December 10, 2019

Spencer Dinwiddie scores 32 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets over the Boston Celtics, 112-107; Irving and LeVert are still out

Again, no Kyrie Irving and no Caris LeVert and to recap, LeVert is out with a sprained thumb and Irving with a shoulder impingement. And, Brooklyn Nets “back up” guard Spencer Dinwiddie, says, no problem. With a game-high 32 points (10-of-19 FG, 6-of-8 3FG, 6-of-6 FT) and a season-high-tying 11 assists, five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks in 35 minutes, Dinwiddie led all scorers and with some help from his Nets teammates, defeated the Boston Celtics 112-107. The Nets have won three straight home games and five of its last six games at Barclays Center. The Nets improved to 10-9 this season with yesterday’s victory, while the Celtics fell to 13-5 with the loss.

Wire-to-wire, the Brooklyn Nets were locked in.

Coach Speak: Brad Stevens on How The Brooklyn Nets Defeated the Boston Celtics

“That start of the game really hurt us,” remarked Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “I thought Brooklyn was more ready probably than we were, and they really punched us in the mouth. They scored 22 points in the first six minutes. Any day that you let a team get going like that it’s probably going to be a long day. Brooklyn did a great job, played really well, played really hard, played with a lot of purpose, and deserved to win. Our guys stayed in it and tried to give the effort to get back, but we dug ourselves too big of a hole.”

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on the Brooklyn Nets' Physicality

“I thought physically we were really, really good,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about his team matching Boston’s physicality. “I think that’s what kept us in the game or getting the lead, I think it was our physical presence. I thought from the tip, we were ready, and we sustained it too. They came on real strong at the end. Obviously, they went super small, but they’re still strong, fast, and have really good athletes. I felt like DeAndre (Jordan) really helped us. There was a stretch there where he was just grabbing every board and kind of clearing everybody out. I think that was huge too.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Speaking of DeAndre Jordan, on his first game back after missing two games with left ankle soreness, he came off the bench and posted his ninth game of double-digit rebounds this season with 11 boards to go along with eight points, an assist and a block in 23 minutes. Other Brooklyn Nets scoring leaders were Taurean Prince who posted 16 points, and four rebounds; Jarrett Allen registered 14 points and a game-high-tying 11 rebounds, in 25 minutes; both Joe Harris and Garrett Temple each recorded 12 points, Harris added six rebounds, four assists, and two steals to his total, while Temple chipped in seven assists, and five rebounds.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens had complimentary things to say about Nets center Jarrett Allen, “he’s a good player. He’s impacted the game in a lot of ways. He’s elevated himself into one of the better “bigs” in the east. He played like it today. I thought he was really good. I think we started three of the four halves we played in the last couple of days with a Jarrett Allen dunk. That’s not a good way to start from the Celtic’s side of view.”

Boston Celtics Scoring Leaders

The Celtics’ scoring leaders were Jayson Tatum, who scored 26 points, nine rebounds, and four rebounds; Kemba Walker recorded 17 points and six assists; Marcus Smart added 15 points; Brad Wanamaker registered 11 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, and; Enes Kanter chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.

What's Next for the Celtics and the Nets?

The Boston Celtics will stay in New York and travel across the East River to play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden tomorrow, Sunday, December 1, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Also, on Sunday, the Brooklyn Nets will remain at home and host the Miami Heat at the Barclays Center at 3:00 p.m. ET.

 

Spencer Dinwiddie led all scorers with 23 points, and Joe Harris and Dzanan Musa come alive

Last night, was a good night for the Brooklyn Nets; they defeated the Sacramento Kings 116-97 and held the lead wire-to-wire, the first time this season. This is also the second time this season the Nets have won consecutive games having beaten the Charlotte Hornets 101-91 on Wednesday and the Kings last night and both times holding their opponent to under 100 points. With the win against the Kings, the Nets are now just one game below .500 improving to 7-8, while the Kings fell to 6-8 with the loss.

How The Nets Beat The Kings By The Numbers:

Rebounding

Brooklyn outrebounded the Kings 48-33 (+15). And, if you think this was a fluke, the Nets also had a +15-rebounding differential earlier this season on November 1, against the Houston Rockets, when the Nets outrebounded the Rockets 55-40. The Nets also defeated the Houston Rockets 123-116.

Points Along The Way

Brooklyn led Sacramento 56-49 at halftime and then led the Kings 86-70 at the end of the third stanza. This 16-point lead marked Brooklyn's biggest through three quarters this season. The game that came close to this point differential at the end of the third was against the James Harden and Russell Westbrook-led Houston Rockets again on November 1, 2019, when the Nets led by 12 points.

Three-Pointers

Additionally, the Nets were 8-of-23 (.348) from 3-point range in the first half, while holding the Kings to 1-of-11 (.091) from distance.

