OAKLAND — The odds against the NBA’s worst team ending its epic losing streak on the road against the mighty Warriors were impossible to calculate, but when the Nets took a brief second-quarter lead last night, it evoked the line from “Dumb and Dumber” by Jim Carrey: “So you’re saying there’s a chance.”
But a couple of characteristic defensive letdowns by the Nets and an uncharacteristic off night by center Brook Lopez doomed them to their 16th straight loss as they fell, 112-95, to a Warriors team playing without injured Kevin Durant at Oracle Arena.
It was the 27th loss in the last 28 games for the Nets (9-49).
The Warriors (49-9) took control of the game with a 10-0 burst for an 11-point halftime lead. What amounted to two giveaway baskets at the end of the third quarter because of poor Nets decisions allowed Golden State to maintain a 15-point cushion.
The usual suspects led the way for the Warriors as Steph Curry scored 27 points and Klay Thompson added 24.
Lopez scored nine points and shot 3-for-13 after going scoreless in the first half. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the Nets with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Sean Kilpatrick added 15 points and 10 rebounds, Trevor Booker had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Spencer Dinwiddie added 13 points. Jeremy Lin had nine points and two assists in 15 minutes. Lin’s plus-minus was a team-worst minus-23.
Overall, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson gave his team credit for a much better defensive effort than in Friday night’s loss at Denver. But speaking of the killer 10-0 Warriors run at the end of the first half, he said, “I really thought it was our offense. The ball stuck, we made a few turnovers and we gave them easy baskets. We have too many of those moments.”
Asked about Lopez, Atkinson said, “I thought Brook got good looks in the post. He just didn’t go tonight, offensively. We were asking him to control the paint, and he did a good job defensively.”
Despite Lin’s poor defensive number, it seemed clear that he took a step forward physically in his second game back from a 60-day injury layoff. “I definitely felt faster today than I did yesterday, for sure,” he said. “I actually touched the paint a couple times tonight.”
The Warriors made it look easy in the early going as they took a 14-4 lead, but the Nets narrowed the deficit to 32-28 at the end of the first period as Dinwiddie replaced Lin at point guard and scored nine quick points.
At the start of the second period, the Nets were scoreless for nearly three minutes as the Warriors pushed their lead to 11. But Kilpatrick scored seven points to spark an 18-6 run that was capped by a corner three-pointer from Joe Harris that gave the Nets a 46-45 lead. The play leading to it was a thing of beauty as Lin got the hockey assist to Lopez, who fed Harris.
That signature moment was spoiled at the end of the half when the Nets went into one of their stereotypical lulls. The Warriors scored the final 10 points of the half as the Nets missed four straight shots, including three from three-point range, and then committed a costly turnover that led to a four-point play by Curry for a 62-51 halftime lead.
Lopez finally got his first five points on back-to-back possessions midway through the third period as the Nets cut a 19-point deficit to 80-68. But they had another mini-lull at the end of the third when they allowed Ian Clark to score on an uncontested putback before Isaiah Whitehead’s turnover led to a fast-break layup by Curry for a 91-76 lead going to the final period.