Nets Catch Fire From Three, Escape With Victory

The Nets edged out the Hornets in double overtime to bank a crucial victory. Brooklyn and Charlotte are two teams locked into the battle for the final three playoff spots in the East. With the win, the Nets are now only a half game out of the 8 seed as of this writing.

After starting 2/12 from three, Brooklyn hit 17 of their final 35 three-point attempts to escape Barclays Center with a two point win. There were many moments where it appeared the Nets would continue their late game sputtering, but on the back of a huge performance from Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn willed itself to victory.

Observations

1. Joe Harris Bro

Joe Harris recently made a public comment about how he has been studying the off-ball movements of players like J.J. Redick and Kyle Korver. This film study has been put to practice in games.

Not only has Harris been a sniper for the Nets this year, but he has provided clutch shots as well. He drained two huge threes against the Hornets in the final 73 seconds of regulation, including a Ray Allen game 6 imitation with his heels hovering off the ground over the out-of-bounds line.

Harris went 5/8 from beyond the arc last night, bringing his season mark up to 47.7 percent, which ranks 3rd in the NBA. He is now up to a 63.8 eFG percent and 65.8 true shooting percent.

2. Dinwiddie Earning His Deal

Spencer Dinwiddie propelled the Nets to victory, with 37 points and 11 assists. He shot 12/29 from the field, including 7/16 from three, and hit 6/8 free throws.

With 6.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Dinwiddie was fouled on a three-point attempt with Brooklyn down three. Dinwiddie calmly stepped to the line and hit all three free throws to tie the game and force the first overtime. He scored six of the team’s eleven points in double overtime to guide the Nets to victory.

3. Kurucs Lives On

Kurucs continues to provide quality minutes. He scored 13 points on 6/9 shooting, and added 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. He appears to have a solid feel for the game, seen here as he cuts along the baseline with everyone’s back turned to him.

Two of his steals last night were the result of him jumping a pass.

He also had a clutch block in the first overtime against Tony Parker to keep the Nets out in front.

Questions

1. Can The Nets Clean Up The Defense?

The Nets aren’t good at defense. We know this. They simply don’t have the personnel to be a good or great defensive team. They can, however, do a better job at execution. Kemba Walker really exposed Brooklyn last night, as he really got open looks at will.

It seemed like whenever he wanted, Kemba could create ample space to fire a three. Too many times the Nets had no idea how to handle Kemba as a pick n’ roll ball handler.

This comes two games after the Nets were switching in and out of a zone defense against the Pacers, which lead to multiple easy baskets for Indiana. Lack of talent is one thing, but if Brooklyn is going to snag the 8 seed they need to execute better.

2. Can The Nets Survive The Next 10 Games?

The Nets travel to Charlotte Friday, and then are in Milwaukee, home against New Orleans, in Memphis, in Chicago, in Boston, home against Atlanta, in Toronto, home against Boston, and in Houston. Brooklyn will be moderate to heavy underdogs in 8 of those 10 games.

This particular stretch could determine if the Nets can remain in the playoff picture or decide a tank-job is more prudent. A 2-8 record isn’t unrealistic, and would be a disaster. 5-5 is likely the best case scenario, but 4-6 would keep them afloat before an 8 game stretch that includes three games against the Magic, and home games against the Kings, Knicks, and Bulls.

Predictions

D’Angelo Russell Will Not Be a Net Next Season

Spencer Dinwiddie is outplaying Russell and is the point guard closing out games for Brooklyn. Russell checked out with 7:35 remaining in the 4th, and for the final 17:35 of the game it was 100 percent Dinwiddie and 0 percent Russell. Considering Dinwiddie is now locked into a team friendly contract, and the Nets love Caris LeVert, the writing seems to be on the wall that Russell will seek out a larger payday elsewhere in the summer of 2019.

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