The Nets have routinely espoused their belief that they will be a playoff team.
Playoff teams know how to finish games.
The Nets blew a 20-point lead in dropping a 107-96 decision to shorthanded Minnesota Monday night at the Barclays Center.
Joe Johnson led the Nets in scoring with 19 points. Deron Williams had 18 points and 13 assists. Brook Lopez finished with 13. Marshon Brooks and C.J. Watson added 11 points and 10 points, respectively.
Nikola Pekovic led all scorers with 21 points. Andrei Kirilenko and Chase Budinger each finished with 16. Dante Cunningham had 11, and Alexey Shved chipped in with 10 points.
After starting the home portion of their season against two of the league’s weaker teams, the Nets will take a step up in weight class when they visit the defending champion Heat Wednesday night.
While two games into the season is an incredibly small sample size, the Nets have shown an inability to put poor teams away. Whereas the Nets fed off the fans’ emotion Saturday night, they were unable to slow Minnesota in the second half. The T-Wolves outscored the Nets, 60-34, in the second half, including 32-10 in the fourth quarter.
The Nets’ collapse began midway through the third quarter. Minnesota went on a 13-4 run in a 5:20 span of the third and fourth quarters to cut the Nets’ lead to six. The run was marked by a Shved 3-pointer and a driving dunk by Kirilenko.
The Nets were unable to counteract the T-Wolves’ surge. Following the Kirilenko dunk, Minnesota outscored the Nets, 25-8, over the last 10:06.
Follow Nets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.