Every one of these collapses has had its own personality, Kenny Atkinson said.
In the loss to the Jazz, shots weren’t falling. Against the 76ers, it was the defense. And then there was the 131-125 double-overtime loss to the Grizzlies at Barclays Center on Friday night: ugly, angry, sloppy and dispiriting.
It was one of the worst losses of the season for the Nets, and unique in its horror as they squandered a seven-point lead with 33 seconds left in regulation. Then they lost a four-point lead in the first overtime.
In the second overtime, costly fouls sealed the deal, making the Nets losers of five in a row. In the last three games, they’ve held double-digit leads in the fourth quarter, only to watch them crumble in all sorts of ways.
Mike Conley Jr. scored 13 of his 37 points in the second overtime for the Grizzlies. D’Angelo Russell had 26 points for the Nets.
In the end, it was true: The personalities of these losses are all different, but the thread remains: The Nets find a way to lose.
“We miss shots, they make shots,” Spencer Dinwiddie said. “And then sometimes, like tonight, we make dumb plays . . . We know the story. Same [expletive] as always.”
For a minute, though, Friday looked like a chance at redemption.
After nearly three quarters of tug-of-war, the Grizzlies went ahead 87-80 in the opening minutes of the fourth before a furious Nets comeback. DeMarre Carroll hit a step-back three-pointer to begin a 14-0 run, including six straight points by Ed Davis that gave the Nets a 94-87 lead with 8:00 left in regulation.
The Nets led by 10 with 3:52 left, but it wasn’t enough to thwart the Grizzlies. With the Nets up three and in possession of the ball, Russell turned it over and Jaren Jackson hit a three-pointer with 16 seconds left to tie it at 111. Dinwiddie’s driving layup was blocked, forcing overtime.
“That’s on us, but you gotta give them a lot of credit,” Atkinson said of Jackson. “Give that kid a lot of credit.”
The Nets made four straight free throws to begin the first overtime and were up by four with 35 seconds left before Jackson hit a driving hook shot and Conley’s floater tied it at 117 with nine seconds left. Dinwiddie then lost the ball on an out-of-bounds play to cost the Nets any chance of pulling ahead.
“It’s a tough one,” Atkinson said. “We’re not having a party in there. We’re sad . . . We’ve got to bounce back.”
Sager strong. The Nets honored late NBA broadcaster Craig Sager on Friday with some wild sartorial trappings. Sager, who died of leukemia in 2016, was honored throughout the league Thursday. YES analyst Sarah Kustok paid homage to Sager’s colorful style with a rainbow blazer and fellow broadcasters Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw donned red-and-blue suit jackets.
Harris out. Joe Harris (left adductor) was ruled out Friday, but Atkinson is “not worried. The word is precautionary.”