Brooklyn Nets: 5 takeaways from foray with the defending champs

(Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

3. The ringers from Portland becoming big part of lineup

Over the last two offseasons, the Nets have picked apart the Portland Trail Blazers. Last year, the Nets brought in quality wing Allen Crabbe. This offseason, the team picked up Shabazz Napier and Ed Davis. In the first couple of games together in Brooklyn uniforms, the trio has impressed.

Crabbe was a revelation for the Nets last season, averaging about 13 points a game and shooting a shade under 38 percent from 3-point land. Since being hampered by an ankle injury in the very first set of games of the season, Crabbe has seemed to find his shot Sunday against the Warriors.

Hitting on 4-of-7 3s, including two key jumpers from downtown late in the game that sparked a rally by the Nets, Crabbe seems to have turned the corner. He is the much-needed scorer on the Brooklyn bench and hopefully he can build off of this strong performance.

Napier also provided a lift for the Nets bench Sunday night, after missing the first three games due to a hamstring injury. He scored five points in relief, but also kept the Nets offense relevant in the early second quarter when the Warriors began to click on offense.

The Nets are full of shot-makers, but Napier’s ability to create plays has been valuable to this team. Despite his size and defensive liabilities, he can cut into an defense handily. Last game in New Orleans, he added in 16 points off the bench.

Look for this spark plug to be a reliable option down the line, once Kenny Atkinson is finished mixing and matching with lineups.

Last but not least, Davis has been a very reliable backup to Jarrett Allen. Davis is not going to fill up the stat sheet, in fact he only had four points and seven rebounds in his 17 minutes of play. However, he brings a tenacity and worker’s mentality into the paint and on defense.

The last-minute technical in the New Orleans game was a mistake and I am sure he realizes that, but that kind of passion for the game and his teammates is why Damian Lillard and many of the Portland Trail Blazers and fan base was so disappointed upon hearing of his departure.