December 15, 2017

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.

Lonzo Ball shows he has skills; Boucek joins Hammon in NBA ranks; Katie Smith has Liberty; Brooklyn Nets lose Lin for season; and; Knicks not winning yet

POPPIN'

Colin Kaepernick Files Grievance Against NFL

As we know, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL citing that NFL owners colluded to keep him out of the NFL for kneeling during the National Anthem.

However, some are saying that this case could be bigger than people realized. Various sources seem to think that not only could he end up getting his job back, but he could end up terminating the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement ahead of its scheduled 2021 expiration date:

Article 69, Section 2 of the CBA allows for the agreement to be terminated prematurely in the event of proof of collusion.

Under Article 17, Section 16(c) of the CBA, termination can arise from only one incident of collusion involving only one player if there is clear and convincing evidence of a violation.

Jerry Jones Didn’t Stand for National Anthem

It turns out Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not stand for the National Anthem during his first Cowboys game as an owner. Jones sat during the anthem with Liz Taylor, which prompted a fan to write this note:

“JEERS: To Jerry Jones and Liz Taylor, who were the only two people at last Sunday’s Cowboys-Redskins game not standing when the national anthem was played.

Riding out in a cart just before the anthem began was bad enough, but sitting while it was played was more than many of us could handle.

Jerry, please note that in Texas, we stand for the national anthem.

P.S.: Tom [Landry] always took off his hat.”

Lonzo Ball Gives Better Show with Game 2

Lonzo Ball had a terrible regular season NBA debut against the L.A. Clippers, but he redeemed himself in his second regular-season NBA game against the Phoenix Suns.

Ball flirted with a triple-double, scoring 29 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out nine assists while drilling four or more 3-pointers in the process.

QUICK HITS

• Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles is donating entire salary to boost racial equality in education
• ESPN sportscaster Jemele Hill is back from suspension and she’s not mad at ESPN.
Kevin Durant admits: “A couple years ago, I didn't really know how to play team defense that well. More and more, I'm learning about team defense and making multiple efforts.”
• In separate incidents, Pelicans’ DeMarcus Cousins and Celtics’ Kyrie Irving were both fined $25,000 for coarse language aimed at a fan
• The Sacramento Kings hired Jenny Boucek as assistant player development coach. Boucek is now the second active female assistant coach in the NBA, along with Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs.
• And, the NY Liberty hired Katie Smith to be its new head coach

Shahid “Shan” Khan Goes off on Donald Trump, Again

Speaking to USA Today, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan doubles down on his recent critique of Donald Trump overall, Trump’s attacks on people of color, and finally the league. Khan said:

“Let’s get real. The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews.

I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive.

Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”

Khan goes on to respond to whether or not he regrets contributing to Trump’s inauguration fund.

“I have no regrets in life. This ugly, toxic side sours the whole experience.”

 NIKE Connect Jerseys Didn’t Hold Up to Rigors of NBA

Nike is in its first year of a jersey deal with the NBA, and on opening night, arguably their biggest endorser — LeBron James — had his Nike jersey split down the middle of his back.

It might be taken as a fluke if it had only happened to LeBron.

However, in a preseason game, half the back of Lakers’ Tyler Ennis’ jersey had come apart.

Photo of the Week

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of LaVar Ball giving his son, Lonzo, some fatherly advice.

NY SPORTS REPORT

Yankees Fans Disappointed In ALCS Outcome

The NY Yankees could not get past the Houston Astros, so no trip to the World Series this season.

The Astros go on to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the MLB World Series. The first game is in Los Angeles tonight.

The New York Mets Get a New Manager

In the wake of Terry Collins exiting as NY Mets manager to work in the front office, the Mets signed Mickey Calloway as its new manager.

Calloway was a pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians and he received a warm welcome from Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

Calloway comes from a family that reveres baseball, he is named after Mickey Mantle and his brother Casey is named after Casey Stengel.

Brooklyn Nets Guard Jeremy Lin Out for Season

The Brooklyn Nets received another wake-up call during Game 1 of the regular NBA season when team leader Jeremy Lin went down with a ruptured tendon in his right knee. Lin had surgery to repair his ruptured patella tendon and will be out for the rest of the season.

