October 17, 2017

Brooklyn Nets defeat the Miami Heat 107-88 and win two-consecutive games

The Brooklyn Nets are back and Thursday night was the Nets’ first preseason home game for the NBA’s 2017-18 season. Playing the Miami Heat in front of a decent size crowd at the Barclays Center, the Nets showed its hometown fans that they are attempting to live up to its marketing slogan, #WeGoHard, as it crushed the Miami Heat 107-88.

And, for the answer to the question many Nets observers have been waiting for…how well will Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell play on the court?

So far, it looks pretty well. There were no obvious displays of ball hogging and side-eye looks. Lin, who had three fouls in the first quarter, scored 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting; while Russell struggled a bit only putting up nine points on 4-of-12 shooting with four turnovers.

In addition to Lin, other double-digit scorers included Sean Kilpatrick with 14 points, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Joe Harris chipped in 10 each.

Spencer Dinwiddie had a team-high six assists.

The Nets are still pushing the three-pointer, nailing 10-of-30 from behind the arc; even Timofey Mozgov hit a three-pointer and Quincy Acy, moving with the fast tempo offense, scored back-to-back threes in the first quarter.

Defensively, judging by tonight’s game, the Nets look like they are moving in a positive direction, scoring 27 points off turnovers and out-rebounding the Heat, 62-37. Hollis-Jefferson, DeMarre Carroll, Mozgov and Trevor Booker each had eight rebounds or just over 51 percent of the Nets’ rebounds.

The referees thought Booker was taking the #WeGoHard a little bit too literally and so, Booker was called for a Flagrant 1 foul in the first quarter.

Jarrett Allen, a rookie from the University Texas that the Nets picked up at No. 22 in the first round of this year’s NBA Draft, made his NBA debut grabbing five rebounds and a block heard around the arena.

There were a lot of things to like about the Nets tonight, here’s to pushing the envelope for the rest of the season.

#BrooklynProud.

NOTES:

  • The next home preseason game for the Nets is on Sunday, October 8, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. against the New York Knicks.
  • Speaking of calls, it looks like the NBA is cracking down on traveling, as the referees made a number of traveling calls tonight.

Jeremy Lin still on the sideline with injury; Nets go into NBA All-Star break with a 13-game losing streak and a 9-47 record, the worst in the league

‘Twas their last game before the NBA All-Star break and fans were flowing into the Barclays Center to watch the Brooklyn Nets host the Milwaukee Bucks. It has been a rough season for the Nets who entered the contest looking to break a 13-game losing streak and avoid a series sweep with the Bucks for the season. Nets point guard Jeremy Lin was on the sideline again with a hamstring injury but it is believed that Lin will return to action after the All-Star break. Quincy Acy was also listed as inactive for the Nets. On a positive note, Brooklyn power forward Trevor Booker was listed as questionable prior to the game but did suit up to take the court.

While the Bucks would be without their power forward Jabari Parker, they did have the man affectionately known as the “Greek Freak”, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Limiting the offensive power of Antetokounmpo would be a tall order but one that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was capable of fulfilling.

After winning the opening tip-off, the Nets exploited the Bucks’ inability at defending the three-point line as center Brook Lopez hit his first two three-point attempts helping Brooklyn jump to an early 11-5 lead. In the first quarter, Brooklyn only committed two turnovers. The Nets’ inability to take care of the ball has plagued them this season. Even though they were able to reduce their turnovers, the Nets were ineffective at defending the pick and roll leading to Milwaukee points in the paint. At the end of the quarter, Brooklyn trailed by six points.

Milwaukee built on their lead in the second quarter but the offensive spark provided by Booker off the bench kept the game within reach for the Nets. Lopez continued his excellent play which brought Brooklyn within two points at the half.

The start of the third quarter was difficult for the Nets as their offense went cold and further hampered by the amount of turnovers committed by the Nets. In his postgame conference, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson acknowledged the issue and the possible causes of the turnovers.

“I just felt like we’re trying to make difficult plays when the simple play is available,” Atkinson told reporters after the game. “And, what can I say? We’re going to keep working on it.”

Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s offense ran like a machine going on a 15-4 run resulting in Brooklyn trailing by 13 points going into the fourth quarter. In order to leave the court with a win, the Nets had very little margin for error. Lopez’s play has always been steady and stellar but one man can’t do it alone. Fortunately for Brooklyn, he didn’t have to. Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie were instrumental in the surge that brought the Nets within two points with one minute remaining. Unfortunately, the Nets fell short by four points, 129-125. Dinwiddie gave some insight into his goals going into the fourth when he said that he wanted to “just get quality looks and hopefully get stops on the other end and just cut into the lead.”

Even though the season has not been stellar in terms of wins and losses, one thing that has remained consistent and positive for Brooklyn has been their competitive spirit.

Brooklyn Nets could not contain the fiery Paul George

Paul George and Jeff Teague were the tag team that carried the Pacers to a 106-97 win over the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Friday night. In the loss, the Nets dropped eight straight and 11 consecutive losses at home.

Brooklyn trailed for the entire game before taking its first lead 85-83 with 8:37 left on a 3-pointer from Quincy Acy, who just signed a multi-year contract with the Nets. Acy scored his eight points in 12:33 minutes. Although Acy was signed for his defensive skills and physicality, his 12 minutes were in the fourth quarter.

On the other hand, Caris LeVert, who only scored four points, saw 29:42 minutes.

“I thought we needed his defense really at the end,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about LeVert at a postgame presser. “I know we struggled offensively, but I feel very comfortable with having him out there. Defensive end, we knew that they were going to go to that one-three pick and roll, so putting him on (Jeff) Teague – turned out he got on Paul George after the switch and really did a good job – Paul hit a great shot with a hand in his face. So it was really defensively. And then offensively, sure, they’re young guys and sometimes they do too much and I think that’s our job. We have to rein them in a little bit and again improve our execution, help them make the simpler play, keep defining their roles and what we are looking from them offensively.”

George and Teague led all scorers with 24 points each and George added to his tally 11 rebounds. Helping out Indiana were Myles Turner and Aaron Brooks both with 11 points, and Thaddeus Young chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds.

In the loss, Brook Lopez scored 23 points and six rebounds for the Nets. Sean Kilpatrick had 18 points, Joe Harris added 15 points, and Spencer Dinwiddie chipped in 13 points.

The Nets have had several close losses, even if they bounce back the next day, right after the loss you can tell it hurts.

“It’s not for lack of effort or lack of trying,” said Lopez after the Nets loss to the Pacers. “We just have to really get over that hump. It’s just going to take all of us being on the same page and working and believing we can do it in the last five or three minutes of the game.”

The Nets play Toronto on Sunday at 12 noon at the Barclays Center.

A bright spot, rookie Isaiah Whitehead led all Brooklyn Nets scorers with his career-high 19 points in 29 minutes

The San Antonio Spurs arrived in Brooklyn for Monday evening’s matchup with the Nets as a banged up group. Pau Gasol (left hand), Manu Ginobili (back spasms), and Tony Parker (foot) are all on the mend right now. Even Kawhi Leonard (hand), who will be starting his second straight All-Star game in February, is resting for precautionary reasons. One would think that the Nets would be getting a break not having to deal with Leonard’s many talents, but this is the Spurs, and for this storied franchise, drafting and finding quality talent across the globe is a significant part of their fabric.

Without their stars, the Spurs displayed that global talent through their depth as Patty Mill’s big second quarter set the stage for an 112-86 rout over the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. The Nets were competitive in the first half for the most part but with three minutes left until the half, Brooklyn had a melt-down defensively and the Aussie had a lot to do with it. With the Spurs nursing a slim one-point lead, 39-38, Kyle Anderson would find Mills at the top of the key, wide-open, for a three that improved their lead to 42-38 with 2:41 remaining in the quarter.

After Trevor Booker’s one-handed dunk brought the Nets to within three, 43-40, Mills slipped around a screen to drain a mid-range jumper assisted by former New York Knick David Lee, which put the Spurs up five, 45-40 with 1:30 left until halftime. A couple plays later, following two Nets turnovers, Mills would be involved, contributing to three straight Spurs baskets, finding Dewayne Dedmon off a pick-n-roll, draining a 20-foot jumper and another three. He scored nine points in the final three minutes of the quarter, helping the Spurs to build a ten-point 52-42 lead heading into halftime.

