The Brooklyn Nets’ losing streak extended to five games under questionable circumstances.
“We were not going to call timeout,” Jacque Vaughn said of the final play in the Nets’ 116-114 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 23, via the YES Network YouTube channel. “So we had our group in there to contine to push. If he was going to make the second free throw, it would have been tied up, we’d have a chance to take the last shot. Donovan [Mitchell] missed it, and somehow – without crossing the line – the ball got back to him. Then it was just a scramble from there.”
Mitchell – who dropped exactly 31 points on the Nets in back-to-back games – appears to get an early start following his missed free throw.
What should have been whistled as a violation was instead rewarded with the game’s final shot.
“We got a chance to get our hands on it again, and [it] ended up in their hands,” said Vaughn. “So you give them credit for continuing to fight on that side for sure.”
The Nets were seeking to avenge their loss to the Cavs just two days before and held a nine-point lead with less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter of the rematch. From that point on, they cooled off going 2-for-5 from the floor (1-for-2 3P) while the Cavaliers were 6-for-9 and outrebounded them grabbing five boards to one.
Their struggles securing the rebound underscores that Brooklyn ranks 29th in rebounding.
“I didn’t look at it real closely but it’ll be interesting,” Vaughn said when pressed on if he thought Mitchell committed a lane violation. “The way it came off, a lot of times, it doesn’t come back to the shooter without it being a violation. So I’ll take a quick look at it when I get back in there. But, [it will] be interesting to see.”
It would not be the first time Mitchell has apparently gotten off to an early start following a free throw.
He did something similar against the Chicago Bulls earlier in the season, scoring on that play.
Keep an eye out for the league’s last two minute report for further clarity.
Spencer Dinwiddie: ‘We Have to be Accountable’
“I haven’t seen it,” Spencer Dinddie said about Mitchell’s rebound and if he left early via the YES Network on YouTube. “I would assume so since he got the rebound. …We had to have a cascade of events that even got there. So we go to be accountable for that one.”
It was Dinwiddie’s turnover on a pass intended for Dorian Finney-Smith that led to the foul putting Mitchell at the line which he fully owned up to afterward.
The Nets are 7-12 since the trade deadline and find themselves in the Play-In Tournament.
“This is a emotionally taxing game when you don’t come out as the winner on the other side and you had the ball in your hands with 20 seconds to go, and they were going to have to foul us” Vaughn said.”So in a game like this, emotionally, you’re going to be spent a little bit. So I think you learn about yourself: can you let it go and move on to the next game?”
Vaughn commended the Nets’ resiliency and their ball movement during their rally from being down by as many as nine points to take the lead in the second half.
The result just turned out like far too many others have in recent weeks.
Nets Not Guranteed to Make the Play-In Tournament
Brooklyn is sitting in the seventh seed for now. But they can theoretically find themselves 12th in the Eastern Conference and in the lottery under the right circumstances. It would require them to lose all of their remaining games while the Washington Wizards win eight of their final nine.
It is not totally out of the realm of possibility, however, and they could easily find themselves behind any of the other four teams in the Play-In field.
All of them have won a game more recently than the Nets have.