Without Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert being available because of injury, the Brooklyn Nets appear to be developing a much-needed comradery and Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has taken notice.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on the Game and his players

“I do see that,” Coach Atkinson said about his current rotation’s level of confidence, continuity, and chemistry. “I see (the) chemistry between Garrett Temple and Spencer (Dinwiddie). I can see them connecting. I thought Garrett was fantastic tonight on both sides. Limiting Buddy’s (Hield) points, which is always a huge task, touches in general. And then he obviously made shots. I thought he drove the ball, Garrett was excellent. Getting Joe (Harris) going again is huge. Obviously, making shots really, really helps our cause. But yes, I do see some real chemistry starting to form out there with that group.”

Speaking of Joe Harris, who has been scoring less than 10 points during the prior two games, last night matched his season-high with 22 points while shooting 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range in 28 minutes. He also recorded four rebounds and a career-high-tying two blocks in 28 minutes.

Harris explained what it feels like when he is in the zone: “I think you get a lot of confidence when you see the first one go in – actually I missed my first one, but in terms of just guys looking for you, finding you, makes the game flow a lot easier. It’s sort of an effortless approach, but a lot of it is, you hit one, hit another, guys are starting to look for you, screen for you and you find your way to open shots.”

Brooklyn Nets Leading Scorers

Spencer Dinwiddie led all scorers posting a game-high 23 points (8-of-15 FG, 7-of-7 FT) with seven assists and two steals in 28 minutes. Dinwiddie is taking his career to new levels. He has now posted 20-plus points in four consecutive games, doing so for the first time in his career. In his last four games (all starts), Dinwiddie has averaged 23.8 points, 6.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and, 1.5 steals in 32.0 minutes. As mentioned, Joe Harris contributed 22 points; Garrett Temple registered a season-high 18 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 35 minutes; Jarrett Allen posted 11 points, and; Dzanan Musa chipped in 10 points. DeAndre Jordan didn’t score points in double digits, but he posted his eighth game of double-digit rebounds this season with a game-high 10 boards.

Coach Speak: Luke Walton on the game and his team

“Tough night for us,” said Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton. “If you’re a 3-point shooting team and you shoot 15 percent, you’re not going to win a lot of games. Where we have to be better at are things that we can control. We know that with 82 games you’re going to have games where you just don’t make shots. A big key and theme for us the last couple of games was defending without fouling. We gave up 31 free throws tonight, and Brooklyn beat us up on the glass. Rebounding we’ve actually done a much better job at and the free throws we have to continue to focus on that and do a better job.”

Sacramento Kings Leading Scorers

The Sacramento Kings scoring leaders were Harrison Barnes who scored 18 points and five rebounds; Buddy Hield registered 16 points and five assists; Justin James came off the bench and posted 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists; Nemanja Bjelica contributed 13 points and seven rebounds, and; Richaun Holmes chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds.

“They played small ball,” Kings guard Buddy Hield said about the Brooklyn Nets style of play. “But I think Jarrett Allen does a good job in rolling. I think Spencer Dinwiddie does a good job playing with him. It was tough to guard for us tonight. We should’ve done a better job with defensive schemes, trying to guard them. Joe Harris opened the game up too – he made like four or five in the first half and that killed us, and that’s when they opened…they game up. The lead was always back-and-forth from 10 (points), nine (points), and then after that, we couldn’t get ahead. That really opened the game up for sure – Joe opened it up.”

What’s Next for the Kings and the Nets?

The Sacramento Kings will travel to Washington to play the Wizards on Sunday, November 24, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will head across the East River to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, November 24, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

 
 

Kyrie Irving’s 3-pointer and Spencer Dinwiddie’s two free throws in closing minutes seal Brooklyn Nets 113-109 win over the New York Knicks

The Brooklyn Nets' second game of the NBA season is now on the books, with a 113-109 win against their crosstown rival, the New York Knicks. From last season until now, this is the Nets’ third straight victory over the Knicks. The Nets are now, 1-1 overall this season, while the Knicks are 0-2.

For the second consecutive home game this season, the Nets had a lead in the closing minutes and lost it. However, this time, they pulled themselves from the jaws of another NBA game loss. At the start of the fourth quarter, Brooklyn was leading the New York Knicks 94-83. However, starting early in the fourth stanza, the Knicks and Nets would play a cat and mouse game. The Knicks would chip away at the Nets’ lead and the Nets would regain it back. At 7:02 before the horn, the Nets were leading by 10, and at 5:16, there were only three points separating the Nets and the Knicks. Then the pendulum shift occurred at 3:41 in the fourth quarter, the Nets were down by three points, 109-106 and Knicks fans were on their feet cheering loudly.

Just under three minutes later, Irving hit a pullup jump shot at 59.6 seconds, bringing the Nets to 109-108, closer, but no cigar. Twenty seconds later at 39.2 seconds, Knicks forward Marcus Morris misses a 24-foot step-back shot, Nets center Jarrett Allen gets the rebound, and at 22.4, Irving hits a 26 ft. 3-point step-back shot to bring the Nets a two-point lead at 111-109. Kevin Knox, who is starting his second year with the Knicks, fouls with 8.9 seconds on the clock and Spencer Dinwiddie goes to the line and hits 2 for 2 widening the Nets lead by four with the score now 113-109. Wayne Ellington loses the ball and Irving steals it with .3 seconds on the clock and that sealed the win for the Brooklyn Nets.

