August 08, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers turned up the defensive heat in the second half and hands the Brooklyn Nets a back-to-back loss

Ouch! The Brooklyn Nets’ 117-111 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers must hurt, particularly since the Nets led through the first three quarters. But in the fourth, the 76ers turned up the defensive heat and took charge led by Ben Simmons and handed the Nets a back-to-back loss. The Nets are now 18-24 (six games under .500), while the 76ers improved to 29-16 on the season with the victory.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on Philadelphia’s changes that affected the second half

“Obviously there are two big keys to this game,” responded Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Give them a lot of credit for the first one, they turned us over a ton – 22 turnovers – and I thought they really hurt us on the glass. I think they ended up having 13 more shots than us, which is not going to work against a really good team. Turnovers and we didn’t rebound the ball like we need to. Credit to them, their length and their athleticism. Ben Simmons had five steals and they were all over the place. We gotta take care of it. We gotta screen better. We gotta pass better. We gotta make better decisions. It’s on us too, but first and foremost, credit goes to them. Heck of a defensive team.”

Atkinson did give praise to his younger players who fought to keep the Nets in the game.

“They swarmed us defensively,” Coach Atkinson continued. “I was really pleased with our bench and with our young guys. Obviously Nic (Claxton) was really good. That whole group was good, so that bodes well for the future. They kept us afloat there in the first half and did a great job.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Spencer Dinwiddie led the Brooklyn Nets with 22 points, five boards, and a team-high seven assists in 35 minutes. Caris LeVert totaled 16 points, six rebounds, and a season-high six assists in 29 minutes off the bench; Nicolas Claxton scored a career-high 15 points (6-of-8 FG) and four rebounds in 17 minutes against Philadelphia, also off the bench, which was just one game after scoring a then-career-high 14 points on Saturday vs. the Milwaukee Bucks; Jarrett Allen recorded his team-high 20th double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds in 31 minutes; Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot came off the bench and tallied a season-high 12 points in 15 minutes while shooting 4-of-4 from the field and 3-of-3 from 3-point range; Taurean Prince posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes and; Joe Harris chipped in 12 points and three rebounds in 33 minutes.

Some wondered if playing tough teams, i.e., Milwaukee and Philadelphia were causing a mental struggle for this Nets team.

“We don’t really have time for a mental struggle,” responded Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. “Obviously, our season has been very up and down with injuries and lineups and all of that different stuff, so we have to continue to come together as a group. Our focus can’t be external, it has to be internal. Obviously, getting healthy of course, but just figuring it out and gaining that chemistry with our own units, our own lineups and then once we kind of have ourselves down, then we can impose our will on the other teams.”

Brooklyn Nets rookie, Nicolas Claxton, had no mental issues at all when his number was called. He made the most of his time when he was called to play.

“It’s big, especially against Philly – they’re a solid team, Milwaukee is a solid team,” Claxton said about playing real minutes in two straight games. “So, me going out there and producing, I think, is just showing everybody and me showing myself, that I can play at the highest level.”

Philadelphia 76ers Scoring Leaders

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons played like he was on a mission; he led all players with 34 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, five steals, and two blocked shots. Al Horford scored 19 points and six rebounds; both Tobias Richardson and Josh Harris each scored 15 points, Richardson added six rebounds to his total points and Harris added four assists, and; Furkan Korkmaz chipped in 10 points and three assists off the bench.

As the Brooklyn Nets led the Philadelphia 76ers through the first three quarters, with only one point separating the Nets from the 76ers at 91-90 going into the final quarter, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown turned up the defensive heat.

Coach Speak: Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown praises Ben Simmons and his team’s defensive effort

“The spirit of the group, the committed sort of team effort to play defense and rally around each other was evident tonight,” Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown told the media. “We sort of played off of Ben Simmons. He, for sure, was the beacon to our defense, but as a group, as a team, we had many contributors tonight. We went with an unlikely group. I had Ben at the five and Mike Scott at the four and had the young guys surround that group. We just rode that longer as they performed. I wanted to see it. It performed well, so we played it longer. Ben Simmons was ridiculously dominant tonight. He played some four. I played him at the five. He had the ball. He was just multi-skilled, used all over the place in multiple positions. Ball handler, screen setter, post target, he was on the five-man defensively. He was just incredible tonight.”

