October 17, 2017
Ruth J Morrison

Ruth J Morrison

Comedian, Actor, and Television and Film Producer, Chris Rock, took a moment during half-time at the Brooklyn Nets – Miami Heat game on Friday to talk with What's The 411SPORTS correspondent Crystal Lynn

WATCH VIDEO WITH CHRIS ROCK

During NBA basketball season, Chris Rock is usually someplace else in New York City, but he brought his daughter to the Nets game because she loves LeBron James. It was the comedian's first time in the Barclays Center and he likes the arena the Brooklyn Nets call home.

"I'm from Brooklyn," Rock said in matter of fact fashion.

With the chatter of a Brooklyn Nets – Miami Heat rivalry brewing, Rock chimed in saying he thinks it's real.

"Oh, it's for real, he said. "A lot of it came over from Boston really with Garnett and then Pierce, but I think it's real. They're going to play hard all year."

"I wouldn't be shocked if a brawl happens before the year is over," laughed Rock in his comedic style.

Rock also offered his opinion on the Brooklyn Nets prospects for reaching a title.

"I think they can go pretty far, it's going to be hard to beat Miami, it's going to be hard, Jason Terry's old," Rock said as if he was trying out new comedy material.

What's in Chris Rock's future?

"I'm getting ready to go on tour, I'm getting my stand up together, I'll be playing this building in the fall," he enlightened us.

Jeremy Lin reflects on his growth since being traded from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets

"That's the sign of our growth as a team," Jeremy Lin said responding to a reporter's question after the Houston Rockets beat the Brooklyn Nets 106-96. "We probably wouldn't have done that earlier in the season. We probably would have folded and fell and given away the game. We regrouped, took their hit, then counter-punched, and we were able to get the win."

Jeremy sees that maturity was a factor in the team's ability to get the win over the Brooklyn Nets tonight.

"We got some stops when we needed to, but we made it tough, we made it tough for them."

Jeremy sees that he is blending in and believes that the team is really blending.

"The past couple of weeks, we've shown flashes of in my mind, of being a really, really good team whether it's a game against OKC or Golden State or games like that," he said. "Today was an uglier one. We turned the ball over; we didn't play as well as we normally did, but we were able to get the win so we're thankful for that."

And, it's always good when you can get a win on the road.

"Any win on the road is a great win for us," he responded. "We want to keep pushing and try to build a winning streak; we have a favorable schedule coming up."

What has been Jeremy Lin's biggest adjustment coming from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets?

"I think it's just different, because it's a different system and I'm in a different role; being able play alongside a huge and elite playmaker in James Harden and learning to mesh with him and we're getting there and I'm really happy with where we're at right now and I'm happy with where our team is in terms of how we're playing."

So what does Jeremy Lin miss about New York City?

"I miss the fans, just like how crazy the Garden (Madison Square Garden) would get last year, how loud and awesome the experience was, yeah, that's what I miss most."

Has Jeremy Lin experienced the level of excitement in other NBA arenas like the Linsanity at Madison Square Garden in New York City?

"Here and there, here and there," he said. "Sometimes it will get crazy and stuff. I think our last home game against OKC back home that was insane; we had the Toyota Center rocking, so, it was cool."

So is it less pressure on him being in a smaller market.

"Less pressure, less spotlight, so it usually means less pressure," Jeremy said.

What will be the point of success for this team in making the playoff and going forward?

"I think consistency and I think it's attention to detail on the defensive end," he responded. "I think offensively we're okay. Offensively we'll struggle here and there but, I think we've shown we're an explosive offensive team and I think our biggest improvements can come on the defensive end.

Has Jeremy got over the trades?

"I just hate to see anybody leave, but in terms of the trade in and of itself, it's not for me to really, really comment, it kind of management's job," he responded. "It was tough for me to see my teammates leave, but we have new guys coming in, I just met a few of them, it's definitely time to turn the page and move on."

