Brooklyn Boro

Nets set new standard for home futility

Drop 15th in a Row at Barclays Center in 112-103 Loss to Grizzlies

February 14, 2017 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Memphis forward Marc Gasol powers past Brook Lopez Monday night in Downtown Brooklyn as the Nets suffered their franchise-record 15th consecutive home loss. AP Photo by Frank Franklin II
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There’s no place like home.

Unless you’re the NBA-worst Nets.

Brooklyn established a new standard for home futility Monday night at the Barclays Center, losing its 15th consecutive game at the Downtown arena in a 112-103 setback to the rugged Memphis Grizzlies in front of a loyal but disheartened gathering of 13,597 on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

Brook Lopez and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 17 points apiece for the Nets (9-46), who have dropped 13 in a row overall and haven’t found a way to eke out a win on their own herringbone-designed hardwood since the day after Christmas.

“That’s a very good team we just played and I think the good thing is we were out there, we competed to the end and we were aggressive and physical with them,” said Lopez, who remains Brooklyn’s most swappable commodity as the Feb. 23 trade deadline approaches.

“They definitely make their mark by grinding games out and being tough, being physical and I think we responded to that.”

The Nets’ response to the bullish Grizzlies was good enough to help them avoid getting blown out.

However, the win escaped them at every turn as Memphis outrebounded Brooklyn, 41-32, and never trailed after putting together a 10-0 run to end the opening quarter, finishing the period with a 27-19 lead.

The Nets did manage to pull within seven points on a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson dunk with 3:55 to play, but Memphis point guard Mike Conley poured in nine of his game-high 32 points immediately thereafter, putting Brooklyn down to stay.

“They’re an excellent team,” said Nets first-year head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Conley really gave us a lot of issues in the pick and roll [and] made a couple [of] big shots at the end.”

Sean Kilpatrick scored 15 points and Hollis-Jefferson and Trevor Booker each contributed 13 to the Brooklyn attack, which remained winless since rolling to a 143-114 rout at New Orleans on Jan. 20.

The Nets’ home skid eclipsed the previous mark of 14 in a row during the 2009-10 campaign, when the franchise was still based in New Jersey.

“I thought we had a ton of looks in the first half,” Atkinson lamented. “A ton of open looks. I think we were 5 for 19 from three [points-range at halftime]. Some opportunities, some decent looks and we just didn’t convert at a high enough level.”

That’s basically been the story throughout this brutal season for Brooklyn, which has dropped 24 of its last 25 games overall.

The Nets will try to avoid a 16th consecutive home defeat here Wednesday against former Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd and his Milwaukee Bucks, who have won all three previous meetings in the season series and seven in a row against the Nets overall since March 20, 2015.

It will be Brooklyn’s final game before the NBA’s annual All-Star break.

Nothing But Net: Following the All-Star break, the Nets will head out on a season-high eight-game road trip, making stops in Denver (Feb. 24), Golden State (Feb. 25), Sacramento (March 1), Utah (March 3), Portland (March 4), Memphis (March 6), Atlanta (March 8) and Dallas (March 10).

* * *

There is some very good news coming out of the Downtown basketball scene as LIU Brooklyn punched its ticket to the Northeast Conference Tournament with Saturday’s 75-69 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) at the Steinberg Wellness Center.

Reigning NEC Player of the Week Jerome Frink, who scored 30 points in last Thursday’s overtime victory at Bryant, finished with 12 points against the Knights, who dropped into a second-place tie with LIU in the league standings at 9-5.

“We really wanted to win this one for a lot of different reasons,” LIU head coach Jack Perri said. “FDU beat us pretty good at their place. Obviously, they are one game ahead of us in the standings. We wanted to make a move and go up instead of going backward.

“We talked about all those things. Any way to find a way to get a win in this game was going to be important and our guys stepped up.”

Iverson Fleming scored 13 points and Raiquan Clark added 12 for the Blackbirds (16-11 overall), who were scheduled to walk over to Remsen Street Wednesday evening for their annual Battle of Brooklyn game with the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers.

LIU is attempting to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since ending its dynastic, record-setting run of three consecutive NEC crowns from 2011-13.

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