October 20, 2020

Nets forward Taurean Prince leads Nets with 21 points in the loss, Caris LeVert posts 20 points in 22 minutes in 2nd outing since coming back from injury

And the losses keep coming!

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets met up with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the ending wasn’t pretty. The Nets stayed close to the Thunder during the first half, ending the half down one point at 49-48 and pulled ahead slightly in the third, 77-74. Unfortunately, the Nets couldn’t keep it together to stay ahead and allowed OKC to tie up the game-ending regulation with a score of 101-101. In overtime, only Joe Harris was able to hit a bucket for Brooklyn, scoring two points, while the Thunder added 10 points. Consequently, the Nets fell to 16-20 with the 111-103 loss to the OKC Thunder. Meanwhile, OKC improved to 21-16 on the season. Since December 1, 2019, the Nets have lost 11 of 17 games.

In just his second appearance since his thumb injury, Caris LeVert showed why reporters continued to ask about his return while he was out. LeVert added 20 points (7-of-16 FG) with six rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes off the bench for the Nets. LeVert looks like he’s on the road to be the scorer he was during the 2019 NBA Playoffs, as he is averaging 16.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 19.1 minutes per game in his two games since returning from right thumb surgery. So, given LeVert’s performance, it begged the question as to why he wasn’t on the floor in overtime.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on not putting Caris LeVert in the game during overtime

“It’s how we operate,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding keeping Caris LeVert out during overtime. “We knew there was an understanding of where he was. That’s how we work – thinking about long-term health and the long-term plan and sticking with that plan because it’s easy to say ‘hey, let’s win this game.’ I think you would regret it if something ever happened, so, I think it’s a plan that we stick with, we make it beforehand, and we stick with it.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Taurean Prince, Brooklyn’s scoring leader last night, recorded his fifth 20-point game of the season. Prince scored a team-high 21 points (8-of-15 FG, 5-of-10 3FG) and eight rebounds for the Nets. Spencer Dinwiddie, who had been Brooklyn’s leading scorer while Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert were both out with injuries, struggled with shooting early on, but accumulated 14 points, a game-high six assists, and five rebounds, in 36 minutes; Jarrett Allen posted 12 points, and; Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and three rebounds. DeAndre Jordan, not a scoring leader, as he only scored eight points, led the way for the Nets on the boards with 10 rebounds to go along with his eight points in 20 minutes off the bench.

“We played some really good basketball, so that’s the shame about it,” continued Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “And again, the defense was pretty good, obviously Chris Paul hit some tough, big shots at the end of the game. But we scored, I think, two points in overtime. Our offense is just not where it needs to be. We’re just really struggling. A lot of good defensive performances the last 10 games and our offense is just struggling big time.”

“Yeah, having had six losses in a row prior to this, and having played well, it’s not a good feeling to drop a game we definitely could’ve won and had our chance to win,” Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said regarding how this loss in particular hurts.

“Yeah, definitely,” said Joe Harris regarding how the loss stung a bit more given the way the game unfolded. “I thought we played better tonight than we had the previous losses that we’ve had, especially when you feel like you have a good opportunity there at the end, a chance to win. It’s a credit to OKC – both of us coming off a back-to-back. And again, it’s just one of those situations where they made more plays in critical moments. Obviously, they’ve got a big-time player in Chris (Paul), where he’s able to kind of take over down the stretch, the fourth quarter and overtime.”

OKC guard Chris Paul, who was the oldest player on the floor, led his team and all scorers with 28 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander knocked down 22 points and four rebounds; Dennis Schroder recorded 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists, and Steven Adams registered 10 points, 18 rebounds, and five assists.

Coach Speak: Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan

“The guys did a lot of really, really good things,” said Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan. “It was unfortunate we fought so hard; I think we were down by seven to get back in the game. The break that left the game open was (Spencer) Dinwiddie missing that free throw when we fouled before the ball was thrown in bounds on the side out-of-bounds play. But you know, from there I thought our guys battled and competed. I thought Terrance’s (Ferguson) defense in terms of him chasing Joe Harris around and just trying to get him off his spots because he’s such an elite shooter, was really something else. And then, obviously, Chris (Paul) coming down the stretch, helping us get the game to overtime with the way he was scoring. There was (were) a lot of different things that happened during the course of the game, where there was a lot of major contributions and a lot of guys chipped in. We struggled to score. We were probably a little bit tired, (a) little weary. We had some decent looks we couldn’t really get anything to go down. But we kind of stayed with it to your point, we defended and rebounded.”

What’s Next for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Oklahoma City Thunder will return home to Oklahoma City to host the Houston Rockets on Thursday, January 9, 2020, at 8:30 p.m. CT.

