2. Nets survive to win close game, but not without hiccups
The Brooklyn Nets were awful in close games last season, one of the reasons their record of 28-54 was actually three games worse than what their offensive and defensive averages should have yielded.
Their late-game sequences Monday night got fairly dicey at times, as well. Brooklyn led 93-88 with 4:27 remaining before the Pistons ran off six straight points to take the lead. The Nets ledn came back to lead by three at 97-94 with 2:12 left.
Sir Charles In Charge
D’Angelo Russell put the Nets up 102-100 with a pull-up 3-pointer from 25 feet out with just 11.4 seconds remaining.
But after a Detroit timeout, the Net defense lost track of Reggie Bullock, who took a feed from Andre Drummond on a backdoor cut and laid in the game-tying shot with 7.2 ticks left.
To be fair, even the Detroit broadcasting team thought the Pistons would go for a go-ahead 3-pointer rather than risk taking a preseason game to overtime.
With 7.2 seconds left, the Nets did a poor job of executing the sideline inbounds play after their timeout and were left with Russell’s 35-foot desperation 3 as time wound down.
In the overtime, Brooklyn roared out to a quick 110-104 lead, scoring on their first three possessions on back-to-back 3-pointers from Caris LeVert and Jared Dudley and a dunk by Jarrett Allen off a nifty interior feed by a driving LeVert.
Then … it got interesting. As Alan Tudyk’s character Hoban Washburne said in the 2005 film Serenity when asked how to define “interesting:” “Oh, God! Oh, God! We’re all going to die.”
It didn’t quite get that interesting for Brooklyn. Just close to it.
Jarrett Allen missed a layup after Detroit closed to 110-106. Russell misfired on a 3-pointer with a 110-108 lead, but Allen saved the day with an offensive rebound … before turning and basically handing the ball to Bullock.
The Nets’ bench had called a timeout after Allen struggled to control the ball, negating the turnover … temporarily.
LeVert bounced a ball into Allen’s feet while attempting a mid-air pass and Drummond — a large, lumbering center — decided to play point guard, driving the length of the court. Drummond was called for a charge and the turnover gave the Nets a break with 1:25 left.
The only shot Brooklyn could get on their next possession was a step-back jumper by Treveon Graham that was off the mark, but Drummond missed a short turnaround hook at the other end.
Allen got the rebound, but the Nets again struggled to get a shot. Russell’s corner 3 whistled over the rim for a shot-clock violation, but Drummond missed a final layup with 2.2 seconds left as Graham did his best to stay in front of the Pistons’ big man after a switch.
That sort of execution in late-game situations won’t get it done most of the time. The Nets were fortunate that Drummond couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn Monday night (and that Graham maybe, possibly, sorta got away with a foul on the last shot).
It was good enough on Monday, but this is something the Nets still need to tighten up.\n