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Nets’ comeback falls short in 10th straight loss

Brooklyn Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie (8) drives past Charlotte

Brooklyn Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie (8) drives past Charlotte Hornets' Marvin Williams (2) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. Credit: AP / Chuck Burton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — You could say it was a tale of two different halves for the Nets Tuesday night at the Spectrum Center, but in the view of coach Kenny Atkinson, it was a tale of two different mindsets. The Nets scored a season-low 37 first-half points when they failed to handle Charlotte’s defensive pressure.

In the second half, they punched back, scored 70 points and cut a 17-point halftime deficit to two points with 10 seconds left when Bojan Bogdanovic hit his second three-pointer in the final 18.4 seconds.

But once again, the Nets couldn’t finish the deal as they lost their 10th straight game, 111-107, to the Hornets, who broke their own seven-game losing streak.

To hear Bogdanovic tell it, the difference in the two halves was the way they responded to a halftime scolding from Atkinson.

“Kenny was [expletive] off, so we came out with a completely different energy,” Bogdanovic said.

“That gave us the chance to be in the game at the last second.”

Bogdanovic scored 11 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, but he traced the Nets’ comeback to the beginning of the third quarter. They put together a 22-11 run that included nine points from Brook Lopez and eight by Randy Foye to cut their halftime deficit to 65-59.

“It’s not about the last couple of possessions,” Bogdanovic said. “It was the whole second half. We came out and played with a great passing offense. We gave ourselves a chance with our defense, too.”

Bogdanovic pointed to the Nets’ recurring turnover problem and faulted himself for “averaging three turnovers per game.”

They committed 18 leading to 18 Hornets points while Charlotte had just seven turnovers for 11 Nets points. The Nets also were outscored, 22-4, on second-chance points.

On the positive side, the Nets shot 57.8 percent from the field in the second half and held leading Hornets (24-28) scorer Kemba Walker to 4-for-20 shooting for his 17 points. Charlotte had seven double figures scorers but shot only 39.2 percent for the game and 26.9 percent from three-point range.

Bogdanovic led the Nets (9-43) with 22 points, and they got 20 from Lopez plus a double-double from Booker (10 points, 12 rebounds).

Atkinson was proud of the way his team fought, but said younger players must learn to fight through the physicality.

“I think it’s a mentality,” Atkinson said.

“It comes with experience, how you can bump a cutter off a run, how you can bust through a screen, how you can fight in the post and be physical and use your hips without fouling. There’s a lot of tricks . . . We have to do a better job of executing when teams pressure us.”

Notes & quotes: Caris LeVert (right knee soreness) sat out but is expected to play tonight against Washington at Barclays Center, and Quincy Acy (left ankle) and Jeremy Lin (strained left hamstring) also were out . . . Forward Chris McCullough, who is averaging 18.6 points and 7.9 rebounds for the Long Island Nets, has been named to the East team for the NBA D-League All-Star Game Feb. 18 in New Orleans.

“It does feel good,” McCullough said. “I put in extra time for it and played my game, so, I appreciate it.”

New York Sports