December 15, 2017

The Brooklyn Nets back from “home games” in Mexico City send the Wizards home with a loss despite Bradley Beal leading all scorers with 28 points

The Brooklyn Nets (10-15) were back in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night to play the Washington Wizards (14-12) and eked out a 103-98 win. Surprising, not because the Wizards are sixth in the Eastern Conference standings and the Nets are in the 11th spot, but because the Nets just returned from a two-game set of “home games” in Mexico City, where the altitude can wreak havoc on your body.

“I was pleasantly surprised at our energy,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson during a postgame presser. “I thought we had great energy. Definitely worried about the trip and the travel but the guys did a great job. Great job by our performance team. They get these guys ready, they do all the cold tub and massage and they do a fantastic job taking care of these guys. I think that was the key. We had great energy.”

At the half, the Nets had the slimmest of leads, one point, at 52-51. Team black and white went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter, racking up a 14-point lead. It didn’t last long as Washington went on a 14-2 run cutting the difference to one point.

In the final stanza, both teams went back and forth each playing with a one-point lead. And then with 44 seconds left in the game, it was suddenly hold onto the edge of your seats as holy cow Allen Crabbe hit a game-saving 3-pointer to put Brooklyn up 100-98.

Folks were a little nervous because up until Crabbe hit that three, Crabbe had been struggling with his three-point shot.

When asked about making that three at such a crucial point in the game, Crabbe responded, "I think it was just that I don't care attitude. If you miss, you miss."

“I trusted him,” Atkinson told the media. “He’s a 40 percent 3-point shooter, second-best 3-point shooter in the league. I still have confidence in him and great pass by Spencer (Dinwiddie). Spencer had a choice of getting to the rim or Allen (Crabbe) sets a back screen and pops. So he had the choice and Spencer did a really good job finding him and trusting it.”

Next, the Wizard’s Bradley Beal missed a potential game-tying pull-up jumper and Dinwiddie was then fouled, making one of two free throws to increase the lead to 101-98. With seven seconds left, Washington’s Kelly Oubre Jr. was fouled sending Caris LeVert to the line. LeVert made both of his free throws putting the Nets up 103-98 over the Wizards. At the one-second mark, Beal missed a three-pointer which enabled the Nets to pull off a 103-98 win.

All of Brooklyn’s starters scored in double digits. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the Nets’ starters with 16 points and 12 rebounds, DeMarre Carroll had 15 points and 8 rebounds, Crabbe scored 13 points and five rebounds, Tyler Zeller chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds, and Dinwiddie also put up a double-double with 11 points and 12 assists.

The second unit double-digit scorers were LeVert who scored 16 points and 8 assists, and rookie Jarrett Allen who added 11 points.

For Washington, Beal led all scorers with 28 points, Oubre had 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Otto Porter Jr. scored 11 points and five rebounds.

The Wizards will face Memphis on Wednesday, which is the opener of a four-game homestand.

The Nets face the New York Knicks at home at the Barclays Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Spencer Dinwiddie says no excuses… “we have to make plays”; rookie Jarrett Allen scores a career-high 12 points

A mid-afternoon NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center on Saturday featuring the first of a home and home game between the Brooklyn Nets (8-13) and the Atlantic Hawks (4-17) on paper looked promising for the Nets. The Nets were riding high from a two out of three-game road win against Western conference teams. Brooklyn also had twice as many wins as the Hawks, and Atlanta was without three players. However, to the Hawks good fortune, they met up with a lethargic Nets team allowing Atlanta to leave the building with a 114-102 victory.

“I thought they dominated us in every area, they were the more aggressive team,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media during a postgame presser. “I thought they were the quicker team, they were outstanding. I really have to give them a lot of credit. Coach Bud and his staff; we could never really guard them. We could not keep them in front of us. I don’t know how many paint points they had and that was really the story of the game. Couldn’t guard them, couldn’t keep them in front.”

