August 18, 2019

Caris LeVert’s return to the Brooklyn Nets lineup spoiled with 125-106 loss to the 12-42 Chicago Bulls

On the heels of a 135-130 win on Wednesday night over the Denver Nuggets, the team that happens to be the No.2 seed in the NBA’s Western Conference, the Brooklyn Nets managed to get shut down at home last night by the 12-42 Chicago Bulls, 125-106.

Brooklyn allowed Chicago to shoot .541 from the field, .500 (14-of-28) from three-point land and was out-rebounded 50-33. The only metric that the Nets overpowered the Bulls on last night was bench points, 43-24.

So, what was the big difference between last night and 10 days ago when the Nets played the Bulls?

The Bulls traded Jabari Parker to the Washington Wizards for Otto Porter Jr. and in so doing, its starters have greater size over the Brooklyn Nets starting five. Both Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez are seven feet tall, the only Nets player close to seven feet tall is Jarrett Allen, who is in his second year in the NBA. Also, according to the NBA, Parker’s average points per game this season is seven and Porter’s PPG this season is 18. Averages for Chicago’s starting five with Jabari Parker was 66.2 and with Otto Porter Jr. is 77.2, which potentially is a big difference between Chicago on January 29, 2019, and last night. From an eyeball test, it was also Chicago’s aggressiveness and Brooklyn seemed to be missing a beat allowing the Chicago Bulls to shoot .541 from the field, .500 (14-of-28) from 3-point land and was out-rebounded 50-33. And, it’s obvious, if you can’t beat those numbers, you’re not going to win.

“I’ve said this before, but I thought we got a lot from a lot from a lot of guys,” Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen told the media. “Obviously, the addition of Otto Porter Jr. changes the way we look, how we play sliding Lauri Markkanen to the five. It’s obviously a difficult matchup for people. I thought we played hard. This team beat us three times and we defensively needed to do a better job. I thought defensively for most of the game we were really good, so I’m proud of us for that. We kind of ham and egged it a little bit. Kris Dunn had a great third quarter. Zach LaVine had his moments in the fourth. And we just kind of played together and I felt like we looked like a team out there and played like a team. I’m happy for them. I’m happy for our guys. I’m proud of our guys.”

“We just weren’t really locked in defensively tonight,” said Allen Crabbe. “They basically got whatever they wanted, did whatever they wanted to do. I don’t think we gave them any resistance on the defensive side. Guys were comfortable out there. They’ve got guys who are capable. It’s the NBA, regardless of their record, every team has players who can play, and we just weren’t ready to play tonight, and they took advantage of that.”

“Poor rating overall,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about his team’s performance last night. “Our defense was just non-existent. Couldn’t keep them in front of us. Couldn’t guard them. There wasn’t, one or two guys, I thought collectively we couldn’t guard them. Give them (Bulls) a lot of credit. I thought they played great. They obviously made shots. They added shooting with Otto (Porter Jr.) in there. It was really poor.”

And, Coach Atkinson said he tried everything.

“I think we tried one through 25 tonight,” Atkinson added. “If we had 25, we probably would have tried them. Yeah, we played some guys, but I don’t think that was an excuse tonight. They outplayed us 1 through 12. It’s just that simple. I don’t think tonight was a lineup thing.”

Truth.

Unfortunately, the Nets’ overall performance spoiled Caris LeVert’s return to the lineup. LeVert missed the previous 42 games with a subtalar dislocation of his right foot, which he sustained playing the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 12, 2018. Coming off the bench, LeVert gave the Nets an instant boost, which is what he always does. LeVert registered a career-high-tying (and Nets season-high) five steals, to go along with his 11 points, four assists, and two rebounds in 15 minutes.

“It felt good to get back out there with the team,” LeVert said about his return to the lineup. “Obviously, we didn’t get the win out there, but it felt good to be back out there for sure. I was kind of tired the first little stint I played, the first six minutes, but after that I kind of settled into the game and got more comfortable.”

Of course, when an athlete gets injured everyone is concerned about the return on a physical level.

“I prepared for it,” LeVert explained. “We put a lot of time in over the last couple of months, so it was kind of expected for me. I don’t want to make it about me because I wish we would have won the game for sure, but that’s expected. We didn’t come back to just be there. We wanted to be better than before.”

