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Inexperienced Nets still learning to close out games in the NBA playoffs

Brooklyn squandered a seven-point lead with 5:20 left, committing five turnovers in the last 4:11 of Game 4.

Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts in the

Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts in the fourth quarter during Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals between the Nets and 76ers on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at Barclays Center. Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Like most things in life, experience is the best teacher when it comes to the NBA playoffs. The Nets’ lack of same showed up in the fourth quarter of Game 4 Saturday afternoon at Barclays Center when they squandered a seven-point lead with 5:20 left, committing five turnovers in the last 4:11 of a 112-108 loss to the 76ers that left them facing elimination.

“It’s a little bit our inexperience and a little bit their length and activity,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We got a little out of sorts. Had a few turnovers that we didn’t need. We also had a bunch of good looks, and they didn’t go down.”

Joe Harris, who led the NBA in three-point percentage, missed two wide-open threes in the fourth quarter before hitting a layup to give the Nets their final lead with 25 seconds left. He is 0-for-12 from three-point range over the past three losses to the 76ers.

“I thought he played a great game,” Atkinson said. “You make some, you miss some. I’m glad he got looks, I’m glad how aggressive he was. Unfortunately, the threes didn’t go tonight.”

Second-year Nets center Jarrett Allen, who had two fourth-quarter turnovers, said the breakdowns resulted from inexperience and poor execution against a tough Philadelphia defense that held them to 17 points.

“It was almost all of our first playoffs except for Joe,” Allen said. “We need to be better at the end of games, especially in the playoffs when we know it’s going to be more difficult than the regular season.”

At the same time, Allen suggested the Nets played well throughout the game, and it can carry over to Game 5 Tuesday night in Philadelphia. “We came out here and played our hardest,” Allen said. “I know we came up short, but there’s a lot of things we can improve .  .  .  a lot of little mistakes we made. If we fix those, I think we can take it.”

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