October 17, 2017

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.


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.”


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


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.


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


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.”

VIDEO: Plus Joe Johnson Waived by Brooklyn Nets and Picked up by Miami; Cespedes bringing fun and games to Mets training camp

In this episode of What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are talking about:

• Stephen Curry and his haters
• Tom Brady wants to play until he is 45
• Erin Andrews lawsuit against a hotel where she was videotaped naked without her permission
• LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love locker room battles
• Tony Romo contemplating collarbone surgery
• Yoenis Cespedes riding to work in fancy cars and on a horse has the media talking
• Brooklyn Nets plans to lower ticket prices for the 2016-17 season
• Sean Marks, General Manager, Brooklyn Nets, waives Joe Johnson and Johnson picked up by the Miami Heat
• Grayson Allen is on the bench

Nets struggled on both ends, but to their credit, held Cavs to 91 points

On Monday night, at primetime, the Golden State Warriors handed the Cleveland Cavaliers their worst home loss of the season, 132-98. Unfortunately for the Brooklyn Nets, the Cavs were their next opponent. It was fun for Brooklyn and all of the fans in attendance who paid to see the stars that Cleveland has to offer, but not for the home team expected to defend their home-court.

From the opening tip to the final buzzer, the Cavs came to Barclays Center on Wednesday night and handled their business, beating the Nets, 91-78. It was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Eastern Conference leaders and while the Nets were within striking distance for the majority of the first half, the Cavs made their statement late in the third and never looked back. After Thomas Robinson’s layup cut the Cavs lead to 10, 63-53 with 4:41 left in the 3rd, Cavs reserve Matthew Dellavedova answered with a two of his own. Moments later, LeBron James added a three with three minutes and a half left in the third.

Dellavedova’s jumper kick-started a 10-2 run, increasing what was a harmless 10-point lead to an 18-point uphill climb for the Nets. To begin the 4th, the only Cavs starter in the game was J.R. Smith. For Lebron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, their night was over. After scoring just three points against the Warriors, Love found his footing and rebounded in a big way.

He scored 17 points like Lebron and also grabbed 18 boards for the second time this season.

“I was just happy with Kevin going out there with a great mindset and getting back to his normal self,” Cavs head coach David Blatt said regarding Love’s bounce-back game. “Those are the kind of games he’s been giving us since the beginning of the year and for me, that is normal Kevin Love.”

He also assisted Lebron on his first two points of the game; a breakaway tomahawk slam. And the highlight play was the result of the vexing Cavs defense the Nets dealt with all night long. The Cavs scored 16 fast-break points and 19 off of turnovers they caused.

“Well, Coach has been pushing us about pushing the tempo, pushing our pace, getting up the floor, and I think we did that tonight,” Lebron said who also had five assists, just under his regular season average of six.

From the start, you could sense the urgency from the opposing team who looked like they were out to prove something and it would be difficult not crediting Golden State’s loss as inspiration.

“I’m sure it had something to do with it, but mostly it had to do with our guys reaching down and recognizing we had to get back on track right away,” said Blatt post-game. “It’s painful to get knocked down but it’s shameful to not get back up if you get knocked down. To the guys’ credit, they got back up and played a terrific basketball game.”

The Nets wish they could say the same. They only allowed 91 points to clearly the best team in the Eastern Conference but the offense wasn’t there.

Outside of Brook Lopez’s 16 points, Thaddeus Young chipped in 14 and Donald Sloan added 12 and nine assists. Wednesday’s loss signaled the Nets fourth straight and interim Head Coach Tony Brown continues to look for answers.

“I didn’t think it was our best effort since I have taken over,” Brown said post-game. “I don’t know if it was just because it was Cleveland, I don’t know, but clearly we can do better on both ends of the floor.”

If playing the best team in the Eastern Conference doesn’t rev you up to play, then what will?

Since Lionel Hollins was dismissed as the Brooklyn Nets head coach, the Nets have shown fight but against the Cavs they did not put forth the kind of effort they displayed against the Toronto Raptors, their previous game. As the offense went, the Nets went and the inability to get a rhythm going in the first half sealed the Nets fate for the remainder of the game.

After Cleveland, the road gets tougher. The Nets will host the Utah Jazz on Friday night who are fresh off of a tough OT loss to the New York Knicks and will then welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. Nets’ fans expect wins, but more than wins, they expect a fight. It’s up to the Nets to decide whether that will be the norm going forward no matter how rough their season continues to be.

VIDEO Discussion: Stephen Curry shows up LeBron James; Is there dissension in the Cavs locker room?


VIDEO DISCUSSION: Will LeBron James play less minutes in the 2015-16 NBA Season?

The Cleveland Cavaliers want to cut Kyrie Irving and Lebron James’s minutes next season.

Signing Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson is a move that could help the Cavs do just that.

Is this a smart move and will the Cavs gain an advantage when other teams follow suit?

Brook Lopez Puts On Another Great Show With 20 Points and 9 Rebounds

The Brooklyn Nets are a half-game out of the 8th and final playoff spot, currently occupied by the Boston Celtics, and tied with the Indiana Pacers.

Excluding Friday night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who look primed for a title run, the Nets have 12 games left until the end of the regular-season.

Due to their current position, every game is important for the Nets with wins as the only option, and the results of their last contest helped.

The Nets returned home from a one-game road trip defeating the Charlotte Hornets, 91-88, thanks in large part to Brook Lopez (34 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks vs. Hornets) who is playing some of the best basketball of his season, averaging 30.7 points in his last four games.

