Shorthanded Nets falter in Minnesota
The shorthanded Nets faltered in Minnesota Saturday as the Timberwolves defeated Brooklyn 111-97.
Head Coach Kenny Atkinson was ejected with 5:55 remaining in the game after a non-call on a Joe Harris shot attempt. Harris drove and appeared to be fouled hard by Karl-Anthony Towns, but no call was made.
Atkinson was irate and needed to be restrained by several players as he charged towards referee Tony Brothers.
"It happens. I got frustrated. I wish I didn’t get frustrated and so emotional. But I did feel like I wanted to protect Joe, protect our player,” Atkinson said.
Spencer Dinwiddie stated that his head coach's actions are appreciated in the locker room. “From our perspective…seeing your coach stick up for us, it’s cool. We’re all behind him and we all appreciate it," Dinwiddie said.
The Nets were dominated in the first quarter for the second straight night as Minnesota outscored Brooklyn 30-11. Brooklyn once again struggled to get to the basket and find a rhythm offensively.
Brooklyn was able to cut the lead to five with eight minutes left in the third. However, Minnesota rattled off a 14-2 run to take control for the remainder of the game.
Jahlil Okafor led Brooklyn with a season-high 21 points in 24 minutes of action. Okafor displayed great footwork and touch around the basket.
Okafor will still need to keep an emphasis on defense and rebounding when on the floor. However, the former number three overall pick may see a substantial increase in playing time if the Nets offensive struggles continue.
Atkinson praised his team for their effort in the second-half of the loss. “Their attitude was excellent, I knew they weren’t going to give up after I got thrown out. They still kept on fighting for the old man. Credit to them,” Atkinson said.
The Nets will have a pair of off days before ending their five-game road trip against the Knicks Tuesday at the Garden.