J.R. Smith, and brother of Chris Smith, not a happy camper according to his Instagram post

New York Knickerbockers President and General Manager Steve Mills announced today that the team waived guard Chris Smith, the brother of Knicks shooting guard, J.R. Smith. In Smith's place, the Knicks signed forward Jeremy Tyler of the Erie BayHawks, the 10th Gatorade Call-Up from the NBA Development League this season.

As reported in the New York Daily News, J.R. Smith admitted that he "wasn't happy" that the Knicks waived his younger brother earlier this week.

Speaking for the first time since the Knicks decided to cut Smith to create a roster spot for Jeremy Tyler, J.R. Smith declined to discuss the Instagram message he posted that read: "You know the sad thing about betrayal. It never comes from an enemy."

Nowhere in the message does Smith refer to the Knicks, but it was posted amid reports that Chris Smith was about to be released.

Chris Smith, 6-0, 200-pounds, signed with New York on September 10, 2013, and appeared in two games, playing two minutes. He was assigned to Erie on November 18, 2013, where he played six games before being recalled on December 17, 2013.

Tyler, 6-10, 250-pounds, has averaged 18.0 points, on 47.8-percent shooting, and 10.2 rebounds over 31.0 minutes in six games (all starts) with the BayHawks. He originally signed with New York on August 6, 2013, after playing for the Knicks' entry in NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV, and was waived on October 25, 2013, while recovering from a broken right fifth metatarsal.

The San Diego, CA-native, was originally selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the second round (39th overall) of 2011 NBA Draft before having his rights traded to the Warriors. He holds career averages of 3.6 point and 2.5 rebounds over 10.1 minutes in 63 games (23 starts) over two seasons with Golden State and Atlanta. He played professionally in Israel (Maccabi Haifa) and Japan (Tokyo Apache) for two seasons after leaving San Diego High School following his junior season.

VIDEO: Kym Hampton reminisces about the very first WNBA game, her life leading up to the WNBA and after

The legendary FIRST center of the New York Liberty basketball team (WNBA), Kym Hampton, stopped by the What’s The 411TV studio and gave us a wide-ranging interview. Kym Hampton, talked to the What’s The 411Sports team of Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald about how she got interested in basketball, why she chose Arizona State University, how she was able to excel at basketball even though there were virtually no women basketball players as role models when she was in high school, the WNBA, and at the end of the day, life.

After college, with no real professional basketball options in the United States, Kym like other women collegiate basketball players at the time, traveled overseas to play basketball professionally. Eager to leave her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky and explore the world with wanderlust in her heart, Kym did not allow oceans and different languages and cultures get in the way of her love of the sport of basketball. While playing in Spain and Italy, she learned to speak Spanish and Italian, which she demonstrates during the interview.

The Road to the WNBA

Kym Hampton’s road to the WNBA came as a surprise, she knew eventually there would be a women’s professional basketball league in the U.S., but she didn’t expect it to come before she hung up her sneakers. Kym gives an honest inside look into what it was like the first day of the first WNBA season. She even talks about how she wasn’t exactly happy to be on a team in New York City because her friends and other players she knew were playing in Cleveland for the Cleveland Rockers. Good thing, it didn’t work out, because the Rockers were dissolved in 2003. As time went on, Kym understood quickly what playing in New York City could do for one’s career.

UCONN Women’s Basketball

Mike McDonald asked Kym if she thought the UCONN women’s basketball team losing in the Final Four round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament would be a good thing for women’s basketball going forward.

“I don’t think it should be dependent upon whether UCONN wins or loses, or that they’re dominant,” Kym Hampton said. “I really think that every program, every individual that plays should really put effort into and focus on what they can do to get better to compete against a UCONN. Guess what, Geno (Geno Auriemma, UCONN women’s basketball head coach)has the opportunity to get the best players in the world…Don’t forget that he pushes those players mentally and physically harder than probably most programs. I heard that if you want the cushy feeling, you’re doing a great job, Mike, I’m proud of you (with her arm around Mike’s shoulders demonstrating what Geno and many coaches would probably do), you’re not getting that from Geno from what they say. But, he’s building character, he’s building strength, just so you can be prepared in these situations.”

