December 15, 2017

With two primary guards out with injuries, Dinwiddie scores a game-high and career-high 25 points to lead Nets over Jazz

There was a little bit of nervousness going into the Brooklyn Nets home game on Friday night against the Utah Jazz. When these two teams met less than a week ago in Utah, the Jazz defeated the Nets 114-106. But, the loss was not only in points, D’Angelo Russell, the Nets leading scorer suffered a left knee contusion during that session. Prior to last night’s game, Nets general manager Sean Marks gave the media the bad news that there is no timetable for Russell’s return.

With Jeremy Lin out with a season-ending right knee injury and D’Angelo Russell out indefinitely, to the surprise of many, there was a lot to like about the way the Nets played on Friday night. The next man up concept became more than a concept it was a concept in action.

Enter the Brooklyn Nets backup point guard, Spencer Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie, making his fourth start of the season was the player of the game, hands down. Dinwiddie, the engine behind the Nets 118-107 victory over the Jazz, scored a game-high and career-high 25 points (9-of-14 FG, 6-of-10 3FG) with five rebounds, eight assists (no turnovers) and two steals in 31 minutes. Dinwiddie’s six made 3-pointers marked a career high and the most threes made by a Net in a game this season. He has recorded 78 assists with just 14 turnovers this season (5.57:1 assist-to-turnover ratio), which ranks second in the league behind Andre Iguodala’s 5.75:1 ratio.

Dinwiddie’s performance did not go unnoticed by his teammates, no hating on this team.

“He’s showing us consistency and he’s showing us that he’s capable of knocking down big shots,” Nets shooting guard Allen Crabbe said about Dinwiddie’s performance. “ Not only that, but he’s doing other things too. I mean, he had like, what, eight rebounds tonight? And dishing the ball out, so he’s playing great for us and, like I said, just another person like him – telling him, this is your opportunity, so go out there and take advantage.”

“I think as a starter and as a point guard in my position, you try to lead,” Dinwiddie said regarding the need to step up for the team and his career high of 25 points against the Jazz at home. “I didn’t do anything different because of his (D’Angelo Russell) surgery. I would like to think that we won for him though because our heart goes out to him, he is our teammate and our brother. We feel for him in this time. A lot of us have had injuries and surgeries and things of that nature. So, like I said, our heart goes out to him.”

Can anyone say, Spencer Dinwiddie for NBA Player of the Week?

Crabbe, who normally comes off the bench, but started last night, scored 18 points with five boards and three assists in 30 minutes in this game against Utah. In his last two games, Crabbe has recorded averages of 16.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 31.4 minutes per game while shooting .500 (12-of-24) from the field and .500 (8-of-16) from behind the arc.

Team ball was a factor in the Nets success and Crabbe liked the Nets ball movement.

“It makes life a little bit easier for all of us on the offensive end when the ball just moves like that – makes the defense break down as well when you’re not just playing on one side, pick-and-roll and putting up a shot, dropping off to the roller to shoot,” Crabbe explained. “We get other options out of our offense. Sometimes teams break down off of one, two, three passes and he (Kenny Atkinson) came in at halftime and told us we need to keep that up. You saw the lead that we had in the first half. So, like I said, it just makes life easier for all of us when we’re playing team basketball.”

Brooklyn scored 39 points in during the first quarter, which marked the most points the Nets have scored in any quarter this season and scored 65 points in the first half, which marked the most points the Nets have scored in a first half this season.

Other Nets players in double digits included DeMarre Carroll who totaled 17 points (5-of-10 FG, 3-of-5 3FG, 4-of-4 FT), tying his second-highest scoring output this season. In this meetup, Carroll recorded two rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 27 minutes. Trevor Booker added 14 points and Caris LeVert chipped in 10 points.

The Nets shot a season-high .506 (43-of-85) from the field in last night’s victory (previous high: .500 vs. Orlando on 10/20) and improved to 2-0 this season when shooting .500 or better from the field this season. Also, this win snapped Brooklyn’s three-game losing streak to the Jazz and split their season series with Utah 1-1.

The Nets led by as many as 22 points in this game, which marked the team's largest lead at any point in a game this season (previous high: 16-point lead on 10/22 vs. Atlanta). It also recorded a season-high-tying 27 assists (also achieved on 10/22 vs. Atlanta) and edged the Jazz 27-21.