The Brooklyn Nets will stay at home to host the Miami Heat at the Barclays Center on Friday, January 10, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

Spencer Dinwiddie leads all Brooklyn Nets’ players in scoring and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was the only other Net to score in double digits

Yesterday, was the day after Christmas and most people in and around the Barclays Center were filled with good cheer. Of course, Brooklyn Nets fans were expecting the 16-13 Nets to be able to handle their business over the lowly 7-24 New York Knicks. But the Nets put up very little effort and someone forgot to tell the Knicks players that it was the day after Christmas, and it would be okay if they slacked off. So, instead of a Nets win, the Knicks pulled off an embarrassing upset.

How The Nets Lost By The Numbers

The Nets shot 26.9 percent from the field (21 of 78) versus the Knicks’ 40.2 percent (37 of 92). From behind the arc, the Nets hit 13 of 50 (26 percent) buckets and the Knicks weren’t much better at 9 of 29 (31 percent), but they didn’t have to be. From the line, the Nets made 27 of its 36 free-throws versus the Knicks’ 11 of 15. The Knicks also outrebounded the Nets 60-50.

Looking at how the points were distributed among the players, New York boasted four players scoring in double digits to the Nets’ two.

For the Knicks, Julius Randle led all scorers with 33 points and eight rebounds; Marcus Morris, Sr. posted 22 points and eight rebounds; Elfrid Payton contributed 13 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, and; Mitchell Robinson registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Meanwhile, only Spencer Dinwiddie and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored in double digits for the Nets. Dinwiddie scored 25 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, while Luwawu-Cabarrot made the scoring leader cut with 10 points.

So, what the hell happened? How does one explain the Nets’ poor performance against the New York Knicks?

“For us, we held them under 100 points, which was the target,” Dinwiddie explained. “We also shot 27 percent from the field. Let’s go with too much eggnog. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Perhaps, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson can shed more light on his team’s disappointing loss.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on his team losing to the New York Knicks

“They just outplayed us, plain and simple,” Coach Atkinson explained. “You could sit there and write or talk about missed shots – and we missed a lot of open shots – I don’t buy that. Give them credit, they were just simply the better team. Take the missed shots out. They were excellent defensively at the rim. They obviously guarded the 3- point line well enough for us to miss a ton of threes. I thought our defense, besides the third quarter, our defense was good. This is one of those nights where you just have to give the other team credit.”

And the Knicks didn’t waste any time taking credit and who could fault them for claiming a win they rightly deserved.

Coach Speak: Mike Miller on how the New York Knicks were able to defeat the Brooklyn Nets

“I like the start,” said New York Knicks head coach Mike Miller. “I thought our guys played with great energy. I thought we really had a great focus. Brooklyn is a very good offensive team. They probably felt like they missed some open looks and opportunities, but I really felt like we did a good job with how we started just making them go through us to make some plays. I think that really helped us in the beginning. It got us off to a great start. I love the effort that we played with and how connected we were tonight.”

“Games are so different,” Coach Miller continued as he reflected on the Knicks’ 121-115 loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday night. “Game to game things can be different. The game on Monday we got off to a great start, we just didn’t sustain it. So tonight, I was really pleased because we played a very good offensive team and they hit you so many different ways. As you go in when you play a team that good you have to try to slow them down somehow.”

What’s Next for the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets?

The New York Knicks head to Washington to take on the Washington Wizards on Saturday, December 28, 2019, at 8 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets begin a three-game road trip at Houston, also on tomorrow, Saturday, December 28, 2019, at 8 p.m. ET, then it’s on to Minnesota to play the Timberwolves on Monday, December 30, 2019, at 8:00 ET; Thursday, January 2, 2020, they travel to Dallas to meet up with the Dallas Mavericks at 8:30 p.m., before facing the reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, at the Barclays Center on Saturday, January 4, 2020.

Hold the eggnog!

 
 

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.

 
 

Taurean Prince leads Nets with team-high 27 points in 123-116 win over the Houston Rockets

One always hopes for the Brooklyn Nets to win even when powerhouse teams like the Houston Rockets come to the Barclays Center. But if not, at least be competitive. Considering the way the Nets have been playing as of late, no one in their right mind would have bet the farm on a Nets victory against the Rockets, one of the elite teams in the NBA. However, last night, had you bet the farm, you would have come up big as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Houston Rockets 123-116.

There is something about the Brooklyn Nets and the Houston Rockets because this isn’t the first time the Nets have beaten the James Harden-led Rockets. Last season, on January 16, 2019, the Nets bested the Rockets 145-142 in overtime. Last night, with the firepower of both James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Nets’ once-again found the winning formula to get the W.

With the win on Friday night, the Nets improved to 2-3 overall this season, while the Rockets fell to 3-2 with the loss.

By The Numbers

Brooklyn shot 49.4 percent from the field (42-of-85 FG) and 59.4 percent from 3-point range (19-of-32 3FG), both season highs, while holding Houston to 41.4 percent shooting from the field (41-of-99 FG) and 25.0 percent shooting from distance (12-of-48 3FG).

The Nets also outrebounded the Rockets 55-40 and edged the Rockets 26-21 in assists on Friday. Brooklyn’s 55 rebounds marked a season-high and its 26 assists are a season-high in a regulation game.