“But there going to be like anyone else,” Hampton continued. “They are going to have some great recruiting seasons and then they are going to have some lulls where they’re not and that’s what it was.”

And, then Kym Hampton put on her general manager hat.

“I think our focus is wrong…I think players should challenge themselves to want to go to other programs, to build other programs up, Hampton stated. “I think coaches should challenge themselves to really learn to utilize the talent that they have and to improve on decision-making, improve on people skills…UCONN is going to be UCONN…they are like everyone else, they can be beat.”

Life After Basketball

Keisha Wilson asked Kym Hampton what has she been doing since retiring as a professional basketball player?

Kym likes to sing and wanted to be a professional model, but because she is shy, she didn’t push herself. It seems ironic, but Kym loves public speaking.  When Kym is on the speaking circuit and particularly at high schools, the one thing that she sees that is so striking is that so many high school girls are very shy.

“We weren’t created to fit in and belong,” Kym tells the girls. “We were created to shine as an individual. We each have our own individual DNA." I love motivating and inspiring girls and women.”

"I love motivating and inspiring girls and women," Kym continued.

With a bit of self-reflection that highly motivated people do, Kym added, “I’m not quite where I want to be, so it’s still a transition. But it’s partly me, understanding and knowing how to ask, make the ask, and who to ask, and just being diligent. My thing is I don’t want to be a pest to people. Sometimes, in order to make things happen, I can’t do the things that I was created to do if I don’t make the ask to make it happen.”

No truer words were spoken; I hear you loud and clear. Note to self!

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez becomes the Nets leading scorer passing Buck Williams with 10,444 points

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

1) Oklahoma City Thunder guard, Russell Westbrook, breaking Oscar Robertson's 55-year-old record of 41 triple-doubles in a season and whether that makes him worthy of being the 2017 NBA MVP.

2) Professional golfer Sergio Garcia wins the PGA Masters

3) Tony Romo is hanging up his cleats as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys and is going to the broadcast booth. However, the question is will Romo make it to the NFL Hall of Fame, and;

4) Brook Lopez, the center for the Brooklyn Nets and side-kick to Jeremy Lin, breaks a Buck Williams’ 28-year-old scoring record

WNBA legend, Kym Hampton, is our special guest. Ms. Hampton is the first center for the New York Liberty, and the woman, who along with Basketball Hall of Famer, Lisa Leslie, did the ceremonial tip to usher in the Women’s National Basketball Association. Ms. Hampton takes us down memory lane and is providing a good deal of life lessons whether you are an athlete or not.

Nets Beat Chicago Bulls 107-106; Brook Lopez on the verge of breaking a Brooklyn Nets record to become the all-time leading scorer in Nets history

The Brooklyn Nets ended its last home game of the regular NBA season last night at the Barclays Center, pretty much as it started the season, with a win! Before a sold-out crowd of 17,732 people, the Nets hung tough to beat the Chicago Bulls 107-106. And, this wasn’t a game where the Bulls could go easy on the Nets trying to preserve their energy for the playoffs. The Bulls had to play hard as they are in a tie with the Miami Heat for the last place spot for an NBA playoff opportunity. The Bulls desperately needed this win. If the Bulls miss the playoffs, this would be two consecutive seasons that they didn’t make it.

But, let’s get back to B-r-o-o-k-l-y-n. The Nets are now 11-11 since March 1 and have won four of their last five games.

So how did the Nets beat the Bulls who are desperately looking to get a playoff spot?

From the top line, Brooklyn recorded a season-high 15 steals, and 10 were in the first half. The Nets edged the Bulls 24-14 in assists while outscoring Chicago 42-36 in points in the paint and 19-7 in fast break points.