As for Coach Atkinson, LeVert’s return was the silver lining about last night’s game against the Bulls.

“If I had to take one positive from tonight that was a positive, I thought he looked good, looked athletic, he was athletic, came downhill like he does, make some passes,” Atkinson said. “Obviously there were a few bumps here and there, but for the most part I think he was a plus-five on the sheet, so he had some positives tonight and played well.”

D’Angelo Russell led the Nets’ with 23 points, six assists, and two steals; Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe each scored 19 points, and Harris added five assists to his total, and; Jarrett Allen chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds.

For the Bulls, Lauri Markkanen led all scorers with 31 points, 18 rebounds, and two blocked shots; Zach LaVine added 26 points, five assists, three rebounds, and two steals; Otto Porter Jr. accumulated 18 points and four rebounds; Kris Dunn tallied 14 points, nine assists, and five rebounds; Robin Lopez registered 12 points and five rebounds, and; Wayne Selden chipped in 11 points.

The Bulls will play the Washington Wizards today, February 9, 2019, in the nation’s capital. Meanwhile, the Nets have two road games before the NBA All-Star break. The Nets will travel to Toronto to play the Toronto Raptors on Monday, February 11, 2019, and then the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. The next time the Brooklyn Nets will be at home is on Thursday, February 21, 2019, to play the Portland Trail Blazers at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo, Dwayne Wade team up to push back Nets 118-88

The Chicago Bulls came into the Barclays Center on Halloween night to play the Brooklyn Nets with an undefeated 2-0 record; and it was apparent from the start, that the Bulls were determined to leave with its undefeated record intact.

Although Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez won the tip over his brother Robin, the Bulls set the tone early, running roughshod over the Nets, taking the First Quarter 38-20. Bulls forward Jimmy Butler wasted no time making his presence felt early. Butler knocked down 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter.

“I think they are playing with more pace,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson stated. “I think (Bulls point guard Rajon) Rondo helps with that. He pushed the ball up the court. They’re versatile off the bench so they can give you different looks with (Nikola) Mirotic coming off shooting. I think they set the tone, they set the pace, they really made their imprint on the game and we definitely did not have it tonight.”

“They were the more aggressive team,” Atkinson continued. “I thought they really came out and really got into us. I thought, for some reason, we were back on our heels a little bit and they took advantage of that. Give them credit. I thought they played really well. They played a great game.”

There’s no question the Bulls played really well. The numbers tell the story.

Nets shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovic led all Nets players with 15 points. Other Nets players in double digits were Jeremy Lin with 14 points, four assists, and four steals. Sean Kilpatrick and Brook Lopez each scored 13 points. A telling stat regarding Lopez, he only had two boards and both were offensive rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Bulls had seven players in double digits. Two of the top three Bulls scorers came off the bench. Butler led all players with 22 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Mirotic posted 16 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists off the bench. Isaiah Canaan, another backup player, scored 15 points and six assists. Bulls starting forward Taj Gibson contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dwyane Wade, against a backdrop of cheers, showed the crowd he still has it, tallying 12 points, four assists, and three each in the rebound and steals columns.

It’s early in the season, but the Nets have to get the fire in the belly and stand up to the better teams, or it’s going to be a painful season.

Brook Lopez won the battle of the brothers; Thaddeus Young had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and the ghost of Joe Johnson returned

The Brooklyn Nets took advantage of New York Knicks minus forward Carmelo “Melo” Anthony on Wednesday night and beat the Knicks 110-104, snapping a season-high 10-game home losing streak. It was the Nets’ third straight home victory over the Knicks.

In a game with lots of story lines, first is Nets’ interim coach Tony Brown’s first victory overall. Brown inherited the interim coach position on Sunday when former Nets head coach Lionel Hollins lost his position.

Perhaps, the Nets going into this game believed that they could win, Melo or no Melo, considering they have won five of the last six games against the Knicks. Perhaps, it was a new head coach with a new philosophy and new demeanor, but the Nets seemed to play with more energy and more swagger.

Bojan Bogdanovic came off the bench in the first quarter on three-point fire; knocking down 3 three-pointers in three minutes 11 seconds of play. Overall, Bogdanovic scored 14 points and four rebounds in just under 23 minutes of playing time.