Even with the Nets’ season-high-tying 27 assists, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was a bit tempered in his assessment.

“I thought the first half was fantastic. I thought we were flying around. I told the guys the second half we really regressed and we can’t afford to do that. I thought we really got into isolation ball, that’s not our game. So first half I give us an A and second half I’d probably give us a C in terms of ball movement. Something we can work on before the Golden State game.”

There’s not much time, the Nets meet Golden State Warriors tomorrow, Sunday, November 19, 2017, at the Barclays Center at 6:00 p.m.

Brooklyn Nets capitalize on Orlando Magic’s weakened defense to treat fans to win at the Barclays Center

In front of a home-opening crowd of 16,144 people at the Barclays Center on Friday, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Orlando Magic 126-121.

Before the game’s start, no one knew what to expect as Jeremy Lin, the team’s leader, was in the hospital. He had successful surgery on Friday morning to repair a season-ending ruptured patella tendon in his right knee that he injured in the season opener against the Indiana Pacers. With Lin out, there was fear that the Nets could repeat a lost season like last season.

So, this win against the Magic felt good. Despite Lin’s absence, it showed that the Nets’ hard work over the summer and the new acquisitions paid off.

"Honestly, that's our brother, so we don't want to forget that. You don't want to forget about him," D'Angelo Russell said. "But going out there I feel like guys knew they had to step up and they did."

Russell, Trevor Booker, and DeMarre Carroll all scored 17 points. Spencer Dinwiddie added 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Booker added 11 rebounds and made the clinching free throws with 0.9 seconds left after Orlando's Evan Fournier missed a tying 3-point attempt. Carroll chipped in eight rebounds to go along with his 17 points.

Even though the Nets had a favorable outcome, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson had some reservations about the win. He gave the team some slack because the players had to get used to new rotations without Lin.

However, not totally satisfied because of the Nets' play on both ends, Atkinson said, "but still, I think we can do a better job than we did tonight."

Atkinson doesn’t want his team to get used to bad habits because they could end up like Magic center Nikola Vucevic on another day. He had a career-high 41 points in 35 minutes. However, it was not enough to lift his team past the Nets, as the Magic broke down defensively.

“Our defense is what lost us the game,” Vucevic said. “We were able to score. We just never got stops, so we never could play our game, which is at a faster pace.”

“It just wasn’t good enough on that end,” Magic head coach Frank Vogel concurred. “You’re not going to give up 126 points and win too many nights.”

But one can bet Nets rookie Jarrett Allen left the Barclays Center feeling good. He scored 9 points, pulled down 2 rebounds, and blocked a shot. Allen even had an opportunity to show off his athleticism. He had a crowd-loving in-your-face slam over Vucevic off of a Dinwiddie pass in the fourth quarter.

Go, Jarrett.

Next up, the Nets play Atlanta at the Barclays Center on Sunday, October 22, 2017, at 3:30 p.m.

Brooklyn Nets guard/forward Allen Crabbe gets lots of praise from teammates, he scored 11 points in six minutes off the bench

For the second time during this preseason, the Brooklyn Nets have defeated the New York Knicks, and this time, at home at the Barclays Center on a Sunday evening. Yes, it is preseason, but for Nets fans a defeat of 117-83, sure looks good. Nets scoring was also music to the ears of Nets fans as it quieted Knicks fans in the arena each time the Nets put up more points on the scoreboard.

But, let’s be real here. The odds were in the Nets favor. Since the Nets landed in Brooklyn in 2012, the Brooklyn Nets regular season win record against the New York Knicks is 13 - 6.

Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin advised reporters to remember that although the Nets are playing as a cohesive unit and winning, which is a good thing, it is still preseason.

In the postgame presser, Lin discussed the Nets camaraderie and how players' unselfishness has helped the team's overall effort. Lin heaped praise on new teammate Allen Crabbe for scoring an impressive 11 points in six minutes. He also had good words for D'Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert with whom he spent a lot of time with over the past summer. Lin expects the Nets will make an improvement over last season because of the new additions to the team, younger players improved game, and unselfishness.

Brooklyn Nets Guard Jeremy Lin in his Own Words

 

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson liked what he saw from his team tonight.