What’s Next for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Philadelphia 76ers will travel to Toronto to face the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will remain home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.


o Spencer Dinwiddie has now scored 20+ points in a single-season career-high 26 games this season (in 41 games played). He scored 20+ in 18 games all of last season (in 68 games played).

o Jarrett Allen is second in the NBA among players 21 or younger in double-doubles, trailing only Luka Doncic (26).


Spencer Dinwiddie, who should be an NBA All-Star candidate this season, led all scorers with 24 points; Wilson Chandler makes his debut for Brooklyn Nets

In their first meeting since the 2019 NBA First Round Playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers squared off at the Barclays Center yesterday evening, and; the Nets recaptured its magic and stopped its two-game losing streak by defeating a Joel Embiid-less 76ers, 109-89. In defeating the Sixers, the Nets improved to 14-12, while the 76ers fell to 20-8 on the season with their loss. Also, the Nets’ 20-point victory over the 76ers marked the team’s largest victory margin of the season, the previous high of 19-points was against the Sacrament Kings on November 22nd. Brooklyn led by as many as 26 points last night, which marked the Nets’ biggest lead in any game this season. The previous biggest lead was 22 points vs. Sacramento on November 22, 2019. Additionally, the Sixers’ 89 points last night marked the fewest allowed by the Nets in a game this season; the previous low was Charlotte’s 91 points on November 20, 2019.

How The Nets Beat the 76ers By the Numbers:

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets spaced Philadelphia 64-54 in points in the paint, posting 40 points in the paint in the first half, which was just two points shy of matching the Nets' largest points in the paint output in any half this season.

The Nets slid past the Sixers in fast break points, overwhelming the 76ers 23-8.

Rebounding? No problem. Brooklyn outrebounded Philadelphia 52-38. The Nets rebounding efforts are off to a good start; entering last night’s game, the Nets ranked fourth in the NBA with 47.9 rebounds per game.

Going into the final quarter, the Nets led the Sixers 83-66, giving the team something to talk about at least for a day. The 66 points marked the fewest points Brooklyn surrendered through three quarters this season, and the Nets’ 17-point advantage marked the Nets' biggest through three quarters this season. Not too shabby.

Taking a step back, Brooklyn also led Philadelphia 57-43 at the half on Sunday night. Philly’s 43 points marked the fewest Brooklyn has allowed in a first half this season, and the 14-point lead marked the Nets' third-largest halftime lead of the season.

All of these metrics were a good sign for the Brooklyn Nets’ ability to bounce back, as the team was coming off of a 110-102 road loss to the Toronto Raptors the night before. Had Joel Embiid been in the lineup for the Philadelphia 76ers, in all likelihood he would have affected the point-spread and the 76ers rebounding count, but the way the Nets played yesterday, in all likelihood, they would have still won this game.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on Bouncing Back from Losing to the Toronto Raptors The Night Before

“I felt it in our little walkthrough,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I don’t think any of us were very pleased with our performance last night. Sometimes you just feel a tension. I felt like they were ready. One of our best defensive performances since I’ve been here. Collective – first group, second group – they’re a good offensive team, really top 10 in offensive efficiency, so, just excellent, excellent defensive effort.”

Coach Atkinson has been preaching defense to his players since he arrived in Brooklyn. He is a firm believer that good defense wins games and points it out every time his team misses the opportunity to turn up the defensive effort, particularly rebounding.

“Yeah, rebounding was one,” Atkinson said as he continued talking about the intangibles that come with a good defensive effort. “We’ve had problems with this team (Philadelphia) in the past in making them miss and not being able to corral a rebound. I thought rebounding was huge. Our general activity was good. I thought Wilson (Chandler) helped us. He helped by just having that big physical body of his. He guarded Ben (Simmons) in there for a while when TP (Taurean Prince) got in foul trouble. I thought that was a big stretch and (David) Nwaba gave us good minutes again defensively. But DeAndre (Jordan) I thought was really good, especially in the second half. But again, (an) excellent effort. I thought we shared the ball on offense, did a good job.”