This game was no walk in the park for the Nets, as the Rockets did present some obstacles. The Nets ended the first quarter down by nine points, 34-23, and at 8:21 in the second stanza, the Rockets led the Nets by 15 points 45-30. However, Brooklyn righted itself and outscored Houston 71-50 in the second and third quarters combined; ending the second quarter up two with a score of 61-59, and by 12 at the end of the third, 95-83. The Nets led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter and the Rockets chipped away at that lead, but when it was all said and done, the Nets held the off to win by seven, 123-116.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on the Game and his players

“I thought our defense was really good third quarter,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson in explaining one of the keys to defeating Houston Rockets. I thought we came out really good, and overall the defense was against an explosive offensive team. I thought our defense kind of kept us alive.”

Kind of?

“A lot of guys played well,” Atkinson added commenting on the Nets’ scoring effort. “I thought that’s what we need going forward. We can’t rely on Kyrie (Irving) every night to be Superman. And he was good tonight, but we need other guys in a supporting role.”

Last night, Taurean Prince was one of those guys who let his presence be known. Prince led the Brooklyn Nets with a team-high 27 points, a career-high-tying 12 rebounds, of which 11 were defensive rebounds.

“He was big,” Atkinson said about Prince. “Just toughness, obviously he made shots – that always helps. I thought his defense was really good. He gave us some relief. He played (James) Harden a little bit. He played (Russell) Westbrook. He was big tonight.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

When asked about Atkinson’s praises of his effort against Houston, Prince responded: “That means a lot to me. I hold myself accountable for a lot of things besides scoring. That’s the type of player I want to be, and I’m glad he’s holding me to that expectation. I plan to uphold that for now and as long as I’m in the league.”

Other Brooklyn Nets scoring leaders included Caris LeVert, who tallied 25 points (8-of-15 FG, 8-of-9 FT) with four rebounds, four assists in 32 minutes against the Rockets. Kyrie Irving notched his first double-double as a Net with 22 points and a game-high 10 assists and four rebounds in 34 minutes; Garrett Temple had a huge night, recording 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots, Temple’s first time scoring in double digits this season, and; Joe Harris contributed 15 points, nine rebounds, and three steals in 34 minutes against the Rockets.

Coach Speak: Mike D’Antoni on the Brooklyn Nets

“Brooklyn played well,” said Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni. “They hit a bunch of threes the whole game. I thought we guarded them pretty well, they just knocked them down. We tried to get it close and eke one out, but we just weren’t sharp. We looked a little fatigued, we’ll get there. Maybe we got tired. I’ll have to go back and look at it harder. Maybe Brooklyn just played better and started hitting hard shots. Who knows? We just have a lot of things to tighten up. We have to get better production out of certain people defensively. It was a great game. We’ll move right along."

VIDEO: James Harden Gives Credit to Brooklyn Nets

When James Harden was asked what needs to change defensively, he responded, “Nothing, we did an unbelievable job. I think the two games that we lost we were up 15 and I think we just relaxed, we get comfortable, but again it’s still early. We’ve got to learn how to, when we go up double-digits and 15-point leads, sustain it and even try to take it to another level. Another learning experience, I think we fought hard all four quarters. They made some big-time shots, some of their role players made some big-time shots and you got to just give them credit."

VIDEO: Russell Westbrook Not Worried and Talks About What Really Matters

Russell Westbrook was a little more succinct in his response to what changed defensively for the Rockets in the fourth quarter and the game overall.

“We got stops,” Westbrook stated. “We started off getting stops. We had a lead ourselves, then we relaxed and didn’t lock in defensively for 48 minutes.”

Houston Rockets Scoring Leaders

For the Houston Rockets, James Harden led the all scorers with 36 points, 8 assists, and five rebounds; Russell Westbrook scored 27 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds; Danuel House, Jr. recorded 15 points and five rebounds, and Clint Capella chipped in 10 points and four rebounds.

What's Next?

Up next for Houston: The Rockets will travel to Miami to play the Heat on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will travel to Detroit and play the Pistons later tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET and return home to play the New Orleans Pelicans minus Zion Williamson on Monday, November 4, 2019, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

 
 
 

Kyrie Irving leads Nets with 28 points and Spencer Dinwiddie accumulates 20 points off the bench in the loss to the Indiana Pacers

Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon, and T.J. Warren accounted for 95 of the Pacers’ 118 points; add in Myles Turner’s seven points and the Pacers’ starting five accounted for 102 of their 118-point winning total. Compare the Pacers’ starting five’s 102 points to the Nets’ 72 points from its starters, of which Irving contributed more than a third with 28 points. Caris LeVert totaled 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists in 33 minutes, and; Joe Harris added 13 points and two boards in 30 minutes. With just eight points, Nets center DeAndre Jordan didn’t break through the 10+ threshold to be a “point-scoring leader”, but he more than made up for his 23 minutes on the court, pulling down 17 rebounds.

