Are the Brooklyn Nets’ Third Quarter Woes Turning Into Fourth Quarter Woes?

Dec 10, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson gives direction to his team against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 10, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson gives direction to his team against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets have had issues coming out of the halftime break for years. They can be up 20 points at half, but end up losing the game. Now, rather than the issues being immediately out of the gate in the second half, these issues are coming near the end of games.

The Brooklyn Nets have dropped to 8-25 after their loss to the Utah Jazz at home. Brooklyn was leading for a good amount of this game, but got blown away in the fourth quarter by twelve points to lose the game by twelve points. This is not the first, nor will it be the last time that Brooklyn will endure these issues.

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Brooklyn has worked to minimize their third quarter woes. They have hit this problem hard a lot this season, but it does seem less than in past years. The new issue is the fourth quarter. Is the team getting tired? Do they lose their game plan? Did the other team solve Brooklyn’s game plan?

The Nets have a lot of work to do everywhere on and off the court, and Sean Marks and company have been working hard to get there. But on the court, Brooklyn needs to solve their issues at the end of games. They could have a better record if they could only play the full 48 minutes, especially the last twelve.

Let us go back to five of their more recent losses and the win against the Charlotte Hornets at the buzzer.

Dec 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Randy Foye (2) celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning three point shot at the buzzer against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half at Barclays Center. The Nets won 120 -118. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

December 26, 2016 – Charlotte Hornets @ Brooklyn Nets

In their win against the Hornets, Brooklyn won the final quarter’s scoring title handily. The Nets outscored the Hornets 37-30 in that period and ended up winning the game by two points at the buzzer via Randy Foye and his clutch-ness.

RELATED STORY: Nets vs. Hornets Takeaways and Player Grades

Brooklyn was losing a good amount of this game. They were down 40-31 after the first quarter and only outscored the Hornets in one quarter that was not the fourth, and that was the third quarter. The Nets won the third by only four points, but it did help them gain the momentum they needed to complete the comeback for the win.

This game is the perfect example of #BrooklynGrit and what the Nets need to do in the second half. These games are few and far between.

Let’s take a look at some of the Nets’ losses.

Dec 18, 2016; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid dives to keep the ball in play during the fourth quarter of the game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers won the game 108-107.Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

December 18, 2016 – Brooklyn Nets @ Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers are the basement of the league, or at least they used to be, until Brooklyn lost to them this year, giving them the tie-breaker to not be the basement team any more. Brooklyn got dominated in this game by none other than Joel Embiid.

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This game was another game in which Brooklyn was winning a good majority of the time. Brooklyn was ahead by a couple of points heading into the fourth quarter. Beating teams like the Sixers is imperative to having a season better than Las Vegas’ 20.5 win projection.

The Nets could have won, but they lost the fourth quarter yet again. Philly scored 25 points to Brooklyn’s 21 in the final frame to get themselves a win in front of their home crowd. This fourth quarter loss is coming after the Nets played pretty well in the third quarter. The two teams each scored 29 points in the third.

Dec 22, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) looks to pass against Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) and guard Jeremy Lin (7) in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. The Warriors won 117-101. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

December 22, 2016 – Golden State Warriors @ Brooklyn Nets

The Warriors are a “super team” and are extraordinarily good and difficult to defeat. This is now the second straight year that Brooklyn has played the Warriors really tough, but both times the Warriors showed Brooklyn why they are the more dominant team.

RELATED STORY: Nets vs. Warriors Takeaways and Player Grades

Brooklyn was up by 16 points at halftime against Golden State. The Nets came out of the half and turned the ball over for four straight possessions, and the Warriors took advantage. By the time the third quarter was halfway done, Brooklyn’s lead was gone, and the game was tied.

Again at home, Brooklyn was only down by four points entering the final frame. In normal circumstances, that is very good, but, in this circumstance, that is highly disappointing after such a dominant first half.

In the final quarter, though, Brooklyn simply could not find answers against the Warriors. Rather than the game continue to be close and competitive, Brooklyn allowed the Warriors to get away from them. The Nets only scored 17 points in the fourth quarter. When you are down by only four points to the Warriors, you need to come out hungrier than that. 17 points will never cut it against a team like Golden State.

As a result, Brooklyn suffered another blowout loss, 117-101, in a game that they really could have won. The Nets had a rough third quarter, but the fourth quarter was worse and allowed the Warriors to flip that 16-point deficit in their favor.

Dec 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) dribbles the ball against Brooklyn Nets guard Randy Foye (2) during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

December 28, 2016 – Brooklyn Nets @ Chicago Bulls

This one was one of those heartbreaking moments that as Nets fans, we are unfortunately used to experiencing. A game after Randy Foye hit his miracle shot at the buzzer, Jimmy Butler decides to score 11 points in three minutes, including a buzzer beater of his own.

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This was yet another game in which Brooklyn had the lead. They lost the first quarter despite starting off with a 9-0 run, but they came back in the second to have the lead going into halftime. In the third, Brooklyn lost the quarter by only one point, 30-29.

It was the fourth quarter which decimated the Nets yet again. Brooklyn only lost the quarter by four points, but those four points were all the difference. Brooklyn had the lead, 97-90, with a little more than three minutes left. Butler and the Bulls went on a 11-2 run in the final minutes to take the lead and get the win via Butler’s step-back jumper at the horn.

Jan 2, 2017; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward shoots against Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

January 2, 2016 – Utah Jazz @ Brooklyn Nets

The Jazz game was a game Brooklyn needed to win and should have won. Brooklyn was up after one, up at the half, and were tied after the third quarter. The Jazz did not have George Hill, and Brooklyn was playing at the Barclays Center, where they have gotten seven of their eight wins.

RELATED STORY: Nets vs. Jazz Takeaways and Player Grades

The chances that Brooklyn would win were pretty good entering the fourth quarter, until the team went anemic. Brooklyn only scored 19 points at home in the final quarter against a good team. These are the games you want to win at home to show the rest of the league that you are not a pushover.

Instead, Brooklyn became pushovers in the fourth quarter and allowed the Jazz to rack up 31 points in the final frame to finalize their blowout win. There was no need for this to be considered a blowout, but Brooklyn came out flat and could never get back to being sharp in the fourth.

Jan 2, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) greets playing coming off the court in the second quarter against Utah Jazz at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Overall

Brooklyn has been doing a pretty good job of being competitive in each of their games this season. If Brooklyn wants to win more games, they need to play a full 48 minutes. The third quarter has haunted them for years, and it is still haunting them this year.

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The real ghost story of the year is how Brooklyn has performed in the fourth quarter of games. Winning or losing, Brooklyn has come out flat in almost all of their fourth quarters this year, with the exception of a few, namely the Los Angeles Clippers.

If Brooklyn wants to be a team with a respectable record and to not be the last team in the power rankings, they need to score more than 17 or 19 points in the fourth quarter. Teams like the Warriors, Jazz and Bulls are not going to be stagnant and anemic for long. Jimmy Butler is too good to stay quiet. Gordon Hayward will find his shot. Joel Embiid is too energetic and big to not get his chances.

Brooklyn needs to take a look at themselves in a different fashion at halftime and see what they can do differently to prevent these third and fourth quarter woes from striking miserably hard again. This may take time, but it needs to be done. Fans are sick of losing games normal NBA teams would win.

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