“I thought our defense was solid,” Atkinson stated. “I thought we were active. I think we turned them over a lot in the first half. That really started the ball rolling. Great activity, a lot of deflections, steals, high energy defensively, making some shots.”

And, what about Allen Crabbe?

“We can talk about the points, but I just like how he just makes a simpler play,” Atkinson said about Nets guard/forward Allen Crabbe. “If it’s not there, he’ll make the next pass to the open guy. There is no extra waste of movement. Yeah, of course, it’s great if the shots go in, but he is a really good all-around basketball player.”

Brooklyn Nets guard/forward Allen Crabbe in his Own Words

D’Angelo Russell led all Nets scorers with 16 points and he credits the Nets scoring with playing as a team.

Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell in his Own Words

Other Nets scorers in double digits were Crabbe with 14 points, DeMarre Carroll and LeVert each had 12 points, Timofey Mozgov added 11 points, and Trevor Booker chipped in 10 points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Quincy Acy each had a total of 8 rebounds. Assist leaders for the Nets were Russell and Lin.

Knicks leaders included Willy Hernangomez, who led all scorers with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 13 points, and Ramon Sessions scored 12 points and five assists.

New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek obviously was not happy with his team’s effort.

“Not moving the ball and the turnovers,” Hornacek said about what disappointed him about the Knicks effort. “We had a lot of turnovers the other night and that continued. They’re just soft passes. We’re not tough with the ball. We’re careless with it. I don’t know if they think guys aren’t going to reach up and try to deflect our passes or what. That was probably the biggest disappointment. I think our guys played hard. We did the wrong thing quite a bit tonight, in terms of the rotations. We have a lot of bumps and bruises, KP (Kristaps Porzingis) and Michael’s (Beasley) foot was bothering him to start the game. We need to get those guys back so we can get our regular rotation going.”

Next up, the Brooklyn Nets play the Philadelphia 76ers at Nassau Coliseum.

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.

AUDIO: Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson introduce the Brooklyn Nets’ 2017 NBA Draft Pick Jarrett Allen to the New York media

NBA Draft night 2017 is over and the picks are in. Listen in on the Brooklyn Nets press conference as the team introduces its NBA Draft pick, Jarrett Allen.

The Brooklyn Nets selected Jarrett Allen from the University of Texas at Austin in the first round at No. 22, and on the very next day, June 23, 2017, the Nets held a press conference to introduce its draft selection to the New York media.

Sean Marks, Brooklyn Nets general manager, and Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson agreed after the NBA Draft that the Nets will need time to develop Allen.

Even Allen is clear that he is a work in progress, particularly the need to strengthen his body. In addition to developmental work, Allen admitted that he needs to adjust to New York City since he comes from a more suburban environment.

The Brooklyn Nets is a very young team, and Sean and Kenny will look to Jeremy Lin, Trevor Booker, Sean Kilpatrick, and even recent pickup Timofey Mozgov to provide leadership to the younger players both on and off the court.

Leading into the draft, speculators had Allen floating in the first round around 12-16, even Sean Marks was surprised that Allen was still available at No. 22. Scouting reports listed Jarrett Allen’s attributes as a good defender, a remarkable 7’5” wingspan to go along with a wide frame, and quick feet and surprising agility.

Paul Pierce's season-high 27 points were overshadowed in a disappointing 113-107 loss to the Washington Wizards Wednesday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Had the Nets played with more aggression and rebounded as well as Pierce scored, they could have taken home their fourth straight win.

"It is easy to sit here and talk to you guys about what kind of night I had but the bottom line is I really don't care," Pierce told reporters after the game. "We lost the game and that is pretty much all that matters. We come out here and try to win as a team, it is not about how Paul Pierce is feeling. Tonight we had the inability to rebound, defend the three and that is what cost us the game."

The Wizards (11-3) didn't particularly shoot the ball well, but they soared over Brooklyn with boards. The Nets welcomed back center Brook Lopez after missing two games due to a sprained ankle and though he played with little passion, he finished with 22 points.

"It was on me," Lopez said after finishing with only five rebounds. "The effort wasn't there."
(You think, Brook? You got the ball snatched right out of your hands in the third quarter!)