VIDEO: Kyrie Irving talks about the final moments leading up to Brooklyn Nets’ win, his relationship with RJ Barrett, and the 82-game NBA schedule

 

Kyrie Irving led all scorers Friday night with 26 points (8-of-19 FG, 8-of-8 FT) along with a game-high-tying five assists, two rebounds, and three steals in 31 minutes. Irving has now totaled 76 points in his first two games as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, marking the most points tallied through the first two games of a season by a Nets’ player all-time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous high was 66 points held by Brooklynite, Stephon Marbury. And, in case you forgot or don’t know, Marbury accomplished that feat for the New Jersey Nets 20 years ago during the 1999-00 season. Now, here we are, it’s the 2019-20 NBA season and the script has been flipped. We have Irving, a Jersey guy, leading that same NBA team now residing in Brooklyn.

Irving seems to revel in clutch moments, as evidenced by opening night, Friday night, and during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ championship series. Irving truly is an elite point guard. Simultaneously, he clearly sees the floor, understands the pace of the game, and controls the pace to the best of his abilities. Tasks all point guards should do, but not all can.

“The game was slowed down probably in the third and fourth quarter a little bit with just the ways the fouls were going back and forth,” Irving said. “Fouls here and there and bonus, so we just wanted to play through it…it’s just opportunities for us to get better from those empty possessions that we had.”

Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson on the Game and his Players

Of course, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was delighted that his team got the win.

“Sometimes you have got to find a way and I thought our defensive effort was good,” Coach Atkinson said he told his team after the game. “Take the third quarter out, I thought overall our defense was much, much better.”

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 20 points off the bench, shooting 5-of-12 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line, with a game-high-tying five assists and one block in 27 minutes. Joe Harris recorded 13 points (5-of-8 FG, 3-of-5 3FG) with four rebounds in 31 minutes. Caris LeVert added 12 points and Taurean Prince chipped in 11 points.

LeVert is arguably the Brooklyn Nets second-best shooter so there was some head-scratching as to why LeVert only played 24 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes or more and particularly, down the stretch.

“I just felt comfortable with Spencer (Dinwiddie), more from a defensive standpoint,” Coach Atkinson told the media. “I thought Spencer was one of our better defenders. Just felt it…we went with our gut.”

New York Knicks Scoring Leaders

The Knicks had six players to score in double digits. Allonzo Trier scored a team-high 22 points and three rebounds off the bench; RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox II each had 16 points, Knox as part of the 2nd Unit, and Barrett, a member of the starting five, added three rebounds to his tally; Julius Randle tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists; Marcus Morris added 11 points, and; Elfrid Payton contributed 10 points and four rebounds.

Knicks Head Coach David Fizdale

In the loss, New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale lauded his team’s fight and ability to hang on to make it a close finish.

“We have grit," Fizdale said about his team’s competitive spirit. “We have grit. We just have to put it together with consistent play and trust.”

But what made it a really close call for the Nets towards the end, is when Fizdale decided to put Wayne Ellington in the game. Ellington used to play for the Nets before being traded to the Miami Heat. And, Ellington was a 3-point assassin when he played for the Nets, and he displayed his talents last night, scoring nine points in 11 minutes on 3-of-4 shooting. Ellington had two other opportunities to score, but prior to getting off a shot, he turned the ball over. Perhaps, had Fizdale brought Ellington into the game earlier, maybe there would have been a different outcome.

What's Next?

Like the Nets, there are 80 more games on the schedule for the New York Knicks. Perhaps, they will get a win against the Boston Celtics at their home opener tonight, Saturday, October 26, 2019, at Madison Square Garden, at 7:30 p.m.

The Brooklyn Nets’ next game is in Memphis against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, October 27, 2019, and then they will be back at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, to take on the Indiana Pacers at 7:30 p.m.

 

TIP-INS:

By the Numbers: How The Nets Defeated the New York Knicks

• The Nets led the Knicks 32-23 at the end of the first quarter
• Brooklyn led New York 94-83 through three quarters 
• The Nets outrebounded the Knicks 46-39
• Brooklyn edged New York 21-13 in fast-break points
• The Nets shot 10-of-12 from the FT line. Brooklyn attempted that many free throws in an opening period just once, all last season. When? On January 25, 2019, against the Knicks (also 10-of-12).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A new Big 3 arrives in Brooklyn to add firepower to the Brooklyn Nets which already feature standouts Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Joe Harris

When the news broke during the first moments of the 2019 NBA Free Agency that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant would be signing with the Brooklyn Nets, it was clear that this was the start of a new era in Brooklyn. Today, that notion was underscored and co-signed by the number of media that showed up to see and hear from these two NBA superstars at the Brooklyn Nets Media Day held at the Nets practice facility.

The event kicked off with Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson answering a myriad of questions from the media including: how the Irving – Durant deal came together, will Kevin Durant travel with the team to China (preseason), players Atkinson expects to see take the next step upwards, what it’s like working with elite basketball players, and more.