The Nets needed its bench to step up, but only Spencer Dinwiddie scored in double-digits with 20 points and a team-high seven assists in 27 minutes of play. Except for Dinwiddie, the Nets’ bench was abysmal. How does Rodions Kurucs justify just two points in 20 minutes of play?

Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson on the Game

“We're not really running anything,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about his team’s offense. “In training camp, you're practicing a lot, you have (a) nice flow, you kind of know what you're doing. I think we've lost a little bit of our structure and organization, which is natural with a new team and new guys. Like, I said, I think we have to play with each other more, get to know each other more, get on the same page in all aspects."

The Nets were in the game through the first half, leading the Pacers 63-60. But the Pacers started “out-pacing” the Nets in the third ending the quarter 90-83 and continued their winning pace into fourth.

So, what changed in the third quarter?

“I think our turnovers hurt us,” Coach Atkinson told the media.

Brooklyn turned the ball over eight times compared to Indiana’s two.

“Just overall, they dominated us physically, tactically,” Coach Atkinson continued. “It could have been a lot worse; we've got a lot of things to figure out. It's just a turnover thing, I don't remember seeing a stat line like that since I've been here, so it's just finding that balance. We’ve really got to get to know each other better, I think that's part of it. I knew Indiana was coming in here 0-3 and they've kind of historically took it to us physically and they did again tonight. (A) good lesson for us."

Kyrie Irving concurred, “they just got some separation. (We) turned the ball over a few too many times throughout the game. They were just comfortable, played with a sense of desperation. (Domantas) Sabonis got it going in the paint and had a really good game. (Malcolm) Brogdon hit some really good shots, and they have (Jeremy) Lamb filling in right there and T.J. (Warren) getting some backdoor cuts. Four of the main guys scoring over 20 points; it’s going to be hard to sustain any lead that we have.”

Particularly when you can’t figure out a way to stop them and the team is missing shots.

As for the Pacers’ perspective after getting their first win?

“It feels great,” said Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan. “These guys stay(ed) with it. We talked about having to be patient with this group. I thought tonight we did a better job of organizing on the offensive end of the floor. The defense was connected out there and with the injuries, guys kept believing and staying with it and we got out first win.”

Up Next

The Indiana Pacers will return home to Indianapolis to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets better bring their A++ game on Friday, November 1, 2019, or it probably will be ugly. They play host to James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Houston Rockets team at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The game time is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

 

D’Angelo Russell scores 34 points to help the Nets defeat the Celtics; the victory also snaps the Nets’ 10-game losing streak against the Celtics

Is it too early to cue up the music, “Movin’ on Up,” the theme song from the 1970s – 1980s sitcom, The Jeffersons? Perhaps, but to Brooklyn Nets fans, it sure does feel good to be one game away from reaching the .500 mark and to still be in contention for an NBA playoff spot.

NBA Playoff Watch: The Brooklyn Nets are now in the seventh spot in the NBA Eastern Conference (The Boston Celtics are currently in the fifth spot).

“We don’t really talk about it as a team,” Jarrett Allen said about the Nets currently in an NBA Playoff spot. “It’s obviously something on all of our minds that we want to make it, but it’s never that ‘oh, let’s make it.’ It’s never spoken out loud, but we all know what we have to do.”

We hear you, Jarrett Allen, but people who follow the Nets, are talking about it and not necessarily in hush tones because the upward trajectory of the Nets so far this season has taken many by surprise.

Last night, the Nets defeated the Boston Celtics 109-102 at home at the Barclays Center and in so doing, the Nets improved to 22-23 overall and 12-11 at Barclays Center, while the Celtics fell to 25-18 overall and 10-13 on the road with this loss. The Nets have also won five straight home games, which is a big deal for the Nets since it is the first time since the 2014-15 season (March 27 – April 6, 2015) that the Nets have won five consecutive games at home more evidence that the Nets are turning a corner.

This victory also snapped the Nets’ 10-game losing streak against the Celtics, which had marked the team’s longest active losing streak against any opponent. The last time Nets won a game against the Celtics it was three years ago on January 2, 2016, in Boston, for those of you who may be keeping score.

Last night’s win was not without some bumps in the road. The Nets ended the third quarter with a 24-point lead (90-66) and that wasn’t the largest lead of the night. The Nets had a 27-point advantage over the Celtics at 9:33 in the fourth quarter on a Spencer Dinwiddie 26' 3-point pull-up shot, but over the course of the last stanza, the Nets lead started slipping eventually getting to only seven points at 1:28 on a Jaylen Brown driving finger roll layup. Over the course of the closing seconds, the Nets were up by nine, up by seven, up by nine, and eventually ending the game at 109-102.

Of course, the media wanted to get Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s take on the Nets defensive breakdown in the fourth quarter.