Brooklyn Leading Scorers

Spencer Dinwiddie, who should be an NBA All-Star candidate this season, led all scorers with 24 points and a game-high six assists in 30 minutes. Dinwiddie, who has been starting since both Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert have been out with medical issues, is on a roll. Dinwiddie has recorded 20-plus points in four straight games, seven of his last eight games and 13 of his last 15 games (all starts). Dinwiddie has scored 20-plus points 17 times this season after doing so 18 times all of last season.

Joe Harris tallied 16 points (7-of-11 FG, 2-of-4 3FG) in 25 minutes; Garrett Temple recorded 13 points, and four assists in 29 minutes, and; DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench.

“Every game is different,” Spencer Dinwiddie responded to a reporter’s question regarding what was working defensively and how they can carry it over to their upcoming games. “I think the coaches did a great game plan for Philly. Obviously, their dynamics change when Joel Embiid is not on the floor, so you try to make them take tough twos. You focus in on Tobias (Harris), he’s their primary scorer. Obviously, Ben (Simmons) is a phenomenal playmaker, but you try to get under the screens, make his looks at the rim tough and then Al (Horford) likes to pop and shoot twos, and, you kind of (have to) live with some of those. That was kind of, I guess, the rough game plan.”

Philadelphia 76ers Leading Scorers

For the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons led his squad with 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists; Tobias Harris scored 17 points, six rebounds, and three assists; Josh Richardson contributed 11 points and four rebounds, and Al Horford chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.

Coach Speak: Brett Brown on Key Elements That Hurt the Philadelphia 76ers

“It’s just that the defensive side of things let us down,” responded Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown regarding his team’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets. “I think the statistical facts of what we shot from three and what we shot from the free-throw line shows our starting group had a rough night putting the ball in the hole and the accumulation of a few things equal a long night.”

What’s Next for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Philadelphia 76ers will return home to host the Miami Heat on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will travel to New Orleans to play the Pelicans on Tuesday, December 17, at 8 p.m. ET, and then on to San Antonio to play the Spurs on Thursday, December 19, 2019, at 8:30 p.m. The Nets will then return home to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, December 21, 2019, at 6:00 p.m.


Entering Sunday night’s game, DeAndre Jordan led the NBA in rebounds per game off the bench (9.1 in 19 games as a reserve).

Wilson Chandler made his Nets debut last night and totaled two points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 19 minutes.

Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot posted a season-high eight points with a season-high five rebounds in a season-high 23 minutes off the bench last night against the 76ers.


With the Brooklyn Nets new player composition, the Nets are on the map, and the competition is expected to be fierce

The NBA released its 2019-20 schedule of NBA games today, and the Brooklyn Nets followed showcasing their highly anticipated schedule. As one who has been regularly covering the Brooklyn Nets since its inaugural 2012-13 season in Brooklyn, I can tell you the first home game of the season at the Barclays Center is always thrilling. There’s electricity in the air, as excited diehard Nets fans are back to root for their team. However, if you follow NBA news, you know this season is going to be different. You will want to be at the Barclays Center when the Nets first game of the season tips off against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, October 23rd, at Barclays Center.

And, if you’re asking why, go have a seat. Seriously, this will be the night that the Brooklyn Nets unveils its new roster to the public, which includes the long-awaited introduction of new players Kevin Durant (although Durant won’t be playing), Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan, as well as, returning fan favorites: Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs, Caris LeVert, Dzanan Musa, and Theo Pinson.

The Timberwolves will feature its standouts Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and former Nets players Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier should be in the house, as they now play for the Timberwolves.