“The game plan is still the same,” Mills said post-game in regards to not having their stars. “What’s expected of us is the same. So it’s just that opportunity.”

And I am assuming what is expected is excellence. Midway through the third, the Spurs defense buckled down and frustrated the Nets into bad shots, which included Booker attempting a three at the 6:33 mark, which is not what the Nets want on offense.

Prior to Booker’s miss, Jonathan Simmons 19-foot jumper which put the Spurs up 68-54 with 6:43 left till the fourth jumpstarted an 11-2 run that signaled the end of any competitiveness this game displayed earlier during the first half.

The Nets average 105.8 points per game and the Spurs held them to 86 points total. They also forced the Nets to shoot a horrendous 5-25 from three-point range equivalent to 20 percent. Despite the defensive turnaround favoring his teams’ effort in the second, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich still wants more from his team early in games.

“I think it’s been our pattern really,” Popovich said post-game. “The first half we usually play pretty mediocre defense for some reason, I haven’t figured it out yet. Second half we turned it up defensively and that’s usually the key for us because it fuels the offense, so it’s just a matter of trying to make stops.”

Brook Lopez, the Nets leading scorer (20.3 ppg) scored eight first quarter points and two points each in the second and third quarters, finishing with 12 points and four rebounds for the game. He would go scoreless in the fourth but by that time the game was already decided. The Spurs frustrated Lopez down on the block, so much so that the big collected a technical foul within the first minute of the second quarter.

The Nets, collectively, had a tough shooting night (39 percent) and Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson believes that their recent stretch of playing three games in four nights could have something to do with it.

“I think we fought in New Orleans, Charlotte, but tonight we just didn’t have the requisite energy,” Atkinson said during his post-game press conference. “…I just think their energy level was at a much higher level than ours.”

As far as positives for the young group, Isaiah Whitehead led all Nets scorers with 19 points in 29 minutes but was a minus 20 on the floor which needs to be better. The steady Sean Kilpatrick scored 17 points and Spencer Dinwiddie, who started chipped in 13.

What’s missing in all of this is the play of Caris LeVert. The rookie’s play of late has been inspiring and in their ninth win of the season against the New Orleans Pelicans last Friday, the former Wolverine scored 17 points. The Net’s could’ve used his length and size against someone like Mills on the perimeter who finished with 20 points on the evening.

“We can’t blame it on (LeVert) and Joe Harris for that matter being out,” Atkinson said post-game. “We have a roster of 15 and we expect the same type of energy from our guys that are going to take those minutes.”

It’s pretty clear that the Nets are not the Spurs. The Spurs can afford to have as many stars out and still play at a top-tier level. Even without, Gasol, Parker, Leonard and Ginobili, Lamarcus Aldridge still played and Mills is a champion.

Aldridge (16 pts 9 rebs), Anderson (14 pts), Dedmon (10 pts), Lee (15 pts), Davis Bertans (11 pts) and Jonathan Simmons (11 pts) would all join Mills in double figures which illustrate a luxury that the Nets just don’t have.

Against the Miami Heat (15-30), who will invade Barclays on Wednesday night, the Nets will need all the help they can get.

Raptors Backcourt, Minus Lowry, Sends Nets To 11th Straight Loss

The Brooklyn Nets hosted the Toronto Raptors, Tuesday evening, for the second time in less than a week. In the last contest, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan would combine to score 48 points, leading Toronto to a 19-point win, 132-113. Unfortunately for the Nets, they would endure the same fate, this time around, losing 119-109, but instead of DeRozan teaming up with his usual backcourt mate in Lowry, and unlikely hero came off the bench to start and torched the Nets perimeter defense.

Corey Joseph, who started in Lowry’s place (rest), scored a career-high 33 points, supplemented with DeRozan’s monster performance of 36 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to lead the Raptors to their third straight victory over the Nets for the season.

