Ouch. This one hurts.
The Nets lost their seventh straight Tuesday night and they did it in the most painful manner, dropping an overtime game at Barclays Center to the Thunder, 111-103.
The Nets made just one field goal in overtime and they had no answer for Chris Paul, who scored 20 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime periods.
Caris LeVert, playing just his second game since undergoing thumb surgery, had a big night for the Nets, scoring 20 points off the bench. He did not play, however, in the overtime period, because he had hit his minutes restriction.
Apparently LeVert tried to talk the Nets into letting him finish the game, but they were not having it.
“That’s how we work,” Nets coach Kenny Anderson said. “We were thinking about his long-term health.”
The Nets (16-21) led by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter and had a chance to close it out in regulation.
With the scored tied at 101 in the final seconds, Paul drove into the paint but lost control of the ball and it went out of bounds. The Nets got the ball back with 11.7 seconds left, and appeared to get a big break when Oklahoma City committed an away-from-the-ball foul, which gave the Nets one free throw.
Spencer Dinwiddie, an 80% free-throw shooter, missed the shot, however. He then missed a floater at the buzzer and the game went into OT.
“It was very disappointing because we had a chance to win,” Dinwiddie said. “They trust me to make those plays and I didn’t. This one is on me for sure.”
The Nets had gone with the same starting lineup in 23 of their previous 24 games, but Kenny Atkinson decided to try to shake things up. Atkinson inserted Rodions Kurucs into the starting lineup for Garrett Temple just to send a message.
“Six losses in a row makes you think about tinkering with the lineup,” Atkinson said before the game. “I’ll give you that.”
Despite the fact they were coming off a tough Monday night loss in Philadelphia, the Thunder (21-16) entered Tuesday night’s game as one of the league’s hotter teams over the past month. Oklahoma City came into Barclays having won five of its last six games and nine of its last 11.
The Nets, by contrast, had lost nine of their last 12 with the most recent being a 101-89 loss at Orlando on Monday.
Both teams shot poorly with the Nets making 40.8% of their shots while Oklahoma City shot 41.3%. The Nets trailed 49-48 at the half with Taurean Prince pretty much keeping the Nets in the game offensively with 16 points, which included 4-for-4 from three-point range.
Dinwiddie continued his struggles, missing all four of his shots in a scoreless half. Dinwiddie has not made more than 50% of his shots in a game since he went 10-for-17 against Denver on Dec. 8.
Atkinson said before the game that he needed Dinwiddie to keep being aggressive even when his shots weren’t falling.
“What I don’t want is for him to be passive,” Atkinson said, “because I think his strength at the end of the day is getting to the rim.”
Atkinson said before the game that despite the fact the team was shooting 29.7% from three-point range over their last six games, their shot selection had not been as bad as some thought.
“I think we’re getting OK-to- good \[shots\]. We could do better,” he said. “As many shots as we missed, I thought a lot of them were open . . . I think we can do a better job passing the ball and finding high-quality shots. The second part of that, I want our guys to shoot open shots. Kept telling them last night, keep shooting them. If we have to shoot 60 of them tonight, we’ll shoot 60.”
Notes & quotes: Kurucs is scheduled to appear before a judge Wednesday for a fourth hearing in his domestic violence case in which he is accused of choking his girlfriend during an argument at the couple’s apartment this past summer.
s past summer.