Aldridge dominates, Nets lose third straight
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 34 points to lead the Spurs to a 100-95 victory over the Nets Wednesday night in Brooklyn.
Aldridge shot 13-24 from the field and 8-8 from the foul line. Patty Mills was red hot from the three-point line, scoring 25 points on 7-8 shooting from three.
Allen Crabbe scored 20 points on 4-6 three-point shooting. Joe Harris scored 18 points in 32 minutes of action.
The Nets led by eight in the first, but finished the quarter down five. San Antonio extended a five-point halftime lead to as many as 17 in the third quarter.
Atkinson's bunch would claw their way back into the game as they have time and time again this season, but lose once again.
Spencer Dinwiddie converted an old-fashioned three-point play to cut the deficit to just three with 2:16 remaining.
Following consecutive stops on the defensive end, Harris got a great look at a transition three to tie the game with 1:15 remaining, but could not knock it down.
On the next possession Mills would drive and find Aldridge for a layup plus the foul on Tyler Zeller to put San Antionio in control for the rest of the game.
"Aldridge is a beast in there, he's tough to deal with. We obviously didn't want to come off their shooters. We threw different guys at him, but he's a heck of a player," Atkinson said.
The Nets frontcourt play has been a glaring problem all season. The disparity in talent to opposing big men was even more apparent than normal against San Antonio.
Aldridge can score from the low post with ease and Pau Gasol can knock down the open jump-shot. This allows the offense to run smoothly. Guards can drive and kick to big men for open jump-shots or get open looks off of doubles in the low post.
The Brooklyn centers offer almost no ability to score in the post or knock down open jump-shots. Instead, the Nets guards must drive and find them close to the basket to give them any chance of scoring.
As a result, the degree of difficulty on the majority of the Nets' shots is much greater than that of their opponents. With the Nets guards being relied on for almost all of the offense, Brooklyn does not get nearly as many looks close to the basket.
This has been a pressing issue in recent games with Dinwiddie cooling down following a stretch of spectacular performances. Dinwiddie has shot just 16-63 (25.4%) in the Nets past five games. In the three games prior to this stretch Dinwiddie shot 26-53 (49%) and averaged 25.7 PPG.
Sean Marks will be busy looking to acquire frontcourt talent at the trade deadline and into the offseason. Until then, the Nets guards will have to continue to carry the load. D'Angelo Russell's impending return will take some stress off of the Brooklyn offense, but not solve the problem at hand.
The Nets will look to get back in the win column as they remain at home for a matchup with the Miami Heat Friday night.