quarter, when the Warriors ditched the Nets with a 19-6 run to take an 11-point lead at the break.

The Warriors managed 66 points in the first half with Curry scoring only two of them. Bojan Bogdanovic provided the Nets with brief hope after burying a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 5 with six minutes remaining in the fourth.

But Curry responded with a trey on the following possession, Thompson dropped in a lay-up over Lopez before nailing a 3-pointer, and that signified the end of the night.

The Warriors scored 19 second-chance points (Nets had six) and 30 off fastbreaks (Nets had nine).

“We just have to be guys that go after the ball,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “There’s guys that have a nose for the ball and there are guys who don’t. You can be inside, outside, it doesn’t matter. There are some guys that rebound the ball and some guys who don’t.”

Asked if the Nets had an inordinate amount of potential rebounds that bounced off their hands, Hollins said, “How about just grabbing it? Use two hands. You have to get loose balls and you have to get rebounds. That’s part of winning.”

The Nets are faced with precarious circumstances given their schedule, a stretch against four playoff contenders that ends just before they host the Bucks.

The last thing anybody in the upper echelons of the organization wants – from GM Billy King to the layered Russian ownership – is to be on a losing spell when Jason Kidd returns to Brooklyn on Wednesday for the first time since maneuvering his way to Milwaukee.

That’s a storyline best avoided in Brooklyn.

In the wake of Joe Johnson calling out his teammates for their selfish play and then playing hypocritically singular with the ball in Wednesday’s loss to the Suns, the focus has been on an offense that’s actually ranked amongst the best in the NBA.

It’s the defense, though, that has fallen behind and was again unbecoming Thursday.

They have allowed 101 points per game, a disturbing statistic under a coach who guided a defensive power in Memphis just two seasons ago.  

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