Joe Johnson was the leading rebounder for the Nets, who had seven and finished with 20 points.

"We scored enough points to win," head coach Jason Kidd said. "There were some rebounds that we couldn't come up with down the stretch. We are getting better but we just lost a game that we felt we could control."

Meanwhile, the Wizards snapped a four-game losing streak after beating the New York Knicks on Monday. Wednesday's game against Brooklyn was the 10th time in 24 games this season that Washington ended the game with more than 100 points.

"It was big for us," Trevor Booker said regarding the Wizards' win, who finished with 7 points. "It was working early, just pounding them on the glass and we stuck with it. And we came out, on top."

Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin set the tone from the start to spoil Paul Millsap’s return to the Atlanta Hawks lineup

On January 10, 2017, the last time the Brooklyn Nets played the Atlanta Hawks at the Barclays Center, the Hawks ate their lunch beating the Nets 117-97. Tonight, it was a different story, the tables were reversed. In fact, the Brooklyn Nets looked like it was the team headed for the playoffs instead of the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks, as the Nets grounded the Hawks, 91-82.

What plagued Atlanta this time around? Several things according to Atlanta Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer, but especially the Nets’ three-point shooting and the versatility of Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez.

“He’s become such a great 3-point shooter,” Budenholzer said about trying to contain Lopez. “We tried to stay connected to him at the 3-point line more. And Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, I think he’s shooting 20 percent on the year at the 3-point line, he had two that helped them. Trevor Booker had one and that helped them.”

Lopez scored 18 points in the first quarter and 29 points overall (12-of-21 FG) with five rebounds, five assists and five blocks in 30:32 minutes of playing time. In so doing, Lopez became the second Net in franchise history to record 25+ points, five+ rebounds, five+ assists and five+ blocks in the same game. The last person to do that was Darnell Hillman almost 40 years ago vs. Chicago on November 11, 1977. Hillman now works for the Indiana Pacers.

With Lopez scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Budenholzer saw a need to change Atlanta’s strategy.

“I think we felt like we could keep Dwight Howard around the rim, around the paint,” Budenholzer said about his center. “Brooklyn is driving the ball a lot, and really our defense is not our problem – 91 points. So of course Brook Lopez had a really good game. Generally speaking, I don’t think our defense was the issue. I think we need to look closer at our offense and how we can score more, score better.”

But, seriously, it just wasn’t Atlanta’s night.

“We were just trying to be aggressive and we got hot,” said Nets point guard Jeremy Lin. “I feel like on the back end of a back-to-back that’s kind of just setting that tone, and establishing that just felt like we were in control of the game throughout, and even though we were the ones scoring points, that our whole starting five defensively came out and did a great job.”

“When you replay the game really quickly and you feel like there were some good chances we didn’t make – everybody, lots of different guys. And at times we were a little sloppy. It’d probably be great to get to the free-throw line a little bit more. I think it was just a combination of a lot of things and we just weren’t very good offensively,” Budenholzer added.

Yes, because sometimes playoff-bound teams sleep on teams that are not headed to the playoffs. They tend to think that it may be a cakewalk when they encounter a team like the Nets (17-59) that is in the last place in the NBA standings. However, in Brooklyn’s case, they are better than their win-loss record shows.

“They denied us, they gave us a little pressure,” Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap stated. “Something we could have done a better job of was countering off of their aggressiveness.”

Atlanta’s center Dwight Howard was more pointed in his remarks, “We have to play team basketball; we can’t do it by ourselves. One person isn’t going to win us a game.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, known for his young player development abilities, has been drilling that mantra into his young team all season, that basketball is team ball. The Nets’ young players led by Lin and Lopez set Atkinson’s tone early in the game.

“That’s kind of why they’re your two best players,” Atkinson said about Lin and Lopez. “There’s just a mentality, I was saying that about Brook. Brook after a bad game or a not good shooting game like Detroit, he’s going to come back and bring it the next game. They set the tone; I thought Jeremy and Brook really set the tone. Look at Brook and we’re talking about his offense; five blocks, I thought he was monstrous defensively, helping off Dwight and just kind of controlling the paint basically. No doubt about it, they set the tone.”