Now, here are more details. The Brooklyn Nets ended the first quarter leading the Chicago Bulls 32-25. Although the Nets were up by six at the half (51-45), the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 13 points at half-time. At the end of the third quarter with the Bulls leading 82-75, it appeared that the Nets’ ghost of the third quarter had reared its ugly head to torpedo a positive outcome. But the Nets became the comeback kings in the fourth. The Bulls allowed the Nets to score 32 points in the fourth quarter and was only able to put up 24 points of their own. The ending was thrilling. Spencer Dinwiddie hit a three with 1:23 left in regulation to tie the game at 101-101. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made two free throws at the 54-second mark to give the Nets the lead 103-101. At 31 seconds, Butler hits a step-back jump shot to tie the game at 103-103. With 13 seconds left, Dinwiddie comes back to the foul line and hits two free-throws breaking the tie to give the Nets a two-point lead, 105-103. With two seconds left, Bulls’ guard Dwyane Wade fouls and Dinwiddie gets back to line hitting two free throws and the Nets go up 107-103. And, with one second left, Butler hits a three, but there is no more time and the Nets win 107-106.

Caris LeVert and Dinwiddie each scored 19 points for the Nets. Although LeVert, a rookie, did not score in the second quarter, he ended the game with his 19 points on 7-of-11 field goals, and 4-of-7 from three-point land. He also had 5 rebounds in 25 minutes. In addition to his 19 points, Dinwiddie had three rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 26 minutes. Overall, Dinwiddie is a very efficient player; he’s averaging 11.0 points per game (.574 FG, .474 3FG, .806 FT) in 22.1 minutes per game in his last eight contests. And, last night against the Bulls, Dinwiddie was solid, not buckling under pressure.

Other Nets players in double digits were Hollis-Jefferson, who tallied his seventh double-double of the season with 16 points (5-of-8 FG, 6-of-7 FT) and a game-high 12 rebounds in 30 minutes. And, if that wasn’t enough, Hollis-Jefferson also recorded three assists and three steals vs. the Bulls. Brook Lopez scored 13 points and four rebounds in 31 minutes. Lopez is now 22 points away from passing Buck Williams to become the all-time leading scorer in Nets history. Jeremy Lin added 12 points with six rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in 29 minutes.

“The word we’ve been using all year is the team is resilient,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “…The guys stuck together. Guys made some big plays; Caris (LeVert) made some big plays, Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) came in and made some big plays, Spencer (Dinwiddie) obviously was really big. But I just liked our spirit, how we kept after it. I felt we kept defending, that was a key. They hit some tough shots – (Jimmy) Butler hit some tough shots – but we stuck with it and finally started to get some shots to go down.”

Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 33points.

"We're still in this thing, they're a good team,” Butler told reporters after the game regarding the Bulls’ playoff chances. “They've been playing as well as anybody. They've got guys who played incredibly hard. We lost, there's nothing we can really do about it right now. We have to go get better. We were saying how we needed to get this one today and now we need these next two (games)."

Next, up for the Nets, they travel to Boston to play the Celtics on Monday, April 10, and then their last game of the season is in Chicago against the Bulls on Wednesday, April 12. And that my friends, will be the last day of the season for the Brooklyn Nets.

Based on the way the Nets are playing right now, if everyone can stay relatively healthy and they continue to develop the cohesiveness that we are witnessing right now, next season they will no longer be in the NBA basement. In fact, they may even be playoff bound.

 

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has done a great job of developing the young Nets players.

Nets players Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin have displayed exemplary veteran leadership and the Nets' fans displayed by those in the Barclays Center arena on game nights continue to be supportive.

From what we see presently, the outlook for the Nets' upcoming 2017-18 NBA season looks brighter than its current state.

This video was recorded in Brooklyn, NY on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin set the tone from the start to spoil Paul Millsap’s return to the Atlanta Hawks lineup

On January 10, 2017, the last time the Brooklyn Nets played the Atlanta Hawks at the Barclays Center, the Hawks ate their lunch beating the Nets 117-97. Tonight, it was a different story, the tables were reversed. In fact, the Brooklyn Nets looked like it was the team headed for the playoffs instead of the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks, as the Nets grounded the Hawks, 91-82.

