February 22, 2019

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.

Noel Nerlens Falls to #6 & Gets Traded to Philly

The calm before the storm settled in at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY Thursday night as the NBA draft prospects sat with their families and mingled with reporters, teammates and agents. The draft picks groomed to a "T" and dressed in their Sunday's best, awaited David Stern to mark the podium for the first announcement. The "Green Room," designated for the draft prospects and their guests only looked like a first-grade class-- all attendees with their chins up, heads forward, hands on the table and all eyes on the teacher (Stern.) Nerlens Noel and Alex Len, two of the top prospects thought to be most likely to go 1 and 2, looked attentively, listening to Stern's announcement.

Boos belted out from the crowd, as Stern took the stage.

"With the 1st pick of the NBA 2013 draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select (PAUSE) Anthony Bennett of Toronto Canada."

The crowd shocked, exploding with semi-excitement for the guy who sports analysts projected to go 4th or 5th.

Bennett, the 6-foot-8 forward and his family jumped to their feet.

The 20-year-old, who started playing basketball seven years ago told reporters that he was "just surprised as everybody else" for being picked No. 1.

"I didn't really have any idea who's going No. 1 or who was going No. 2. I heard everything was up for grabs. But I'm just real happy, glad that I have this opportunity, and I just got to thank God for the opportunity," he said.

After only one year at UNLV, Bennett becomes the second player at the university to be selected the top overall pick, joining Larry Johnson, who was drafted in 1991.

Bennett also becomes the first Canadian to get drafted as a No. 1 pick.

Too much surprise, Noel wasn't called No. 2, but Victor Oladipo is a guy Orlando fans are sure to fall in love with. Besides feeling delighted for being the second pick of the draft, the former Indiana guard said he's not sure if his family still knows "what's going on."

The Nigerian player also has a great singing voice, maybe he'll sing the National Anthem at one of the games.

After five picks in Thursday night's NBA draft, Nerlens finally heard his name called when the New Orleans Pelicans selected him with the sixth pick. He barely showed excitement, likely disappointed that five other picks were selected before him.

"I'm excited getting started with Anthony," Noel said after hearing his name called.

His stint with the Pelicans only lasted for about 30 minutes, after reports swirled that he'd been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday and the NBA's 42nd pick.

Other fan favorites like Trey Burke, Otto Porter Jr, Cody Zeller and Michael-Carter Williams also nabbed NBA picks.

Basketball junkies at Barclays consisted of mostly Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks fans, with Knicks guru Spike Lee in the audience. While the Nets selected Mason Plumlee of Duke, other fans seemed enthusiastic as the Knicks drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. (Not sure about how Tim Hardaway Sr. feels about the pick, knowing the former NBA player hates the Knicks, but I'm sure he's happy for his son nonetheless.)

On social media, the Nets seemed to have been the talk of the night, with rumors swirling that Kevin Garnett waived his no-trade clause, making room for the Boston Big Three trade that could send him, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets for the package of players and draft picks.

See a complete list of the NBA drafts picks below.

FIRST ROUND
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1. Cleveland Cavaliers: PF Anthony Bennett, UNLV
2. Orlando Magic: SG Victor Oladipo, Indiana
3. Washington Wizards: SF Otto Porter Jr., Georgetown
4. Charlotte Bobcats: C Cody Zeller, Indiana
5. Phoenix Suns: C Alex Len, Maryland
6. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans): C Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
7. Sacramento Kings: SG Ben McLemore, Kansas
8. Detroit Pistons: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
9. Utah Jazz (via Minnesota Timberwolves): PG Trey Burke, Michigan
10. Portland Trail Blazers: SG C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
11. Philadelphia 76ers: PG Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: C Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
13. Boston Celtics (via Dallas Mavericks): C Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): SF Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
15. Milwaukee Bucks: SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece
16. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics): C Lucas Nogueira, Brazil
17. Atlanta Hawks: PG Dennis Schroeder, Germany
18. Dallas Mavericks (via Atlanta Hawks): PG Shane Larkin, Miami (Fla.)
19. Cleveland Cavaliers: SF Sergey Karasev, Russia
20. Chicago Bulls: SG Tony Snell, New Mexico
21. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): C Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
22. Brooklyn Nets: C Mason Plumlee, Duke
23. Indiana Pacers: SF Solomon Hill, Arizona
24. New York Knicks: SG Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
25. Los Angeles Clippers: SF Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
26. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves): SF Andre Roberson, Colorado
27. Utah Jazz (via Denver Nuggets): C Rudy Gobert, France
28. San Antonio Spurs: SF Livio Jean-Charles, French Guiana
29. Phoenix Suns (via Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder): SG Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
30. Golden State Warriors (via Phoenix Suns): PG Nemanja Nedovic, Serbia
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SECOND ROUND
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31. Portland Trail Blazers (via Cleveland Cavaliers): SG Allen Crabbe, California
32. Oklahoma City Thunder: SG Alex Abrines, Spain
33. Cleveland Cavaliers: SG Carrick Felix, Arizona State
34. Houston Rockets: PG Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
35. Washington Wizards (via Philadelphia 76ers): SF Glen Rice Jr., NBA Development League
36. Sacramento Kings: PG Ray McCallum, Detroit Mercy
37. Detroit Pistons: F Tony Mitchell, North Texas
38. Philadelphia 76ers (via Washington Wizards): PG Nate Wolters, South Dakota State
39. Portland Trail Blazers: C Jeff Withey, Kansas
40. Portland Trail Blazers: PF Grant Jerrett, Arizona
41. Memphis Grizzlies: SG Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
42. New Orleans Pelicans (via Philadelphia 76ers): PG Pierre Jackson, Baylor
43. Milwaukee Bucks: SG Ricky Ledo, Providence
44. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks): C Mike Muscala, Bucknell
45. Portland Trail Blazers: PF Marko Todorovic, Montenegro
46. Denver Nuggets (via Utah Jazz): PG Erick Green, Virginia Tech
47. Atlanta Hawks: PG Raul Neto, Brazil
48. Los Angeles Lakers: PF Ryan Kelly, Duke
49. Chicago Bulls: PF Erik Murphy, Florida
50. Miami Heat (via Atlanta Hawks): SF James Ennis, Long Beach State
51. Orlando Magic: PF Romero Osby, Oklahoma
52. Minnesota Timberwolves: PG Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State
53. Boston Celtics (via Indiana Pacers): C Colton Iverson, Colorado State
54. Philadelphia 76ers (via Washington Wizards): PF Arsalan Kazemi, Oregon
55. Denver Nuggets (via Memphis Grizzlies): PF Joffrey Lauvergne, France
56. Detroit Pistons: PG Peyton Siva, Louisville
57. Phoenix Suns: C Alex Oriakhi, Missouri
58. San Antonio Spurs: SF Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
59. Minnesota Timberwolves: PF Bojan Dubljevic, Montenegro
60. Memphis Grizzlies: SF Janis Timma, Latvia

 

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