At halftime, Joseph scored nearly half of his game total, with 18 points, but in the third quarter, the Raptors, thanks to their fifth year guard, would start to pull away after a competitive first half.

Toronto (28-13) would trade baskets with the Nets for the first six minutes of the third, and after Jonas Valanciunas’s layup, which put the Raptors up by two, 73-71, Joseph went on a mini-scoring run all by himself. He would score five straight points, including a desperation three, at the top of the key, with the shot-clock expiring.

“(Kyle) provides a lot of scoring for us,” Joseph said post-game. “I knew that slot would be missing today, so I took it upon myself to try to be more aggressive, try to be aggressive and take what the defense gave me.”

It was only five points and put the Raptors up 78-73 at the five-minute mark, but following that make, Toronto would get into a groove defensively, forcing three turnovers in the next two and a half minutes. Their five-point lead became nine, as the Raptors would transform those turnovers into points, capped off by a breakaway fast-break dunk by Valanciunas, off of a Randy Foye turnover.

In the final period, Joseph would continue terrorizing the Nets, scoring 13 points, blowing by his defenders, making them look silly. But this particular fourth quarter, where games are decided, belonged to DeRozan.

Joseph scored more than his All-Star teammate’s 10 points but the difference is, it seemed like DeRozan made shots exactly when Toronto needed them. When Sean Kilpatrick cut the deficit to six points on two made free-throws, 99-93, DeRozan answered on the other end converting a floater, spinning off of his defender, to put the Raptors back up by eight for the second time in the quarter, with 7:54 remaining.

With the Nets threatening to cut into the lead, once again, down nine at the 6:50 minute mark, 103-94, DeRozan would hush the crowd again. He drained a 10-foot jumper at the free-throw line increasing the Raptors lead to 11 and on their next offensive possession, DeRozan struck again, hitting a floater over the defense, which put Toronto up 13, 107-94 with six minutes left in the quarter.

Prior to DeRozan’s big second half, he struggled early, shooting three of 14 from the field for 16 points heading into the half.

“I just kept playing the same way,” DeRozan said post-game. “You know, getting good looks and just going out there and I know it’s going to come, it’s just more so being patient, not really worrying about the misses.”

For the Nets, Brook Lopez led all scorers with 28 points and Bojan Bogdanovic, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert, all scored in double-figures chipping in 11 and 14 each respectively.

In the first half, the Nets were clicking on both sides of the ball, led by Lopez and Jefferson. Lopez scored 19 of his 28 points in the first half, highlighted by a couple of spin, step-through layups in the post that were Hakeem Olajuwon-esque on Valanciunas. Jefferson had some nice moments, taking his defender off the dribble, scoring 10 points at the half and as a group the Nets were looking good up 61-58.

In the third and fourth quarters, things went downhill for the Nets on offense due to the Raptors increased defensive pressure on Lopez. Toronto keyed in on the big-man, sending extra defenders and made sure to get the ball out of his hands. On several occasions, turnovers ensued and the Nets, collectively, just couldn’t find a rhythm on offense to prevent their 11th straight loss.

Despite their issues, the Nets know the season is far from over and can only do one thing: keep playing.

“You got to keep going,” Lopez said post-game. “We have a young group and we’re learning a lot on the fly so you got to just stay positive. We’re doing a lot well, just has not translated in the win column. I think we’re definitely going to break through soon. We just got to give ourselves a chance every night.”

One of the bright spots on the Nets has been LeVert’s play as of late. The rookie who missed most of training camp, scored 14 points with four assists and took the challenge of going up against DeRozan, at times, on both ends. His play has sparked the debate of whether he should be taking teammate, Joe Harris’s minutes and head coach Kenny Atkinson acknowledged that it is something that he has to mull over going forward.

“He’s getting more confidence,” Atkinson said regarding LeVert’s play. “He’s got the athleticism at that position that we need and the size and the quickness. I think, again, once the game slows down a little more, he’s even going to get better.”

The Nets are now 8-33 on the season, and haven’t won since last year in late December against the Charlotte Hornets.

