The Nets’ 5 recreation highway journey ended with a 121-107 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
They now journey again to Brooklyn for a four-game house stand that may outline the remainder of season.
Thunder All-Star star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — with assist from budding star Josh Giddey and Net killer Lugentz Dort — ended Brooklyn’s spectacular streak, which included convincing come-from-behind victories over two NBA championship contenders: the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets.
Tuesday supplied the Nets a chance to safe a victory in a winnable recreation that would have gone a great distance towards serving to the crew’s playoff standing.
Instead, the Nets fell quick — simply earlier than the schedule takes a flip.
Gilgeous-Alexander put up his thirty eighth 30-plus-point recreation of the season, Giddey recorded a triple-double, and Dort hit six threes for twenty-four factors and 9 assists.
He has scored not less than 20 or extra in every of his final 4 video games in opposition to the Nets.
The Nets, who constructed a repute as the perfect third-quarter crew in basketball over the earlier six video games, entered halftime up 10, however completed the third quarter down eight.
Mikal Bridges completed with a team-high 34 factors, and Cam Johnson added 23 on 7-of-13 taking pictures from the sphere.
The Nets led by as many as 16 factors within the first half earlier than the offense sputtered within the third quarter.
And after the Thunder discovered methods to cube the Net protection down the stretch, Brooklyn is about to welcome the NBA’s elite to Barclays Center for a four-game stretch positive to check the bounds of their newfound No. 1 protection.
The Nets host the Western Conference’s No. 3 Sacramento Kings on Thursday, host Nikola Jokic and the West’s No. 1 seeded Nuggets in a matinee recreation on Sunday, then welcome Donovan Mitchell and the Eastern Conference’s fourth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in back-to-back video games.
The Nets simply defeated the Nuggets in Denver in one among their finest video games of the season, however the Nuggets imagine they acquired caught sleeping.
The stretch then continues on the highway in Miami in opposition to a Heat crew that will have turned a nook by creeping into the East’s No. 7 seed, adopted by a visit to Orlando hours later within the second recreation of a a back-to-back in opposition to a protracted, athletic and spry Magic crew.
The Nets got here out of the All-Star break with the NBA’s seventh-most troublesome remaining schedule in all of basketball. They misplaced their first 4 video games out of the break, then received 5 video games in six tries earlier than dropping the ball in opposition to the Thunder on Tuesday.
From this level on, the Nets have the twelfth lightest schedule, although their upcoming six-game stretch is as troublesome a slate of video games any crew has to face.
Brooklyn entered Tuesday in a digital tie with the Knicks for the No. 5 seed, and the 2 groups are tied at 2-2 of their season collection, which means the tiebreaker standards would come right down to division document. The Knicks are 8-8 within the Atlantic Division and the Nets are 7-8 with their last division recreation on April 9 in Brooklyn within the season finale in opposition to Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.
And if the Nets end with a extra favorable document than the Knicks of their last dash to the postseason, they will evade the No. 3 76ers, who’re three-and-a-half video games forward of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a way more favorable first-round opponent if the Nets preserve maintain of the East’s No. 5 seed.
If they don’t, with the surging Heat, there’s no assure the Nets maintain onto six, which means each recreation counts from right here on out if the Hets need to keep a playoff crew this season.
Starting with an upcoming stretch at Barclays Center — internet hosting Sacramento, Denver, and Donovan Mitchell twice — earlier than a visit to Miami to face a motivated Heat crew within the first leg of a back-to-back shortly after.