Nets center Brook Lopez won the battle of the brothers, as he was more productive than his brother Robin Lopez. In 29:32 minutes of play, Brook scored 20 points, five assists, and eight rebounds to Robin’s nine points and 12 rebounds in 30:40 minutes of play.

Brooklyn Nets forward Thaddeus Young had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Shane Larkin, who didn’t start in place of injured Jarrett Jack, put up 17 points, five assists, and two rebounds. Joe Johnson, who is still the subject of trade rumors and looked like the Joe Johnson of previous seasons, he made two key jumpers in the final 2 minutes and finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Point guard Wayne Ellington chipped in 10 points, two assists, and two rebounds.

The electricity in the air at the Barclays Center was palpable. Celebrity row actually had celebrities. R&B singer Maxwell was in the house promoting his upcoming concert with rapper Nas. New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who was cheered at the opening of the Barclays Center, was roundly booed; probably by disappointed Giants fans. Even former Knicks player Andrea Bargnani got booed, but surprisingly, not Shane Larkin another former Knick. At times, there was a battle of the fans, as Knicks fans made their presence known. Nets fans may have been outnumbered, but most of the evening, they were not shrinking violets.

"Games like this, it's going to help turn our fan base around," Brown said. "If we continue to play in this kind of fashion, we'll fill the seats, but we've got to show them first. It'll take time, but tonight was a good start."

In defeat, Knicks forward Derrick Williams came off the bench and led all scorers and tied his career high 31 points. Other Knicks players scoring in double digits were Arron Afflalo with 18 points; Jose Calderon added 16 points and wonder-kid Kristaps Porzingis, who shot just 5 for 17, chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds.

"On nights like this when we don't have (Anthony), I can't have a shooting night like this," Porzingis said. "I've got to step up. I've got to score the ball more."

Looks like the stars aligned for the Nets.

Next up for the Nets will be the Portland Trailblazers on Friday.

If the Knicks are to enjoy any success this season as overachievers, Carmelo Anthony has to be the star of the show

If you are a New York Knicks fan, there is no point in looking into the past. A brand new season is upon us. It’s a clean slate; and last season was one of the worst seasons in franchise history. As hard as it is to gain any sense of optimism regarding the Knicks chances this season, there’s actually a good reason why you should invest your precious time. Phil Jackson, the Knicks president struck out when it came to the top free agents like LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Monroe but what he did do was put together a team full of solid players who can play in the triangle offense.

Robin Lopez signed on for four years and $54-million. Kyle O’Quinn was acquired in a sign-and-trade with the Orlando Magic. Former Laker and Jackson disciple, Sasha Vujacic, a sharp shooter, provides the Knicks with a legitimate deep threat. Aaron Afflalo, a former teammate of Carmelo Anthony will start at the two. And other signees like Kevin Seraphin, Derrick Williams, draft picks: Kristaps Porzingis (4th overall), Jerian Grant (19th overall, traded to Knicks), Louis Amundson and Lance Thomas round out the offseason moves.

Anything done with the mindset of improving the team from last year should be commended and regarding the Knicks, they definitely improved. They got bigger, tougher, added some perimeter scoring and most importantly brought in players who they believe can be system players.

Although preseason doesn’t mean much, the new personnel showed signs of what to expect this season. Williams looked like an early candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Melo was in mid-season form after enduring left knee surgery in February, which kept him off the court following the All-Star break. And for a change, the Knicks actually showed some life on the defensive end of the floor.

They looked energized, collecting steals and plenty of blocks, highlighting the athletic ability of Williams and the length of Porzingis, which will be a strength for the Knicks this season. In addition to Williams, Lopez was acquired primarily to anchor the Knicks on the defensive end along with Seraphin and O’Quinn, so the Knicks should be able to prevent teams from dominating on offense in the post.

Like the defense, the bench should also be a plus this season. Williams sports the kind of game that can lead the 2nd unit on offense. Rookie, Grant is a four-year collegiate athlete who does a great job penetrating the lane to make plays for himself and others. Langston Galloway, who plays on both ends, feels like he has a chip on his shoulder, going undrafted last year out of St. Joe’s and Cleanthony Early is looking to enjoy a better sophomore campaign.