 New York Knicks on a Losing Skid

Last week, we talked about how most NY Knicks fans were trying to reconcile in their minds that the Knicks are in rebuild mode and nothing says rebuild more when your team has yet to win a game.

Thus far, Kristaps Porzingas is performing well as the leader of the team, but the true measurement of leadership is how well Kristaps will be able to hold up under pressure from game losses.

With three consecutive losses so far, many Knicks fans are expressing their sorrow that Carmelo Anthony is no longer with the team. Anthony currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

OFF TOPIC

D.L. Hughley Names the Three Most Hated Black Men in America

In a TMZ interview at LAX, comedian D.L. HUGHLEY said:

“The three most hated Black men in America are Barack Obama, Colin Kaepernick, and O.J.

And two of them never were accused of murder.

They hate Colin Kaepernick right now more than they hate O.J.”

LeBron James Give his Children a Lesson in Racism

In an interview with GQ magazine, Lebron James said he told his kids about the n-Word incident on their home in Brentwood, California. He used it as a teachable moment telling them:

“When y’all go out in public and y’all start driving or y’all start moving around, be respectful to cops, as much as you can.

When you get pulled over, call your mom or dad, put it on speakerphone, and put your phone underneath the seat. But be respectful the whole time.”

 

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Lance Thomas was so hurt by Carmelo’s departure that he wrote a heartfelt letter

Former Knicks player, Carmelo Anthony, will not only be missed by many New York fans, but also at least one teammate, Lance Thomas.

When Carmelo was traded to OKC, Thomas was so hurt by Carmelo’s departure that he wrote a heartfelt letter to The Players Tribune thanking Carmelo.

“I was hurt when he left,” Thomas said. “Not only not having him as a teammate but not having him here as one of my best friends.

Are you surprised that Carmelo’s departure has affected players in this manner?

Hit us up in the comments section under this video on YouTube.

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

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Oklahoma City Thunder players Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook posted by fellow teammate, Paul George on his Instagram account and everyone is happy!

NBA players, Sean “Diddy” Combs and others stand behind NFL players; Brooklyn Nets Players look forward to new season; Time for safety nets at MLB stadiums

WHAT'S POPPIN'

Donald Trump Uses NFL to Boost his Ratings

Donald Trump injected himself into the NFL players’ protest against rogue police officers killing innocent Black men. Trump said at a campaign rally in Alabama that owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem and that fans should consider walking out in protest “when somebody disrespects our flag.” Trump’s comments touched off a firestorm.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t hesitate to give Trump serious pushback, stating:

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players.”

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association tweeted: “We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports.”

A good number of NFL players took exception to Trump attempting to deny their US Constitutional right to free speech, and being called “sons of bitches”. NBA players and others are standing up, even Sean “Diddy” Combs commented.

Donald Trump Disinvites Golden State Warriors

Speaking of Donald Trump, he rescinded his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House because Stephen Curry was hesitating and ultimately decided he did not want to go. “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!,” Trump tweeted. Based on the current climate, the UNC Men’s Basketball team decided its players won’t be visiting the White House either.

Carmelo Anthony Has Left the Building

It took a minute, but a deal that worked for all the parties involved finally got done. Carmelo Anthony is no longer a player for the New York Knicks; he is now signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Anthony joins Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and company.

QUICK HITS

Aaron Hernandez’s attorney says the late football player had extreme CTE and his suing the NFL and the New England Patriots on behalf of his daughter
Floyd Mayweather told TMZ Sports that he has yet to cash his checks from the Pacquiao and McGregor fights.
Carmelo Anthony set up a relief fund for Puerto Rico and he pledged 50 thousand dollars.
• The New York Yankees clinched a wild card playoff spot.

OTHER TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE

Is it time for Major League Baseball to install safety nets at its stadiums

Will fans ever forgive Kevin Durant for his fake Twitter account?

Brooklyn Nets Media Day 2017

With Carmelo Anthony gone, the face of the Knicks is now Kristaps Porzingas

OFF TOPIC

Co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z’s business partner, Damon “Dame” Dash, is currently selling his coveted sneaker collection on eBay. Hosted on Shoezeum’s eBay shop, the collection is packed with some of the most coveted items from what many would consider to be the golden years of sneaker culture.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Is OKC a good spot for Paul George and are the Los Angeles Lakers still an option for Paul George in 2018?

Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has left the building and has landed in OKC to play with NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder team.

This move puts the Thunder in a better position to compete in the Western Conference. However, some NBA pundits think OKC still needs another star player or a 1-A player to overcome San Antonio, who beat them in 2017 in the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs, or the NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors for that matter.

Interesting enough, a surprising element of this move is that Kevin Durant gave George encouraging words that helped shape his thinking about the move to OKC.

If the Thunder makes it to the NBA Western Conference championship game, would the Los Angeles Lakers still be an option for Paul George in 2018?

VIDEO DISCUSSION: NBA Free Agency 2017 took NBA fans on a wild ride with expected and unexpected changes

Yes, NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. There were changes that most of us expected and some that very few people saw coming. Let’s talk about the winners and those who didn't win too much.

Winners

Houston Rockets landing Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers, which seemed to come out of nowhere. But rumor has it that the relationship between Chris Paul and Doc Rivers had soured somewhat because of perceived favoritism towards Austin Rivers who is Doc Rivers’ son. The challenge will be how Chris Paul and James Harden will be able to play together.

Other winners include the Boston Celtics landing Gordon Hayward; OKC obtaining the services of Paul George; Minnesota for adding Jimmy Butler to its roster, the Golden State Warriors because Kevin Durant took a pay cut in order to keep the team intact, and the NBA for continuing to make headlines in mid-July.

Biggest Losers

The Chicago Bulls with the trade of Jimmy Butler to Minnesota Timberwolves by many accounts is the biggest loser in the 2017 NBA Free Agency. 

Also, the Indiana Pacers losing Paul George to OKC, and the Utah Jazz losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics. Indiana and Utah are both small market teams who are losing their draw and possibly revenue.

VIDEO: Jimmy Butler and Timberwolves are big winners in NBA Free Agency; Paul George lands in OKC, Brooklyn Nets, Knicks, focusing on young players

Before we get to our discussions of the top sports stories, here a couple of quick bites:

• The NBA fined Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid for foul language after he released a video on Instagram where he said, "F- LaVar Ball"
• Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram will miss the remainder of summer league due to cramping in his right leg
• The Miami Heat officially waived Chris Bosh and plan to retire his jersey. Bosh has since cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
James Harden landed the biggest NBA extension contract in history. The deal, reportedly worth $228 M, would start trickling in 2019-20 at a salary of $37.8M, $40.8M, $43.8M and $46.8M.

NBA Free Agency

NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. And, Keisha and Mike are talking about the winners and those who did not do as well.

Paul George Goes to OKC

Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has left the building and has landed in OKC to play with NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder team. Has OKC positioned itself to be in better contention to take over the West? Did the Los Angeles Lakers miss the boat on not trading for him?

Lonzo Ball NBA Summer League Outing

As his father, LaVar Ball predicted, NBA Draft stand-out, Lonzo Ball is now in the NBA and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Lonzo had a rough Game 1, but he managed to right his ship and played clicking on all cylinders for Game 2. Will Lonzo bring “show time” back to the Lakers?

What’s The 411Sports’ Photo of the Week

Our photo of the week is a photo of Markelle Fultz, the 2017 NBA Draft’s #1 pick overall, being helped off the court by his teammates because of an injured left ankle.

What’s The 411Sports’ New York Sports Report

Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets acquired Jarrett Allen in the 2017 NBA Draft at No. 22, and just before the draft, the Nets acquired guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brook Lopez and a Nets first round draft pick. Russell attended NBA Summer League and like a good teammate, he cheered on the Nets. However, when the game was over, Russell stayed to watch the Lakers play.

Should D’Angelo Russell have stayed to watch the Lakers summer league game? Will the Nets development culture be able to assimilate D’Angelo Russell?

New York Knicks

Phil Jackson is out as the NY Knicks president and the Knicks inked a four-year deal to bring Tim Hardaway Jr. back after Jackson’s exit. New York Knick fans are crowing about Hardaway’s $71 million four-year deal. Meanwhile, David Griffin, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, has turned down the job of general manager of the New York Knicks.

