Brooklyn Nets: 3 takeaways from tough 2OT loss at Portland

Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
1 of 4
Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets D’Angelo Russell (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

In a throwback to their early-season woes, the Brooklyn Nets coughed up a 10-point 4th-quarter lead in a 148-144 double-OT loss Monday at Portland.

The Brooklyn Nets couldn’t hold a 10-point lead over the final six minutes of regulation and wound up taking a difficult 148-144 loss in double-overtime Monday night at Moda Center to the Portland Trail Blazers, who clinched a playoff berth for the sixth straight season with the win.

More from Nothin' But Nets

The celebration in Portland will, however, be very muted after center Jusuf Nurkic had to be taken off the floor on a stretcher after seriously injuring his left leg early in the second overtime.

Nurkic landed on his leg after being fouled by Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley on a rebound and the leg just appeared to give way before the 7-footer fell to the floor.

Play was delayed for nearly five minutes as players on both teams looked visibly shaken in a scene eerily reminiscent of those endured in recent years by Paul George during a 2014 USA Basketball scrimmage and more recently injuries sustained by Gordon Hayward in October 2017 and Brooklyn’s Caris LeVert last November.

The Nets (38-37) fell to 2-4 on their season-long seven-game road trip, which concludes Thursday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, and fell back into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, percentage points behind the Detroit Pistons.

Their lead over the ninth-place Orlando Magic, meanwhile, fell to just 1½ games after the Magic clubbed the 76ers 119-98 on Monday for their fifth consecutive victory. The Nets’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth remains at six with seven games remaining.

Brooklyn went up 10, 112-102, with 6:07 remaining on LeVert’s pullup jumper, but Portland battled back with some solid defensive plays and some poor decisions with the ball by the Nets.

D’Angelo Russell made the first of those bad decisions on the possession after LeVert put Brooklyn up 10, opting to take a contested pull-up 3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining on the shot clock.

Damian Lillard canned a 3-ball at the other end to cut the Nets’ lead to seven and the Blazers kept chipping away.

Lillard made a layup with 27.4 seconds left to get Portland to within one at 120-119 before Russell lost the ball while working against Seth Curry, who got a hand in and knocked the ball loose before he was fouled with 3.5 seconds left.

Brooklyn caught a bit of a break when Curry missed the first of his two free throws. Curry, who entered the game shooting 86 percent at the line, made the second to tie the game and all the Nets could get after a timeout was a deep pull-up 3 from Russell that never had a chance.

The Nets took a hit about two minutes into the overtime when Jarrett Allen was called for an illegal screen and picked up his sixth foul.

Backup center Ed Davis had fouled out with 4:11 to go in regulation and with two-way player Alan Williams preparing for the NBA G League Playoffs with the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn was officially out of bigs … and in big trouble.

Jared Dudley — all 6-foot-7 of him — was tasked with guarding Nurkic, but it was a mismatch. Nurkic scored six points after Allen fouled out, including a pair of free throws with 26.5 seconds left in the first overtime that put Portland up 132-130.

But a defensive breakdown at the other end left Russell alone in the lane and his layup with 8.8 seconds to go tied things back up.

Brooklyn did a terrific job of pressuring Lillard after the Blazers took a timeout and all the Blazers got was a near-heave from Lillard from somewhere in the suburbs of Portland and the teams trudged to a second overtime.

Portland opened the second overtime with seven straight points and never trailed, but the Nets battled to make it interesting down the stretch. The Blazers, however, made seven of eight free throws in the final minute to seal the deal.

Turnovers hurt the Nets badly, as Portland scored 13 points off Brooklyn’s 16 giveaways. The Blazers had only five turnovers of their own and allowed only three points off those miscues.

Brooklyn shot 47.6 percent (49-for-103) overall and hit 15-of-42 from 3-point range (35.7 percent). Free throw shooting was a sore spot again, as the Nets made only 31-of-44 (70.5 percent), with Russell and Allen each going 4-for-8 and normally dependable Joe Harris clanking two straight.

The Nets won the rebounding battle 59-55, but Portland had a 27-24 edge in second-chance points. The Blazers, however, shot just 43.8 percent (53-for-121) and were 14-for-45 (31.1 percent) from deep.

Russell led the Nets with 39 points, but was just 3-for-14 from long range and committed six turnovers. He also had eight assists and nine rebounds.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 22 off the bench, while Davis had 14 rebounds. LeVert finished with 16 points and seven dimes and Dudley had 15 points and two blocks.

Nurkic paced Portland with 32 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, while Lillard managed 31 points and 12 assists, but was just 10-for-30 from the floor and 4-for-16 from 3. Curry added 20 points off the bench.

Net-killer Enes Kanter went for 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Here are three takeaways from Brooklyn’s tough loss at Portland.