“You have to give credit to the Atlanta Hawks,” Nets forward DeMarre Carroll said in a locker room postgame presser. “They came out and basically kicked our butt. We didn’t have any energy. We came out lackadaisical and we knew coming off of a three-game road trip, this tends to happen and we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”

A follow-up question was asked if the lack of confidence or fatigue could have factored into the loss. It could not have been lack of confidence, as Atlanta came into the Barclays Center with a 4-17 record vs. the Nets’ 8-13 record. But let “DC” explain it.

“No, I think it was a little bit more of coming back home, sleeping in your own bed, trying to get that rhythm and I feel that we just couldn’t get it,” Carroll explained. “No matter who we put out there, we just couldn’t get it. But the beauty of it, we play them again and hopefully, we can get them on the road.”

“There’s no blaming on the road trip,” Spencer Dinwiddie responded with a no excuses attitude. “Being what we aspire to be, which is a good team, we have to make plays, whether it’s a road trip, home game, away game or whatever it is. We have to come out and bring the juice and get a win.”

Dinwiddie scored a team-high 15 points with six rebounds, a game-high nine assists, and a career-high three blocks for the Brooklyn Nets. Joe Harris added 13 points, and Allen Crabbe, Sean Kilpatrick, and Jarrett Allen each contributed 12 points. The rookie Allen’s 12 points is a career-high to go along with his six rebounds and one block in 17 minutes off the bench today. It marked Allen’s first career double-digit scoring game.

For Atlanta, Dennis Schroder scored 24 points and Luke Babbitt scored 20 points off the bench.

The Nets get an opportunity to redeem themselves against the Hawks on Monday in Atlanta. Brooklyn also has two “home games” in Mexico City before returning to the Barclays Center; they play OKC on December 7 and the Miami Heat on December 9, and then return to the Barclays Center to play the Wizards on Tuesday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Nets start off strong against Trail Blazers, but could not close the circle down the stretch, as Lillard and Nurkic lift Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter

High hopes.

Oftentimes, we see potential in an individual or a group and we do our best to be supportive to see them through. Today, the Friday after Thanksgiving at the Barclays Center, Nets fans filed into the arena to support the home team’s efforts against the Portland Trail Blazers. This was the second and final meeting of these two teams this season. Brooklyn defeated Portland 101-97 at their first meeting of the season exactly two weeks ago. So the stage was set, firstly both teams wanted a “W” just for the sake of winning because that’s the reason why you play the game in the first place. Next, layer that with the fact that for deeper statistical reasons, Brooklyn also wanted a win for a 2-0 series against Portland and the Trail Blazers also wanted a win to even the series.

The Nets started off strong, but in the closing minutes just couldn’t close the deal. Former Trail Blazers' guard Allen Crabbe hit a floater, which put the Nets up 121-115. But then the next eight points belonged to Portland, moving up to 123-121. Spencer Dinwiddie then evened the score at 123 points with a put-back layup after missing his own 15-foot pull-up shot, that was a sight to behold. Next, DeMarre Carroll blocked a Jusuf Nurkic shot, and Nurkic snatched the rebound away from Caris LeVert and finished with a foul for a three-point play that put the Blazers up 126-123. Dinwiddie got a bucket which brought the Nets within 126-125, but Portland got a free throw from CJ McCollum, and Dinwiddie’s 3-pointer rimmed out on the following possession and the game ended 127-125.

This was a tough loss for the Nets and Nets’ fans; the crowd left the arena near silence.

“Disappointing,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “You know, games come down to the end like that and go either way. I thought they made the big plays and we shot ourselves in the foot a few times. Turnovers, a couple turnovers there at the end, but good experience for our guys to go against a really good team like that. Good experience for our young guys Jarrett (Allen) and Caris (LeVert), getting their feet wet. We’ll learn from it. Tough loss, really tough loss.”

Dinwiddie had ideas about what could have been done differently down the stretch.

“I think we had a couple of turnovers, a couple of missed shots,” Dinwiddie explained. “Probably we should have gotten to the line and that probably would have helped us out. Free throws are what, the best shots in the game probably? So that probably would have helped us.”

