October 17, 2017

Big moves in the NBA, power centers shifted for NBA 2017-18 Season

In this Quick Bites segment:
Derrick Rose says he’s no longer in a “dark place,” he is happy with the Cavaliers.
Russell Westbrook signed a five-year, $205 million extension with the OKC Thunder and the OKC mayor declared everyday Russell Westbrook Day
• With Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony on the same team, NBA analyst Stephen Jackson said that OKC is the scariest team in the NBA.
Carmelo Anthony is happy being in OKC, he told ESPN, "... From an individual standpoint, I feel born again, feel rebirth, a different type of energy within myself, around the guys, around the organization, around the city. You can feel it."
• And, as we all know by now, Dwyane Wade has joined LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers

Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal came up winners at the US OPEN; the Cavs and Celtics Kyrie Irving – Isaiah Thomas trade dissected, Brooklyn Nets sale news

In this 96th episode of What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, are talking about how Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal  slayed at the 2017 US OPEN, the Cavaliers, and Celtics trade of Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, Danny Ainge getting thrown under the bus, Roger Goodell and the NFL on Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Brown, Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett's arrest by the Las Vegas police, the proposed sale of the Brooklyn Nets, the NY Yankees, Carmelo Anthony's outlook with the NY Knicks and his wife La La Anthony. Our Photo of the Week is Jeremy Lin and Caris Levert in Taiwan.

WHAT’S POPPIN’

2017 US OPEN

Congratulations are due to professional tennis players Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal on their grand slam wins at the 2017 US OPEN. Stephens beat Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0, to win the Women’s Final. And, on the men’s side, Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to win the men’s US OPEN FINAL.

Boston Celtics – Cleveland Cavaliers Trade

Kyrie Irving has left the building. Irving is now with the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 pick by way of the Boston Celtics, and a 2020 pick from Boston.

The Courts Give Ezekiel Elliot a Reprieve

The Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot can play for the Cowboys this season despite Roger Goodell handing down a six-game suspension to Elliot for domestic violence. The NFL Players Association took the NFL to court to get a Temporary Restraining Order over the process by which Goodell came to Elliot’s punishment, and won.

NFL Give Josh Brown a Six-Game Suspension

The NFL, after suspending former New York Giants kicker Josh Brown 1 Game for beating his wife, quietly suspended him for 6 games. The league reopened the investigation based on new info and has yet to release its findings. The NFL concluded there was a violation of its personal conduct policy and imposed a 6-game suspension which Brown accepted without appeal.

NFL Supports Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett had a run-in with Las Vegas police when he was leaving a night club. Bennett says that the officer told him he would "blow my f*cking head off"

NBA and NBA Players Association Issue Joint Statement on Social Issues

Here’s a big contrast between the NBA and the NFL. Recently, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players Association executive director Michelle Roberts are encouraging players to speak out on social issues, stating to NBA players:

“None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly. Fortunately, you are not only the world’s greatest basketball players — you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference.”

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Brooklyn Nets’ players Jeremy Lin and Caris LeVert in Taiwan.

NY SPORTS REPORT

Brooklyn Nets for Sale

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is ready to do a slow dance to sell the team. Initially, Prokhorov wanted to sell a minority stake in the team, but because of the pace, he is willing to sell up to 49 percent and the remaining 51 percent shortly thereafter. Sources say Prokhorov is encouraged by the sale of the Houston Rockets for $2.2 Billion.

Carmelo Anthony Still with the NY Knicks

Carmelo Anthony is still a member of the New York Knicks even though both the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers have expressed interest in him. Additionally, the Knicks point guard situation isn’t knocking anyone’s socks off and the team is considering bringing in point guards Trey Burke and Jarrett Jack for training camp.

The New York Yankees in the Hunt

 Right now, there is enough space between the Yankees and the Orioles for the Yanks to get a wildcard spot in the playoffs.

OFF TOPIC

Now, let’s go off topic. New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony showed up unexpectedly at the launch of his estranged wife, La La Anthony’s, new denim line at Lord & Taylor in New York City. Carmelo proudly posted a photo of La La on Instagram.

Carmelo Anthony Instagram post of the launch of LaLa Anthonys new denim line at Lord and Taylor 613x400

 

VIDEO: NBA Playoffs Final Four

The NBA playoffs are now down to four teams. What can we expect in the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals?

