Brooklyn Nets: 3 takeaways from a sweeping win over Nuggets

Brooklyn Nets Rodions Kurucs. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Rodions Kurucs. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Rodions Kurucs. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets snapped their 3-game losing streak in style, completing a season sweep of the Denver Nuggets with a 135-130 win at Barclays Center.

The Brooklyn Nets showed Wednesday night that when comparing NBA poker hands, a triple double-double beats a triple-double every time.

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Nikola Jokic posted his 10th triple-double of the season for the Denver Nuggets, but that wasn’t enough against the Nets, who got double-doubles from D’Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll and Shabazz Napier in a 135-130 victory at Barclays Center.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Nets (29-27), while the Nuggets (37-17) took their first consecutive losses since Dec. 22 and 26 to fall one game behind the Golden State Warriors in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference.

With its 29th victory, Brooklyn exceeded its victory total for all of last season and the Nets did it in style, bouncing back from a 14-point deficit in the first quarter to lead Denver by as much as 21 points in the second half before the Nuggets made it interesting down the stretch.

Coming off their worst shooting game of the season, the Nets got back to their basics on Wednesday, with much better shot selection and ball movement.

Brooklyn shot 32.4 percent overall and just 11.9 percent from 3-point range in a 19-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. They rebounded to hit a season-high 55.9 percent (19-of-34) from deep against the Nuggets, while compiling a season-high 36 assists in the process.

Denver looked as if it was going to run the Nets out of their own building early, scoring the first eight points of the game and taking a 27-13 lead on Trey Lyles‘ jumper with 4:46 to go in the first quarter.

But Brooklyn recovered, outscoring the Nuggets 17-8 to close the period as Denver led 35-30 at the break.

The Nets carried the momentum into the second quarter, opening with an 8-0 run to take the lead for the first time on Allen Crabbe‘s 3-pointer just 46 seconds into the period. Brooklyn kept its foot on the accelerator, putting together a 17-4 run late in the first half to lead 72-60 at the break.

That matched the Nets’ second-highest first half total of the season, when Brooklyn scored 72 against the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 16. Their 73 points against the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 2 was their highest-scoring first half this year.

The Nets pushed the lead to 20 on a 30-foot bomb by Russell just 1:47 into the second half and led by 21 points three different times in the third quarter, but Denver clawed its way back into the game.

But after the Nuggets got as close as 11 with 3:29 to go in the period, Brooklyn exploded for a 13-3 finish to go up 108-87 at the quarter break. The 108 points is their second-highest total through three this season; the Nets hung 111 in the first three quarters in the Dec. 16 win over the Hawks.

This, of course, came after being held below 95 points in consecutive games for the first time this season.

Brooklyn led by 21 with 9:32 to go before Denver started chipping away at the deficit, getting it inside double digits with 1:53 to go on a driving layup by Jokic.

The Nets had trouble closing out the game at the foul line, missing five of eight attempts in the final 1:02, but the Nuggets couldn’t get closer than four points.

The win allowed Brooklyn to complete its first season sweep of Denver since 2015-16 after beating the Nuggets on the road 112-110 on Nov. 9.

The Nets shot 51.1 percent overall (46-for-90) and had a small advantage in points off turnovers, 20-16, despite committing one more giveaway (14) than Denver’s 13.

The Nuggets hit 50.5 percent (50-for-99) on the night and were 13-for-35 from deep (37.1 percent), but Brooklyn’s bench provided the edge, outscoring the Denver reserves 53-42.

Seven Nets scored in double figures, led by Russell, who had 27 points and 11 assists. Carroll finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists — matching a career-high — and a season-high four steals. Napier went for 10 points and a career-high 11 assists and Ed Davis had three blocks.

Joe Harris returned from a one-game absence due to injury to score 17 points, Treveon Graham went for 16 and Jarrett Allen and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson dropped in 15 points apiece.

Jokic finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, while former Net Mason Plumlee — starting his second straight game in place of injured Paul Millsap — went for a season-high 24 points and had three blocked shots before fouling out with 2:46 remaining.

Jamal Murray, playing for the first time since missing six games with a sprained ankle, scored 19 points with 11 assists.

The Nets host the Chicago Bulls Friday with a chance to close out their first four-game season sweep of the Bulls since 2004-05. Brooklyn did take all three meetings from Chicago last season and have beaten the Bulls six straight times.

Here are three takeaways from an important win over the Nuggets that kept the Nets above the .500 mark with three games remaining before the All-Star break.