“I think that’s the hardest thing to do in the NBA, you know, is to close games,” Atkinson added. “We saw it the other night in Cleveland, play really well for three quarters. There are great players on these other teams that are determined not to let you win and I think that was a little bit the case tonight. They really relied on their experience, but it’s also a positive experience for us. We can look at this, we can say “how can we close out games, what can we do better, how can we execute better, what can we do defensively differently to close out games?” So that’s on all of us, the coaching staff too, not just the players. So that’s a good point, closing games is a next step for us.”

All five of Brooklyn’s starters scored in double figures today, doing so in the same game for the first time this season. Dinwiddie led the Nets with 23 points and six assists, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 17 points, Crabbe had 12 points, Carroll and Tyler Zeller each had 10 points and Carroll had nine rebounds, and the Nets bench added 53 points.

For Portland, Damian Lillard scored 34 points and nine assists, Nurkic added 29 points and 15 rebounds, and McCollum chipped in 26 points and five assists.

The Brooklyn Nets will meet up with the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, the first of three games on the road and will be back home at the Barclays Center to play the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at 3:00 p.m.

Nets overcome 28–point deficit to move within four points of Warriors, but couldn’t get the lead

Many a professional athlete or team has heard the term “fear no team” or “make them play your game” or “bring the game to them.” Unfortunately, during the first half of the Nets’ game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday at the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn played as though they didn’t get this directive.

The Nets ended the first-half down 22 points with the score 64-42; and slipped to a 28-point deficit (78-50) with 8:34 left in the third stanza.

No disrespect to the home team because despite serious injuries to its top players D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin, the Nets are showing flashes of brilliance, most recently with its win against the Utah Jazz and the second half of this game against the Warriors.

The cause of the first-half free-fall is bewildering, but Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson says it was, “energy”.

“I would say energy, not being locked in from the start, Hollis-Jefferson offered as an explanation. “We have to put some blame on ourselves. Couple turnovers, missed shots. Just my energy wasn't there like it should be from the start of the game.”

But then suddenly, a switch was turned on and Brooklyn miraculously outscored the Warriors 42-34 in the third quarter. Those 42 points marking the most points the Nets have ever scored in any quarter this season (previous high: 39 points in the first quarter in its last game vs. Utah on Friday). Overall, the Nets outscored the Warriors 69-54 in the second half.

Even Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson couldn’t put his finger on what happened to make this game a tale of two halves?

“Our spirit,” responded Atkinson. “I really can’t explain what happened in the first half – why we came out so spiritless and lack of energy. Granted, great team and respect, I thought we were kind of frozen by the moment. The second half, our spirit was better. We competed much better. I thought we handled their switches a lot better, so a lot of positive things there. I thought Jarrett Allen came in and gave us a guy that could roll to the rim and that opened up a little bit for us.”

Energy and spirit are a bit ethereal, but somehow it translated into physicality in the second half in order for the Nets to claw its way back to within four points with two-and-half minutes left in the game. But, on the real, Atkinson believes it was the Nets’ defensive effort in the second half that helped.

“I thought we did a better job defensively fighting through their screens,” Atkinson continued. “That’s the real (thing). They have their on-ball screens, their pick-and-roll defense and they hit you on those screens and we’ve got to avoid – I thought we did a better job. And their off-ball screens, I thought we did a better job fighting through. But really, our offense was historically poor in that first half and talking about the defense, we just weren’t very good. I thought in the second half we figured out their switches a little better. We didn’t figure it out totally, but that’s what makes them so good. They can switch on you and then they can guard you. They can sit down and guard one through five, and it makes it difficult but we did do a better job of attacking the switches in the second half.”

However, as Atkinson said, in the second half, the Nets started fighting through screens on defense and attacking switches on offense, which ultimately helped the Nets to chip away at their deficit. Seeing the Nets storm back to come within four points of the Warriors with two-and-a-half minutes left to play was a bit worrisome for Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr, but in the end, he breathed a sigh of relief and gave a tip of the hat to the Nets.