This one really hurt, riding a - game winning streak and creeping closer to the final playoff spot, the New York Knicks faced the Cleveland Cavaliers knowing the team they are chasing (Atlanta Hawks) had already lost earlier in the day. That news seemed to bolster the Blue and Orange from the very beginning as they jumped out to a 34-27 first quarter lead paced by Carmelo Anthony's 12 points.

The bench kicked in scoring a combined 17 points between Pablo Prigioni, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Shannon Brown to take a 1- point halftime lead. For a change, it appeared that New York regained the home court confidence they established last year. Then, Cleveland led by Jarrett Jack's (31) and Dion Waiters' (22) points played with the mindset that if they can't make the playoffs, neither should the Knicks.

The comeback began with the Cavs outscoring the Knicks 28-23 in the third getting within 7 (84-77). Then, New York could not hit a shot and could not defend the pick and roll. They missed 13 shots while turning the ball over 5 times. Meanwhile, Cleveland took advantage on the inside, scoring 40 points in the paint. They shot a ridiculous 77% in the second half erasing a 17-point deficit after a Jack 3-pointer with 3:54 left gave them their first lead of the game.

Waiters scored his last points with a trifecta and Anderson Varejao victimized the Knicks with yet another pick and roll ending in his slam extending the lead to 6 (100-94). A J.R. Smith jumper and two Anthony free throws got the Knicks within 2 (102-100) but that's as close as they would get.

As a unit, the Knicks knew they blew an opportunity to not only extend their winning streak to 8 but to get within 2 games of the Hawks. Especially knowing they are about to embark on a 5 game western swing that starts Tuesday night against the Kobe-less Lakers.

Head coach Mike Woodson wanted this game as a springboard to the upcoming trip.

"This was like a getaway game for us to get us set up for the road," he said afterward. "We didn't close it out. So we got to go on the road and win all 5 if we can."

Center Tyson Chandler (4 points) coming off the game against Philadelphia in which he scored 17 points in the win gave kudos to Jack.

"Jarrett Jack took control of the pick and roll in the second-half. He made some tough shots especially down the stretch."

The New York Knicks have 12 games left in the regular season, eight of them on the road.

If they do make the playoffs, they will face either Miami or Indiana. They will be facing teams that are still jockeying for playoff positions. That's why games like last night were one they could not afford to lose.

Fresh off of claiming victory against the Phoenix Suns in their last home game 108-95, all while achieving wins in eight of their last 10 games, the Brooklyn Nets continued their three-game homestand against the Charlotte Bobcats, mirroring their results of the previous game obtaining a five-point victory on the Bobcats, 104-99.

This is the second straight win, improving their overall regular season record to (35-31) in a position to make their second straight playoff appearance since the inaugural grand opening of the Barclays Center in 2012.

The Bobcats are currently the 7th seed, one seed below the Nets, in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race one month away from the end of the regular season.

With aspirations of completing the season on a high note, each game for the Nets holds a certain level of significance and tonight is another game against an opponent the Nets are capable of defeating.

Each NBA team features its own difficulties for its opponents and the Bobcats provide a down-low offensive force in F Al Jefferson, averaging a double-double for the season recording 21.3 points per game along with 10.4 rebounds.

"We're not going to have Mason go up against him one on one," said Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd prior to the tip-off of tonight's match-up in his pre-game press conference to numerous media outlets.

"He's patient and knows how to put the ball in the basket," Kidd continues.

He did just that.

Jefferson displayed his talents early scoring 10 points while grabbing six rebounds in the first-half causing match-up problems for the Nets frontcourt, particularly C Mason Plumlee who defended Jefferson for the better part of the first half committing 3 fouls in the process.

With the score tied 20 all with 2:17 left in the second quarter, back-to-back jump shots by reserves F Andray Blatche and G Marcus Thornton in addition to two made free throws by first unit PG Deron Williams, improved the Nets lead to six, 26-20, going into the second half ahead, 26-21 as one made free throw by Jefferson cut the overall deficit to 5 in the closing minutes.

In the second quarter, the Nets capitalized on their early slim lead extending it to a game-high advantage of 13 points, when SG Thornton connected from behind the arc, Nets leading 38-25 with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter.

The Nets struggled to maintain their lead throughout second-half as the Bobcats sustained a relentless effort which decided the result of the game towards final minutes of regulation.

