Brooklyn Nets vs. Utah Jazz Takeaways and Player Grades

Jan 2, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) reacts after scoring a basket during the first quarter against Utah Jazz at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets started 2017 by facing the Utah Jazz at home. Unfortunately, the Nets may have left their offense in 2016.

The Brooklyn Nets were led by Trevor Booker and Brook Lopez early on Monday, as they each scored nine points to account for Brooklyn’s first 18 points. The Jazz and Nets traded buckets in back-and-forth fashion for much of the quarter, but Brooklyn closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 26-24 lead into the second quarter.

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Booker played excellent in the first quarter, as he pulled down seven rebounds to go with nine points. On multiple occasions, Booker used brute strength and determination to pull down offensive rebounds among multiple Utah players.

The Nets built on their lead in the second quarter, but turnovers started to pile up, which allowed Utah to quickly close the gap. Four turnovers in the first six minutes of the second quarter hurt the Nets, as their lead was cut to one, 41-40 with 5:30 left in the half.

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Brooklyn ended the half with eight turnovers, but still held a two point lead over Utah at halftime, thanks to Trevor Booker’s 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lopez scored nine first half points, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored eight off the bench. Brooklyn led 52-50 at half.

Both teams got off to a slow start in the second half, as Brooklyn and Utah made a combined one of their first 14 shots in the third quarter. The Nets led 60-53 midway through the quarter. The Nets then took a 62-53 lead with 5:20 left in the third quarter after a Booker layup, giving Brooklyn their largest lead of the game to that point.

Utah made just one of their first 15 shots in the third quarter. But led by Gordon Hayward, the Jazz were able to find a rhythm late in the quarter, as Brooklyn saw their once-nine point lead disappear thanks to an 8-0 Utah run. Hayward scored 13 points in the third quarter to bring Utah all the way back. As a result, the Nets and Jazz were tied at 70 heading to the fourth quarter.

The Jazz, looking to pull ahead, took a 78-74 lead with nine minutes to play. Brooklyn found themselves in yet another close game, as they have so many times this season. Methodically, Utah pulled away. The Jazz pushed the lead up to 11 with six minutes remaining, thanks to a 9-0 run.

Joe Johnson, back in Brooklyn, came through in the clutch for Utah. With the Jazz up eight, Shelvin Mack missed a three-pointer. However, the Nets couldn’t rebound the ball, giving Utah a second possession. Johnson then hit a three to push Utah’s lead to 11.

The lead proved to be insurmountable, as Brooklyn would lose by a final score of 101-89.

Jan 2, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) drives to the basket against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Takeaways

1. The Nets were flat in the second half

After scoring 52 points in the first half, the Nets scored just 37 points in the entire second half. Brooklyn scored 18 points in the third quarter, and 19 points in the fourth quarter. Not surprisingly, they lost both quarters, as Utah scored 20 points and 31 points, respectively. The Jazz had offensive struggles of their own in the second half, but not to the degree of Brooklyn’s. The Nets seemingly couldn’t get much of anything going after halftime. As for the Jazz, Gordon Hayward scored 30 points in a great performance that put Utah over the top.

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2. Brook Lopez struggled compared to his usual standards

Brook Lopez played 31 minutes, and scored 14 points on just 6-of-16 shooting. Lopez was 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. Lopez didn’t play terribly by any means. But for the type of player Lopez is, and the type of numbers he usually puts up, he had a bit of an off night. Lopez wasn’t the only Net to struggle, as the team as a whole struggled to score for the most part. However, Lopez is Brooklyn’s leader. When this game was hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter, the Nets weren’t able to take advantage. To reiterate, that isn’t solely on Lopez, but on most nights he will shoot better than 37 percent.

3. Overall, the Nets shot poorly from three-point range

The Nets have placed an emphasis on shooting three-pointers this season. Brooklyn shot 27 three’s on Monday. While they have certainly shot more than that on numerous occasions, the Nets were not efficient from beyond the arc. Brooklyn made just six of their 27 three point attempts, equaling 22 percent. In fact, while Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker, Isaiah Whitehead, Sean Kilpatrick, Joe Harris and Justin Hamilton made three’s, no Nets player made more than one against Utah. The three-pointer clearly wasn’t falling for the Nets for much of Monday night, and when that’s the case, it’s detrimental to the flow and production of the offense.

Jan 2, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) scores a basket during the first quarter against Utah Jazz at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Player of the Game:

Trevor Booker

PF, Brooklyn Nets

A

Trevor Booker put together a fantastic game on Monday night. He scored 11 points, and pulled down 10 rebounds in the first half. In doing so, he became the first Nets player to record a double-double in a half this season. Booker finished the game with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Four of those rebounds came on the offensive glass, as Booker showed grit and determination, often coming away with the ball despite being swarmed by Jazz players in the paint. Booker’s effort on the boards should be commended. He’s a high-effort player, and Booker played very well against Utah.

Wildcard:

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

SF, Brooklyn Nets

B+

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came off the bench and played well in limited minutes. Hollis-Jefferson played 14 minutes, and scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting. He also added five points at the free throw line. Hollis-Jefferson is no longer a starter, and he has suffered injuries, but now that he is healthy, Hollis-Jefferson is staying prepared off the bench. Joe Harris played 22 minutes off the bench on Monday, but Hollis-Jefferson arguably played better. If Hollis-Jefferson can string together multiple performances of this quality, he should start to see more minutes.

Up your game, please…

Sean Kilpatrick

SG, Brooklyn Nets

C

Sean Kilpatrick had an off night vs. Utah. He played 28 minutes, but shot just 2-of-7 from the field, with eight points. Kilpatrick is better than that, and on most nights he is able to put together a better performance. He was one of the Nets who simply could not get in a rhythm on Monday. This was a theme as Brooklyn’s offense stagnated in the second half. Kilpatrick has shown in the past that he can carry the Nets for stretches at a time if needed. However, his shots wouldn’t fall on Monday night.

With the loss, the Brooklyn Nets fall to 8-25 on the season. The Nets will have two days off, before taking on the Indiana Pacers in Indiana, which is the first half of a back-to-back, which also includes the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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