The Brooklyn Nets started off their 2018-19 season opener like gangbusters. Then the rest of the game happened.
This game was filled with ups, downs, and a familiar third quarter performance by the Nets. The final result was a tough 103-100 defeat to the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Brooklyn came into this game ravaged by injuries. Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and DeMarre Carroll were unavailable. So were new Nets Shabazz Napier and Alan Williams. The injury bug was hard at work on this team.
But, despite the injuries, the Nets came out the gate fast and ready to play. They scored the first eight points of the game and left Pistons new head coach Dwayne Casey calling for time out early.
D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert started in the backcourt for Brooklyn. They had the Nets offense humming early with great pace. LeVert finished with a game-high 27 points.
Jarrett Allen had 17 points with 10 rebounds, an impressive double-double to go with four blocks. One of those blocks was an impressive block of a Blake Griffin dunk attempt. The big man showed he has the potential to be a force on both sides of the court, the Nets found success early running their offensive sets through him.
But as the game went on, a familiar tune began to play for the Nets. The offense went dormant. The Pistons went on an 11-0 run to get back in the game.
With the game tied at halftime, the Pistons were now the team coming out like gangbusters. They opened up a double-digit lead on Brooklyn.
Everything the Nets did right in the first quarter, they did wrong in the second and third quarters. There was no pace to their offense, lackluster effort on defense, and sloppy play with turnovers.
The Nets, however, fought back. With Spencer Dinwiddie running the point, and Russell watching from the bench, Brooklyn found a groove in the fourth quarter which allowed them to get to within one point with eight seconds to play.
It briefly felt like the Nets would find a way to pull off the win. But LeVert turned it over and the Pistons held on for the victory.
Griffin led the Pistons with 26 points. Andre Drummond added 24 points and 20 rebounds, he continues to have success against the Nets on the boards.
The Nets deserve plenty of credit for fighting their way back into the game. There were plenty of bright spots. Allen and LeVert opened eyes with their production. Dinwiddie off the bench scored 23 points and added six assists.
But Russell wasn’t the same after being subbed out in the first quarter. And most of all, Brooklyn was unable to close out another winnable ballgame. It’s a narrative they must avoid this season.
This game started off great for the Nets, but it ended on a familiar note.