Brooklyn Nets: 5 takeaways from defensive gem at Phoenix

Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets opened their Western Conference trip in style Tuesday night, smothering the Phoenix Suns for a 104-82 win, their second straight victory.

The Brooklyn Nets seem to have figured this defensive thing out of late, riding their smothering defense Tuesday night to a 104-82 throttling of the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena to open their four-game swing through the Western Conference.

Brooklyn (5-6) picks up its first back-to-back wins of the season in style, while sending the Suns (2-8) to their eighth loss in their last nine games. It is the fourth straight win for the Nets in Phoenix and their sixth in their last seven against the Suns overall.

It’s also the first time in more than five years the Nets have won consecutive games by 20 or more points, per

The last time it happened was in the first season in Brooklyn, when the Nets beat the Sacramento Kings 113-93, the Philadelphia 76ers 109-89 and the Suns 99-79 from Jan. 5-11, 2013.

Coincidentally, the most recent two blowouts in a row were over the 76ers and Suns. Brooklyn ended its three-game homestand with a 122-97 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday.

The Suns did hang around for awhile, even as they were held to just 24.6 percent shooting (28-for-81) on the night. But the Nets showed some of their growing maturity as a team by taking Phoenix’s last big punch and answering with one of their own.

Brooklyn led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter and held a 63-49 lead before Phoenix ran off nine straight points to cut the margin down to 63-58 with 5:31 to go in the period.

The response by the Nets was just as strong and just as quick. Brooklyn responded with an 11-2 run to push the lead back out to 14 points on Spencer Dinwiddie‘s 3-pointer after a Shabazz Napier steal of a Ryan Anderson outlet pass in the backcourt with 2:18 left in the quarter.

Two free throws by Devin Booker at the end of the quarter got Phoenix to within 10, 76-66, but they would get no closer as the Nets clamped down on the defensive end to close out the win in the fourth period.

Brooklyn held the Suns to just 5-for-20 shooting in the fourth quarter while going 12-for-22 at their end, turning the game into a rout in the closing minutes.

Caris LeVert led Brooklyn with 26 points, his seventh 20-point game this season. In his first two NBA campaigns, LeVert scored 20 or more points only seven times.

Ed Davis came off the bench for nine points and 12 rebounds, Jarrett Allen had a strong all-around game with 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists and Napier also dished out five helpers in just 15 minutes of action.

Booker paced the Suns with 20 points, but was just 6-for-21 from the floor and 2-for-8 from deep. No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton was similarly inefficient with 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting to go with 13 rebounds.

Richaun Holmes had 13 points and 10 boards for Phoenix and Isaiah Canaan finished with 13 points and four assists.

The degree of difficulty goes up sharply for the Nets from here, with back-to-back games Friday and Saturday against the Denver Nuggets (9-1) and Golden State Warriors (10-1).

Denver will play at Memphis on Wednesday before facing the Nets, while the Warriors will host the Milwaukee Bucks in a nationally televised game Thursday night.

Here are five takeaways from Brooklyn’s second straight victory.