In his own words: Kenny Atkinson

Kyrie Irving Hits The Stage

Then the moment that everyone was waiting for, Kyrie Irving takes the stage. Before anyone could ask questions, Irving leaned in and laid it all out. Irving started off as though he was in a confessional, all that was missing was, forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

“I’m incredibly grateful to be here,” Irving said. “It’s been a journey that I’ve taken numerous steps in different directions, and I’ve failed and succeeded…”

Uhhh, so where is this going?!

Irving went on to say that he was the mastermind behind bringing Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan to the Brooklyn Nets.

Meanwhile, in the weeks leading up to the announcement, the drumbeat that Irving and Durant would be signing with the New York Knicks grew louder with each passing day. So, how did Irving and company land in Brooklyn?

From Irving’s detailing of the sequence of events, it seemed like the Brooklyn Nets were in the lead for a good while. He went into detail about his decision-making and listed the factors that swayed his decision. Irving watched a good deal of Brooklyn Nets tape, he noticed that the players played hard, the Brooklyn Nets were a well-managed and coached team, New York City is close to home, and he grew up watching and rooting for the Nets, which was his hometown team when they played in New Jersey.

So, how did those so-called basketball insiders get this so wrong? Easy, they were probably not talking with Kyrie Irving and probably didn’t know that he used to root for the Nets in the Julius Erving days. Additionally, when people hear New York, they forget that Brooklyn is part of New York City.

But, getting back to the deal, at 4:16 a.m. before NBA free agency started in earnest, Irving, Durant, and Jordan were on the phone, FaceTime, specifically, when Irving asked if they were ready to do this. Indeed, they were, and Irving reached out to Nets general manager Sean Marks to get the ball rolling. He also let Marks know that it wasn’t just him, saying, “I had some other pieces I wanted to bring with me as well…”

Marks, talking about the signing of Irving and Durant at his press conference on Tuesday played it cool as if it was just another day at the office. But, listening to Kyrie Irving, one could only imagine the “happy dance” that Marks and his team were probably doing when he learned that Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan were ready to sign with Brooklyn.

For the most part, Brooklyn Nets fans were exuberant at the news that Irving and Durant would be coming to Brooklyn and not the New York Knicks. However, some fans and reporters were wondering will Irving come and then leave Brooklyn high and dry like he did Boston. In answering the Boston issue without being asked, Irving stated, “nine months ago I was sitting in front of the Boston crowd saying that I wanted to re-sign. And after that, a lot of things happened in my personal life that really changed the landscape of how I felt about the game of basketball and actually playing it in a team environment, and that really affected me as a human being.”

“‘Hey…they loved me in Boston, I loved the Boston fans” Irving continued. “And then two weeks later things just got really, really rocky for me in terms of — when I left for, I believe you know, after the Phoenix game, I went to my grandfather’s memorial, and he passed on October 23rd and after he passed, basketball was the last thing on my mind. So, a lot of basketball and the joy I had from it was sucked away from me and there was a facial expression that I carried around with me throughout the year, didn’t allow anyone to get close to me in that instance and it really bothered me. I didn’t take the necessary steps to get counseling or get therapy or anything to deal with someone that close to me dying. I’ve never dealt with anything like that.”

At that moment, there was a momentum shift in the room, yes, Kyrie Irving is a basketball god, a basketball hero, but he is also a human being that grieves like the rest of us.

We also learned that Irving and Durant have a real bond and Irving is very protective of Durant which he made very clear when he recounted Durant’s injury to his Achilles.

“We all know K was not ready to play in that environment…we put him on a national stage to end up selling a product (that) came before the person,” Irving said as though they were fighting words.

So, if Irving has anything to do with it, don’t expect to see Kevin Durant on the court before he’s physically ready.

Kevin Durant Speaks, sort of

Speaking of Durant, when it was his turn to speak, it was more question and answer and a noticeable shift in the relationship with the media. While Kyrie was open and laying it all bare, Durant, was closely guarded and with good reason. Since his move to the Golden State Warriors from the Oklahoma City Thunder, some media people seem to be out to get him.

For Durant, the opportunity to play for the Brooklyn Nets with his friends at this moment in time was not to be taken lightly, “it’s very rare we could meet up at this point… to control our destinies.”

Durant also did his homework researching the Nets. He already knew Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert from working out with him last summer. But he researched Nets coach Kenny Atkinson.

“I was doing a lot of YouTube research on Kenny Atkinson and watching interviews to see how he talked after games and stuff,” Durant admitted. “I really liked his approach to his craft as a coach and that’s what drew me in pretty quickly.”

DeAndre Jordan

In every group, there seems to be someone who brings the comic relief and DeAndre Jordan was just what the doctor ordered. Jordan made it clear that as a veteran player at the center position, he will mentor Jarrett Allen, who is going into his third year, but the position will be competitive.

Jarrett, you have been put on notice.

What’s Next?