With the game hanging in the balance, the Nets and Bobcats engaged in a back and forth rally where one team had to make enough plays to avenge the response of the opposing team and in that battle, the Nets made enough plays spearheaded by Williams who led the charge.

With the Nets leading by three, 90-87 with 4:16 to go a missed Jefferson jumper allowed the Nets to get out on the break.

Williams pushed the ball to the top of the key and dished it to G Joe Johnson the trailer for a three-point shot attempt which he missed only to be rewarded with another field goal attempt due to the offensive rebound by Williams who kicked it back to Johnson, this time draining it increasing the Nets lead to five 92-87.

The Bobcats answered with a dunk via G Gerald Henderson cutting the lead to three 92-89 with 3:27 remaining until the resolution.

The ball finds Johnson again on the right baseline guarded by Henderson which he posted up only to fade away off of Henderson's pressure netting yet another basket, edging the Bobcats now by five, 94-89 with 3 min remaining in the 4th.

On the following possession, Henderson drains a three-pointer assisted by G Gary Neal with 2:46 left in the 4th coming to within two points shy of a tie trailing the Nets 92-94.

In close games, teams rely on their stars to influence the final outcome of a game, and this moment belonged to Williams as his contract warrants that responsibility to put the Nets over the top as all else fails.

He did not have to go far as the ball found him and he delivered as he should.

With the Nets clinging to a three-point lead as the one minute mark passed, the crowd stood on its feet growing louder with each passing second as Williams stared down his defender, applied a crossover hesitation dribble and pulled up for a jump-shot locating the Net without and trouble from the rim as the Nets grabbed a 5-point lead, 100-95 grabbing control of the game for good.

Williams led all scorers accumulating 25 points and 8 assists as his back-court mate in Johnson complimented his cause adding 20 points and grabbing 8 rebounds.

High scorers for the Bobcats featured Jefferson who was neutralized in the second half finishing with 18 points and Neal who finished with 17.

Williams performance grants him the player of the game award and Kidd took notice.

"Deron took control of the game," Kidd expressed to media correspondents in his post-game press conference.

Regarding his team's efforts Kidd continued saying, "They didn't panic, they stayed the course and executed on both ends when it mattered."

This win propelled the Nets past the Washington Wizards in the eastern conference standings as the Nets are now positioned as the 5th seed behind the Chicago Bulls.

Due to the Eastern Conference experiencing a down year, the Nets have an opportunity to seize the Bulls' spot as the 4th seed as long as they continue to win and pray for the Bulls demise which is very unlikely.

Over the next five games, the Nets will face teams who contain a combined record of 150-192, which include the Boston Celtics, the Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Bobcats once more for the final time this season.

Based on talent alone, the Nets should be able to handle their business against the teams previously listed.

As for Brooklyn, a Nets win translates to a comfortable slumber.

LeBron James: "Northeast Ohio is Bigger Than Basketball"

The longer LeBRON JAMES' free-agency period lasted, the more it looked like he was headed to Cleveland. It became even more apparent that King James might be headed to Cleveland when he reportedly summoned PAT RILEY to meet with him in Las Vegas and that meeting lasted all of 30 minutes. Additionally, speculation that CHRIS BOSH would be signing with the Houston Rockets heightened the chatter that James was on his way to Cleveland. Then, there was the media blackout.

Today, as anticipation continued to build about LeBRON JAMES' status, things started to hit a fever pitch.

The conversation focused on the #LeBronLetter; the now infamous letter written by the Cleveland Cavaliers owner DAN GILBERT after King James left Cleveland in search of a championship with his compatriots in Miami. Twitter was on fire with comments about the #LeBronLetter. I even added my two cents on Twitter regarding the letter, including advice for what it’s worth.

In my humble opinion, the #LeBronLetter was a very sophomoric move by an owner whose net worth is probably 10 figures. Gilbert came across like a spurned lover, not like a savvy businessperson. After all, basketball, and sports in general, is a business.

Hopefully, going forward, DAN GILBERT will be able to demonstrate that he, the elder in the room, has matured. A cool head is needed for the sake of the team and for the fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With this new decision, the moving trucks, planes, and trains are headed to Ohio. And, we now all know why LeBRON JAMES' camp didn’t leak a morsel. He wanted to get his “moving on” story out to the public without interruption from reporters.