“Winning on the road on a back-to-back is a hard thing to do so it’s a great accomplishment to win these last two,” Kerr stated. “It wasn’t a great second half for us, obviously, but Brooklyn brought it and I give them credit. They (Nets) set the tone. We had to withstand their run and luckily we did. It was good execution in the last few minutes when Steph Curry went out.”

“In the second half Brooklyn was putting their heads down and going to the rim,” Kerr added. The aggressors will always get the benefit of doubt. They earned their free throws in the second half. We committed some silly fouls. We committed some that were questionable. It didn’t matter, they were the aggressors. That’s how they got back in the game, at the line.”

Hollis-Jefferson agreed.

“I would just say it was our resiliency, our grit, toughness, you know getting into the ball,” Hollis-Jefferson proffered. “Playing our game and having fun doing it. I feel like that got us over the hump. Enjoying seeing one another succeed was something, we kind of, it felt good to be out there doing that. The outcome wasn't as we expected, but we gotta give ourselves credit for that second half.”

For the Nets, Allen Crabbe scored a season-high-tying 25 points (9-of-19 FG, 6-of-11 3FG, 1-of-2 FT) with seven rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes in the Nets’ loss. Crabbe’s six made 3-pointers marked a season-high and matched the Nets’ season-high set by Spencer Dinwiddie’s six made threes on Friday vs. Utah.

Other Brooklyn Nets scoring leaders were Dinwiddie who posted 21 points with eight assists in 31 minutes. DeMarre Carroll recorded his second double-double of the season with 15 points and a season-high-tying 11 rebounds in 34 minutes. Hollis-Jefferson posted his first double-double of the season. He totaled 16 points, a game-high and season-high 12 rebounds and a season-high five assists. Caris LeVert came off the bench and tallied 13 points with four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 22 minutes.

For the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry was a little more aggressive because of Kevin Durant’s absence. He scored 39 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out of the game. Draymond Green had eight assists for the Warriors.

Up next, the Brooklyn Nets will play the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Wednesday. The Nets next home game will be against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, November 24, 2017, at 12 noon at the Barclays Center.

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.

Without D’Angelo Russell, the Nets leading scorer, the Boston Celtics defeat the Brooklyn Nets 109-102

Returning from a West coast swing, Tuesday night at the Barclays Center was the Nets first game at home in 14 days, and they were without leading scorer, D’Angelo Russell who is suffering from a left knee contusion. He was hurt in the loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

As good as the Celtics are, this wasn’t a game where Boston was out front for the entirety and Brooklyn was trying to play catch up all night. The Celtics started 7 of 9 from the field to lead 17-4, and ended the first quarter 30-21. However, the Nets jumped ahead in the second quarter and countered every time Boston threatened to pull away until the final minutes. Ultimately, the Celtics won their 13th straight victory, defeating the Nets 109-102.

What made the difference in tonight’s game for the Celtics?

“I thought, obviously, answering Brooklyn’s runs,” responded Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “You knew they (Nets) were going to come out and the first part we played great but we didn’t sustain it through probably the next two quarters. But then we mustered up enough at the end of the third to get a lead that went quick, which if you watch Brooklyn play that happens all the time. They do a great job of continuing to grind on you and making it as tough as possible. And they come back a lot. You knew it was going to be tough. I thought our group, once it got settled, played pretty well. ”

In the metrics that mattered, Boston out-rebounded Brooklyn 59-48 and the Nets 62.5 free throw percentage was abysmal compared to the Celtics’ 81.5 percent.

Joe Harris, the Nets three-point specialist, led Nets scorers with 19 points and described the Nets deficiencies against the Celtics.

“A lot of times bad shots offensively can make it really tough on your defense and I think that was a little bit of what happened to us,” Harris explained. “When we don’t play together and when we don’t play with the pass, a lot of times we take difficult shots and a lot of times that’s very similar to a turnover and they’re able to get in a good offense off of tough shots that we were taking.”

