With two of the Nets big three out, the Nets on Friday fell to a Mavericks squad that recently welcomed Kristaps Porzingis back to action. Via the NY Post:
The NBA’s longest winning streak ended Saturday with a thud, the sound of the red-hot Nets crashing back down from Cloud 9.
The Nets were undersized and undermanned, playing without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. But they aren’t using any of that an alibi for getting thrashed, 115-98, by Dallas at Barclays Center.
“No, this is a no-excuse team. If you’re on the floor, you’re going to play as hard as you can. They just got the best of us, and they got the win. That’s all it really was,” said Jeff Green, forced out of the game as well. “It’s not about us running out of gas or anything. We just didn’t come ready to play and they won.”
Not only did Irving’s scratch to rest his surgically repaired right shoulder pare the Big 3 down to a Big 1 in James Harden, the Nets also saw Tyler Johnson ruled out just before tipoff with a migraine and Green’s own shoulder injury removed him with 3:17 left in the third.
And the NY Daily News:
On one end of the floor, Luka Doncic spins off his man, drives down the lane and euro-steps around James Harden for the easy basket. On the other, Harden lulls his man to sleep, one flurry of crossovers after another, before stepping back for a contested three that borders on equal parts un-guardable and flat-out unfair.
Watching Doncic and Harden go toe-to-toe at Barclays Center on Saturday was like the viral meme of two Spidermen pointing at one another. Doncic finished with 27 points, seven assists and the victory, while Harden recorded 29 points and six assists in a superstar showdown that substantiated the similarities between the two offensive masterminds.
“Both of these guys are great one-on-one players,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. “They’re great passers. They can both play the team movement game very well. Harden has been in a situation the last few years where the offense has really revolved around him, and our team it does around Luka similarly, but our style is a little bit different than Houston and Brooklyn, but both of these guys are generational type players. There’s no question about it, and that’s another thing that makes a game like this very compelling.”
In the Mavs win, supporting Doncic’s effort was Porzingis with 18 points, four rebounds, three blocks in 26 minutes, Tim Hardaway Jr. scoring 13 off the bench, Dorian Finney-Smith with 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals, and Josh Richardson with 11 points.