Turnovers and missing crucial plays cause Nets to lose to Pelicans 104-95; Jeremy Lin still inactive with hamstring injury

January 12th was an unseasonably warm winter day in Brooklyn as the Nets welcomed the New Orleans Pelicans to the Barclays Center. After the final buzzer sounded, the Pelicans left the arena holding a 104-95 victory over the Nets, making it eight straight losses for Brooklyn.

Coming into the game both teams were without their marquee names, Pelicans big man Anthony Davis and Nets point guard Jeremy Lin were inactive. So, would the Nets take advantage of the absence of the dominating force in the paint that is Anthony Davis? The Nets got off to a hot start with Joe Harris scoring five of Brooklyn’s first 10 points but shooting over 60 percent from the field and beyond the arc propelled the Pelicans to a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Undeterred, the Nets offense outscored the Pelicans 26-16 in the second quarter, dominating the paint to the advantage of fourteen points. Brooklyn held a 57-51 lead at the close of the half.

The Nets continued to take advantage of Anthony Davis’ absence in the lane by scoring 50 points in the paint. Brooklyn’s defense clamped down in the quarter forcing the Pelicans to commit turnovers which converted into points for the Nets. As well as Brooklyn was scoring, they struggled from beyond the arc.

Even though the team possessed a six-point lead going into the last quarter, closing out games has been an issue for the Brooklyn Nets this season. New Orleans tied the score and a back and forth battle ensued. Sean Kilpatrick’s three-pointer around the 5:40 mark gave the Nets a three-point lead, one they kept for the next two minutes until the Pelicans began a 10-0 scoring run aided by missed shots and turnovers by Brooklyn.

On his team’s performance to end the game, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson asserted “we really struggled to score the ball. We had a few turnovers and just didn’t make the plays. We could do a better job executing down the end.”

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez was the high scorer on the Nets with 20 points and six boards. During the game, the Nets attempted 42 three-pointers but only made nine (21.4%). Some of those shots felt ill-advised considering the low completion rate but the Nets kept shooting.

When asked about the number of threes attempted, Lopez said, “we feel that if we move the ball and it is an open, good look, then we are confident in it.”

It was a tough loss for Brooklyn as they enter a tough stretch of basketball as they face the likes of the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets, a fact acknowledged by Harris.

“I mean, this month of January is especially tough just because of the number of games we’re playing, a lot of back-to-backs,” said Harris. “... going to Toronto tomorrow and then coming back and playing against Houston, two of the best teams in the NBA right now.”

Lakers domination over Nets ended in the 4th Quarter; Bogdanovic, Lopez, and Kilpatrick each scored over 20 points in the win for Brooklyn

On Wednesday, December 14, 2016, the Brooklyn Nets hosted the Los Angeles Lakers at the Barclays Center. Both teams entered the contest looking for a win to stop their respective losing streaks. Although Nets point guard Jeremy Lin returned to the lineup for the first time in 17 games two days prior in Houston, Nets fans would not see Lin as he was inactive due to tightness in his lower back.

The first quarter of the game was tight between the two teams and despite the Nets shooting 32% from the field, they found themselves only trailing by three points due to their dominance at the free throw line. The Lakers cooled off in the second quarter and Brooklyn capitalized by outscoring Los Angeles 25-13 ending the half with a nine-point lead (52-43).

As the third quarter began, Brooklyn’s offense was out of sync due to failing to secure the ball, committing turnovers in their first possessions of the half. The turnovers led to fast break points for the Lakers. After a timeout called by coach Kenny Atkinson, the Nets had better ball movement on offense but it didn’t prevent the Lakers from outscoring the Nets by ten in the quarter which included a spectacular dunk by Larry Nance, Jr. The Nets found themselves trailing by one at the start of the fourth quarter (76-75).

The Nets’ performance late in games has been a concern this season but on this night, the team rallied to take the lead. Once the Nets had the lead, they never relinquished it and kept the Lakers scoreless in the last six minutes of the game; ending it with a 10-point spread, the Nets 107 and the Lakers 97.