“Coach always stresses, just be resilient,” said Nets shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick, who added 11 boards towards the Nets total of 51 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. “Make sure that you’re doing everything for the team and I think that’s something that everyone is doing on a normal basis. Down to recovery and down to the fact that everyone’s getting their work in early and making sure that we’re playing for one another.”

Brooklyn Nets players scoring in double digits in addition to Lopez were Lin with 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists; and Hollis-Jefferson with 11 points, five rebounds, and three steals.

In the loss, four of the five Hawks’ starters scored in double digits. Dennis Schroder had 16 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. Tim Hardaway Jr., who is probably grateful that the NY Knicks set him free, scored 14 points and six rebounds; Taurean Prince added 13 points and five rebounds and; Howard chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Nets take on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

NOTE:

Kilpatrick’s 11 boards marked his second-most rebounds in a game in his career (high: 14 in double OT on 11/29 against the Clippers).

Kilpatrick became just the third Nets guard to record 11 or more rebounds off the bench in a game since 1983-84, joining Markel Brown (4/10/16 at Indiana) and Stephen Jackson (12/10/00 vs. Dallas).

Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker, and the Nets bench had a huge night

The Brooklyn Nets are now officially on their “glow-up” tour, as they beat the Orlando Magic 121-111 at the Barclays Center on Saturday evening.

The Nets have now won three of their last four home games. There is a lot to like about how the Nets are playing lately and specifically how the team played against the Magic. The Nets scored a season-high 72 points in the paint, outscoring the Magic 72-32 in the painted area. Hello!

“Brook is really hard to guard down there,” Jeremy Lin said. “We keep trying to find ways to exploit the defense with his size and his touch. I think he’s finding a great balance inside and outside. I felt like he really made his presence known tonight.”

“I thought we were very unselfish today and we got back to moving the ball – that’s the first thing J-Lin (Jeremy Lin) brought out, coming out into the start of the game,” Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez said about what got the offense clicking in tonight’s game.

“I thought we moved the ball very well. Honestly, for me, I thought the bench did such great job tonight. They came in and picked us up in the second and again in the third. They were just spectacular out there and they were the difference tonight,” Lopez continued.

Yep, the Brooklyn Nets’ bench did show out tonight. The Nets’ reserves outscored the Magic’s reserves 72-16. And this was not a fluke, as the Nets’ bench outscored Phoenix’s bench on March 23 with a season-high 81 points and back in January against New Orleans with 73 points.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson liked how his bench played in big spots.

“Similar how teams have done to us, we started to pick them up, we started denying some passes, we got into the ball,” Atkinson said. “It was an overall energy, a youthful energy. Isaiah (Whitehead) I thought was really good, Archie (Goodwin) gives us a big boost with his athleticism and how fast he is and he did a good job defensively…then (Trevor) Booker was really good on both ends.”

Lopez was overjoyed about the Nets reserves.

“It was fun to watch honestly,” Lopez said. “They did it tonight for us – no question. Again, it was just great to see that energy on the floor and our guys were so excited for them on the bench.”

At the end of the day, the game’s outcome is what really matters. However, in the first few minutes, one could not tell that Brooklyn would have such a great night. Orlando came out the gate strong scoring nine points to Brooklyn’s two in less than 3 minutes. However, like a ship in rough seas, the team got righted; Lopez scored 12 points in under 8 minutes during the first quarter. A Booker jump shot at 2:48 in the first, gave the Nets its first lead, 27-26. A back and forth ensued and a Sean Kilpatrick jump shot with less than 11 seconds to go helped the Nets to end the first quarter tied at 33-33.

Brooklyn ended the second quarter 60-53 over Orlando; and then, it was all even 89-89 at the end of the third.

And then came the fourth quarter when the Nets went on an 11-0 run and the Magic, without an answer, could not get over the hump. The Nets’ bench took over offensively and defensively.

Off the bench, Spencer Dinwiddie and Booker helped to break open a big lead for the Nets in the fourth, which did not go unnoticed by Atkinson.

“Yeah, that kind of broke it open,” Atkinson stated. “I thought Spencer made some big plays; he was really good in the pick and roll. His size, he gets in the paint and he’s a tough guy to deal with. Trevor in the pick and roll, in transition, just making the simple play, that was where we were able to break it open a little bit.”

