The Brooklyn Nets scored the third-most first-half points in league history Wednesday and are quickly climbing in championship futures odds. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A record-setting night
The Brooklyn Nets scored the third-most first-half points in NBA history Wednesday and are now the third-favorites to win the Eastern Conference, per betting odds.
Brooklyn’s historic night came without second-leading-scorer Kyrie Irving, who sat with right calf tightness. The team still managed to shoot a ridiculous 71.4% from the field and 68.4% from beyond the arc in a 143-113 rout of the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
only the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks have better odds of winning the conference
The Nets have received their share of criticism, but they are quickly moving up the standings and on the list of championship contenders. Only the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks have better odds of winning the conference, but the gaps are closing.
One of the best performances ever
Not only was Brooklyn’s first-half dominance the third-best scoring performance in league history, but it was also the most scored in any half of basketball in the organization’s 55-year history.
All ten players that subbed in scored at least five points. Kevin Durant led the way with 21, while Royce O’Neale and Nic Claxton were close behind with 14 and 10, respectively.
The Nets are right in the middle of the league rankings, averaging 114 points per game, which makes their unprecedented outburst all the more impressive.
The all-time first-half scoring record was set by the 1990 Phoenix Suns, who scored 50 points in the first quarter and 57 in the second in an early regular season matchup with the Denver Nuggets. Phoenix went on to win the game 173-143 behind 33 points from rookie Cedric Ceballos and 20+ points from four other players.
Durant was also a part of the second-best first-half output when he and the Warriors hung 92 on the Chicago Bulls in 2018. Klay Thompson hit an NBA record 14 threes and finished with 52 points (36 in the first half) that night as the Dubs went on to win 149-124.
Breakout nights don’t always lead to long-term success, but Wednesday’s demonstration adds to the momentum the Nets have been garnering over the last few weeks, and they now look like a bonafide powerhouse once again.
Nets climb NBA Finals odds
Brooklyn entered the season with lofty expectations, just as it has for the past few years, only to drop off the face of the earth with a poor start. Underwhelming performances from Ben Simmons, a fallout with former coach Steve Nash, and off-court controversy involving Irving put the franchise on course for what already seemed like a foregone conclusion of a failed season.
The past few weeks have evoked very different feelings. The team has ratcheted up its defense and is playing outstanding offensive basketball and has won 11 of its last 12 en route to reaching the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
have the sixth-best odds of any team in the league
The Nets were +1500 to win the Finals as recently as a couple of weeks ago. They have since climbed to +1200 and have the sixth-best odds of any team in the league, according to Barstool Sportsbook.
There are still a few potholes that lie ahead, despite the recent success. Simmons is an unknown quantity in the playoffs, Irving can’t seem to avoid causing trouble for himself, and Durant is being asked to shoulder an enormous workload despite being in his 15th season and still only a few years removed from an achilles tear.
The Bucks and Celtics are also very formidable foes (and set to meet on Christmas Day), and the latter swept the Nets out in the first round of the playoffs last season. For the time being, however, there is no team in the league that is hotter than the one in Brooklyn.