There would be no box-and-one comeback adjustment stories. No double overtime. Just disappointment.
In the second night of a home-and-home, the Charlotte Hornets (17-17) defeated the Brooklyn Nets (17-20), 100-87, Friday night in Charlotte. The 87 points were the fewest Brooklyn’s scored in a game this season. The Nets never held a lead in this game and found themselves on the wrong end of a 26-6 run to start the night.
And from there on out, it was about digging out of a hole, which they somewhat did but not enough.
D’Angelo Russell did all he could to keep the Nets in the game with 33 points in 33 minutes, his fifth 30-point game this season and a new career-high on the road. Behind his lead and a spark from Shabazz Napier (11 points), the Nets brought it within five in the fourth quarter.
But after Napier scored 11 points in 11 minutes, he was subbed out for Spencer Dinwiddie, who finished the night with three points on 1-of-7 shooting, ending his long run of scoring double figures off the bench. Bubble Hawkins’ record is safe.
So much for riding the hot hand and so much for a comeback, because the Nets never got over the hump.
Tony Parker scored 15 of 18 points to close out the game for Charlotte, including an and-one dagger to go up 13 with 1:07 remaining. The 36-year-old finished with 19 points off the bench, while Kemba Walker lit up the Nets again with 29 points.
The Nets were out-matched and out-coached. The Hornets made noticeable adjustments after Wednesday’s loss, particularly out on the perimeter where they pressured ball handlers more than usual. This made it difficult for Dinwiddie to penetrate and open up the perimeter for others.
As a result, Joe Harris was contained all night with four points on just six shot attempts. He scored 27 points on Wednesday night. Dinwiddie scored just three points, while Jarrett Allen was 1-of-8 with five turnovers. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was also non-existent with two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Rodions Kurucs had his worse game in eight starts, scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds.
DeMarre Carroll was one of three Nets in double figures with 15 points off the bench. He looked to be the only one pushing the tempo and trying to change the pace into Brooklyn’s favor.
As for (defensive) adjustments, the Nets played a modified 2-3 zone particularly late. They’ve played a zone in the past few games, an indication they’re trying anything to get the defense in some sort of rhythm.
Better luck tomorrow where things will only get tougher. They’re playing the Milwaukee Bucks, currently the no. 2 seed in the East, tomorrow (Saturday) night. That means they’ll travel from Charlotte to Wisconsin right after this game.
The Nets entered Friday night just one game out of the six seed and 1⁄2 game out of the seven and eight seeds. By night’s end, they were a game behind the surging Heat and the collapsing Pistons and a game behind the Hornets. On the other hand, the Magic are a game behind the Netsafter Here are some games to keep an eye on:
On the other side of the ledger, the Nets moved into the ninth spot in the Draft Lottery with a 4.5 percent chance of getting the overall No. 1 pick and a 20.3 percent of a top four pick.
DINWIDDIE MAKES A LITTLE HISTORY (VIA YES NETWORK)
For a different perspective, head on over to At the Hive, our Hornets sister site at SB Nation.
Next up: Nets @ Milwaukee, 5 PM ET on Saturday.