Nets Fall to Timberwolves in Final Minute


The Nets went into the game coming off a dominating performance against the hobbled Thunder and looking to beat a team that will likely finish the season in the bottom half of the Western Conference. The Nets defense wasn’t prepared on the wing with Andrew Wiggins and Kevin Martin carrying the Timberwolves offense for the majority of the game.

Wiggins finished the game with 17 points and Martin with 26.

Joe Johnson had four fouls by game’s end and despite overwhelming Wiggins in the post on offense, he looked a step too slow on defense.

Despite Brook Lopez looking as rusty as he could have looked, shooting 5 for 14 from the field, and getting bullied in the post by Nikola Pekovic in the waning moments of the game, the Nets had multiple opportunities to tie or pull out a win.

Minnesota came out of the gate strong, starting the game on a 17-2 run before the Nets went on a 46-30 scoring run of their own to take a 48-47 lead into the half.

Minnesota entered the second half with the energy they started with, however, and went into the 4th quarter with a 72-66 lead. Brooklyn, as they had done earlier went on another run to take a 4 point lead with 8 minutes remaining. Both teams continued to exchange baskets and the Nets took a brief 91-89 lead with 1:28 left on the clock before Ricky Rubio tied it up with 1:17 remaining as he drove past Deron Williams.

With Lopez having so much trouble, Minnesota gave Pekovic the ball on the block where he banked it off the glass and was fouled for a three-point play with 48 seconds left to play.  After the foul, Johnson turned the ball over, something the Nets were doing all night. On the subsequent play, Lopez committed an offensive foul that gave the Timberwolves the ball up 3 before Thaddeus Young drove to the basket to make it 96-91 with 27 seconds remaining.

Martin sealed the game with a pair of free throws after Johnson missed a three-pointer and layup on the other end.

Nov 5, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin (23) reacts against the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

This loss may have been painful for Brooklyn, but there are a few things they may have learned from it. With 18 turnovers, 7 of which were committed by their point guards, the primary ball-handlers need to take better care of the ball when setting up the offense.

Second, the Williams and Jarrett Jack backcourt can be exposed defensively especially by larger guards like Martin who are able to shoot over both as Coach Lionel Hollins played the tandem down the stretch.

Third, Jack needs to work on his role in the half-court offense.  Jack’s timing was off as he missed open teammates on the pick and roll and was too late in giving up the ball to Johnson, Garnett, and Lopez who were attempting to set up for post-ups near the basket.

Lastly, Lopez still needs time to get stronger as he continues to bounce back from his foot surgery. As Lopez goes so do the Nets and he looked helpless against Pekovic when Minnesota relied on him for offense late in the game. Hollins may have said it best when describing the Pekovic-Lopez matchup, stating: “I mean, it happens. You’ve got to give Pekovic credit. He was a man in there and I’m always saying that there’s always a badder man than you in the prison, you know, and you got to do it every night.”

Brooklyn next faces the cross-town rival Knicks who are coming off a three-point loss against the Pistons as both organizations look to bounce back from losses against inferior teams.