“I thought we had a lot of periods where we were really good moving it (the ball),” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought Caris (LeVert) gave us a big boost. He really came in and he’s able to break down the switches when they do switch so he can go by guys, go by their bigs when they do switch. But overall, first half we had 15 assists. I’m not sure what we ended up with, 27? So that’s good news for us. That’s higher than our season average so a lot of positives. Obviously frustrated with the result but they’re an excellent team. They have a lot of talent, a lot of athletic talent that you saw on display tonight.”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets; while Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert added 15 points apiece. Spencer Dinwiddie totaled 12 points, a career-high-tying 11 assists (with just one turnover), four rebounds and one block in his third start of the season tonight.

For Boston, Kyrie Irving, who wore a facial mask all night because of a facial fracture, led all scorers with 25 points. Irving suffered a facial fracture in Boston's win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. Marcus Morris scored 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, Al Horford led the Celtics in rebounding with 11 boards, and Jayson Tatum added 19 points.

Next up, Boston meets up with the Golden State Warriors in Boston on Thursday night, while the Nets host the Utah Jazz on Friday at the Barclays Center.

Phoenix Suns rally late to defeat the Brooklyn Nets

It was fright night aka Halloween last night and Nets fans at the Barclays Center were fully engaged. Unfortunately, they did not get the treat that they were looking to receive. Instead, it was a trick in the form of a Brooklyn Nets 122-114 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns led the game during the first half, as the Nets starting unit struggled. During the third quarter, the Nets mounted a comeback scoring 35 points. However, the Suns went on a 20-4 scoring run during the 4th quarter and never looked back.

“Give credit to their (Suns) group that was in there,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “They went on a run at the end of the game. They just took over. We didn’t make plays. I thought our shot selection was iffy. I thought our shot selection was iffy all game. I think we set a Nets record for midrange contested jump shots. We have to improve our shot selection and I think that will help our defense, help our spirit.”

''We could do a better job,'' Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson said. ''I feel like we should definitely make better decisions. At the end of the day, I put the blame on us.''

Although the Nets starters struggled, the second unit provided much-needed momentum at the right times.

“I don’t want to compare the two because I look at the team as a whole, but give credit to our second unit,” Atkinson stated. I thought they all did a good job. I thought Tyler Zeller came in and gave us some really good minutes, but there’s an energy there. They did a good job really getting us back in the game because we weren’t in the game. We talk about the fourth quarter, but I really think they outplayed us. At the end of the day, if we would have pulled it out I don’t think we really would have deserved it.”

In the loss, D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with 33 points, six rebounds, and four assists in 29 minutes. Hollis-Jefferson put in defensive muscle with six of his seven rebounds on the defensive end to go with his 21 points. Other Nets players in double digits were Spencer Dinwiddie with 15 points; DeMarre Carroll added 13 points, five rebounds, and four steals; and Caris LeVert chipped in 11 points.

Top scorers for Phoenix were Devin Booker with 30 points and seven rebounds, followed by Mike James with 24 points and five assists, and TJ  Warren with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

The Nets start their West coast trip with a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, November 3, 2017. They return to home to the Barclays Center on Tuesday, November 14, 2017.

In a tale of two halves, the Nuggets defeat the Nets 124-111 at the Barclays Center

In a game where the Brooklyn Nets ended the first half with a 63-60 lead against the Denver Nuggets at the Barclays Center, it makes you wonder what happened during the halftime break. A one-sided, lop-sided third quarter saw the Nets shoot 1-for-15 to start the second half allowing the Nuggets to outscore Brooklyn 34-6 over the first 8:15 of the quarter to run their lead to 94-69. Ouch, yes really ouch.

In the fourth quarter, the Nets got close, 106-95 with 8:49 to go, but a pivotal moment came when Denver’s Gary Harris scored a 3-pointer for Denver and the Nets just couldn’t close the gap.

So how did the Nets start the downhill slide?

“I thought we were pretty good defensively for three quarters and the third quarter we gave up 40 points,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Felt like the ball stopped moving collectively and sometimes bad offense turns into good offense for the other team. Just a disappointing third quarter, I think that’s where they got their edge. ”

“Defense,” explained Nets guard D’Angelo Russell. “We struggled to get stops, they capitalized. That was it.”

