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Nets Lose first game of 2017

gordon-hayward-2017

 

January 2nd 2017

Utah Jazz 101   Brooklyn Nets 89

Without Jeremy Lin (inactive) the Nets again started Isaiah Whitehead at point guard as they faced the Utah Jazz at the Barclays Center. The Jazz are a talented and young team that also featured a familiar face in previous Nets Guard/Forward Joe Johnson who was waived by the team last February.

 

One of the key matchups  was Brook Lopez going up against Rudy Gobert in the paint, Lopez won the battle early on (he had 9-points in the first). Trevor Booker was also facing his former team and he came out playing aggressively on the offense end of the floor, he had 4 offensive rebounds early in the first quarter and a dazzling dunk off a spin move down the lane.

 

The game had a very quick pace in the first quarter as both teams were executing offensively. Utah’s big gun Gordon Hayward had a very productive first quarter, he had 9-points to lead his team. The Nets led at the end of the first 26-24. The Nets gave Joe Johnson a nice tribute at the end of the quarter and the crowd applauded their former all star.

“Got to play in an arena that was so good to me… I enjoyed the warm welcome… very classy of them…” Joe Johnson on his return to Barclays Center 

 

The second quarter saw the Nets continue to execute offensively while Brook Lopez was on the bench. Rondae Hollis -Jefferson had a few tough moves to the basket and really helped the second unit. The Jazz were cold early on and coach  Quin Snyder was forced to call a timeout with 8:24 remaining in the period. Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood were inserted back into the game to regain some stability for the visiting team. The Jazz regained some composure when Gordon Hayward re-entered the game and took a brief lead with 3:50 left in the half. After the hot first quarter Brook Lopez was held scoreless in the second quarter however Isaiah Whitehead and Trevor Booker continued to provide an offensive spark. At the half the Nets led the Jazz 52-50.

 

The third quarter saw both teams misfiring early, with both teams combining to score only 3-points after 3 minutes had elapsed. Both teams began to play tighter defense. Trevor Booker continued to make his presence felt against his former team as he had a nice double-double going in the third with 17-points and 14 rebounds with 5:19 left in the third.

 

The Jazz just could not seem to find a consistent offensive rhythm in the third they would have good runs but the Nets would always answer. Isaiah Whitehead had a resounding block on Rudy Gobert as he went up for a two handed dunk late in the third. The Nets built their largest lead at that point, as they went up 65-57. The Jazz would answer with an 8-0 run to tie the game with 1:21 left in the period and they would never look back.

 

Brook Lopez finally got back in the scoring column in the 4th as he hit a turn around hook shot with a little over 8 minutes left in the game. The Jazz found their offensive rhythm to end the third and continued to score early and execute in the 4th. Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood found the basket  often as they both hit tough shots.

 

The Jazz built a 86-78 lead with 6:51 left in the game, forcing coach Atkinson to call a timeout as he did not like what he saw form his team on both ends of the court. Rodney Hood continued to dazzle defenders in the 4th he had quite a few crossovers as he left various defenders standing in cement. After the timeout the Nets regained some confidence and had two good stops on defense and converted on consecutive offensive possessions.

 

The Jazz would not be deterred they buckled down defensively and began to close the game out behind Gordon Hayward, he had 30-points on the night and assisted on what was the “nail in the coffin” shot from behind the arc by Joe Johnson giving the Jazz a 98-87 lead with 1:41 left in the game. The Jazz won the 4th quarter 31-19 and showed why they are one of the top defensive teams in the league. Johnson finished with 7-points and 4 rebounds in his return to Barclays.

“I found a rhythm late in the 3rd..” Gordon Hayward

 

For Brooklyn, this is another tough loss especially since they played great defensively for most of the game. Brook Lopez was very disappointed with himself and his performance, and dwelled on it during his postgame interview. He had 9 first quarter points but only scored 5 for the rest of the game. Some of it was attributed to the defensive presence of Rudy Gobert and some of it fell on Brook as we was not as aggressive offensively until the 4th period. The Nets as a team also committed 15 turnovers and went 6-27 from behind the arc.

 

The Nets fall to 8-25 and are now in last place in the Eastern Conference and the NBA. They head out on the road for their next game to face the Indiana Pacers on Thursday January 5th 2017.

“Our offense wasn’t great… I was proud of our defensive effort tonight” .. Coach Atkinson

Sherman Gomez is a staff writer for PureSportsNY follow him on Twitter at Sherman@shermangmz1

Email: shermangmz1@gmail.com

Photo Credit:Nathaniel S Butler NBAE/ Getty Images

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