“It speaks to how good they are,” coach Atkinson said regarding the Boston Celtics’ surge in the fourth. “We know it is coming. You’re not beating that team by 30 – you could but considering we haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here. I also think we played eight guys and that’s part of it. I think there was some fatigue. Sure, there’s things we can get better at. I’m going to talk to our 22-year-old point guard about being a little more secure with the ball. But overall, we hung on and closed it out.”

The Nets’ 22-year-old point guard, D’Angelo Russell, posted a game-high-tying 34 points (13-of-26 FG, 7-of-13 3FG, 1-of-2 FT) with five rebounds, a game-high seven assists, one steal and one block in 37 minutes. Russell scored 18 of his 34 points in the third quarter.

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had his eye on Russell.

“…The (Celtics) third-quarter defense was awful,” Stevens said. “Obviously, Brooklyn scored 44 in the quarter and D’Angelo Russell got going. We didn’t get a stop or a rebound for the first four minutes of the quarter. You’re not going to win games when you start the quarter like that in what was a back-and-forth, tougher, more physical game that we just couldn’t make a shot in the first half. But for whatever reason, our third quarter defense was not there. We (Celtics) went on a drought and Brooklyn just blew us out of the water…”

Still feeling good about his accomplishment in last night’s game against the Celtics, Russell told the media what it took for him to go on his scoring roll in the third quarter.

In a word, “Confidence,” Russell said. “I mean, I trust my craft. My teammates like I said they put me in the position to do that. They’re finding me when we have the hot hand, but once again I trust my craft and I know what I’m capable of.”

So, those of you who doubted D’Angelo Russell’s abilities and belief in himself, take note.

Looking at other Nets starters who were scoring leaders last night, Rodions Kurucs, a Nets rookie who has surprised everyone with his skills, totaled 19 points, four rebounds, and two steals in 33 minutes. Jarrett Allen also recorded 19 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks in 33 minutes. Joe Harris tallied 13 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in 35 minutes.

Coming off the bench for the Nets, DeMarre Carroll posted his second double-double of the season with 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in 33 minutes.

For the Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum had a game-high-tying 34 points, five rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots, and one steal. Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, six rebounds, and two steals. Brad Wanamaker, who came off the bench for Boston, chipped in 13 points, four assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

Both teams are really going to have to put on their big boy pants tomorrow as they both face formidable teams. The Celtics square off against the Toronto Raptors at home at the Boston Garden. The Brooklyn Nets travel to Houston to play the Rockets, also tomorrow, and then on to Orlando to play the Magic on Friday, January 18, 2019. The Nets will then return home to play the Sacramento Kings on Monday, January 21, 2019, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 3:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Caris LeVert scores a career-high 29 points for the Nets, and don’t sleep on Carmelo Anthony, Rockets forward scored 28 points off the bench against the Nets

What started off as a winnable game for the Brooklyn Nets turned into a nightmare. 

The Nets were up by as much as 10 points in the first quarter at the 2:15 mark and up by as much as 14 points in the second at 3:11 before ending the first half with a five-point spread 61-56. As per the case with the Nets, the third quarter brought a reversal of fortunes, as the Rockets came on with a burst of energy leading the Nets by as much as eight points before ending the third with just five points over the Nets at 91-86. Early in the fourth quarter, the Rockets led by as much as eight points; the Nets tried to make it interesting by getting within one point twice with two three-pointers from guard Caris LeVert at 7:12 (Rockets 100 – Nets 99) and then again at 6:45 (Rockets 106 – Nets 102). But with missed shots and fouling, the Nets allowed the Rockets to close out the fourth 119-111.

With this loss, the Nets fell to 3-6 this season and 2-2 at Barclays. The Nets loss also allowed the Rockets to improve their overall record to 2-5 and 2-1 on the road.

“Third quarter was where they got their break,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media after the game. “We’ve had some issues there (in the third quarter) before and felt like they came out more aggressive and thought we missed some shots. They picked up their defense. I felt that. I definitely felt that. Listen, I think you’ve got to give them credit they were the better team tonight. Obviously, the third quarter was where they got their break.”

“Their defense, they locked down,” Atkinson continued. “They had their defensive unit out there. We had a tough time getting shots off. I thought we got a good few opens ones that didn’t go down, something we have to look at. But again, I give a lot of credit to their defense.”

So, now, let’s give some credit to LeVert for keeping the Nets in the game with his offense.

LeVert had another fiery night. Yep, LeVert was on FIYAH! He led the Nets with a career-high 29 points (10-of-17 FG, 4-of-6 3FG, 5-of-7 FT) with four rebounds, two assists, a season-high three steals and one block in 30 minutes. Let me repeat that, Nah, I won’t; you can read it again if you want. Caris LeVert is moving into NBA All-Star territory. LeVert has already matched or set a new career-high three times through nine games this season, scoring 20-plus points five times this season. By comparison, LeVert didn’t record his fifth 20-point game last season until March 8 at Charlotte. Yes, this season is a different story, through nine games, LeVert is averaging a team-high 20.0 points per game with .489 FG%.

As good as his performance was, LeVert knows that it is a team effort and somewhere the Nets defense was not what it could have been.