Over the course of the season, fans are going to be paying attention to see if Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson will be able to work his player development magic on 2019 NBA draftees Nicolas Claxton and Jaylen Hands, in addition to weaving into the Nets system new players Deng Adel, Wilson Chandler, Henry Ellenson, David Nwaba, Taurean Prince, and Garrett Temple.

Want to see Zion Williamson, the NBA’s 2019 No.1 Draft Pick, in Brooklyn? The Nets play his team, the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, November 4, 2019. It will be Williamson’s first NBA game in New York City during the regular NBA season.

If going out during the week isn’t your thing, you’re in luck because 18 of Brooklyn’s 41 home games will be played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. And, if you’re good with arithmetic, you know that’s just under half of the home game schedule.

The Nets will also host five-afternoon matches, including a 3 p.m. game versus the Philadelphia 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 20, 2020.

Want to see the Nets’ first home game against 2019 NBA playoff foe, the Philadelphia 76ers featuring Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons? You can check them out on Sunday, December 5, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. Former Boston Celtics player, Al Horford, is now with the Sixers, so this offers a matchup between him and ex-Boston teammate and new Nets signee, Kyrie Irving.

A couch potato, or a Nets fan living in another city, you’re in luck. The Nets did so well last season, they will be featured on national television 20 times this season, six games on ESPN, six contests on TNT, and eight games on NBA TV.

If you prefer radio, Brooklyn Nets games will broadcast regionally on the YES Network for the 18th consecutive season and on WFAN radio for the 16th consecutive season.

The Nets will play two season-long four-game homestands this season, with the first beginning Tuesday, January 7, versus Oklahoma City and ending Tuesday, January 14, versus Utah, and the second spanning from Wednesday, March 18, versus Washington through Wednesday, March 25, versus the L.A. Clippers. The month of January will feature a season-high 10 home contests.

Brooklyn’s longest stint away from the Barclays Center will come in November, when they embark on a nine-day, five-game road trip, beginning on Friday, November 8, at Portland and concluding in Chicago on Saturday, November 16.

The team’s schedule also includes 11 back-to-back sets. And, you know how players hate back-to-back games.

You can see the full Nets schedule here.

With the player moves that Nets general manager Sean Marks made over the summer, this Nets season is highly anticipated. Expect games to be sold out, so don’t wait until the last minute, get your tickets as soon as possible. This Brooklyn Nets season is going to be lit!

D’Angelo Russell lights up the Boston Celtics with 20 points in the third quarter

We’re coming into the homestretch for the NBA regular season and the Brooklyn Nets are fighting to hold onto a playoff spot. And, boy, did the Nets catch a break to win this matchup over the Boston Celtics at the Barclays Center last night! No Kyrie Irving and no Al Horford, both players were nursing illnesses. For Irving, it was low back soreness and for Horford, it was left knee soreness. But the Celtics had scoring leaders Gordon Hayward, who scored 19 points, six rebounds, and three assists off the bench, and; both Marcus Morris and Daniel Theis each scored 16 points, and five and four rebounds respectively. Also, it should be noted that Theis racked up his totals coming off the bench.

The Celtics led the Nets at the end of the first quarter 21-17, not a big margin. But small margins can balloon, and at the end of the first half, it was anybody’s guess how things would eventually turn out, as the Nets led the Celtics by one point, 49-48. But then came the third quarter and Brooklyn ended this stanza with an 11-point lead over Boston (82-70). As the fourth quarter was closing out, it was clear that the Brooklyn Nets was defending home turf mightily and there was a possibility of holding yet another opponent to less than 100 points.

With the 110-96 win over the Boston Celtics last night, the Nets improved to 39-38 overall and 22-16 at Barclays Center and are currently holding down the seventh playoff spot in the NBA Eastern Conference, while the Celtics fell to 45-32 overall and 18-20 on the road with the loss. And, don't cry for the Celtics, Argentina, as they are in the fourth playoff spot in the NBA Eastern Conference. And, unlike the Nets, the Celtics have already clinched their playoff spot so no matter what happens from this point on, the Celtics will be playing when the NBA's regular season ends.

Nevertheless, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was visibly upset during a timeout in the third quarter.

