Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) argues a call during...

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) argues a call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, in Los Angeles. Credit: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The Nets didn’t have many words after their worst collapse of the season. But in theory, what could be said losing by 11 points Sunday after leading by 18 in the fourth quarter?

The Clippers’ game-ending 22-0 run spoke loudly enough. They went small, with 6-8 Paul George as their tallest player, and pressured the Nets on defense, constantly switching on pick-and-rolls. Kawhi Leonard scored 14 points during the run.

A 104-86 lead turned into a 125-114 loss, and as the Nets missed shots, they faced a problem that has plagued them all season: Being inconsistent down the stretch as teams catch up and pass them in the fourth quarter.

“Got to finish games,” Dennis Smith Jr. said.

Added Mikal Bridges, “We just got to know when to adjust. How to adjust and just got to play the game, the whole game.”

Nic Claxton said teams switching on them has been the Nets’ kryptonite all season because they slow down instead of playing with pace. As a result, giving up runs has become a trend, especially this month.

Consider the evidence: On Wednesday against the Trail Blazers, they led by nine to start the fourth quarter. The Nets then gave up a 13-5 run to lose the lead. With 1:48 left, they led by four, only to allow a closing 8-2 run capped by Anfernee Simons’ game-winning shot.

Jan. 15 against the Heat? The Nets led by 16 in the third quarter, only to lose that lead on a 23-7 run. They led by five with 1:35 left in overtime but gave up an 8-2 run.

Jan. 7 in Paris? The Nets started slowly this time, trailing the Cavaliers 16-4. Despite a fourth-quarter push to get the deficit to single digits, they were in too deep a hole.

Jan. 2-3? Fell behind 16-3 at New Orleans in the first quarter and gave up a 22-4 third-quarter run to the Rockets. Both were double-digit losses.

Even in a win, the Nets couldn’t close right. They led by 32 in the second half against the Thunder on Jan. 5 but let the lead dip to six before winning by nine.

It’s not surprising that in January, the Nets have the league’s second-worst fourth-quarter net rating, being outscored by 18.9 points per 100 possessions.

So is it a lack of poise? Shot-making? Poor adjustments?

Perhaps all of that. Coach Jacque Vaughn often has pointed out that the Nets waste too many possessions. That’s still a work in progress 42 games into the season.

“I think it just tells you that our group is still learning lessons,” Vaughn said Sunday. “Whether it’s being organized after a free throw in which you have plenty of time to be organized and get into a set . . . whether it is taking the shots that you’d normally take throughout the course of the game that your teammates expect you to take.

So those [are] lessons for us to learn, especially on the road against a really good team.”

The next five games, all at home, bring tougher teachers. The Knicks on Tuesday, the Timberwolves on Thursday and the Rockets, Jazz and Suns after that.

Even if the Nets can’t avoid runs, they can be better responding to them. Otherwise, their worst defeat this season is another sign that things could spiral further in the second half.

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