Brook Lopez 600x591

As for the Cavs, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving are leading a team that has clinched a playoff berth (47-26), currently enjoying a four-game winning streak, which includes a win against the Nets in a rout, 117-92, last Wednesday.

Fortunately for the Nets, they were able to put forth the effort necessary to achieve their revenge.

Behind another strong game from Lopez and healthy contributions courtesy of Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Johnson, the Nets defeated the Cavs, for a change, behind what seemed like a capacity crowd, 106-98.

Collage Bojan Bogdanovic Joe Johnson 700x350 Brooklyn Nets shooting guards Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Johnson

The Nets improved to (31-40) while the Cavs, who's four-game winning streak snapped, regressed to (47-27) on the season.

Now how much of this game is a result of the Cavs clinching their playoff spot remains to be seen, but what the Nets achieved is exactly what they have to do if they indeed want to compete in serious spring basketball.

And that's take advantage.

A win is a win and at this point of the season, the Nets do not have the luxury of playing down or up to any opponent, like the Cavs can.

Surprisingly the Cavs were unable to put the Nets away as the home team went neck and neck with the visitors for the majority of the game but early in the fourth quarter, the Nets capitalized on the opportunities they were given in keeping the Cavs out of the winners circle.

In the 4th quarter, with the game hanging in the balance at the 6:08 mark, Bogdanovic converted a 12-foot jump-shot which gave the Nets a five-point lead, 92-87.

After six straight made free throws, courtesy of Johnson and Lopez (4), that improved the Nets lead to seven, 98-91, Irving got to the line and cut the deficit to six with two made free throws, in an attempt to spark a late Cavs comeback.

But Johnson had other thoughts and sealed the Nets fate with one shot.

After the aforementioned free-throws by Irving, Johnson, with the shot-clock expiring pulled up from 26' feet, beyond three-point range, knocking down the dagger, which enhanced the Nets lead by eight, up 101-93.

"It felt good," Johnson said reflecting on the deep three-pointer.

"I wasn't sure that it was going in but it felt good."

Good enough to provide the Nets with breathing room.

Good enough to seal the win.

But let's be honest here.

This wasn't the Cavs; this was the Cavs post clinching their playoff berth.

I was waiting for the Cavs to make that run, a run filled with highlights featuring the likes of LeBron (24 points, 9 assists), Love (18 points), Irving (26 points) and other key players that would impose their will on defense and string to get a series of baskets that would suck the life out of the Nets only to the benefit of the crowd and guys sporting red from Cleveland.

It never came.

In other words, the Cavs didn't come to play, they were uninterested in this competition and it showed through the duration of yesterday's affair.

Just ask Cavs Head Coach David Blatt.

"I don't feel like we played like ourselves today and we paid for it," Blatt said postgame. "We’re still not at the finish line. We have to refocus our attention immediately to get on track."

The Cavs are only 2.5 games ahead of the Chicago Bulls who are also streaking, winning four of their last five games (44-29).

And looking at the remaining schedules of both squads it seems as though the Cavs have a rougher road to end the season than the Bulls, but who cares.

This is about the Nets right?

Regarding the positives of this game, Brook Lopez, for the fifth straight game, was among the Nets top scorers, continuing his strong play inside en-route to a near double-double in 20 points and 9 rebounds.

Johnson shot 50% from the field chipping in 20 like Lopez.

Bogdanovic did not disappoint scoring 18.

Alan Anderson, who reminded everyone during the postgame locker-room media availability period that his alma-mater, Michigan State was playing, supplied a healthy scoring out-put in 13 points and Jarrett Jack in a little over 25 minutes poured in 16 and 5 assists.

Collage Alan Anderson Jarrett Jack 700x350 Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Alan Anderson (l) and guard Jarrett Jack

In other words, the Nets had five players in double-figures which is the recipe to win your share of games in the NBA, but the under the radar performance award goes to Earl Clark.

Earl Clark Nets HeadshotThe former Louisville Cardinal, who most recently played in China for the Shandong Flaming Bulls, signed a 10-day contract with the Nets on Friday and immediately announced himself when he entered the game in the 3rd quarter.

In the final seven minutes to close the 3rd quarter, Clark went 3 of 4 from the field which included one three, netting seven points in his Nets debut.

"The reality was, after he made the shot, I decided to just let him go," Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins said during his post-game press-conference. "I didn't feel comfortable at first watching him, and then after he made the shot, he looked comfortable, and then he did something on the defensive end, and then I said, come on back out, and let him have some time."

With Mirza Teletovic and Sergey Karasev both out for the season with their respective ailments, Clark will be given an ample amount of opportunities to prove himself in earning a permanent roster spot.

And honestly, if the Nets need Clark, that's a problem.

All in all, the Nets won whether the Cavs wanted to play or not, and I cannot stress enough how important it is for the Nets to put forth a winning effort until April 15th.

"At this point for us every game is important," Johnson said.

"We know what is at stake for us and that is more important than anybody that we are playing against," said Jack.

"We've talked about it a lot lately, what every game means to us, so this was a big win for us," said Deron Williams.

At least the Nets are aware and focused on the task at hand.

The Nets next opponent is the Los Angeles Lakers also at home on Sunday, March 29, with a 3:30 p.m. tip-off.

"We can't take them lightly," Williams said post-game.

"They've won some ball games, have a lot of young guys that are hungry to get out there and play and show they belong in this league. We can't look past anybody."

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