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Nets come up empty late in loss as Ben Simmons exits with injury again

MINNEAPOLIS — The Nets entered Saturday wondering how to get Ben Simmons to play well with another non-shooter.

Now they’re trying to figure out how to keep him playing.

Simmons, the only All-Star on Brooklyn’s roster, was frequently injured and once again slowed down. This time, he was forced to leave the game with a leg injury in a 101-86 loss to Minnesota in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,024 at Target Center.

Ben Simmons lost control of the ball early in the game and the Nets lost 101-86 to the Timberwolves in the third quarter due to a sore foot. AP

Simmons has appeared in just 55 games with the Nets since being acquired at the 2022 trade deadline at the expense of former MVP James Harden. Most of his missed time was due to a foot injury brought on by a herniated disc and the aforementioned back pain.

Now, Brooklyn’s starting point guard had another issue, as he was forced to leave the game with 8:04 left in the third quarter due to soreness in his left foot.

He was ruled out of the rest of the night’s match.

Brooklyn led 53-51 when Simmons was ejected, but substitute Dennis Schroder quickly converted an alley-oop from Nick Claxton to make the score.

The Nets bounced back from a crushing loss Thursday against Toronto in Kevin Ollie’s interim debut and took a 72-70 lead on Cam Thomas’ short jumper with 9:28 left.

But that’s when Minnesota finally pulled away.

Karl-Anthony Towns, who scored a game-high 28 points, looked like he was going to throw Nick Claxton around during the Nets’ 101-86 loss to the Timberwolves. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

Brooklyn went on a 19-6 run and never challenged again.

New Jersey native Kyle Anderson gave the Timberwolves an 89-78 lead and the game was effectively over.

Additional spice was added when Schroder fouled Mike Conley’s 3-pointer with just seconds left and was shoved by Nickell Alexander-Walker, prompting a review of the altercation.

Four technical fouls were called. And none of it mattered.

Karl-Anthony Towns plans to shoot Nick Claxton during Nets loss. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

Brocklin lost 21-35.

Fellow New Jersey native Karl-Anthony Towns had a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota.

Anthony Edwards added 26 points and eight boards for the Timberwolves, who played without center Rudy Gobert.

It turns out they didn’t need a defensive shot blocker.

Nic Claxton dunks during the Nets loss. AP

Cam Thomas led the Nets with a modest 18 points and six rebounds, and Mikal Bridges added 15 points, eight assists, and six rebounds.

Brooklyn shot just 34.0% from the field and was shockingly bad at 6-of-35 from 3-point range.

Going into the game, their concern was putting Simmons on the floor with other non-shooters. Now they have an even bigger problem.

The fired Jacque Vaughn never quite found the perfect way to compensate for Simmons’ lack of jumpers.

Dennis Schroder had a frustrated reaction after missing a shot during the Nets loss. AP

O’Ree now has to consider whether to get the most out of Simmons, it’s important to keep him surrounded by shooters, or for his players to be very careful with their spacing. yeah. Or is it ultimately encouraging him to drive more?

all of the above.

“Yes, that’s it. Look at the rotation, see who fits him, be around him all season, what he needs to do, how to space him. I understand,” Ollie said. “And that’s what Ben has, too, being very aggressive when he brings it to the rim and seeing the gaps. And we told him that.

“Yeah, that’s what we’re trying to push him into and I think he can do it,” Oley said. “And when we get into a half-court situation, it’s going to be important to have him play with pace and for us to have good spacing around him. But look at that gap. When he does, he’s got to bring it to the rim. I think he’ll do that.”

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