October 17, 2017

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired guard/forward Allen Crabbe from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for forward Andrew Nicholson.

Crabbe joins the Nets after spending the first four seasons of his NBA career with Portland. In 226 games (24 starts), the 25-year-old Crabbe has registered averages of 8.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 22.8 minutes per game while shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 41.1 percent from 3-point range and 84.8 percent from the free-throw line. This past season, the Los Angeles native saw action in 79 games (seven starts), averaging a career-best 10.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 28.5 minutes per contest while shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from 3-point range, good for the second-highest 3-point field goal percentage in the league among qualifying players. Crabbe has also appeared in the postseason with the Blazers in each of the last three seasons, averaging 8.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 25.5 minutes per game through 17 playoff contests.

Crabbe was originally selected with the 31st overall pick (second round) in the 2013 NBA Draft by Cleveland before being traded to Portland on draft night. Prior to beginning his NBA career, he spent three years (2010-13) at the University of California, where he was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, All-Pac-12 First Team as a sophomore and junior and Pac-12 Player of the Year in his third and final collegiate season.

Nicholson appeared in 10 games with the Nets after being acquired in a trade from Washington on February 22, 2017, recording averages of 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game. In 285 career games split between Brooklyn, Washington, and Orlando, the five-year pro has averaged 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game.

UPDATE (September 5, 2017): According to international basketball reporter David Pick, Andrew Nicholson will join the Guangdong Tigers on the heels of his waiver from Portland.

 

 

The Brooklyn Nets stayed with Boston Celtics to the end, but could not close the deal

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and last night at the Barclays Center, it sounded as if every Boston Celtics fan from New England was in attendance to root for the Celtics. It was so loud I’m surprised the players could hear each other on the floor.

Unfortunately for the Nets, the luck of the Irish traveled with the Boston Celtics and their fans, as the Celtics pulled out a squeaker routing the Brooklyn Nets 98-95.

It didn’t help that the Nets went scoreless for five minutes in the latter portion of the first quarter, ending that stanza 21-16.

Brook Lopez started a rally for the Nets in the second quarter, coming out the gate scoring the team’s first five points. With a three-pointer, Jeremy Lin helped to create a 10-1 run. But that didn’t hold back the Celtics, they came roaring back with an 11-1 run led by Jae Crowder. The Nets stayed in the hunt until the last buzzer sounded. They ended the second quarter with an eight-point deficit (45-37), and the third with a six-point deficit (71-65).

The Nets had two opportunities to tie up the game in the final nine seconds. However, both Lopez and Quincy Acy missed three-pointers with seemingly good looks.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson saw a silver lining even in his team’s defeat against the Celtics who stand just two wins behind the Eastern Conference frontrunner, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I think Brook (Lopez) helped us,” Atkinson said. “I thought the first half, we were in pick and roll 98 percent of the first half and it was just too much. We were giving them one dose of the same thing over and over. And then I felt like in the second half we started getting Brook some touches in the post and not just to score, but it just loosened up the defense. Even if he kicks it out for a shot or we’re getting them cuts off the post, so I think that helped us. It helped us penetrate their defense a little and I just felt like in the first half we weren’t getting into the teeth of the defense. So I think that’s what they learned. We can post up a little against this team and give them a little more variety.”

Four of the five Celtics starters scored in double digits. Crowder led all scorers with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Avery Bradley scored 16 points and five rebounds; Al Horford added 14 points and eight rebounds; and Marcus Smart chipped in 12 points and five assists.

Similar to the Celtics, four of the five Nets starters scored in double digits. Lopez had a team-high 23 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Randy Foye scored 14 points, Jeremy Lin and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson each scored 10 points with Lin adding seven rebounds and six assists, while Hollis-Jefferson chipped in 5 rebounds.

Off the bench for the Nets, newcomer Andrew Nicholson scored 11 points, and Acy chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Next up, the Nets will play the Dallas Mavericks at home on Sunday.

Brooklyn Nets acquire first round draft pick, Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton from Washington Wizards

As the NBA trade deadline approached, those who follow the Brooklyn Nets closely wondered if a trade deal would happen. Weeks before the deadline, there was lots of speculation swirling around Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic. So, it’s no surprise that the Nets traded “Bogie”. The knock, if you want to call it a knock, is that although Bogdanovic is a great three-point shooter, he lacked consistency. Also, his laid-back style, fairly or unfairly, seemingly translated into aloofness.

Bogdanovic played in 212 games (121 starts) with the Nets, registering averages of 11.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 25.7 minutes per game. In 55 games this season, Bogdanovic has recorded averages of 14.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 26.9 minutes per game. The 27-year-old was originally acquired by the Nets in a draft-night trade with Miami (via Minnesota) after he was selected with the 31st pick (second round) in the 2011 NBA Draft. He signed a multi-year contract with Brooklyn prior to the start of the 2014-15 NBA season.

Chris McCullough, on the other hand, is a relative newbie; this is only his second year in the NBA. McCullough appeared in 38 games in two seasons with the Nets, registering averages of 3.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game. This season, McCullough spent his time going back and forth between the Nets and its D-League team, the Long Island Nets.