Now that we know King James is moving his castle back to Northeast Ohio, we can now move on and wait to hear from Prince CARMELO ANTHONY.

Lack of execution, turnovers, and iso-ball give Nets its third straight loss

Dion Waiters is having a very productive week. On Monday, Waiters danced on Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson with 2.4 seconds left in the fourth and drained the go-ahead three-pointer to beat the western conference power 105-102. On Wednesday night, Waiters would send the Nets to the same fate.

The Miami Heat overcame an 18-point deficit to begin the fourth quarter and used a 15-2 run in final 4:35, setting up Waiters dagger trey, to lead the Heat to an exhilarating 109-106 victory. With 30 seconds remaining in the final period, Randy Foye found Trevor Booker in the paint for a layup that gave the Nets an opportunity for the win, down one, 104-103. And then it happened.

Wayne Ellington inbounded the ball to Waiters who streaked towards the ball behind the three-point line. He dribbled once defended by Foye, pulled up without hesitation and fired a high-arching, 27-footer, giving the Heat a 107-103 lead with 6.8 seconds left to play.

“I love those type of moments,” Waiters said post-game. “Coach just drew up a play, and I looked at (Ellington) and said, ‘give it to me, I want it.”

It was a play that capped off the Heat’s big fourth quarter in which they outscored the Nets 38-17. And it also highlights the stellar defense they played down the stretch, especially on Brook Lopez, who after torching the Heat for 26 first half points, was limited to a two-point fourth quarter.

With 4:35 remaining in the fourth, the Nets were in good shape. They were up by 10, 99-89 after two made free-throws by Lopez and had the opportunity to put the nail in the coffin and eliminate any chance of a Heat comeback, but they didn’t. They folded.

And while Lopez misfired on two consecutive trips on offense, the Heat, led by Goran Dragic and Waiters, spearheaded a 10-0 run capped off by Ellington’s three, that tied the game at 99-all with 2:16 remaining in the quarter.

A couple possessions later, with the Heat down one, 101-99 on two made free-throws by Nets rookie guard Caris LeVert, Miami rookie forward Okaro White buried a three, assisted by Waiters 102-101, which gave the Heat the lead for good.

“You know (Waiters) drew two at the end and I was wide open in that corner and he had that trust and the faith in me that I’ll knock it down and kicked it right to me,” White said post-game. “I went up into the shot and it was good so it’s nothing but God.”

At the end of the day, the Heat made shots when it counted and the Nets didn’t. The Nets also relied heavily on Lopez to create down the stretch and settled for “iso-ball”. It also doesn’t help that after Waiters’ layup cut the Nets lead to three 99-96 with 2:54 left to play, LeVert turned the ball over coming out of a timeout on the next possession.

After White’s three put the Heat up one, 102-101, the Nets left it up to Spencer Dinwiddie who missed a big three that could have put the Nets up two, with 43 seconds left. Late game execution has plagued the Nets all season long and on Wednesday night, it cost them another contest, this time against the Heat.

“I think we didn’t execute,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said post-game. “We started playing iso-ball and they turned us over a few times. We were missing shots, and then on the defensive end, we couldn’t get stops. You can’t give up 38 points in the fourth quarter, that’s way too many.”

Atkinson also said that he has to do a better job coaching, in finding the right balance between getting Lopez the ball and when to run plays and move the ball effectively for good shots. On too many occasions in the fourth, Atkinson said that Lopez wasn’t getting the ball in good positions to score and in doing so felt that it was up to him to save the day.

Despite his shortcomings, the Nets should’ve won this game and Lopez, who said post-game, that he has to do a better job of keeping the Nets offense going, knows that the Nets let one get away in large part to one single quarter.

“We really gave ourselves a chance for 40 minutes tonight, but obviously, it’s a full 48-minute game,” Lopez said post-game.

He led all scorers with a game-high 33 points. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points and LeVert, who broke Ellington’s ankles in the third quarter on a vicious crossover step-back three, recorded 12 points.

The hero of the game, Waiters scored a team-high 24 points and dished out eight assists while his backcourt mate, Dragic nearly clinched a double-double with 17 points and nine dimes. Ellington, who hit several big shots in this game and seemed eager to face his former team, handed the Nets 22 painful points off the bench and Willie Reed, another former Net scored 14 points.

