Nets suffer massive letdown in loss to Grizzlies

Nets suffer massive letdown in loss to Grizzlies

The euphoria one night earlier on the road begat a massive home letdown the next for the Nets.

Brooklyn followed its stirring comeback from 21 points down in Boston with a horrendous shooting performance at home Wednesday night, getting crushed, 118-79, by Memphis at Barclays Center.

Caris LeVert scored 14 points one night after netting a career-high 51 in Tuesday’s overtime win in Boston. He and slumping backcourt mate Spencer Dinwiddie (1-for-9 four points) combined to shoot 0-for-12 from 3-point range and 7-for-28 overall as Brooklyn (27-34) lost for the sixth time in eight games.

Taurean Prince scored 15 points and Chris Chiozza added 14 for the Nets, who were outscored 66-34 in the second half and collectively shot just 7-for-42 (16.7 percent) from long distance for the game.

Josh Jackson netted 19 points, Tyus Jones had 18 and breakout rookie Ja Morant finished with 15 and five assists for the rising Grizzlies (31-31), the No. 8 team presently in the West, 3 ½ games ahead of No. 9 Sacramento.

“We all understand that this game has consequences for both of us,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said before the game. “We’re trying to hang on. I think they’re trying to hang on so it will make for an interesting game.”

Nets' DeAndre Jordan argues with the refs during a tough loss.
Nets’ DeAndre Jordan argues with the refs during a tough loss.Paul J. Bereswill

The Nets overcame a 21-point deficit and hung on for an uplifting overtime win Tuesday night in Boston, with several reserves playing key roles down the stretch alongside LeVert, who erupted for 37 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Before Wednesday’s game, Atkinson called the win over the Celtics “program building” because of the contributions of players such as recent G-League players such as Chiozza and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

Chiozza, signed to a two-way contract in January, came off the bench in Tuesday’s third quarter and manned the point for the rest of the game, logging a career-high 21 minutes in the Nets’ 129-120 victory.

Chiozza, an all-SEC selection as a senior at Florida in 2017-18, appeared in seven games for Houston one year ago and 10 earlier this season for Washington before the Nets’ signed him to a two-way deal off the Wizards’ G-League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, on Jan. 4.

After totaling just seven points and 30 minutes over his first seven appearances for Brooklyn, Chiozza finished Tuesday game with eight points (including two 3-pointers), four assists, three rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes.

“I think it changed the complexion of the game how he controlled the tempo,” Atkinson said. “There was no fear in him either. He was fearless.

“Young guys sometimes they just defer to the guy that’s got it going. But I like [Chiozza’s] demeanor. It’s just a steadiness and coolness to him. Not fazed by the moment at all. Like I said, I was impressed how he controlled the rhythm of the game. Caris was great, but I do think Chris changed the complexion of the game.”

Chiozza made an impact again off the bench against the Grizzlies, scoring seven straight Nets points early in the second quarter for a 31-28 lead.

Dinwiddie, who didn’t reenter Tuesday’s game in Boston after departing late in the third quarter, missed his first five shots against Memphis and finished the first half with just four points and 0-for-5 from long distance.

Jones had 10 points and Morant had nine, including a driving dunk in the second quarter for a 52-45 Memphis lead at intermission. The Grizzlies extended cushion to 17 points in the third quarter and opened the fourth on an 18-3 run — including 3s by Jackson, Jones and Kyle Anderson — to push the lead to 100-68 before the midpoint of the final period.

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