“I was really frustrated,” Stevens told the media after the game. “I didn’t think we valued possessions at the level we need to, to be a good team. That’s what I just talked about and I get it. We played really hard last night. Last night was a tough game but every possession all year matters. We haven’t been great at that and that’s one of the things if we’re going to make it anywhere significant, they’ve all got to matter equally. Offensively and defensively. Moving it. All of those things. I didn’t think anyone was on their “A” game by any means tonight and I just think we’ll need to be better.”

“We weren’t very good in the first half, and that’s a credit to their defense,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said as he started to break down the two halves. “My biggest fear against this team – against the Celtics – was, can you score against them? I think they’re just a great defensive team. We struggled in the first half and got it going in the third quarter. Obviously, D’Angelo... I think we were getting stopped when we got out on a break and I think playing against their set defense is very difficult. You have to get them back in a transition situation where they’re not set. I thought we did a great job at that. I think that’s how D’Angelo got loose. We had a couple (of) guys get to the rim a few times. And, also, just a good defensive effort by us, really good defensive effort.”

The Brooklyn Nets’ primary floor general, D’Angelo Russell, also chimed in with his assessment of the two halves.

“There’s two halves in a game,” Russell stated. “First half was a little suspect, costly turnovers, questionable shot selection, so I just knew I had to tighten up and we’re a team when someone sets an example we’re going to follow. DeMarre Carroll was solid for us, kept us solid and then I just wanted to take it over at the start of the third.”

D’Angelo Russell led the Brooklyn Nets with a game-high 29 points, a game-high 10 assists, three rebounds and two steals in 30 minutes. Caris LeVert scored 15 points and four steals in 29 minutes off the bench. Both Joe Harris and DeMarre Carroll tallied 13 points each for the Nets. Harris also accumulated a game-high eight rebounds, while Carroll added four rebounds to his total, and; Jarrett Allen posted 10 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

The Nets will host the Milwaukee Bucks at Barclays Center on Monday, April 1, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Also, on Monday, the Celtics will return home to host the Miami Heat, who is currently holding the eighth playoff spot in the NBA Eastern Conference. The Celtics vs. Heat game is also at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Without D’Angelo Russell, the Nets leading scorer, the Boston Celtics defeat the Brooklyn Nets 109-102

Returning from a West coast swing, Tuesday night at the Barclays Center was the Nets first game at home in 14 days, and they were without leading scorer, D’Angelo Russell who is suffering from a left knee contusion. He was hurt in the loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

As good as the Celtics are, this wasn’t a game where Boston was out front for the entirety and Brooklyn was trying to play catch up all night. The Celtics started 7 of 9 from the field to lead 17-4, and ended the first quarter 30-21. However, the Nets jumped ahead in the second quarter and countered every time Boston threatened to pull away until the final minutes. Ultimately, the Celtics won their 13th straight victory, defeating the Nets 109-102.

What made the difference in tonight’s game for the Celtics?

“I thought, obviously, answering Brooklyn’s runs,” responded Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “You knew they (Nets) were going to come out and the first part we played great but we didn’t sustain it through probably the next two quarters. But then we mustered up enough at the end of the third to get a lead that went quick, which if you watch Brooklyn play that happens all the time. They do a great job of continuing to grind on you and making it as tough as possible. And they come back a lot. You knew it was going to be tough. I thought our group, once it got settled, played pretty well. ”

In the metrics that mattered, Boston out-rebounded Brooklyn 59-48 and the Nets 62.5 free throw percentage was abysmal compared to the Celtics’ 81.5 percent.

Joe Harris, the Nets three-point specialist, led Nets scorers with 19 points and described the Nets deficiencies against the Celtics.

“A lot of times bad shots offensively can make it really tough on your defense and I think that was a little bit of what happened to us,” Harris explained. “When we don’t play together and when we don’t play with the pass, a lot of times we take difficult shots and a lot of times that’s very similar to a turnover and they’re able to get in a good offense off of tough shots that we were taking.”

