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Nets Suffer Double Blow: Losing Key Scorer and Battle to Stephen Curry’s Warriors

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Some more bad news for the Nets…

The Brooklyn Nets couldn’t buy a bucket during a 109-98 loss to the Golden State Warriors Monday at Barclays Center. On a night where the Warriors shot just 4-of-22 from three (18.2%), Jacque Vaughn’s squad couldn’t build a convincing lead at any point, shooting 34-of-89 from the field (38.2 percent) and 13-of-42 from three (31 percent) themselves.

Cam Thomas came back to earth after the best eight-game stretch of his career, shooting 4-of-21 from the field and 0-of-6 from three, while Mikal Bridges scored 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting in 42 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie continued his fall from a once-productive floor general for Brooklyn, scoring nine points on 3-of-12 shooting–his seventh time scoring in single digits in his last 13 games.

It didn’t help that Ben Simmons (lower back injury management) and Dorian Finney-Smith (ankle) were out on the front night of a back-to-back, limiting Brooklyn to 10 active players. It really didn’t help that Lonnie Walker IV exited with left hamstring tightness after just five minutes.

Walker has been the Nets’ most productive bench scorer this season, averaging 12.3 points per game on 48/44/77 shooting splits, but has struggled to stay on the floor. The offseason minimum signing missed 17 games earlier in the year due to a strain in the same hamstring that forced him to exit Monday. Walker missing another extended period would present a significant blow to a Nets team already short on offensive firepower.

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His absence led Vaughn to lean on a seven-man rotation in the second half, which was cut to six in the fourth quarter after Cam Johnson reported adductor tightness, then five when Nic Claxton was ejected for throwing Brandin Podziemski to the ground with five minutes remaining. The frustration foul capped an uninspired effort for the Nets, who was outrebounded by the Warriors 60-38 overall while allowing 16 offensive boards.

Despite his team being short on bodies, Vaughn elected not to reach deeper into his bench with Trendon Watford and Harry Giles available.

“I thought tonight’s coverage for Harry would be pretty tough, as far as the screens and everything,” Vaughn said. “[In Trendon’s case], I just wanted to go back with Dennis. We play tomorrow and I thought that group, I was gonna ride those guys tonight. Just concerned about tonight.”

Watford has appeared 34 times this season, averaging 5.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists on 54.5 percent shooting in 11.7 minutes per game. However, the minimum signing has been cut from Brooklyn’s rotation over the last six weeks. Despite Day’Ron Sharpe being sidelined by a knee injury for the last month, Giles has yet to have his number called.

Stephen Curry led all scorers with 29 points on 12-of-24 shooting while Jonathan Kuminga added 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting for Golden State.

The Nets’ rotation players won’t have much time for recovery as they’ll play host to Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. Simmons will return for the matchup, while Finney-Smith will miss his fifth-straight game.

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