Nov 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) shoots against Brooklyn Nets forward Luis Scola (4) in the first half of a NBA basketball game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
The Brooklyn Nets, in the first half of a back-to-back, traveled to Los Angeles to take on the red-hot Clippers. Brooklyn was facing a tall task: trying to defeat the Clippers without Brook Lopez, who was held out of Monday’s game because it was the first game in a back-to-back. Lopez will play Tuesday night, when the Nets visit the Los Angeles Lakers.
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The Clippers got off to a fast start on Monday night, getting out to a 9-2 lead just three minutes into the game. The Nets, who struggled with turnovers against Phoenix, turned the ball over two times in the first three minutes. Facing an early deficit, the Nets went to their second unit midway through the first quarter.
With Lopez out, the Clippers smartly fed Blake Griffin early. The Clippers had all of the momentum, and the Nets had little answer. Defensively, Brooklyn was overmatched, and offensively, the Nets lacked rhythm to try to cut into LA’s lead. At the end of a lopsided first quarter, the Clippers led 39-14.
Certainly, the Nets were in an early hole, but Nets coach Kenny Atkinson continued to show fight, as he picked up a technical foul early in the second quarter for voicing his displeasure with a referee.
The Nets showed signs of life in the second quarter, as they began to claw their way back into the game. Bojan Bogdanovic played a big part in the Nets’ resurgence. Through the first half, Bogdanovic led the Nets with 14 points, but Los Angeles continued to distance themselves as the quarter went on. At the half, the Clippers held a commanding 71-47 lead. Brooklyn actually outscored Los Angeles 33-32 in the second quarter, but the Clippers nonetheless held a significant lead.
Defensively, the Nets continued to struggle in the second half. The Clippers presented multiple problems for Brooklyn’s defense. The Clippers can, and did score in so many different ways. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, J.J Redick, and Jamal Crawford all filled the bucket up, as the Clippers nearly hit the 100-point mark through three quarters. Heading to the fourth quarter, Los Angeles led 99-65.
Nov 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick (4) dribbles against Brooklyn Nets center Justin Hamilton (41) in the first half of a NBA basketball game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
1. The Nets struggled mightily without Brook Lopez
Obviously, the Nets were facing a significant challenge of trying to matchup with the Clippers’ front court without Brook Lopez. Justin Hamilton started in Lopez’s place, and did not play well. He put up just three points in 21 minutes. He shot 1-of-5 from the field overall, with his only make being a three-pointer. Speaking of three pointers, Hamilton shot four of his five shots from beyond the arc. Brooklyn also saw Trevor Booker struggle on Monday. Brooklyn’s starting front court, Hamilton and Booker, scored a combined seven points. On the other end of the spectrum, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan scored a combined 27 points. Certainly, the Clippers are a top team in the NBA at this juncture, but the Nets likely would have put up a better fight if Lopez was on the floor.
2. The Nets continued to turn the ball over
Against the Suns, the Nets struggled with turnovers, committing 17. On Monday against the Clippers, the Nets reached, and surpassed that total, turning the ball over 21 times. As for the Clippers, they committed 11. The Nets’ starting lineup committed 13 turnovers, as Sean Kilpatrick led the unit with five. Bojan Bogdanovic committed three, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Trevor Booker each committed two. The Nets were facing an extremely tough opponent, on the road — and on a West coast swing, no less — but the turnovers need to be addressed. The Clippers looked comfortable all night, so that’s not to say that less turnovers would’ve equated to a Nets win. Still, though, Brooklyn must cut down on their turnovers going forward.
3. Brooklyn’s bench contributed when given an opportunity
The fourth quarter of this game was garbage time, as the Clippers had the game in hand. That meant Brooklyn would get an extended look at some of the role players, such as Yogi Ferrell, Chris McCullough, and Anthony Bennett. Yes, these totals came when the game was already all but over, but Ferrell and McCullough combined for 26 points (13 apiece) and Bennett added seven points. Of course this production has to be taken with a grain of salt because of the timing, but nevertheless it’s notable to see Ferrell (who came from the D-League) and McCullough (who has been sent to the D-League to practice) both contribute.
Nov 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) dribbles the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers in the second half of a NBA basketball game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Player of the Game:
With a loss like this, it can be tough to find bright spots, but Bojan Bogdanovic was among them on Monday night. He scored a team-high 18 points, on 8-of-11 shooting. Bogdanovic got to the rim on multiple occasions, and was a key reason why Brooklyn outscored the Clippers in the second quarter. Unfortunately, Bogdanovic couldn’t carry the Nets on Monday, as the Clippers simply ran away on the scoreboard, but Bogdanovic played well offensively.
PG ,Brooklyn Nets
As mentioned above, it was nice to see Ferrell see some extended playing time, and contribute even on a tough night for the Nets. Ferrell played 26 minutes, and scored 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. He also made two three-pointers. Isaiah Whitehead was listed as probable prior to the game, but he didn’t play as Brooklyn continues to play it safe with his concussion. That left minutes for Ferrell, who is trying to make the most of his opportunities. If there was one knock on Ferrell, it was his turnovers. Ferrell turned the ball over three times. Only Sean Kilpatrick (five) turned the ball over more. But Ferrell is proving he can score when given a chance, which is good news for the Nets, who are thin at point guard.
Up your game, please:
On a night when the Nets struggled offensively, Sean Kilpatrick put up 14 points. Of those who started for the Nets, only Bojan Bogdanovic (18) scored more. This spot could have went to Justin Hamilton or Trevor Booker, but overall the Nets needed Kilpatrick to be better on Monday. Yes, he scored 14 points, but he took 17 shots. Of those 17, he knocked down just five. Also, as previously mentioned, he led the team in turnovers, with five. This is not a knock on Kilpatrick’s talent, rather the type of night he had. Multiple Nets struggled, but Kilpatrick’s shot just wouldn’t fall on multiple occasions.
With the loss, the Nets fall to 4-6 on the young season. Next, the Nets will stay in Los Angeles to take on the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, in the tail end of a back-to-back. As for the Clippers, they improve to an NBA-best 10-1 on the season. They will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday after an off day on Tuesday.