“We have to watch the tape,” LeVert said regarding what allowed the third quarter comeback by the Rockets. But it looked like Chris Paul hit a lot of tough shots and then they turned up the defensive pressure. They started getting a lot more loose balls and we just have to be better in those situations.”

So, what can the Nets do to prevent the lapses when the momentum shifts dramatically?

“I think just focusing more on defense instead of offense,” LeVert added. “Sometimes you can’t control the offense. If you make shots and things like that. You can always control your defense and your effort. So I think that in those situations, we just have to focus on getting shots.”

AUDIO: IN HIS OWN WORDS: BROOKLYN NETS GUARD, CARIS LEVERT

Nets other high scorers were Joe Harris with 18 points and four assists; D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie (off the bench) each scored 12 points and three assists, and Russell added three rebounds. Shabazz Napier came off the bench and scored 11 points in 16 minutes, while center Jarrett Allen chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes.

The Houston Rockets only had four players scoring in double digits, but that’s all they needed, as they all scored more than 20 points each. Chris Paul led all scorers with 32 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds. Former New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony came off the bench scoring 28 points and four rebounds for his new team; Clint Capela registered 22 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists, while; Eric Gordon added 21 points and three assists.

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni liked what he saw in his guys.

“That was a good Chris Paul right there,” D’Antoni said. “That was as good as it gets. And again, that’s who Chris is. His will, his heart will not let you lose, especially when times are tough. He knew times were tough and he had to find even more within himself and he did it. That’s why he is one of the best. He has such an unbelievable spirit that won’t let you lose.”

VIDEO: IN HIS OWN WORDS: CHRIS PAUL, HOUSTON ROCKETS GUARD

D’Antoni also praised Carmelo Anthony’s production coming off the bench with hopes that there is more to come.

“That’s what we envisioned. Obviously, he can’t shoot that well every night – maybe he can, hope he can. That’s kind of the role we envision, shooting threes and doing what Carmelo does. He’s super good that way.”

The Houston Rockets are on to another road game, as they will play the Chicago Bulls tonight at 7:00 p.m. CT.

On tomorrow, Sunday, November 4, 2018, the Brooklyn Nets will host the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Dinwiddie hits game-winning 3-pointer, and Nets crush Pistons’ hopes of getting a win on the road

Let’s set the scene. The Brooklyn Nets are at home at the Barclays Center. Spencer Dinwiddie knocks down a three-pointer to pull the Nets ahead by one point with 7.1 seconds left in overtime. And then after a timeout, Blake Griffin misses a 19-foot turnaround fadeaway shot at the 1.3-second mark that could have pulled the Detroit Pistons ahead. Nets guard Caris LeVert grabs the rebound, and the horn sounds to seal a Brooklyn Nets 120-119 win over the Pistons and pandemonium sets in. Well, pandemonium may be hyperbole, but it was close, as the last Nets win at home was on October 19, 2018, against the New York Knicks. Now, the Nets home record at the Barclays Center for the season is 2-1, and their record overall for this young season is 3-5, while the Pistons fell to 4-3 overall and 1-2 on the road with the loss.

The player of the game, Dinwiddie, scored a season-high 25 points (8-of-15 FG, 5-of-9 3FG, 4-of-4 FT) with four rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes off the bench. With 21 seconds left in the fourth stanza, Dinwiddie also tied the game (110-110) to send the game into overtime, scoring 17 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime period combined. Dinwiddie has now tallied 20-plus points twice this season. Ironically, his previous season-high 23-point performance came against the Pistons in the season opener at Detroit on October 17th, but the Nets lost 103-100.

But last night, a three-pointer nearly at the buzzer from Dinwiddie, a missed shot from Griffin and a rebound from LeVert sealed the win. 

The irony here is that the Detroit Pistons selected Dinwiddie with the 38th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Dinwiddie spent two years with the Pistons going back and forth between the Pistons and its G-League Team the Grand Rapids Drive and in October 2016, the Pistons traded Dinwiddie to the Windy City Bulls, the Chicago Bulls developmental team. After all that development, the Brooklyn Nets acquired Dinwiddie on December 8, 2016. 

So, did Dinwiddie want to prove a point?

“At this point, no,” Dinwiddie said. “Players have changed. Coaching staff has changed. I was just able to hit a couple shots and help my team win. That’s about it.”

What was really important to Dinwiddie was ending the Nets losing streak.

“That was the thing that made this win really big for us – because of the losing streak,” Dinwiddie added. “Because of what we’re fighting for. We’re trying to be a good team and trying to change the tide of Nets teams of the past. You’ve got to learn how to get out of a rut quickly. They can string together and it can affect morale and all that other stuff.”

Now, before you start thinking that this article is all about the Spencer Dinwiddie Show, other Nets players made significant contributions as well.

Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris scored a season-high 23 points (8-of-14 FG, 4-of-7 3FG, 3-of-3 FT) with five rebounds in 41 minutes.