This is a young team and you have to think that late game execution and defending for 48 minutes will be issues the Nets will tackle going forward. Like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Nets need to “Trust The Process,” and continue to learn from their mistakes to become a better team in the future.

The Nets will have Thursday off and then face the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers and with Lebron James voicing his disappointment in his team’s play as of late and the inability of his front-office to find a playmaker for their bench, this is the absolute worst time for the Nets to face the Cavaliers.

Following the Cavaliers, the Nets will still be on the road and will face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday and the Miami Heat in Miami on Monday. The Nets will be home on Wednesday, February 1 to play the other struggling New York team, the New York Knicks.

Big 4th Quarter from Kyrie Irving sends Nets to 5th straight loss

Kyrie Irving hasn’t played since last year when he scored 32 points in a win against the Boston Celtics on December 29. Unfortunately for the Brooklyn Nets who hosted the “Super Friends”, Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, Irving showed no signs of rust.

The sixth-year guard picked up from where he left off and torched the young Nets in the second half. He scored 16 of his 32 points in the 4th quarter, leading the Cavs, alongside Lebron James to an entertaining 116-108 win.

Through the first three quarters, Irving struggled from the field. He entered the fourth quarter with 16 points but shot five of 17 from the field. But when it mattered, “Uncle Drew” showed up. The Nets cut what was an 18-point lead from the Cavs to six to start the 4th quarter, down 86-80, capped off by a three from Caris LeVert with 10 minutes left until the end of regulation. Irving then took over.

After two made free-throws, Irving would go on a 10-6 run all by himself. He drained a couple of threes in the eyes of the defense and capped off his run converting a tough contested reverse layup that put the Cavs up by 16, 98-82 with 7:36 left in the fourth.

“He (Irving) loves big moments,” James said post-game. “No matter if a team with a record that they have and the record that we have, games get close he’s going to step up to the plate and its always great to see him come through.”

Despite the Cavs lead the Nets continued to fight. After James connected on a turnaround bank shot that put the Cavs up by 12, 100-88 with 5:45 left in the quarter, Bojan Bogdanovic hit a three-pointer that pulled the Nets to within nine.

The Nets would cut the deficit to within seven on a running layup by Trevor Booker, 113-106 with 1:17 left but by then it was already too late. Despite the offensive success the Cavs enjoyed in addition to the win, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was satisfied with his team’s defensive effort.

“I know the score looks high, but I think for the pace, our defense was much better, much better than last night so I’m happy with that,” Atkinson said post-game.

Like Irving, Kevin Love struggled early as well. At the end of the third, Love scored 14 points on four of 12 shooting but it didn’t matter. Irving caught fire and James added a sneaky team-high 36 points which included several signature James dunks to wow the crowd.

Whether it’s James or Irving or even Love, the Cavs’ big three are too much for just about anybody.

“It’s pick your poison you know,” Atkinson said. “They just spread you out with their shooting and obviously they’ve got two excellent “iso” players in Irving and James.”

As for Brooklyn, LeVert enjoyed a career night. The rookie out of Michigan who missed summer league and struggled to stay on the court through training camp, due to a left foot fracture scored 19 points on 58 percent shooting from the field. He hit some big shots to keep the Nets competitive late in the game and even guarded James on occasion, welcoming the defensive challenge.

“I love competition,” LeVert said post-game. “I’m from Ohio as well, so I grew up watching them (Cavaliers) play a lot, so that’s someone that I’ve wanted to play against since I was younger, so I just wanted to compete.”

On offense, LeVert said that he tried to stay aggressive the whole game and was encouraged by his coaches and teammates to do so.

“I felt like Caris really stepped it up there and made some really good plays,” said Atkinson on the rookie’s play.

Other than Caris, Booker added a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, Bogdanovic scored a team-high 23, Brook Lopez added 17 and Isaiah Whitehead added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

It’s difficult to find the good in any loss but against the Cavs, the play of the younger pieces on the Nets was encouraging to see and even still, Lopez believes the Cavs are just one of 30 teams that the Nets will have to treat equally.

“It’s important to treat every game like that,” Lopez said post-game. “I know it’s easy to prepare and get ready for a game like this and get up for a game like this when you’re playing the premier players in the league, but you have to treat every game like this. Our next one is just as important. We have to take it one game at a time.”