The Brooklyn Nets will play two games at home at the Barclays Center during the NBA preseason, on Friday, October 4, 2019, against the SESI/Franca Basketball Club (Brazil) and on Friday, October 18, 2019, against the Toronto Raptors. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

The first regular-season home game is on Wednesday, October 23rd at 7:30 p.m., against the Minnesota Timberwolves, followed by the New York Knicks on Friday, October 25, 2019, also at 7:30 p.m.

 
 

DeAndre Jordan expected to bring a defensive mindset, toughness, and leadership that are needed to compete at the highest levels of the NBA

The Brooklyn Nets have signed free agent center DeAndre Jordan. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

“We are thrilled to welcome DeAndre and his family to Brooklyn,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “As a veteran center with All-NBA and All-Defensive Team honors on his resume, DeAndre will provide us with the type of defensive mindset, toughness and, leadership that are needed to compete at the highest levels of the NBA.”

Jordan (6’11, 265) joins the Nets after splitting last season between the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks and playing 10 seasons (2008-18) prior with the Los Angeles Clippers. In the 2018-19 campaign, Jordan played in and started 69 games, averaging 11.0 points, 13.1 rebounds (third in the NBA), a career-high 2.3 assists and 1.1 blocks in 29.7 minutes per contest.

In 819 games (707 starts) over 11 seasons with the Clippers, Mavericks, and Knicks, Jordan holds career averages of 9.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 28.2 minutes per contest while shooting 67.0 percent from the field. He has also appeared in 57 career playoff games (all starts) over six postseason appearances, averaging 9.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 31.2 minutes per game. Jordan has earned All-NBA First Team honors once (2015-16), All-NBA Third Team honors twice (2014-15, 2016-17) and NBA All-Defensive First Team honors twice (2014-15, 2015-16). He was also selected as an NBA All-Star in 2017 and won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the U.S. men’s national team.

The Bellaire, Texas, native is currently the NBA’s all-time leader in field goal percentage after leading the league in the statistical category in five consecutive seasons (2012-17). He also ranked first in the NBA in rebounds per game over both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons (13.6 and 15.0 rebounds per game, respectively) and is one of just three players to average double-digit rebounds in each of the last six seasons. The 30-year-old is among the league’s top five active players in career blocked shots (1,350), rebounds (8,890) and offensive rebounds (2,660). Originally selected by the Clippers with the 35th overall pick (second round) in the 2008 NBA Draft, Jordan played one collegiate season (2007-08) at Texas A&M and earned Big 12 All-Rookie Team honors for his play with the Aggies.

D’Angelo Russell led all Nets scorers with 28 points, Caris LeVert put up 24 points off the bench, but the loss is a cloud hanging over Nets’ head

Last night at the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets met up with the Milwaukee Bucks, the best team in the NBA, by its 58-20 record; yes, the Bucks’ record is better than the Golden State Warriors’ record, which is 52-24.

The bad news is that the Nets lost to the Bucks 131-121. The good news for the moment is that the Nets are still holding on to the seventh playoff spot in the NBA Eastern Conference (EC). The three other teams that are also jockeying for position for the NBA’s sixth through eighth playoff spots in the EC, the Detroit Pistons (#6), Miami Heat (#8), and the Orlando Magic (#9), also lost last night.

The Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, and the Orlando Magic all have at least two formidable teams to play between now and April 10, 2019, the last day of the NBA regular season. And, by formidable, these teams have already clinched the 1 through 5 NBA Eastern Conference playoff spots. NBA Eastern Conference spots 6 through 8 are up for grabs between four teams or five, depending on how you feel about the Charlotte Hornets because technically, right now, sitting at 35-42, mathematically, the Hornets are not out of contention. Teams that the Hornets have on their schedule right now are the New Orleans Pelicans (32-46) a Western Conference team, and then EC teams, the Toronto Raptors (55-23), Detroit Pistons (39-38), Cleveland Cavaliers (21-57) and the Orlando Magic (38-40).

But, looking at the upcoming schedule for the teams that most people believe are in the race, Detroit has two strong teams to play, the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. On Miami’s schedule are the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Orlando Magic being in the ninth spot is currently on the outside looking in and seemingly has the easiest schedule. The Magic’s last three games are against the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and the Boston Celtics. Of this lot, only the Boston Celtics is a playoff team. However, that doesn’t mean that the Magic would only lose to the Boston Celtics. Not in the least, the Nets just beat the Celtics, who were without Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, on Saturday. These are all NBA teams and on any given night, there could be key players out, there could be an upset or the outcome could be predictable, which will make the next few days very exciting for some and not so exciting for others.

Focusing on the Nets, they have four more games on their schedule. The Nets play the Toronto Raptors tomorrow at the Barclays Center, a back-to-back on the road on Saturday and Sunday, against the Milwaukee Bucks again, and the Indiana Pacers and then they come back home to play the Miami Heat on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, the last day of the regular season.

Wednesday, April 10, could be the determining day between the Nets and the Miami Heat, as well as other teams. Or, it could be over before the Nets get home depending upon what they do from this point forward and what the other teams do. Clearly, this is not a good position to be in.

And, as Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert, who scored 24 points, four rebounds and six assists, assessed last night’s game against the Bucks, the Nets have to be focused and dialed in from start to finish if they truly want to secure a playoff spot.

