The Nets are turning crunch time into losing time, blown leads into an art form.

And the frustration is clearly mounting along with the defeats.

Brooklyn blew a fourth-quarter cushion and got beat by Anfernee Simons’ dagger, 105-103 before a crowd of 17,021 at Moda Center.

“I’m not going to sit here and lie and say that the vibes are immaculate. We definitely feel a way about taking all these losses,” Nic Claxton said. “But all we can do is to stay positive.”

The Nets led by as many as 11 points, and by four with a minute-and-a-half left. But they let the Trail Blazers close on an 8-2 run — capped by Simons’ seven-foot jumper with :00.2 left.

Mikal Bridges — who briefly was forced out of the game with a leg injury but came back to finish with 21 points — was on Simons calling for help.

But Spencer Dinwiddie was slow to come over on the double, and Simons got the winner.

“I know we were going to double team. I don’t know how he got a wide open lane to the rim,” Claxton said.

Both Bridges and Jacque Vaughn admitted the plan was to double team on the play, as did Simon.

“I was able to get some space. I saw there was a little bit of confusion in the coverage they called. They were supposed to double. I went before a double came was able to get to a comfortable little shot, my floater and it went in,” Simons said. “Yeah, I think they were supposed to send two, but I was able to go before they realized that they were supposed to send two.”

Up 86-78 early in the fourth, Dinwiddie hit a 3 to make it 99-95 with 2:29 to play.

The Nets saw Portland pull even at 101-all on a jumper with 54.3 seconds left. And after Bridges missed a wild driving layup, they failed to put a body on Jerami Grant and let him sail in for an uncontested putback with 9.7 second to play.

Cam Johnson’s hesitation — and shooting prowess — let him drive past a hard-closing Grant. He got downhill for a tying layup with just :05.2 in regulation.

But then Simons won it. And after getting outscored 8-2 in the last minute-and-a-half of overtime to lose to Miami on Martin Luther King Day, Brooklyn repeated the failure two nights later.

The Nets (16-24) have dropped 14 of their last 17, and lost twice to Portland (11-29) already in 2024.

“Getting swept by Portland definitely leaves a bad taste in your mouth; we just got to keep working,” Claxton said.

“Definitely. They’ve been getting cooked and then they come out and they beat us twice. So it was definitely disheartening. But we’ve got to just stick together We can’t fall apart.”

It obscured some positive signs. Dinwiddie had 19 points, seven assists and a team-high plus-12 to break a slump.

Dinwiddie came into Wednesday a staggering minus-90 over his prior seven games. He had averaged just 3.3 points and three assists on 3-of-15 shooting over his last three. But after a scoreless, one-shot first half in Portland, he started to finally show some signs of getting downhill and getting in sync in the second.

But it didn’t matter. Jerami Grant had 30 points and seven boards, and helped Portland take over late.

For some perspective on where the Nets are defensively, just take in these numbers and let them marinate for a bit:

Portland came into the night dead last in the league in:



Offensive Rating.

Effective Field Goal Percentage.

Pretty much anything that relates to scoring, or offense, or putting the ball in the basket. And the Nets couldn’t stop this team down the stretch.

With Bridges being worked on by trainers after knocking legs with Jabari Walker, Brooklyn reeled off 14 straight points to go up 83-72

Dinwiddie started the spurt with a steal off a bad Scoot Henderson pass and breakaway dunk. He added a 3 then earned a trip to the line and calmly sank both to put the Nets up by nine with 1:37 left in the third.

Thomas capped the run at the stripe, putting the Nets ahead by 11 with 12.6 seconds left in the quarter.

But Brooklyn has shown a penchant for blowing leads, and they didn’t close this one out.

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