Harris commented on the magnitude of the Nets improving in clutch situations.

“Yeah, that’s huge for us in terms of the maturation of everyone,” Harris stated. “We’ve been in this experience a lot. A lot of close games last year, a lot of close games to start this season. For us to close one out – execute down the stretch – take care of the ball. Execute defensively. This is huge in terms of confidence for us and just a big morale boost whenever you get a win like this.”

LeVert, in addition to grabbing the rebound at the end of the game, also had a big night for the Nets, tallying 19 points with six rebounds, six assists, and two steals. LeVert gets the vote for “most-improved” Nets player this season, as he has averaged a team-leading 18.9 points per game through eight games this season. Ed Davis, a Nets pick-up this summer from the Portland Trail Blazers for his rebounding abilities, did not disappoint. Davis posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards (five offensive rebounds) in 18 minutes off the bench. Last night, Davis registered his second double-double off the bench this season through eight games.

Jarrett Allen, in his second season as an NBA player, contributed 14 points (6-of-8 FG) and nine rebounds in 22 minutes, while Jared Dudley, who is in his 11th year with the NBA and his first playing for the Nets, chipped in 11 points, six rebounds and three assists in 38 minutes.

A big win for Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, as he can see the words and actions of the coaching staff are not falling on deaf ears.

“We were just resilient,” Atkinson told the media postgame. “We’re the resilient team. We fought through a lot of missed opportunities. I thought that we had a bunch of opportunities to close it out and we just kept fighting. The last defensive stop was kind of indicative of our toughness tonight. Caris (LeVert) comes up with the huge rebound at the end, Spencer (Dinwiddie) gets caught in the switch against one of the best players in the league and does a heck of a job. So that was kind of the picture I leave from this game. But they’re (Pistons) a heck of a team. I think that they’re an excellent team. It’s a really good win for us, especially in front of our home crowd. ”

Of course, Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey was disappointed that his team did not get the W.

“You live by the sword and you die by the sword,” Casey said. “…the first few games were close and we were winning them and now we’re losing them. It’s on ourselves, myself, everybody in this locker room. It’s mental things, leave the strong side corner and they knock down a three, miscommunicate on switches and they knock down a three. This team, made us pay for every mental mistake we made. They’re a good 3-point shooting team, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t execute our switches properly.”

Blake Griffin led the Detroit Pistons with the most points at 25 along with nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

Griffin told the assembled media that he, too, believes his team’s performance came down to mental mistakes and a collection of little things.

“Yeah, I think so,” Griffin said. “Little mistakes down the stretch, mostly defensively. Like I said earlier on those little things, they come back to bite you, and each game was decided by such a small margin that we got to be better.”

Griffin could have blamed the Pistons’ lack of focus on playing back-to-back games, as they had just played the Boston Celtics the night before in Boston. But, he didn’t.

And, yes, even though Griffin’s last shot to go-ahead for the win didn’t go in, he still relishes the opportunity to have the ball with the game on the line.

“I’ll gladly take that (shot) every single time – try to make the right play,” Griffin said after the game. “I don’t think forcing a shot is very good, but our play kind of got a little mangled. I just tried to get the ball up on the rim, early enough, and unfortunately, it didn’t go in.”

Although, a good deal of the focus was on Griffin because he had the most points of all Pistons’ players. However, truth be told, the real Pistons scoring-player of the game honors should go to Andre Drummond, who tallied 24 points, 23 rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Reggie Jackson added 21 points and four rebounds.

Next up, the Pistons play the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, November 3, 2018, in Philadelphia.

The Nets play the Houston Rockets at home at the Barclays Center on Friday, November 2, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

Tip-ins:

Ed Davis’ ninth rebound of the game was his 3,000th career rebound off the bench. He's one of just seven players since 1983-84 to grab 3,000+ boards off the bench, joining Detlef Schrempf, Thurl Bailey, Nick Collison, Chris Andersen, Chris Gatling, and Dennis Rodman.

What will be the aftermath following the Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor fight?

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS: POPPIN – PART 1

• The Jimmy Butler saga continues. At last count, the Miami Heat and the L.A Clippers were vying for Jimmy Butler’s services. What’s complicating Butler’s trade is that Gorgui Dieng must be part of the deal.

Q. Will the Minnesota Timberwolves deal Jimmy Butler before the start of the NBA season?

Kyrie Irving is the man! First, Jimmy Butler, now it’s Anthony Davis that says he wants to play with Kyrie Irving in Boston. According to league sources, Davis will probably end up with the Celtics or the Los Angeles Lakers.

Q. Let’s dream a bit, can you imagine a Boston team with Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Anthony Davis? If not Boston, where would you rather see Anthony Davis?

• Billed as one of the most significant fights in UFC history. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor had their very anticipated showdown and Khabib won.

Q. What was not expected was the fight’s aftermath. Should the fight organizers have been more prepared for a potential melee?