“I thought we had a lot of periods where we were really good moving it (the ball),” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought Caris (LeVert) gave us a big boost. He really came in and he’s able to break down the switches when they do switch so he can go by guys, go by their bigs when they do switch. But overall, first half we had 15 assists. I’m not sure what we ended up with, 27? So that’s good news for us. That’s higher than our season average so a lot of positives. Obviously frustrated with the result but they’re an excellent team. They have a lot of talent, a lot of athletic talent that you saw on display tonight.”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets; while Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert added 15 points apiece. Spencer Dinwiddie totaled 12 points, a career-high-tying 11 assists (with just one turnover), four rebounds and one block in his third start of the season tonight.

For Boston, Kyrie Irving, who wore a facial mask all night because of a facial fracture, led all scorers with 25 points. Irving suffered a facial fracture in Boston's win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. Marcus Morris scored 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, Al Horford led the Celtics in rebounding with 11 boards, and Jayson Tatum added 19 points.

Next up, Boston meets up with the Golden State Warriors in Boston on Thursday night, while the Nets host the Utah Jazz on Friday at the Barclays Center.

The Brooklyn Nets stayed with Boston Celtics to the end, but could not close the deal

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and last night at the Barclays Center, it sounded as if every Boston Celtics fan from New England was in attendance to root for the Celtics. It was so loud I’m surprised the players could hear each other on the floor.

Unfortunately for the Nets, the luck of the Irish traveled with the Boston Celtics and their fans, as the Celtics pulled out a squeaker routing the Brooklyn Nets 98-95.

It didn’t help that the Nets went scoreless for five minutes in the latter portion of the first quarter, ending that stanza 21-16.

Brook Lopez started a rally for the Nets in the second quarter, coming out the gate scoring the team’s first five points. With a three-pointer, Jeremy Lin helped to create a 10-1 run. But that didn’t hold back the Celtics, they came roaring back with an 11-1 run led by Jae Crowder. The Nets stayed in the hunt until the last buzzer sounded. They ended the second quarter with an eight-point deficit (45-37), and the third with a six-point deficit (71-65).

The Nets had two opportunities to tie up the game in the final nine seconds. However, both Lopez and Quincy Acy missed three-pointers with seemingly good looks.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson saw a silver lining even in his team’s defeat against the Celtics who stand just two wins behind the Eastern Conference frontrunner, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I think Brook (Lopez) helped us,” Atkinson said. “I thought the first half, we were in pick and roll 98 percent of the first half and it was just too much. We were giving them one dose of the same thing over and over. And then I felt like in the second half we started getting Brook some touches in the post and not just to score, but it just loosened up the defense. Even if he kicks it out for a shot or we’re getting them cuts off the post, so I think that helped us. It helped us penetrate their defense a little and I just felt like in the first half we weren’t getting into the teeth of the defense. So I think that’s what they learned. We can post up a little against this team and give them a little more variety.”

Four of the five Celtics starters scored in double digits. Crowder led all scorers with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Avery Bradley scored 16 points and five rebounds; Al Horford added 14 points and eight rebounds; and Marcus Smart chipped in 12 points and five assists.

Similar to the Celtics, four of the five Nets starters scored in double digits. Lopez had a team-high 23 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Randy Foye scored 14 points, Jeremy Lin and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson each scored 10 points with Lin adding seven rebounds and six assists, while Hollis-Jefferson chipped in 5 rebounds.

Off the bench for the Nets, newcomer Andrew Nicholson scored 11 points, and Acy chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Next up, the Nets will play the Dallas Mavericks at home on Sunday.

Disastrous 3rd Quarter Dooms Nets, Playoff Upset Hopes Dashed with 4-2 Series Loss

Unfortunately for the Brooklyn Nets, their Game 7 has come a game early.

Down 3-2 in their 1st-round series against the Atlanta Hawks in this year’s NBA Playoffs, the Nets returned home, hosting the Atlanta Hawks for their Game 6, a possible closeout-game for the away team.