What plagued Atlanta this time around? Several things according to Atlanta Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer, but especially the Nets’ three-point shooting and the versatility of Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez.

“He’s become such a great 3-point shooter,” Budenholzer said about trying to contain Lopez. “We tried to stay connected to him at the 3-point line more. And Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, I think he’s shooting 20 percent on the year at the 3-point line, he had two that helped them. Trevor Booker had one and that helped them.”

Lopez scored 18 points in the first quarter and 29 points overall (12-of-21 FG) with five rebounds, five assists and five blocks in 30:32 minutes of playing time. In so doing, Lopez became the second Net in franchise history to record 25+ points, five+ rebounds, five+ assists and five+ blocks in the same game. The last person to do that was Darnell Hillman almost 40 years ago vs. Chicago on November 11, 1977. Hillman now works for the Indiana Pacers.

With Lopez scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Budenholzer saw a need to change Atlanta’s strategy.

“I think we felt like we could keep Dwight Howard around the rim, around the paint,” Budenholzer said about his center. “Brooklyn is driving the ball a lot, and really our defense is not our problem – 91 points. So of course Brook Lopez had a really good game. Generally speaking, I don’t think our defense was the issue. I think we need to look closer at our offense and how we can score more, score better.”

But, seriously, it just wasn’t Atlanta’s night.

“We were just trying to be aggressive and we got hot,” said Nets point guard Jeremy Lin. “I feel like on the back end of a back-to-back that’s kind of just setting that tone, and establishing that just felt like we were in control of the game throughout, and even though we were the ones scoring points, that our whole starting five defensively came out and did a great job.”

“When you replay the game really quickly and you feel like there were some good chances we didn’t make – everybody, lots of different guys. And at times we were a little sloppy. It’d probably be great to get to the free-throw line a little bit more. I think it was just a combination of a lot of things and we just weren’t very good offensively,” Budenholzer added.

Yes, because sometimes playoff-bound teams sleep on teams that are not headed to the playoffs. They tend to think that it may be a cakewalk when they encounter a team like the Nets (17-59) that is in the last place in the NBA standings. However, in Brooklyn’s case, they are better than their win-loss record shows.

“They denied us, they gave us a little pressure,” Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap stated. “Something we could have done a better job of was countering off of their aggressiveness.”

Atlanta’s center Dwight Howard was more pointed in his remarks, “We have to play team basketball; we can’t do it by ourselves. One person isn’t going to win us a game.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, known for his young player development abilities, has been drilling that mantra into his young team all season, that basketball is team ball. The Nets’ young players led by Lin and Lopez set Atkinson’s tone early in the game.

“That’s kind of why they’re your two best players,” Atkinson said about Lin and Lopez. “There’s just a mentality, I was saying that about Brook. Brook after a bad game or a not good shooting game like Detroit, he’s going to come back and bring it the next game. They set the tone; I thought Jeremy and Brook really set the tone. Look at Brook and we’re talking about his offense; five blocks, I thought he was monstrous defensively, helping off Dwight and just kind of controlling the paint basically. No doubt about it, they set the tone.”

“Coach always stresses, just be resilient,” said Nets shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick, who added 11 boards towards the Nets total of 51 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. “Make sure that you’re doing everything for the team and I think that’s something that everyone is doing on a normal basis. Down to recovery and down to the fact that everyone’s getting their work in early and making sure that we’re playing for one another.”

Brooklyn Nets players scoring in double digits in addition to Lopez were Lin with 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists; and Hollis-Jefferson with 11 points, five rebounds, and three steals.

In the loss, four of the five Hawks’ starters scored in double digits. Dennis Schroder had 16 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. Tim Hardaway Jr., who is probably grateful that the NY Knicks set him free, scored 14 points and six rebounds; Taurean Prince added 13 points and five rebounds and; Howard chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Nets take on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

NOTE:

Kilpatrick’s 11 boards marked his second-most rebounds in a game in his career (high: 14 in double OT on 11/29 against the Clippers).