Is this a good move to bring Hardaway back to the Knicks? Who made this decision? Would the Hardaway acquisition have happened if Phil Jackson was still with the Knicks?

The New York Yankees

New York Yankees were in a huge tailspin heading into the MLB All-Star Break.

Will the Yankees turn this ship around and sail into smoother waters?

New York Giants

New York Giant wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr landed on the number 8 spot on the list of Top 100 NFL Players of 2017 as determined by his peers.

Off Topic

LaVar Ball Gets Real

LaVar Ball’s camera-ready persona has reportedly landed the Ball family a reality-show deal. Deadline is reporting that the Ball family will be the focus of a yet-to-be-named docu-series as part of Facebook's push for original video content.

A Woman Uber Driver Gets First-Day Surprise

It was a woman’s first day as a Uber driver and she picked up Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee. How cool is that?

I feel like the good life lived is one where you take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves as well as making sure that you are doing what you love to do. Last night in Oklahoma City, there was evidence of that theme exuding from one particular individual who happens to play professional basketball at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, returned to his habitat, his environment, and the place he feels most comfortable, helping his teammates on the basketball court at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. And, last night, he aided his OKC teammates in a 103-96 victory over the Phoenix Suns, recording 21 points and 7 dimes. If his performance didn't inform you that he was elated to be back on the basketball court, then his postgame interview was the answer as he was all smiles conversing with a Fox Sports media correspondent.

"Good," says Westbrook referring to playing his first game of the season this year. "It was tough but we won and that's all that matters, I found my rhythm and continued to play."

For those unaware, Westbrook suffered a slight tear in his right meniscus due to a steal attempt by Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley who collided with him during Game 2 of the Thunder's first-round playoff series against the Rockets in the 2013 postseason. Although Westbrook continued to play periodically throughout the duration of that game, the seriousness of his injury resulted in a technical knockout removing him from participating indefinitely. Without a healthy Westbrook, fellow star and teammate Kevin Durant experienced life without his trusty sidekick, fending for himself to no avail. In Westbrook's absence, Durant became the center of attention receiving double teams, dealing with constant pressure and having the responsibility to be the offense with little to minimal contribution from his teammates who have yet to garner that respect from defenses as Durant's talent is superior to most.

The reason why Westbrook is essential to the overall makeup of the Thunder's appearance is because of what he is. Westbrook, this early into his career is a complete player. Standing at 6'3, Westbrook is taller than most guards and maintains an attacking mentality, believing that he can take almost every point guard off the dribble in penetrating the paint and converting. Westbrook's athleticism and leaping ability help him keep most point guards honest, restricting them from the paint and keeping them on the perimeter. Westbrook continues to improve on the offensive prowess, continuing to develop a mid-range game among the best in the League. These skills provide the evidence as to why Westbrook has already been selected to three all-star games all before the age of 25.

In the premier basketball league in the world, it is exceedingly exhausting to pin the hopes of an entire franchise's fortune on the accomplishments of one individual. Now, to win it all, every franchise's strategy is to produce "Super Teams." A "Super Team" is the pairing of two or more stars or superstars with intention of winning an NBA Championship in my best explanation. Throughout the history of the NBA, almost every "Super Team" was able to deliver the goods. The Chicago Bulls boasted guard Michael Jordan and forward Scottie Pippen. They held the league for ransom during the 90s, as they successfully captured six world titles in two three-peats. Los Angeles Lakers icons guard Magic Johnson and forward Kareem Abdul Jabaar, along with a more than capable supporting cast helped seize five world titles for the shooting stars of Hollywood in the 80s. The Boston Celtics sustained a similar formula. They were fortunate enough to have the services of forwards Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish. They teamed up to nab three titles, also in the 80's.

All of these players are acknowledged on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.

I say all this to highlight the importance of Westbrook and what he means to Oklahoma City because with him they are a title threat and without him, they are just another team awaiting elimination from the postseason competition.

Westbrook and Durant, together form one of the leagues most feared scoring tandems, as they combined for 54 points against the Suns in their most recent matchup.

Westbrook's return is not just an upgrade to the Thunder's first unit; it provides us with the opportunity to watch.

Sunday was just the beginning and I expect a lot more Thunderstorms in the weeks and months to come.

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