Nets pull away late from Timberwolves
NEW YORK -- At halftime, coach Kenny Atkinson had a forceful but succinct message for the Brooklyn Nets. Although his team held a one-point lead and had done enough things right offensively, rebounding was lacking and Atkinson made the Nets aware...
NEW YORK - At halftime, coach Kenny Atkinson had a forceful but succinct message for the Brooklyn Nets.
Although his team held a one-point lead and had done enough things right offensively, rebounding was lacking and Atkinson made the Nets aware of it.
"The big concern was the rebounding," Atkinson said. "I felt like we did a better job of keeping them in front of us and then we'd get a rebound at the end. I thought that was important."
Brook Lopez led six players in double figures with 26 points as the Nets improved their rebounding in the second half and made enough plays down the stretch in a 119-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
"Once we had all five guys coming in and contributing on the defensive glass, it kind of took care of itself," Lopez said. "Coach came in and said our guards had three boards at halftime and I think they had 15 boards after half. That's a big difference. We limited them to one shot and cut their opportunities in half."
Trevor Booker added 15 points for the Nets, who used 10 players but none for more than 28 minutes. Sean Kilpatrick contributed 14 points while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 13 apiece as the Nets shot 55 percent and made 12 of 33 3-pointers.
Andrew Wiggins scored a career-high 36 points for Minnesota, which has opened the season with five losses in six games. Wiggins made a career-high six 3-pointers but also shot 13 of 29 from the floor.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half and was saddled with foul trouble after getting his fifth early in the final period. Zach LaVine added 17 points for the Timberwolves, who shot 42 percent and allowed more than 100 points for the fifth time.
"Unless we correct the defensive end, it's going to be a struggle," Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. "That has to become a priority by everyone, otherwise nothing positive is going to happen."
The Nets had a 43-41 margin on the boards but that was after getting outrebounded by nine during a first half where little defense was played by either side.
Eventually things changed as the Nets held Minnesota to 33 percent shooting in the second half while limiting second-chance opportunities.
Still, the improvement in those areas did not come to fruition until about four minutes left in the fourth quarter. The game was even at 106-106 after Wiggins made two free throws but the Nets never trailed after Hollis-Jefferson hit a baseline eight-foot bank shot.
After Wiggins missed two free throws, Booker secured the rebound and Lopez went around Towns and LaVine for a layup with 3:08 remaining. The Nets took a 112-108 lead on two free throws by Kilpatrick with 1:34 left and sealed the win on a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Bogdanovic with 37.4 seconds remaining.
"There were a lot of things that went their way," Towns said. "Unfortunately for us, they were up before we could make it happen. So it put a lot of pressure on us. We just didn't make some shots. It was something that happens. We can't put ourselves in that position."