It was deja vu for Brooklyn fans on Friday Night.
Just two days after blowing a five-point lead in the game’s final minute in what turned into a devastating season-opening loss to Cleveland, Brooklyn again blew a five-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
The Nets were without two starters yesterday due to injury: Cam Johnson (hamstring) and Nic Claxton (ankle sprain). Cam Thomas and Dorian Finney-Smith started in their absence, and both had highly productive evenings. Thomas dropped 30 points and hit a clutch shot to tie the game with under a minute left, while Finney-Smith had 12 points, seven rounds, and three assists in his return to Dallas.
The best news of the night for Brooklyn fans is that Kyrie Irving struggled in his first game against the Nets since last year’s trade. Irving scored just 17 points on 6-17 shooting.
Luka Doncic’s game-winning three is a shot you have to see to believe
The difference in the game tonight, one team had Luka Doncic, and the other didn’t.
Doncic went on a tear in the fourth quarter and banked in the crazy game-winning three-pointer you watched above. Dallas’ superstar posted a triple-double in his first game and followed that stellar performance up with 49 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists in 36 minutes tonight.
The Nets are struggling without a closer
To win games in the NBA, you need an elite player to take the game over in crunch time. Brooklyn got a close-up look at that this week, as Donovan Mitchell and now Doncic took a game over against the Nets in the fourth quarter and hit a game-winning three. Nobody on Brooklyn’s roster has that ability.
Mikal Bridges is the Nets most talented player, but he is not a pure scorer who can be relied on in crunch time, nor are any members of Brooklyn’s normal starting five.
Thomas is by far the Nets best bucket-getter and has shown the ability to take over games, but is 22 years old and not a regular starter.