Brook Lopez’s position outside of the post and passing ability a key strategy in Nets win over the Cavs

After hosting the Milwaukee Bucks, the Cleveland Cavaliers traveled east to take on the Brooklyn Nets for the second game of a back to back. Coming into tonight’s game, the Cavaliers held a 2-0 record against Brooklyn. If the Nets have their way, the Cavs will fail to go undefeated against them for the season.

To start the game, Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez set up outside of the post drawing defender Timofey Mozgov from the basket, away from his comfort zone. Setting up Lopez outside of the low post not only removed a shot blocker from the basket but also took advantage of Lopez’s passing ability as his teammates cut to the basket to either score or dish to an open teammate. Mozgov picked up two fouls with a little over six minutes remaining in the first quarter and was replaced by Tristan Thompson. The Cavaliers were able to penetrate the Nets defense scoring 18 points in the paint in the first quarter however, the Nets had the hot hands from beyond the arc shooting just under 56%. In addition to shooting the ball well, the Nets defense forced turnovers which converted to points. However, the Nets didn’t quite have an answer for LeBron James, as he scored with relative ease not missing a shot from the field for a total of fifteen points for the half.

Going into the third quarter, the Nets had a ten-point lead over Cleveland and momentum was on their side. Perhaps sensing that his team was in danger, LeBron James continued his scoring dominance by going 13 for 14 for fifteen points in the quarter. Three of James’ points in the quarter came from a bank shot from beyond the arc as the shot clock expired. The Cavs took possession of the lead 83-80 at the end of the quarter.

Given LeBron James’ performance in the third quarter, it was quite interesting that James started the final quarter on the bench. Brooklyn took full advantage of James being on the bench as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson quickly scored six points. The Cavs lead was cut to two points which ushered the re-entrance of LeBron James. After three outstanding quarters, the Nets held James scoreless in the last quarter while the Nets went on a decisive run that led Brooklyn to victory.

Sergey Karasev comes up big with a career-high 17 points to help Nets

On Thursday evening, the Brooklyn Nets hammered the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-95 and then picked up its second consecutive win last evening against another playoff-bound team, the Indiana Pacers 120-110.

Initially, with Brook Lopez not playing his best for most of the first three quarters against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday evening, the Nets looked a bit lethargic; not falling off the cliff lethargy, but a beat behind.

Leading the Nets by as many as 14 in the first half and then by 10 early in the fourth quarter, the Pacers dominated until Lopez got his groove back and took control.

Lopez had only scored nine points by the end of the third quarter and with fire in his belly, he scored 14 points in the last stanza for a total of 23 points for the night. Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points. However, the surprise Brooklyn Nets double-digit point scorer of the night was Sergey Karasev.

Karasev, who was rumored to want off the Nets and possibly the NBA altogether, had a big night. Making the most of his starting minutes (25:44), Karasev scored a career-high 17 points, seven boards, four assists, and two steals.

In a postgame interview, Karasev with humility deflected credit from himself and heaped praise on his teammates, Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic.

"Bojan hit a big three and Brook played a great fourth quarter," Karasev said. "Everyone was touching the ball on the court. Everybody looked pretty good today and when we moved the ball we looked pretty good, like a team."

Sean Kilpatrick, who recently was called up from the D-League and received a multi-year contract from the Nets, and Markel Brown contributed 14 and 11 points respectively off-the-bench for Nets. Kilpatrick, known as a scorer, surprised a few people with his defensive moves.

VIDEO: Sean Kilpatrick talks about his defensive play in his own words

Pacers’ starters Paul George led the Pacers with 27 points; Ian Mahinmi scored 18 points and George Hill added 17 points to round out the starters in double-digits.  C.J. Miles and Jordan Hill both chipped in 12 points each coming off the bench.

Unfortunately for the Indiana Pacers, its 120-110 loss to the Brooklyn Nets is the team’s first loss to a sub-.500 team since January 23rd. The Pacers are trying to hold on for a playoff spot.

The Brooklyn Nets, who are not playoff bound, finished off the Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday like it was fighting for an eighth playoff spot or home-court advantage. Nets starting guard Shane Larkin in a postgame interview talked about how the players are still sticking together and playing for each other even though the Nets are not playoff bound.

VIDEO: Brooklyn Nets guard Shane Larkin in his own words

The Nets visit Miami on Monday to face off against Dwyane Wade and former Nets player Joe Johnson and the rest of the Miami Heat.

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