“I think we put ourselves in a big hole in that first quarter and it was tough fighting back, especially against a good team like that,” said LeVert. “They’re number one in the East for a reason. But we just have to learn from it. We played great basketball for like three-and-a-half quarters, so we have to learn from it and keep going.”

With the win, D’Angelo Russell leads Nets with 23 points, now in second place on the franchise’s single-season 3FGM list with 172, needs 202 to take first place

The San Antonio Spurs are still in the playoff hunt, but barely. To see a team with the legacy of the Spurs to have a record of 33-27 and lose to the 11-48 New York Knicks 130-118 on Sunday and then turn around and lose to the Brooklyn Nets 101-85 the very next night, clearly, there are underlying issues plaguing this team. One could see the Spurs losing to the Brooklyn Nets on the road, and also on the second game of a back-to-back because the Nets are on an upswing, but the Knicks, a team that is in the NBA basement? Surely, Knicks and Nets fans will take the win.

From the look of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich during a pregame interview, you can visibly see that his 2018 life events of losing his wife, Erin, after a long illness; losing Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors, and Tony Parker to the Charlotte Hornets, have and still are taking a toll. Add to that having to manage new members of the Spurs, there’s a lot going on here even for this military veteran, after all, he is human.

Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert, who is also human and only returned to the Nets lineup just before the NBA All-Star break on February 8, 2019, understands the urgency of now and said the team had their game plan ready for the Spurs and all they needed to do was push play.

“We knew they (San Antonio Spurs) were coming off of a back-to-back and we wanted to jump on them early and that’s what we did, kept up the defense all night and came away with the win,” LeVert told reporters.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson felt good about his team’s victory, “Just a good win against a very good team. Especially at the end, I felt like we struggled again a little to close the game out and made some mistakes and took our foot off the pedal a little, so that’s a little concerning, but I thought we had to match their physicality. I thought that was key. I thought we did a good job of that, rebounding was good. We were ready for them physically, which was a concern.”

Concerned, yes, but Coach Atkinson still had a lot to like about his team’s performance.

“Yeah, I think against a good offensive team, good shooting team, we did a pretty good job – pretty solid job even on (DeMar) DeRozan,” Atkinson continued. “LaMarcus (Aldridge) got rolling there a little bit, but 85 points against that team, that’s a good job by our guys.”

Even Coach Popovich liked what he saw about the Brooklyn Nets game, As I’ve said before the game, the Brooklyn Nets have done a great job this year. They’re just getting better and better. On the road, 4-for-24 is not going to get it done from the 3-point line. That poor shooting is always going to be a problem. It got us tonight, but I’m actually pleased with the game. I was angry after the game last night (against the New York Knicks). I’m very pleased about this game because we held a good team to 101 points. If we continue to do that we’ll be in good shape.”

“I thought we communicated a lot better tonight and switching back and forth between the man and the zone defense was really good,” Popovich continued. “As I’ve said, if we can hold somebody to 101 points we’ll be in great shape. You have a night, once in a while, where you shoot like this. Coming in, we were one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league, but tonight it was awful. That happens but that doesn’t bother me. I don’t think about it. I think about the effort we put out last night which wasn’t good. Everybody busted their butts tonight and I feel great. I can sleep.”

The Spurs had three scoring leaders with 10 points or more; LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocked shots; DeMar DeRozan registered 23 points and five rebounds, and; Rudy Gay chipped in 13 points and three rebounds.

The Nets also only had three players in double digits. D’Angelo Russell dropped 23 points (9-of-19 FG, 5-of-11 3FG), a game-high eight assists, and seven rebounds; Caris LeVert and Joe Harris both scored 15 points each. LeVert added seven assists and five rebounds to his scoring total, while Harris added three assists. DeMarre Carroll had a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Brooklyn Nets will face the Washington Wizards tomorrow, Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m.

Theo Pinson, a Brooklyn Nets two-way player, leads the Nets with 19 points; Shabbaz Napier steps in for Spencer Dinwiddie and scores 18 points

Watching the New York Knicks play the Brooklyn Nets last night was reminiscent of the Brooklyn Nets the last three seasons before they found their way. The Knicks led the Brooklyn Nets for almost two full quarters, as the Nets have led countless other teams in the past, and then suddenly the opponent dropped the boom and surged for the win. The Nets trailed the Knicks by as much as 10 points in the first quarter and ended that quarter down seven 37-30. A similar occurrence happened in the second, this time down by as much as 11 points, 51-40 at 7:10, but creating a different ending at the half finishing with a tie score, 60-60. Through the third, the Nets ended on top 87-82, and the fourth leading by as much as 17 points at 3:33 and ending the game with a 109-99 win.

In a game when the Nets were without Spencer Dinwiddie because of a thumb injury, the real story of the night was Theo Pinson, an undrafted graduate from the University of North Carolina. On a two-way contract with the Brooklyn Nets, Pinson led all Nets scorers with a career-high and team-high 19 points (5-of-11 FG, 3-of-5 3FG, 6-of-6 FT), a career-high eight rebounds, and a career-high two steals and two assists. Pinson now holds the most points tallied in a game by a Nets two-way player in the two seasons since two-way contracts have been implemented. This wasn’t Pinson’s first game with the Nets and his previous career-high was nine points against Toronto on January 11, 2018.

And, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson had not even considered Pinson to be in the rotation.

“It’s a great job,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about Pinson. “Shouldn’t say unexpected but didn’t originally have him in the rotation. Thought we were struggling and threw him in there, and we didn’t want to take him out. Heck of a job. It’s a credit to our G League – the Long Island Nets – the job they’ve done there, Will Weaver, the head coach, and all the assistants. He’s a part of our program, did a heck of a job and didn’t skip a beat. (He) knew everything we were doing tactically. Just a really smooth transition.”

Pinson, who was on the ready, said of his opportunity, “it was huge, I was actually looking forward to it. Once we went down early, I was just hoping I got the shot and tried to make the best of it.”

Sometimes people, and even reporters, think of players in the NBA’s G-League as not as good as their NBA counterparts. As such, a reporter asked Pinson where he got the confidence to go in and play well tonight.

“Confidence,” Pinson responded. “Confidence and I know I can shoot the ball and they encourage you to shoot here. It was something that I’ve been working all summer and every single day with Shaun Fein, Will Weaver and all those guys who have helped me to this point. I can’t thank those two enough as far as keeping us ready. We run the same stuff up there (Long Island) so I’m not behind when I come here, and it’s helped me out tremendously.”

In addition to Pinson, the other leading Brooklyn Nets scorers came from its bench. Shabbaz Napier scored 18 points; Ed Davis, who is not a prolific scorer, registered a double-double 17 points, 16 rebounds, and three assists, and; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tallied 10 points, seven rebounds, and three rebounds.

Napier filling in for Dinwiddie told reporters what it felt like being in the starting line-up.

“Just be myself,” Napier said. “At the end of the day I play with a lot of heart and I just go out there and try my best to give any type of spark I can. I think collectively we all did that.”

Napier also responded to a question of whether the chemistry he and Ed Davis had coming from Portland helped him in last night’s game.

“Yea I think so. I’ve been playing with Ed (Davis) for three years now. On and off the court he’s been a tremendous help for myself and I think the chemistry, being together with somebody for three years – you build something. I think today we were able to contribute in a lot of ways.”

As for the Nets starters, D’Angelo Russell scored 12 points, four assist, and three rebounds; while Joe Harris chipped in 10 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

For the New York Knicks, Trey Burke led all scorers with 25 points, five assists, and two steals; Noah Vonleh scored 22 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots; Allonzo Trier registered 13 points, and; Tim Hardaway, Jr. chipped in 10 points and three rebounds.

David Fizdale was disappointed in his team’s fourth-quarter performance, particularly in the first half.

“The offense stalled from that standpoint and we weren’t finishing our defensive stops with rebounds,” Fizdale said. “One way or another we put Brooklyn on the line 47 times. It’s very difficult to win a game on the road when you do that.”

Knicks fans, who seemed to outnumber Brooklyn Nets fans at the Barclays Center, left the Barclays Center with similar disappointment. Unfortunately, Knicks fans had to grapple with seeing the Nets improve to 27-23 overall and the Knicks falling to 10-37. The Nets are a league-best 19-5 in their last 24 games, matching their best 24-game stretch in franchise history.

Each team will have another opportunity to improve their records. The New York Knicks will play the Miami Heat tomorrow, at Madison Square Garden. As for the Nets, they travel to Boston to play the Boston Celtics on Monday, January 28, 2019, and then on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, the Nets will be at home to play the Chicago Bulls at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell were game scoring leaders for the Brooklyn Nets, perhaps, putting to rest that the two can’t be on the floor together

The Brooklyn Nets added another win to its list last night by beating the Orlando Magic 114-110. There was no scenario where it looked like it would be a blow-out on either side. The game was close all the way, just a back and forth, one team up, one team down, with the Nets pulling it out at the end.

“First of all, like I keep saying, I think they’re a really good team,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about the Orlando Magic postgame. “It’s a struggle to beat them. They have really good players. Nip and tuck, back and forth, we made mistakes and they made mistakes. I don’t think it was a perfectly played game by any means, especially on our part. I thought we were so-so overall. That’s a sign of a good team, to pull it out when you’re not at your top level.”

The Nets improved to 26-23 overall and 14-11 at Barclays Center with last night’s win against the Magic. Meanwhile, the Magic fell to 20-28 overall and 8-15 on the road with the loss. Additionally, the Nets have won five straight games, seven-straight at home, and 11 of their last 12 at Barclays Center with last night’s victory. And, if you’re wondering if the Nets are still in the NBA playoff hunt, yes, they are holding on to the sixth spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, if the NBA Playoffs were held today.

For the Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie led all players with a game-high 29 points (10-of-17 FG) with three rebounds, three assists, and a steal in 30 minutes off the bench. Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell led all Nets starters with 25 points, a game-high 10 assists, seven rebounds, and two steals in 34 minutes.