And the performance of the Nets’ bench was certainly on the radar of the Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel.

“I think Brooklyn’s bench came in and took over the game during that stretch to start the fourth quarter to build a big lead,” Vogel said. “I credit their bench.”

“We just really drove the ball well, Atkinson said about the Nets’ overall play. I felt like we were very aggressive to the rim. In transition we got out and got some easy ones, we were really driving it and finishing at a better rate. We didn’t shoot it well from the perimeter, but I thought we got a lot of open looks. But I was pleased with our defense too for the most part. The first quarter wasn’t great, third quarter they got going. (Nikola) Vučević got going. The difference in the game was probably the bench, though. At the end of the day, I thought they really brought great energy, picked up our defense, did a great job of playing together.”

For the win, Lopez scored a game-high 30 points; Booker had a season-high 23 points, he also added eight rebounds; Kilpatrick contributed 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists, Justin Hamilton chipped in 13 points and five rebounds.

To the Magic’s credit, four of its five starters scored over 20 points: Vučević had a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds and Aaron Gordon scored 22 points and 15 rebounds. Although both Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton each had 20 points, Payton had a triple double with 11 rebounds and 11 assists to his tally, which was overshadowed by the Magic’s loss.

The Magic’s loss is the Nets’ gain and Lopez speaking for the team is excited that the hard work, the grinding it out, and staying focus through the losses was very important to getting them on the winning track.

“It was very important, very big,” Lopez said. “We just continually talked about no slippage until the very end of the season – until whatever day, April 12, 15, whatever it is, I’m not exactly sure – but we want to continue to improve, and take every opportunity we can to get better as a team.”

The Nets will be back at it tomorrow for a home back-to-back, as they face the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks at 6:00 p.m.

Nets’ rookies show out, and the Brooklyn Nets’ bench outscores Phoenix Suns 81-22 in the win

Spring has officially begun and the change of seasons can usher in new beginnings. For the Brooklyn Nets, a game against the Phoenix Suns could mark a first for the Nets. A win would mark the first time that Brooklyn won two consecutive games this season. On the flip side, Phoenix was looking to end a five-game losing streak.

Brooklyn fell behind by double digits to the start the game, scoring only two points in the first four minutes. After the scoring drought was broken by Caris LeVert, the Nets offense showed signs of change but the team still struggled from the field. When the quarter ended, the Nets shot 36% from the field and 20% from three-point range. Brooklyn trailed Phoenix 32-22.

When the second quarter began, rookie Isaiah Whitehead helped cut into the Suns lead by scoring quick eight points coming off the bench. As the game progressed in the first half, the Nets offense became more fluid. Their collective shooting hands got warmer and they pushed the tempo of the game often creating easy scoring opportunities for themselves. With just under nine minutes left in the half, Trevor Booker gave the Nets the lead, one they carried into the second-half of the game.

The second-half saw the Brooklyn Nets build upon the momentum created in the first. Nets guards continued to penetrate the Suns defense which either resulted in a trip to the free-throw line or a bucket. Brooklyn played like a well-oiled machine and didn’t show any signs of a collapse. At one point, Brooklyn had a 33-point lead over Phoenix which matched their largest of the season. The Nets’ bench once again proved to be instrumental in the success of the team, outscoring their counterpart 81-22. One of the sparkplugs off the bench, Archie Goodwin, scored 10 points which is the first time he has scored double digits in consecutive games this season.

When asked to discuss his mindset going into the game, Goodwin responded, “Whenever they call your name, they’re going to expect you to be ready, so I just always stand ready, just watching the game and seeing how it’s progressing, and seeing where I can get in and be effective and just try to take advantage.”

When the final buzzer sounded, the Nets secured the victory winning 126-98. They are now headed to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Wizards.

When asked about the win streak, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said, “I think we are building and we are improving. I mean we obviously have a long, long way to go…You know looking to continue this and again it is monumental; it is huge, that we trend positively and continue our improvement.”