Scoring 20 or more points for Brooklyn were Bojan Bogdanovic (23), Brook Lopez (20) and Sean Kilpatrick (22), and Joe Harris, the only other Nets player scoring in double digits, chipped in 11 points. Nets power forward Trevor Booker added an impressive 18 rebounds in the winning effort.

On his team’s effort on the defensive side of the ball, Coach Atkinson asserted “I think if we’re going to take a step, that’s where we need to take a step, is defensively, so I was very pleased.”

To further illustrate the change in the team, Lopez stated “We just stayed together and kept our concentration in focus… We haven’t done that at times before, but we definitely had to stick to it tonight.”

Lopez scores 24 points; and Booker, Bogdanovic, and Kilpatrick come up big in the final seconds

The Brooklyn Nets held off the Denver Nuggets for an 116-111 victory on Wednesday night.

For once, the Nets didn’t have a third quarter meltdown; they went into the fourth 96-79.

Brooklyn led by as many as 29 points midway through the third quarter, but Denver closed the gap to 103-99 in the fourth on Kenneth Faried's layup with 4:31 left. And, it was almost as my colleague says, “the same ole Nets.”

"Look at the positive, I think we took a punch, two punches, maybe five punches and we got off the floor and finished it out," Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said.

Yes, the Nets did finish it out. With fans sitting on pins and needles, Bojan Bogdanovic and Sean Kilpatrick each made two foul shots in the final 13 seconds to help secure the win for the Nets.

Here’s the breakdown. Nets power forward Trevor Booker went 1 for 2 at the line with 13 seconds remaining for an 112-109 Nets lead. Denver’s Jameer Nelson then threw away the inbounds pass after a Denver timeout, and Bogdanovic made two free throws with 12.7 seconds left.

After Wilson Chandler hit a driving layup for Denver, Kilpatrick made two foul shots to help secure the win for the Nets.

"It's a confidence boost for me when I know my teammates are counting on me with the ball in my hands towards the end," Kilpatrick said. "I'm trying to make sure I make the right plays, especially down the stretch."

In the win, the Nets had six players score in double digits. Brook Lopez scored 24 points, eight rebounds, and four assists for the Nets. Kilpatrick had 22 and six rebounds, Bogdanovich added 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and Booker posted 15 points and 12 rebounds. Coming off the bench for the Nets, Joe Harris chipped in 16 points.

In the loss, Chandler led all scorers with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Will Barton had 15 points, and Nelson and Nikola Jokic each scored 14.

“It’s hard to look back at this game because when you play like that and come back, you just think of all the mistakes you made and the stuff you did to get down, but at that point, it’s a winnable game,” Chandler said. Now we can’t look back and dwell on it too much because we play tomorrow.”

The Nets will be off for two days and then the team will meet up with the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday in San Antonio.

 

 

Brook Lopez scores season-high 34 points, which lifts Nets to a win over the Pistons with the loss of Jeremy Lin in 2nd half due to a hamstring injury

The 109-101 Brooklyn Nets win over the Detroit Pistons is just what this young Nets team needed after the two-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on the road on Saturday and a blowout 118-88 loss to the Chicago Bulls at home on Monday.

Brook Lopez grabbed a season-high 34 points in the win, with 24 of those points accumulated in the first half. He also amassed 11 rebounds, nine of those in the defensive column. And, the big guy didn’t stop there. Lopez has been working on his three-point shooting skills and is reaping the rewards; he connected on four of eight attempts from three-point range.

Coming off the bench, shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick was the second highest scorer for the Nets, netting 24 points and 10 rebounds. Joe Harris pulled in 13 points; Bojan Bogdanovic posted 11 points, and Jeremy Lin scored 10 points and four assists before leaving the game because of a hamstring injury.

Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker didn’t score in double digits, but his defensive skills came in handy. Detroit forward Marcus Morris hit a 3-pointer with 2:37 to go putting the score at 103-98 and diminishing the Pistons’ deficit to five points. Detroit tried to make a run to make it a one-possession game, as guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got to the rim at the one-minute mark. However, Booker stepped in with a block denying Caldwell-Pope the shot.

