Player grades: Mikal Bridges drops 28 as Nets lose to Kyrie Irving, Mavericks 119-107

NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets welcomed the Dallas Mavericks to Barclays center on Tuesday for Kyrie Irving’s return to Brooklyn for the first time since his trade from the team last season and lost 119-107.

For the Nets, Mikal Bridges had 28 points and four assists while Royce O’Neale had 18 points and six rebounds off the bench. Cam Thomas had 16 points and Jalen Wilson had 10 points off the bench.

For the Mavericks, Kyrie Irving had 36 points and five assists while Luka Doncic had 35 points, 18 rebounds, and nine assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 14 points and Josh Green had 12 points.

In the first half, the Mavericks took control of this game by attacking the Nets’ defensive scheme of doubling Luka Doncic on the catch. To make matters worse for Brooklyn, Irving scored 21 points in the half and had little difficulty making shots.

In the second half, the Nets actually played better than the Mavericks thanks to some of Dallas’ supporting cast missing shots that they were making in the first half. However, Irving and Doncic proved to be too much for Brooklyn as the Mavericks never let the game get too close thanks to the efforts of their superstar duo.

Here are your Nets player grades following Tuesday’s loss:

Spencer Dinwiddie: C

Dinwiddie did not do much in this game on the offensive game as he spent much of his time off the ball to allow space for Mikal Bridges and Cam Thomas to do their thing. Dinwiddie remains one of the best ball-handlers/decision-makers on the team, but he finds himself without the ball in his hands for large portions of the game. He did a good job of passing the ball when he had it in his hands and gave a good effort on the defensive end.

Cam Thomas: B-

Thomas did a good job of getting to his spots on the floor despite how much the Mavericks were helping on him when he had the ball. Thomas struggled mightily on Monday against the Golden State Warriors and usually, it’s because of his touch not being there. However, in this one, he had an issue with trying to finish through contact and him not getting a good whistle did not help his cause either. Thomas did a great job of passing the ball as he repeatedly made the right pass when his teammate was open.

Mikal Bridges: B+

Bridges did a good job on the offensive end of getting to his sweet spots on the floor and while he had his struggles finishing at the rim, he did a good job of playing through contact when he got to the rim. He struggled shooting his three-ball, but other than that, he was also solid in his mid-range shots as well. Bridges finds himself as one of the main scoring options for the Nets and as such, he draws a lot of defensive attention that he is learning to deal with and attack.

Ben Simmons: B+

Simmons made his return to the Nets’ lineup after missing one game due to injury maintenance and he looked good in his return. He has looked to be fully over the back injury and the Nets can use everything that he has to give given how much this team needs consistent playmaking on both ends of the floor. Simmons provided all of that in this one as he served as a big man for the Nets as well as a facilitator.

Nic Claxton: A-

Claxton played well in this one as he made an impact on both ends of the floor for the Nets. While he didn’t do much scoring, Claxton made his impact in other ways while serving as a lob threat to make Dallas play honest when defending the rim. He did a good job of rebounding the basketball and more than that, he protected the rim well as he continued to block shots in excellent coverage of his teammates.

Royce O'Neale: B+

O’Neale played well in this one as he made a good amount of threes for the second straight game even though it took him awhile to get there. While he did not shoot the three-ball particularly well in this one, O’Neale managed to get some shots to go at the rim which is not exactly where he butters his bread in the NBA. Aside from that, O’Neale was also making the little plays like he’s known to do and he played some solid defense while having to play as a pseudo-big man in this contest.

Dennis Smith Jr.: C+

Smith had a solid game against the Mavericks as he was efficient on the offensive end and used his athleticism to get to the rim with ease, especially when he drew a mismatch. Smith appears to have found a way to navigate not having to be the one to shoot the three-pointer when Brooklyn forces the opposing team into a scramble situation by either driving off-the-catch or moving the ball to the next guy. Either way, Smith played more of a complete game on both ends of the floor.

Jalen Wilson: B+

Wilson saw some extended minutes in this one as he was needed given how many injuries Brooklyn had in the frontcourt. To his credit, Wilson looked like he belonged as he didn’t look out of sorts on the offensive end and was actually productive from three due to how open Dallas was leaving him. When he enters the game, Wilson brings a energy and physicality that the Nets have been missing in their bench unit outside of Dennis Smith Jr. and Royce O’Neale. You could see Wilson in the rotation moving forward.

Story originally appeared on Nets Wire