On Biggie Night, the Nets get their first win of 2017 and their first win in three months

On so many levels it was Biggie Night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Sunday, as the Brooklyn Nets took on their cross-town rivals, the New York Knicks. At the top of the evening, the Barclays Center celebrated the life of Christopher Wallace aka the Notorious B.I.G aka Biggie Smalls, with a remembrance. A Brooklyn-born rapper, Wallace, was murdered 20 years ago this week. Voletta Wallace, Biggie’s mom; and Biggie’s children T-Yanna and CJ Wallace; Faith Evans, Wallace’s former wife; P. Diddy; Lil’ Kim; and Brett Yormark; CEO of the Barclays Center, were part of the on-court ceremony before the game.

Ms. Wallace said tonight’s game was her “very, very first professional basketball game.” In her remarks, she also said, "I have to remember what my son said in the past, Brooklyn, we did it."

And, that my friends, kicked off the evening for the Brooklyn Nets as team Black and White got its first home win in over two months beating the New York Knicks 120-112. Yes, Brooklyn, you did it! The Nets last home win was on December 26, when Randy Foye’s buzzer-beater dashed the hopes of the Charlotte Hornets. This was the same game that Jeremy Lin re-injured his left hamstring, which resulted in Lin missing the next 26 games.

Lin struggled early tonight with a 0-9 start. However, late in the fourth quarter, when the Knicks had trimmed its 22-point deficit to down to five, Lin dropped a 3-pointer pushing the score to 109-101 with 4:58 remaining. Lin also converted a three-point play with 3:25 giving the Nets a double-digit lead.

“I think I was still out West for the first three-and-a-half quarters,” Lin said about his performance. “And gladly I was able to show up a little bit; felt like I was letting my team down. I don’t know, just wasn’t doing what I needed to do, but I just tried to stay aggressive and just try to keep my mind just on playing…”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson wasn’t quite as hard on Lin as Lin was on himself.

“I thought he hit a huge three off the dribble,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about Lin’s late game contribution. “They’d been going under all night and to have the kind of moxie to take that shot, that was big. His ability to get to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter is huge. I think it helps when it’s not Isaiah (Whitehead) and Spencer (Dinwiddie) first-year guys kind of handling the ball at the end of the game. To get a guy that has been in the league and has done it before, it’s huge for us.”

In the victory for the Nets, Brook Lopez came in on fiyah!!! He scored 25 points, two assists, six rebounds, one block, and one steal while shooting eight of seventeen from the floor and six of nine from deep in 28 minutes.

“I think we were shooting with a lot of confidence and making them,” said Lopez. “Our team did a very great job of sharing the ball. It started with the penetration, attacking the basket and that opened a lot of things up for us. When we kicked out, we swung it around the perimeter until we had an open look and we shot with confidence.”

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 27 points on 10-of-26 shooting. Although the Knicks lost, Anthony joined an elite NBA club that many Knicks fans could care less about considering the team’s record. Anthony is one of three players to have scored over 10,000 points on two different teams (Denver, New York); the other two are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Milwaukee, Lakers) and Elvin Hayes (Houston, Washington).

Brooklyn shot .500 from 3-point range tonight on 19-of-38 shooting from the distance. Lopez was a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc to start off the game. The Nets’ 19 3-pointers marked a season high (previous high: 17 made 3-pointers; done three times this season, most recently on January 21, 2017, at Charlotte).

"I don't know what the thinking was to start of the game," New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We gave Brooklyn wide-open shots. They kept making three after three. There were one or two of those pressure threes. It was like practice shots for Brooklyn."

The Nets made 14 threes in tonight’s first half, which marked a new franchise record for 3-pointers made in any half. The previous high of 13 in the second half was on December 16, 2013, against Philadelphia.

Nets starters helping out Lopez in the double-digit range were Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who scored 14 points and 11 rebounds; Jeremy Lin and Caris LeVert each scored 13 points.

The Nets’ bench outscored the Knicks’ bench 53-28 tonight and has scored 50+ points in nine of its last 10 games.

Off the bench with more than 10 points for the Nets were Trevor Booker with 14 points and nine rebounds; Quincy Acy, a relatively new pickup for the Nets, added 12 points and six rebounds; while Isaiah Whitehead chipped in 10 points.

In the win, the Nets also out-rebounded the Knicks 55-43 tonight and also edged New York 18-13 in second chance points and 21-12 in fast-break points.

With a win against the Knicks, the Nets hope to make it two-in-a-row, as they take on Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday. Good luck.

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