The Knicks bench probably won’t lead the league in bench scoring, but you can bet that they will defend and provide a much-needed spark transitioning from the starters. And most importantly, they are young. There’s a lot to like with this Knicks team and in the bright spots that reflect the 2015-16 version of the Knicks, there are also many questions.

Questions surrounding Porzingis and how well he plays in his first season in the association will arise. Porzingis will play the most basketball he has ever played in his life and will matchup with the cream-of-the-crop in big men on a nightly basis. Can he handle it? Since he was drafted, Porzingis has spent this summer getting stronger, adding 11 pounds of muscle to his wiry frame to be able to bang down low with a game that represents Euro basketball well. According to multiple sources, Porzingis has spent significant time working on his back to the basket game after practice. But like every rookie, Porzingis, as talented as he is as a 7-footer, will experience some growing pains and how he handles adversity will be essential to his development.

Is Melo completely healthy? If the Knicks are to enjoy any success this season as overachievers, Melo has to be the star of the show like he is paid to be. Melo has to put this team on his back and be a reliable source of points whenever the Knicks need it, especially in the fourth quarter. Although Melo has to lead this team in scoring, he does have to be a model citizen as the leader of this group and with scoring, prioritize moving the ball and playing defense for the best possible outcome.

Can Derek Fisher coach and will the Knicks remain healthy are other questions that the orange and blue must answer this season if they plan to qualify for the playoffs. The Knicks will take on the Milwaukee Bucks in its season opener and it seems like health is already an issue.

Afflalo will miss the season opener due to a strained left hamstring, joined by Amundson (sore lower back) and Seraphin (sore right knee).

Not too long ago, Melo compared this Knicks team to the New York Mets who are currently in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals. Melo sees comparisons in how his Knicks and the Mets had to rebuild and craft a team that can win at a high level. Unfortunately for Melo and co. the Knicks aren’t World Series ready, but the 8th seed is definitely within reach.

New York Giants finally get a win; Victor Cruz may return; and Brooklyn Nets' Boss going to training camp

In this episode of What's The 411Sports recorded on September 28, 2015, the panel of host, Naomi Grey and correspondents Gregory Alcala and Keisha Wilson are talking about the week's MLB, NFL, and NBA sporting events. They are particularly talking about the New York Mets, the New York Jets, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.

Players under discussion include: Matt Harvey; Yoenis Cespedes; Eric Decker; Odell Beckham Jr.; Ryan Fitzpatrick; Victor Cruz; Eli Manning; Geno Smith; DeMarco Murray; Deron Williams; Jarrett Jack; Robin Lopez; Carmelo Anthony; Jonathan Papelbon and more.

Owners, managers, and coaches under discussion include: Mikhail Prokhorov; Sandy Alderson; Phil Jackson; Tom Coughlin; Chip Kelly; and Lionel Hollins.

What’s Poppin’

The New York Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, 20-7 and lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, 21-17.

The New York Giants claimed their first win of the season, beating the Washington NFL team, 32-21 and Head Coach, Tom Coughlin expressed that WR Victor Cruz could make his season debut next week against the Buffalo Bills.

At the end of the 2012-2013 Season, the Philadelphia Eagles fired longtime coach Andy Reid after his team won a paltry four games. When the Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly as their new head coach, he was a breath of fresh air. He was going to bring about new changes and a high powered offense. He achieved success on the collegiate level with his style of offense and some questioned whether or not his system would translate to the professional level. Is Chip Kelly, a boom or bust?

Under The Radar

 

Mikhail Prokhorov Goes to Training Camp

This boss ain’t playing around. Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, took to twitter to announce that he will be joining the Nets in Durham, NC at Duke.

Laura Herington Bucking the System

Laura Herington, a former dancer for the Milwaukee Bucks, is suing the team for prolific wage abuse.

On The Bench

 

On The Bench: Jonathan Papelbon

Washington Nationals pitcher, Jonathan Papelbon, was suspended for three games and fined by Major League Baseball for throwing a pitch at Baltimore Oriole Manny Machado. The pitch aimed at Machado is believed to be in retaliation after Machado hit a two-run home run off Papelbon two innings prior. Papelbon has filed an appeal of the punishment and is permitted to play until the ruling of the appeal is determined.

 

 

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