Kilpatrick became just the third Nets guard to record 11 or more rebounds off the bench in a game since 1983-84, joining Markel Brown (4/10/16 at Indiana) and Stephen Jackson (12/10/00 vs. Dallas).

Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker, and the Nets bench had a huge night

The Brooklyn Nets are now officially on their “glow-up” tour, as they beat the Orlando Magic 121-111 at the Barclays Center on Saturday evening.

The Nets have now won three of their last four home games. There is a lot to like about how the Nets are playing lately and specifically how the team played against the Magic. The Nets scored a season-high 72 points in the paint, outscoring the Magic 72-32 in the painted area. Hello!

“Brook is really hard to guard down there,” Jeremy Lin said. “We keep trying to find ways to exploit the defense with his size and his touch. I think he’s finding a great balance inside and outside. I felt like he really made his presence known tonight.”

“I thought we were very unselfish today and we got back to moving the ball – that’s the first thing J-Lin (Jeremy Lin) brought out, coming out into the start of the game,” Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez said about what got the offense clicking in tonight’s game.

“I thought we moved the ball very well. Honestly, for me, I thought the bench did such great job tonight. They came in and picked us up in the second and again in the third. They were just spectacular out there and they were the difference tonight,” Lopez continued.

Yep, the Brooklyn Nets’ bench did show out tonight. The Nets’ reserves outscored the Magic’s reserves 72-16. And this was not a fluke, as the Nets’ bench outscored Phoenix’s bench on March 23 with a season-high 81 points and back in January against New Orleans with 73 points.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson liked how his bench played in big spots.

“Similar how teams have done to us, we started to pick them up, we started denying some passes, we got into the ball,” Atkinson said. “It was an overall energy, a youthful energy. Isaiah (Whitehead) I thought was really good, Archie (Goodwin) gives us a big boost with his athleticism and how fast he is and he did a good job defensively…then (Trevor) Booker was really good on both ends.”

Lopez was overjoyed about the Nets reserves.

“It was fun to watch honestly,” Lopez said. “They did it tonight for us – no question. Again, it was just great to see that energy on the floor and our guys were so excited for them on the bench.”

At the end of the day, the game’s outcome is what really matters. However, in the first few minutes, one could not tell that Brooklyn would have such a great night. Orlando came out the gate strong scoring nine points to Brooklyn’s two in less than 3 minutes. However, like a ship in rough seas, the team got righted; Lopez scored 12 points in under 8 minutes during the first quarter. A Booker jump shot at 2:48 in the first, gave the Nets its first lead, 27-26. A back and forth ensued and a Sean Kilpatrick jump shot with less than 11 seconds to go helped the Nets to end the first quarter tied at 33-33.

Brooklyn ended the second quarter 60-53 over Orlando; and then, it was all even 89-89 at the end of the third.

And then came the fourth quarter when the Nets went on an 11-0 run and the Magic, without an answer, could not get over the hump. The Nets’ bench took over offensively and defensively.

Off the bench, Spencer Dinwiddie and Booker helped to break open a big lead for the Nets in the fourth, which did not go unnoticed by Atkinson.

“Yeah, that kind of broke it open,” Atkinson stated. “I thought Spencer made some big plays; he was really good in the pick and roll. His size, he gets in the paint and he’s a tough guy to deal with. Trevor in the pick and roll, in transition, just making the simple play, that was where we were able to break it open a little bit.”

And the performance of the Nets’ bench was certainly on the radar of the Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel.

“I think Brooklyn’s bench came in and took over the game during that stretch to start the fourth quarter to build a big lead,” Vogel said. “I credit their bench.”

“We just really drove the ball well, Atkinson said about the Nets’ overall play. I felt like we were very aggressive to the rim. In transition we got out and got some easy ones, we were really driving it and finishing at a better rate. We didn’t shoot it well from the perimeter, but I thought we got a lot of open looks. But I was pleased with our defense too for the most part. The first quarter wasn’t great, third quarter they got going. (Nikola) Vučević got going. The difference in the game was probably the bench, though. At the end of the day, I thought they really brought great energy, picked up our defense, did a great job of playing together.”