“That was spectacular, but that’s part of who Trevor Booker is and why we brought him here – how hard he plays and his defensive instincts,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “It was really evident on that play. It’s funny, that was a great block, but I thought a lot of guys stepped up at the end, made big defensive plays, big defensive rebounds against a good team.”

The Nets road to a win over the Pistons wasn’t a total walk in the park.

In addition to losing Jeremy Lin, the Nets blew a 16-point halftime lead. In the closing minutes of the game, it was the Pistons’ foul trouble that enabled the Nets to put more daylight between the teams.

In the loss, Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris each scored 23 points for Detroit. Kentavious Coldwell-Pope added 15 points and seven rebounds.

The Brooklyn Nets closes out its preseason with an eye on progress, development, and improvement

Instead of starting this article at the beginning, I am going to start at the end of the first half of last night’s Brooklyn Nets’ preseason game against the New York Knicks.

The Nets ended the first half leading the Knicks by two points, with a score of 57-55. If you have watched the Nets in previous seasons since coming to the Barclays Center, you probably noticed a different style of play on the floor. The Nets under new management, general manager Sean Marks, and head coach Kenny Atkinson, have mandated and are stressing a new culture of “team” over “I” or “me” translating into unselfishness. Watching the Nets during the last two games, the team’s buy-in to the new system is apparent. Guys were playing unselfishly, the ball moved around, it was definitely team ball. In addition to the two-point lead at the half, the Nets led the Knicks in most of the measurable metrics that matter: field goal percentage 52.6 vs the Knicks 48.9 percent; three-point shots 46.7 vs the Knicks 20 percent, and the Nets made 91 percent of their free-throws compared to the Knicks 64 percent. However, the Knicks did outscore the Nets on rebounds; by half-time, the Knicks out-rebounded the Nets 20-18, which was a sign of things to come.

So, where did the Nets breakdown happen?

The Knicks took a nine-point lead in the third quarter on fast breaks, gaining 49 percent field goal shooting over the Nets’ 46 percent. The Knicks also out-rebounded the Nets; ending the third with a rebound score of 38-24, picking up 18 rebounds in the third quarter to the Nets’ four.

This was not lost on Atkinson.

“I think I said it before, I think rebounding is an issue right now and I think transition defense is something we need to work on, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said at the Nets post-game press conference. “They had a fair amount of fast break points so those are some areas we have to get better at.”

#Truth.

Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin led all scorers with 24 points and 10 assists. However, unlike the Knicks, the Nets only had two starters in double digits; the other being center Brook Lopez who supplied 12 points.

The Nets other double-digit scorers came from the bench Joe Harris scored 15 points, Bojan Bogdanovic added 12 points, and Justin Hamilton chipped in 11 points.

Carmelo Anthony led Knicks scorers with 21 points. Starters Courtney Lee dropped 15 points and five rebounds; and Joakim Noah supplied 12 points and six rebounds.

Both benches contributed 59 points; coming off the Knicks bench in double digits were Justin Holiday with 14 points, Kyle Quinn added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas chipped in 10 points.

“I was proud of our guys at the end,” Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said about his secondary line. “They ended up putting their starters back in I think with a nine or 10-point game and when they went out it was eight points.”

Even in the loss, Atkinson complimented his players, as he should have.

“I complimented them on their effort and despite the record, I think we’ve made progress,” Atkinson told the media. “And that’s going to be our message all year, progress, development, improvement. We obviously have areas we have to improve in but again, 10 new players and I like a lot of stuff I see. I think where we are right now is be a little bit more consistent. And that’s the tough part in the NBA over a 48-minute game, to do it longer than the other team. So that’s the overall positive message.”

The Brooklyn Nets are now focused on the regular season. The Nets first regular season game is against the Boston Celtics in Boston on Wednesday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m. The Nets open up at home at the Barclays Center against the Indiana Pacers on Friday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Perhaps, the fans will give Thaddeus Young a warm welcome when he hits the hardwood for the Indiana Pacers.

The Nets dealt Young to the Pacers on NBA Draft night for Caris LeVert, the No. 20 overall pick and for a future second-round pick. Levert did not play last night because he is out with an injured left foot.

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