Nets need to be a lot better than this during all-important stretch

After a grueling schedule to start the season, the Nets finally began a long home-heavy stretch tailor-made to make up ground. But they didn’t start it the way they hoped, beaten 112-102 by Minnesota at half-empty Barclays Center.

Coach Kenny Atkinson had wanted to see how his young Nets would respond to a noon matinee right on the heels of Thanksgiving. They didn’t acquit themselves well, trailing by 18 in the fourth quarter and suffering a Black Friday blowout.

“I was just talking, who has the advantage here?” Atkinson had asked beforehand. “Does the visiting team? They’re in a hotel. And probably all of us had our families and we’re home. That’s a different deal. So I’m always interested to see how we play in games like this, noon game after a holiday. But again, we’re at home, we have our great crowd, so hopefully it’s to our advantage.”

If that was Brooklyn (8-12) with an advantage, one would’ve hated to see this game played in Minnesota.

The last time these teams met, Nov. 12 in Minnesota, the Nets lost Caris LeVert to a gruesome leg injury and — in an emotional fog the rest of the night — lost the game 120-113. But in Friday’s rematch, they had no excuse.

Ex-Knick Derrick Rose, who has apparently discovered the fountain of youth hidden somewhere in Minnesota, got into the lane at will and punished the Nets with a game-high 25 points off the bench on 11-of-17 shooting. Karl-Anthony Towns added 21 points and nine rebounds, and against the Nets at least, the Timberwolves showed they were just fine post-Jimmy Butler.

Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie shared team-high honors with 18 points, with Harris adding six boards and Dinwiddie eight assists. But D’Angelo Russell had just five points on 2-of-10 shooting – 0-for-6 from 3-point range – and Brooklyn was on the wrong side of a 19-7 turnover disparity.

The Nets looked slow, lethargic and weighted down by all the turkey and holiday festivities. They were soundly beaten to kick off a four-game homestand and to start a friendly stretch when they should pile up wins.

“It’s a great point. We’ve got to make some money,” Atkinson said. “I think we’re seven of eight, seven of the next eight at home if I’m correct. It’s a great opportunity, especially with the schedule we’ve had, tough schedule. This first one is going to be – it’s important. It’s important that we get off to a good start in front of our home fans. We need to make some money these next seven, eight games.”

It’s really a baker’s dozen where they should make up ground. No, make that, they have to make up ground if they plan to flirt with .500.

Friday was the start of four straight at home before a quick jaunt down I-95 to D.C. That’s followed by three more at Barclays Center, then short bus rides to the Garden and Philadelphia before three more home games.

After having logged an NBA-high 12 road games through their first 19, now the Nets get 10 of 13 at home, with the three trips just short hops to Manhattan, Philadelphia and Washington. But in this one, they stumbled out of the gate.

Brooklyn trailed just 63-59 with 8:02 left in the third after a pair of free throws by Harris. But that’s when the Nets conceded a 15-4 run.

Towns had an offensive rebound and putback to cap the run and put the Nets in a 78-63 hole. He had three straight Timberwolves baskets to make it 82-65, and the deficit eventually grew to 87-69 after yet another Rose layup.

The Nets tried to stage a late comeback. Trailing 100-87 after Tyus Jones’ layup with 6:49, the Nets mounted 13-4 run. Dinwiddie sank a pair of free throws to pull them within 104-100 with three minutes to play. But that’s as close as they got.

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