For the win, Lopez scored a game-high 30 points; Booker had a season-high 23 points, he also added eight rebounds; Kilpatrick contributed 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists, Justin Hamilton chipped in 13 points and five rebounds.

To the Magic’s credit, four of its five starters scored over 20 points: Vučević had a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds and Aaron Gordon scored 22 points and 15 rebounds. Although both Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton each had 20 points, Payton had a triple double with 11 rebounds and 11 assists to his tally, which was overshadowed by the Magic’s loss.

The Magic’s loss is the Nets’ gain and Lopez speaking for the team is excited that the hard work, the grinding it out, and staying focus through the losses was very important to getting them on the winning track.

“It was very important, very big,” Lopez said. “We just continually talked about no slippage until the very end of the season – until whatever day, April 12, 15, whatever it is, I’m not exactly sure – but we want to continue to improve, and take every opportunity we can to get better as a team.”

The Nets will be back at it tomorrow for a home back-to-back, as they face the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks at 6:00 p.m.

Jeremy Lin leaves game with a sprained right ankle

The Brooklyn Nets outing against the Dallas Mavericks just started out bad. A 12-noon start-time, which I don’t mind by the way, but inside of eight minutes of play, Brooklyn's point guard Jeremy Lin sprained his right ankle on a drive to the basket and missed the remainder of the game. Lin, nevertheless, was productive while he was there; he left the game with four points.

The Nets trouble didn’t start with Lin’s exit, they were down 11 points before Lin left the game at 7:42 in the first quarter. At the end of the quarter, it looked like the Nets could right the ship, ending the first stanza with only a six-point deficit (32-26).

During the second quarter, the Nets were down by as much as 18 points. And, in a game, in which they never led, the Nets came within one point (93-92) with just under six minutes in regulation. However, the combination of Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki and backup guard J.J. Barea proved to be a power couple that would thwart the Nets’ drive for a comeback. With just over five minutes left to play, Barea went on a tear, scoring nine straight points for Dallas. When it was all said and done, the Mavericks stole the show with an 111-104 ending.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson offered his critique of the Nets last few possessions.

“Yeah, not great execution on our part,” Atkinson said. “And I think what happens is teams start switching everything at the end of the game and the thought is you have to go one-on-one and I think we just have to realize we can keep them moving and when teams switch they’ll eventually break down …”

However, even in defeat Atkinson saw a silver lining.

“To me, the story of the game was getting down 18 in the first half,” Atkinson added. “I thought the second half we brought it, we brought the energy, we were competitive, we were going towards a 40-point blowout quite honestly in that first half the way we came out. We dug ourselves a huge hole, and we used a lot of energy to get back in it, then couldn’t close it, we didn’t have enough to get over the hump.”

Brook Lopez led all scorers with 27 points. Randy Foye was the only other Nets starter in double digits, he scored 11 points and six rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench to score 18 for the Nets. Also, off the bench, Quincy Acy added 11 points, and Isaiah Whitehead chipped in 10 points.

Dallas had three starters in double digits. Nowitzki had 23 points and nine rebounds, Harrison Barnes scored 19 points and six rebounds; while Wesley Matthews chipped in 15 points and five rebounds. Barea and Devin Harris were double-digit contributors off the bench. Barea supplied 20 points and seven assists, while Harris chipped in 11 points.

Before the game, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle talked about former Nets rookie guard Yogi Ferrell.

"We were all banged up,” said Carlisle. “We had a lot of guys out. We desperately needed a guy that could play the position and hold the fort. I wasn't sure he was going to be a starter right away, but the way we were structured at the time it seemed like the best way to go. He started the first game, did a lot of good things and had a really terrific first couple of weeks. Now, we're at a point where he's pretty much held that position and he's done a lot of good things."

Ferrell did indeed help the Mavericks hold things together against the Nets; he contributed eight points and five assists.

Next up, the Nets will host the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday and then the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. Perhaps, the Nets could string together back-to-back victories with this homestand?

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