“Teams are good, so when you turn the ball over or struggle to get good offense, other teams will make something happen out of that – and they’re a great offensive team so, like I said, they made something happen,” Russell continued. “I think we started playing harder, but it was too late. It kind of knocked us back and woke us up at the same time. Just try to go into games and not need that wake-up call for us to get going and play harder.”

Spencer Dinwiddie scored a career-high-tying 22 points for the Nets with four rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes off the bench. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 18 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes tonight, and Joe Harris tied his season-high with 16 points. Timofey Mozgov recorded a season-high 11 rebounds to go along with seven points in 21 minutes.

For Denver, the scoring leaders were Jamal Murray with 26 points, and Nikola Jokic had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

The Nets take on the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

Without D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie leads all Nets scorers to help overcome LeBron James’ triple-double for the win

When the NBA’s best Eastern Conference team with the best player in the league comes to play the team that finished last in the league, no one would begrudge you if you thought that LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would crush the Brooklyn Nets. However, in true Brooklyn Nets fashion, expect the unexpected; the Nets spoiled the Cavaliers narrative with a 112-107 upset. This isn’t supposed to happen and on the second night of a back-to-back, incredible!

With D’Angelo Russell on the bench, the Nets were a little sluggish shooting 2-of-11 from the field coming out the gate in the first stanza. But, then something clicked and the Nets finished the first quarter leading the Cavaliers led 26-23.

Spencer Dinwiddie in for Russell made the best of his “call-up.” Usually part of the second unit, on this night, Dinwiddie was part of the starting five. Maximizing the opportunity, Dinwiddie scored a career-high 22 points (7-of-13 FG, 4-of-8 3FG, 4-of-4 FT) to go along with five rebounds and a season-high six assists in a season-high 32 minutes.

“Spencer organized us,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “He hit some big shots, he was aggressive. We keep pushing him to be more aggressive, be more aggressive and tonight he really stepped up, hit some big shots and played excellent defense.”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson put his "stamp on" the third quarter and when it was all said and done, Hollis-Jefferson scored a season-high 19 points with six rebounds, two assists and a season-high-tying three blocks in 35 minutes.

A real team effort, Allen Crabbe scored 19 points (6-of-14, 4-10 3PT, 3-3 FT), 3 assists, 2 rebounds in 24 minutes. DeMarre Carroll recorded 18 points, seven rebounds, and a season-high four steals in 32 minutes. Joe Harris’ ability to space the floor and his three-point shooting ability, gave the Nets 11 points (3-of-7 from three) in 18 minutes.

For Cleveland, LeBron James led all scorers with 29 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, and four blocked shots. Kyle Korver scored 22 points, Jeff Green added 18 points and six rebounds, and Kevin Love chipped in 15 points and 12 rebounds.

“They shoot the long ball and they shoot it, “said James. “They shot 46 three’s I believe. They’re just playing free, free of mind, that’s exactly how they are playing. They’re just moving it, they’re sharing it, and that’s good ball.”

“They let it fly,” Love added. “They drive the ball, drive-and-kick, and then play up-tempo. They use it as a weapon and showed that tonight.”

While Cleveland gave the Nets their props on a game well-played, Nets coach Atkinson tried to downplay it just a little.

“It’s the NBA and there’s another game in two days, but yeah I think it shows that we’re making progress. I’m sure they’re (Cavaliers) rounding into form, maybe not in peak form right now, I do understand that. We’re not going to celebrate all night long because of this but I do think we should feel good about ourselves and again I think it’s more about bouncing back from last night is a real key. Then on top of it, it’s a great team, it’s a good win for our organization.”

Sports Illustrated capitalizes off of Colin Kaepernick and omits him from iconic cover photo; Stan Van Gundy wants to eliminate NBA Draft

In this episode of What’s The 411Sports, Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, co-hosts of What’s The 411Sports are talking about: Kevin Hart, Sports Illustrated, Colin Kaepernick, Stan Van Gundy, Carmelo Anthony, Odell Beckham Jr., Dwyane Wade, and Rick Pitino.

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Los Angeles Lakers' players standing arm-in-arm in unity.

 

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