Earlier in the season, there was some chatter that Dinwiddie and Russell couldn’t co-exist on the floor together, but with the passage of time, things are looking better for this duo.

“I see more as they are meshing,” Atkinson said about their progress. “More and more every time. I know advanced stuff says they don’t play well together, but they’re going to be in at the end of the game. They’re two of our top players. Having multiple ball handlers like that is huge. They really know how to play off of each other now. Especially the plays we run at the end of the game, they’re looking out for each other. D’Angelo called a play for Spencer with under two minutes there. It was a big play. That’s the kind of altruism we have right now. Guys are really playing for each other.”

D'Angelo Russell also commented on the chemistry between him and Spencer Dinwiddie, “I just think when we’re both aggressive it works out best for us. Like I said, as we’re getting games under our belts. I think we’re realizing how to play off each other and be aggressive and kind of playmaking and make things happen every time we get the ball.”

As for the other Nets players making it happen when they got the ball, DeMarre Carroll recorded 19 points (6-of-13 FG) and four rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench for the Nets. Rodions Kurucs, a starter for the Nets and an NBA rookie, posted 13 points, four rebounds, one steal and one block in 22 minutes. Joe Harris also scored 13 points and four rebounds, and; Jarrett Allen registered a team-high 11 rebounds with six points and two assists in 29 minutes.

Leading starting scorers for the Orlando Magic were, Nikola Vucevic, who scored 21 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and four blocked shots; D.J. Augustin registered 19 points, six assists, three rebounds, and two steals; Jonathan Isaac tallied 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and three blocked shots, and; Aaron Gordon added 10 points and six rebounds.

Jonathon Simmons came off the bench for the Orlando Magic and chipped in 13 points and three assists.

Next up: the Orlando Magic head home to play the Washington Wizards on Friday, January 25, 2019. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will also be at home to host the New York Knicks at Barclays Center also on Friday, January 25, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

 

 

D’Angelo Russell leads Nets win with 29 points against the NBA leader, the Toronto Raptors

For the Brooklyn Nets, the end to the long drought of wins came yesterday against the No. 1 team in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors. It took an overtime session to clinch the win, a third overtime game this season for the Nets by the way, but the Nets beat the Raptors 106-105.

This win, took down a number of demons, the first of which, the Nets ended a 12-game losing streak against the Raptors and the team’s season-worst eight-game losing streak. The win improved Brooklyn’s overall win-loss record so far this season to 9-18, and 4-10 at the Barclays Center.

The last time the Brooklyn Nets won a game this season was way back on November 20, 2018, against the Miami Heat on the road in Miami. The journey to get here was a bit tumultuous, as Brooklyn led so many games in the closing minutes only to drop the ball and allow the other team to win. Watching them give up double-digit leads and lose games in the closing minutes this season, gave many the feeling that perhaps, the team felt they were not worthy of winning. However, Friday night, Brooklyn pushed that monkey off its back and was justly rewarded by the basketball gods. Beating the Raptors should be a sign that this is a win they can build upon. And, don’t cry for the Raptors, they still hold the best record in the NBA.

“Obviously, it’s a great win for us just to get off of the losing streak, the skid that we were on,” Nets forward Joe Harris said about finally getting a game in the win column after a long drought. “We’ve been playing great basketball, and we just haven’t been able to execute and finish down the stretch. Tonight it was with our defense. Big plays. Big possessions. Winning plays all the way around. Obviously, Rondae did a hell of a job individually, defensively, but it was a collective effort for sure.”

Harris also felt this Nets win against the Toronto Raptors is better than other wins this season because the Raptors are number one in the league.

“Yeah, I think it just kind of validates what we were already feeling,” Harris continued. “We’ve obviously been able to compete night in night out with everybody that we’ve played against. Toronto up to this point, even now, has been record-wise the best team in the NBA, and they really have been playing the best basketball. For us to come in and get some validation that our process, we’ve been sticking with it, staying consistent, and we were finally able to execute and finish one off.”

To say that Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was elated with this win would be an understatement.

“I think that stop at the end of the game was indicative of who we were all night,” Atkinson said about his guys. “We fought, we clawed and the basketball gods shined on guys that have been playing good basketball and guys of high character and guys that are together and spirited. So it’s just nice to see those guys in that locker room rewarded for their efforts.”

Leading the way in points for the Brooklyn Nets were D’Angelo Russell with a team-high 29 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench and registered 17 points and eight assists; Jarrett Allen scored a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and added two steals and two blocked shots; both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Allen Crabbe tallied 11 points and four rebounds, while DeMarre Carroll chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Nets forward Ed Davis led the way in rebounding with 15 rebounds, of which 13 were defensive rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 32 points for the Raptors; teammates Jonas Valanciunas added 24 points and eight rebounds, while Pascal Siakam contributed 16 points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots.

Toronto returns home to host the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow, Sunday, December 9, 2018, at 6 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Nets will travel across the East River to Manhattan to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden tonight, Saturday, December 8, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

Can the Nets make it a two-game winning streak?

Only time will tell.

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