Fair Trade: NETS and Wizards

In the trade, the Nets acquired a 2017 first round draft pick, and Washington players Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton. The Nets will be able to use the first-round selection from Washington as long as the Wizards don’t end the season in the bottom 14, right now they are No. 8 in the league.

Nicholson has appeared in 28 games with Washington this season after signing with the team as a free agent on July 7, 2016, recording averages of 2.5 points and 1.2 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game. Prior to joining the Wizards, Nicholson spent the first four seasons of his NBA career (2012-16) with the Orlando Magic, appearing in 247 games and posting averages of 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. The 27-year-old native of Mississauga, Ontario was originally selected with the 19th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by Orlando after a standout four-year career at St. Bonaventure University, where he earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors, as well as All-American Honorable Mention, while leading the Bonnies to their first-ever Atlantic 10 Tournament title in his senior season.

Thornton has appeared in 483 career games with New Orleans, Sacramento, Brooklyn, Boston, Phoenix, Houston, and Washington recording averages of 11.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 23.4 minutes per game. In 33 games this season with Washington, Thornton has averaged 6.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 17.4 minutes per game.

With forced turnovers, bad shooting, and Brook Lopez not a huge factor, the Brooklyn Nets struggled against a young and athletic Orlando Magic

On Star Wars night at the Barclays Center, the force was clearly with the Orlando Magic, opposed to the host, Brooklyn Nets. To demonstrate how badly thing went for the Nets, lets skip to the 4th quarter. Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton and the rest of the Magic’s starters sat comfortably on the sidelines while the second unit finished the game because the damage to the Nets had already been done.

A second half surge revolving around defense, steals, and a consistent offensive effort, enabled the Magic to hand the Nets their second straight loss in a convincing fashion, 105-82 on Monday night.

The Magic improved to (13-11) on the season, while the Nets fell to (7-17), their third loss in the last five games.

Prior to tonight's game, Joe Johnson told What’s The 411Sports that the Nets would have to get off to a good start and keep their turnovers down. During the first half of the game, Johnson’s pregame strategy came into fruition. The Nets battled with Orlando, keeping it close and competitive, down by seven entering halftime up 52-45. In the 3rd, it all fell apart for the Nets.

Their offense struggled to keep up with the young and athletic Magic, and turnovers in addition to bad shooting, prevented the Nets from protecting their home-court. Facing an uphill climb in the fourth down by 14 points, the Nets would miss their first four shots, while the Magic enjoyed a 13-4 run, led by Andrew Nicholson who scored 10 of his 15 total points, in the 4th quarter alone.

The Magic converted eight forced turnovers into eight points while the Nets offense couldn’t find their rhythm. Even though six players scored in double-figures for the Nets, Brook Lopez, the team’s best player, on his star wars bobble-head night, wasn’t much of a factor recording 11 points total for the game.

“I definitely take responsibility for this one,” Lopez said post-game. “I felt I was a complete negative for our team. I kind of let us down, pulled us back. I definitely need to be better and know I can be. I was very frustrating.”

Where Lopez struggled, Vucevic, his counterpart flourished. The former USC Trojan scored his team-high 18 points in 27 min, 12 of which came in the 3rd. All 12 of Vucevic’s points helped extend what was a seven-point Magic lead to a double-digit advantage, setting up the second unit, who served as the clean-up crew in the 4th.

Payton, who also had a fine game-scoring 17 points and five assists-torched the Nets on the perimeter. Tobias Harris added 15 points and nine rebounds and Victor Oladipo punched in 10.

For the Nets, Jarrett Jack led all scorers with 15 points and described the Nets locker-room following the loss as “Disappointed.”

“We just didn’t perform with the necessary effort to be competitive in the game,” Jack said. “You do that, you get these embarrassing types of losses.”

Thaddeus Young, who finished his night with 10 points, also acknowledged the Nets lack of effort.

“They just played harder than us.” Young said following the loss. “They played harder than us, and they got to all the loose balls. They got to everything they wanted to do within their sets and they took away a lot of stuff that we wanted to do and forced us into tough, difficult shots that we didn’t make.”

The Nets, as a team, shot 38 percent from the field validating the Magic commitment to defense, a testament to their head coach, Scott Skiles, who lives and breathes it.

When most of your core players are questioning the effort of the team, that’s a problem, and the Nets owning one of the worst records in the league doesn’t make it any better.

Wednesday night, the Nets will host the (14-9) Miami Heat, who are in a two-way tie for first place in the southeast division.

Bogdanovic Scores a Team-high 28 Points

You can relax Brooklyn Nets fans, you’re in!

Your team made the playoffs.

At the expense of an up-and-down year, injuries and not having the pleasure of controlling their own fate, the Brooklyn Nets qualified for the 2015 NBA Playoffs, which is more than we can say about the other team across the river.

But we won't go there, these are happy times and with the Nets 101-88 win over the young and restless Orlando Magic, the home-team has given life to the Barclays Center for two more home games, and more, if necessary.

The Nets improved to (38-44) to complete their 2015 campaign, while the Magic fell to (25-57), another trip to the lottery.

