By Tom Dowd
Down by as many as 26 points late in the third quarter, the Brooklyn Nets pushed back within 11 early in the fourth quarter, but got no closer as the Denver Nuggets handed Brooklyn a 124-111 loss at Barclays Center on Sunday evening.
It was a one-sided third quarter that did in the Nets, who shot 1-for-15 to start the second half as the Nuggets outscored them 34-6 over the first 8:15 of the quarter to run their lead to 94-69. For a six-minute stretch, Joe Harris’ basket was the only points the Nets scored.
“They make a run like that, you just kind of lose your principles,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “You don’t stick to your habits. And I felt like our habits just went out the window.”
Denver shot 50 percent from the field, including 55 percent from 3-point range, and turned it over just six times as seven players scored in double figures. The Nets, after scoring 63 points in the first half, shot just 34 percent after halftime and 23.5 percent (4-for-17) from 3-point range.
FOURTH QUARTER PUSH
The Nets finally put an end to a 25-2 Denver run with a Spencer Dinwiddie 3-pointer with 3:01 to go in the third quarter. Trailing 100-74 with 1:34 to go in the third quarter, Brooklyn outscored Denver 21-6 over the next four minutes to close within 106-95 with 8:49 to go. But Gary Harris answered with a 3-pointer for Denver and the Nets never got that close again.
DINWIDDIE LEADS WITH 22
Spencer Dinwiddie matched his career high to lead the Nets with 22 points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, Joe Harris hit 4-of-8 3-pointers on the way to 16 points, Timofey Mozgov had 11 rebounds and D’Angelo Russell had eight assists.
FIRST HALF OFFENSE
The Nets led 63-60 after a scorching first half that featured their biggest lead, 45-31 early in the second quarter.
Brooklyn shot 51 percent from the field and made 8-of-14 3-pointers (57 percent) in the first half and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson notched 16 points in just 14 minutes.
Trailing 25-21, Brooklyn got 3-pointers from Joe Harris and Caris LeVert to get moving on what would turn into a 24-10 run. That included nine straight points as they went up by 14. But Emmanuel Mudiay scored eight straight Denver points with two 3-pointers and Will Barton’s buzzer-beater to end the half brought the Nuggets within three at the break.
WILEY MAKES NBA DEBUT
Second-year guard Isaiah Whitehead saw his first action of the season and rookie Jacob Wiley — one of two players on a two-way contract that will have them playing mostly with the Long Island Nets — made his first NBA appearance.
ACY AND CARROLL OUT
The Nets were without forwards Quincy Acy (groin) and DeMarre Carroll (ankle). Before the game, coach Kenny Atkinson said both players were day-to-day and he hoped to have them back for Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns at Barclays Center.