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS: QUICK BITES

LeBron James was considering joining the Toronto Raptors before he finalized his move to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, it seems both sides were interested in reaching an agreement.

• The family of NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau has settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL. Seau died from suicide at the age of 43; his death followed a long battle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head.

Drew Brees passes Peyton Manning as NFL's all-time passing leader: New Orleans Saint quarterback Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning's record of 71,940 career passing yards with a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith in the second quarter of a game against Washington. New Orleans defeated Washington 43-19, ouch!!!

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS: POPPIN – PART 2

• Former Louisville men’s basketball head coach, Rick Pitino, has been promoting his new book, entitled Pitino: My Story. He says he never wants to coach basketball again.

Q. Do you believe Pitino?

• Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul has taken offense to the criticisms of fellow teammate, Carmelo Anthony, calling the criticism of Melo disrespectful.

Q. Do you think Chris Paul is right that the media may have gone too far with their assessment of Carmelo Anthony?

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

What’s The 411’s Photo of the Week is a photo of Saquon Barkley making a touchdown during the New York Giants game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium.

NY SPORTS REPORT

• We have a preseason look at the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.

• New York Yankees Update: The Yankees made it into the ALDS and will play the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 tonight.

• Discord has visited upon the NY Giants.

Q. Are the New York Giants on the brink of falling apart?

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS OFF TOPIC:

Summer vacation is officially over, and Khloe Kardashian was headed back to Cleveland to be with baby True’s father, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and decided to stay in Los Angeles.

Carmelo Anthony responds to questions about his position with the Houston Rockets

MIKE: Well, Kelly Iko, the Houston Rockets beat reporter for The Athletic, reported on Twitter that Carmelo Anthony and PJ Tucker probably will not be seen on the floor together at the same time this season. According to the tweet from Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni, he wants Carmelo on the floor when Tucker is off and vice versa. D'Antoni sees them both as fours. So, how is this going to work out? We all know that Carmelo does not want to come off the bench. Keisha, will there be harmony in Houston?

KEISHA: Mike, I'm going to start off with a quote, "whatever I have to do to help this team win a championship. That's what's going to be done."

Who said that, none other than Carmelo Anthony. Now, this is not a definite admission that he is willing to come off the bench. However, this is a move from the outright scoff that he gave when he was in Oklahoma City and a reporter mentioned him coming off the bench. He just pooh-poohed that right off the bat and basically told the reporter like, you don't know...that's just ridiculous, how dare you even mention it's ludicrous.

Now, so we might be moving in the right direction. However, why is it that we must assume that Carmelo has to come off the bench? I know that he's you know, it seems like Carmelo is paying for the sins of Oklahoma City. I think that that wasn't the right fit for him and it showed, he had one of his worst seasons in his entire career and when I think about him being in New York before he went to OKC for that one year. He was still the Carmelo that we knew so I just found it hard to believe that his skills just dropped off that that quickly and that drastically.

So he is with Houston now, he's with Chris Paul who was very close to him off the court. He spoke with Chris Paul and he spoke to James Harden and they play pick-up games and there seems to be a real flow, a real chemistry, and those two see how he can be effective within the Houston Rockets offense. But now, it's time for Mike D'Antoni head coach of the Rockets to show us what he can do.

MIKE: Which if it was something that he didn't think that he could do, then the Rockets never would have gone after Carmelo Anthony in the offseason. I think that the Rockets have a nice team here, they make they came so close to getting the NBA Finals after losing to the Golden State Warriors in seven games last season. Look, I think, start or coming off the bench, Carmelo Anthony will have a big impact on this offense this season, there's no question about it.

Keisha, as you pointed out the lack of production that he had in Oklahoma City last season, we saw that there's no question. But what do you expect when you're playing with a guy like Russell Westbrook and of course Paul George, so of course we expected that those numbers were going to decline in which they certainly did. Not to mention I kind of looked at Oklahoma City. Even though yeah, they made the playoffs and everything, but it was almost like it was a season in purgatory for him. He never looked comfortable in that uniform. He never really looked comfortable when he was on the court necessarily. He got off to a very good start those first 10 games I think with OKC but after like, you know a quarter of the season, his numbers started to tail off. He just didn't really seem like he was comfortable and then there was this whole thing was what was his actual role going to be. I think here in Houston, Mike D'Antoni has an opportunity to be very creative here and I think what's ultimately going to wind up happening is they will bring Carmelo off the bench.

I think PJ Tucker, a guy who's one of if not, you know, he's one of the top five defensive players, top 10 defensive players in the NBA. The guy's a force, no question about that. I think he's got to keep him in the rotation. But we also got to remember, you know, injuries can happen things that you know that we don't expect. At the same time, the Rockets could be in the mix to make some upgrades once the season begins because they realize that they are a contender to go ahead and win the Western Conference. But I think like you pointed out, Mike D'Antoni, this is really up to him to kind of figure out what's going to be the best fit for this offense and for this team as they try to make a push to unseat the Golden State Warriors in the West.

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