And this feat only came into fruition when the Indiana Pacers, scheduled to play two hours before the Nets tip-offed against the Magic, challenged the Memphis Grizzlies and failed to mirror the same result, losing 95-83.

As far as the Nets are concerned and their faithful fans, it's not the ideal method you would've liked for your team to make the playoffs but you'll take it.

They did what they were supposed to do and that was simply handle their business against a team they were expected to beat.

It didn't look that way early on in this contest.

The Magic held minimal leads in the first half of this regular season finale and even led by ten in the third quarter, 65-55 with 8:22 remaining.

At that point, the Nets seemed to turn the tables and made one final push, run towards saving their season which favored their efforts.

An increase in defensive pressure forced missed shots an allowed the Nets to generate a 10-3 run, courtesy of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Jarrett Jack and Bojan Boganovic which cut the deficit to three, a 68-65 Magic lead with 5:41 left in the 3rd.

More of the same would continue for the Nets to end the third, in which they tied the game at 75 all, into the 4th quarter where other Nets-not mentioned above, had their moments in contributing to the win.

Mason Plumlee, off of an offensive rebound, converted the go-ahead basket at 81-80 with 9:33 left in the 4th, giving the Nets their first lead of the night since their brief 33-32 lead-midway through the 2nd quarter.

Then Joe Johnson responded to a made layup by Magic big-man, Nikola Vucevic, regaining the lead on a running jump-shot, 83-82 at the nine minute mark.

Joe JohnsonBrooklyn Nets shotting guard, Joe Johnson

The game, at this juncture in time, reached that moment where the next-5 minutes would decide the victor, and fortunately for the Nets and the 17,098 fans in attendance, they executed during that stretch and out-shot the competition.

Thaddeus Young chipped in five points, followed by treys via Johnson and Bogdanovic and before you knew it, the Nets were up 98-86 with three minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, providing relief among the fans and especially their head coach, Lionel Hollins.

Thaddeus Young 650x366Brooklyn Nets power forward, Thaddeus Young

"I am just thankful that our guys stepped up and did what they had to do," said Hollins during his post-game press conference. "That is the only thing that they had control of, was going out there. I thought that this was a big team win."

And it was.

I mentioned various names who played an integral role in this game because they all mattered.

Five players for the Nets finished in double-figures, featuring: 16 points by both Johnson and Young, 14 from Brook Lopez, 10 by Williams and a team-high 28 points by Bogdanovic, including four of eight from three-point range.

"It's a nice feeling to get a career high but it's not most important thing for us," said Bogdanovic post-game. "We have to wait for the other game to be in the playoffs. And I hope that (Indiana win) doesn't happen."

I think the most important thing that didn't happen was the Magic playing spoiler, a team who had nothing to play for.

Those teams, lottery projected teams, pose the biggest threat to teams who aspire to make the playoffs, and last night, the Nets survived a dominating performance inside by Vucevic and another piece of the Magic's future in Victor Oladipo's 19 points.

"I thought we did a good job of fighting, did a good job of keeping ourselves in the game," Oladipo said post-game. "Now we just gotta work hard, you know, get better, so we can make big plays down the stretch in fourth quarters."

Andrew Nicholson even showed his versatility for the away team, knocking down a deuce of threes en route to 18 points.

The Magic, a team rebuilding for a better future has a crop of respectable young talent and potential stars on their roster who will contribute to the star-power very soon, and because of that, Oladipo didn't dwell on the negatives, like the loss and the struggles of this season alone but the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I think we have great attributes to our team, great players," Oladipo said. "...Individually (we) just have to get better and as a team, collectively, as well. It's going to be a big summer for us, a big offseason."

Hey Nets fans, remember when your team mirrored this year’s Magic, three years ago?

Just kidding.

With the Nets win, they improved to 6-0 on the season against the Magic at the Barclays Center, in addition to finishing the month of April, 5-4, which proved to be the most crucial stat presently.

The Nets will challenge the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, which begins this Saturday.

And this starts a whole new holiday for me personally (April 18th-start of the NBA Playoffs).

As much as an achievement that is, the Nets haven't fared to well against the no.1 seed in the Eastern Conference this season, the Hawks, also-known-as the second team to 60+ wins in the NBA.

They don't have the blueprint to beat the Hawks, losing all four match-ups against the ATL this year and in close games.

This isn't the Western Conference where 12 teams can legitimately challenge the no.1 seed, the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game-series.

This is the same Eastern Conference that, in the pre-season, led me to believe that the New York Knicks could actually have an admirable season.

We all know what happened there and unlike the Knicks play this regular season, the Nets will have to give it their all, and then some.

The advantage the Nets have on their side going into the post-season is the fact that it’s a blank slate.

Everyone starts fresh and its 0-0 all.

What happened in the regular season no longer factors into the immediate future, a tournament style format which provides rest periods.

The Nets have a chance like everybody else to upset the Hawks and like coach Hollins said in his post-game press conference, the Nets will have to figure out what the Hawks fail to do well and capitalize on it.

And like all of Brooklyn, we are hoping the Nets can find a way to seize four more games, starting this weekend.

 

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