Despite their 118-111 loss to the Warriors, the Nets learned that they can compete with the best team in the league.
The Nets were down as much as 28 points in the third quarter, but managed to make a spirited comeback that saw them come within four of the Warriors with just over two minutes to play. However, the comeback was too little too late as the Nets slow start cost them in the end.
As for the reason behind the awful first half, head coach Kenny Atkinson isn't sure what it was except that it resulted in a lack of energy.
"We were taken by the moment a bit...They were frozen for some reason," Atkinson told The Post's Brian Lewis. "[The Warriors] are a great team. Maybe that was it. But we were on our heels. That's not us. That's not how we play. I can't explain what happened in the first half -- why we came out so spiritless and [with a] lack of energy."
The players agreed with their coach saying that energy from the beginning wasn't there, and it cost them in the end.
"It was not enough energy, not enough physicality," Allen Crabbe, who finished with 25 points, said. "I guess you could say we did give them too much respect because of the name. I feel like with a team like that, you've got to hit first."
Warriors PG Steph Curry may have fouled out in the fourth quarter, but he was a main contributor in Golden State's monster first half that saw a healthy 64-42 lead at halftime. The lack of defense and answers on offense left a confused Nets locker room during the intermission.
"I really had a bad taste in my mouth at halftime," Atkinson said. "Our compete level was down, and our spirit wasn't where it should be...Our offense was historically poor in that first half. And defesne, we just weren't very good. Usually we show film at halftime. There was no film. It was, 'We've got to get back to competing.'"
The third quarter still saw a large deficit to overcome, but after a 15-3 run in the fourth quarter, the Nets saw themselves within four. They couldn't get the comeback to come full circle as Spencer Dinwiddie couldn't hit a three that would've brought the Nets within one with 30 seconds left.
If it's any consolation, the Warriors were impressed with how the Nets fought all the way to the final buzzer.
"Brooklyn brought it and I give them credit," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. "They set the tone. We had to withstand their run and luckily we did."
The second half saw a much different story than the first, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson knows that it was a lesson to learn from moving forward against any team -- not just the defending NBA champions.
"Go out there and compete," said Hollis-Jefferson, who finished with 16 points. "We try to hold our heads up. First half, we couldn't say we did that. Second half, come out and compete."