Earlier in this series when the Nets backs were against the wall, they delivered. Down 2-0, the Nets tied this series up winning the next two games at home, highlighted by a 35-point outburst from Deron Williams in Game 4.

But the Nets failed to win a pivotal Game 5, on the road and here we are.

The Nets season is on the line and to force a Game 7, the Nets have no choice but to lay it all on the line like a Game 7 and Friday night, they failed to do so.

The Hawks had their way with the Nets all game long en route to a 111-87 win, advancing to the second round to challenge the Washington Wizards, eliminating the Nets from the post-season.

In tonight's contest, Paul Millsap led all scorers for the Hawks with 25 points (6 assists and 9 rebs) accompanied by DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver, who found success consistently, both scoring 20 each.

As far as the Nets are concerned, as a team, this game got away from them in the 3rd quarter alone, which sealed their fate early in the second half.

The Hawks scored the first seven points of the 3rd, extending what was a 51-45, six-point half-time lead to a 14-point, 59-45 lead, forcing a Nets timeout, through the first two minutes of the quarter.

Deron Williams would answer with a trey, cutting the deficit to 11, 59-48, with less than nine minutes remaining in the quarter and then the Hawks retaliated with yet another run.

Deron Williams Media Day PhotoBrooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams

"When it started happening (Hawks run), I called a time out," Hollins said post-game.

"Then I called another time-out and you could just see they had the wave of momentum that they weren't going to let up."

Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll would hit back-to-back three's and Al Horford would sink two consecutive buckets generating a 10-0 run, which ballooned their double-digit lead to 21, 69-48, forcing the second Nets timeout of the quarter in less than three minutes.

And that 21-point lead continued to 26, as the Hawks shot 57.4% from the field in the 3rd alone, shutting out the Nets who struggled to keep up with the no.1 seeded Hawks, shooting 37.5%.

In addition to their shooting woes, the Nets had a hard time taking care of the ball, committing five turnovers which aided the Hawks in scoring quick, easy baskets, contributing to their runs in the 3rd, routing the Nets in the process.

"The thing that's been killing us turnovers," said Joe Johnson. "Each and every game, no matter what game, and especially again tonight, at the start of the third quarter we started off with three or four turnovers and they go on a 12-0 run. We never bounced back from that."

Joe JohnsonBrooklyn Nets shooting guard, Joe Johnson

The runs, early in the 3rd quarter by the Hawks sucked the life out of the Nets, and created a deficit that the home team was unable to cope with and the pace of the game, without a doubt favored the visiting Hawks.

"We gotta stay being true to who we are and that's playing house basketball," said Carroll post-game.

"That's getting up and down the court, and I think Jeff Teague did a good job of that even though he didn't score tonight."

And they didn't need him to.

Teague distributed the ball like a true floor general, collecting 13 assists, helping three Hawks to score 20+ points, almost four in Horford who finished with 18 points.

The Nets on the other hand, didn't have a 35-point D-Will performance to lean on and as a team, lacked one 20-point scorer which defined their offense tonight.

It wasn't there.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 19 points, followed by 13 from Williams and 12 by Johnson.

The Nets entered the final quarter down by 26-points, and with an uphill battle ahead of them, waved the white flag within time.

At the 4:40 minute mark in the 4th, Hollins called a timeout subbing in Jerome Jordan, Darius Morris and Earl Clark for Williams, Johnson and Mason Plumlee and you didn't need a basketball analyst to know that this Nets season has come to a close.

Those subs were drowned out by the boos that filled the Barclays Center and to begin the quarter the PA announcer didn't even bother addressing the crowd, a home-game ritual where he asks Brooklyn to stand-up.

It wouldn't have helped.

The Hawks were focused and the Nets couldn't match the level of play necessary to force a Game 7.

"They were the better team and they showed it in the last game here," Hollins said during his post-game press conference which is the painful truth.

Only three teams in NBA history have successfully upset a no.1 team in the NBA playoffs (94 Nuggets, 99 Knicks, 07 Warriors) and like father time, history is undefeated also.

In closing, Hollins reflected on the season expressing his gratitude to the players he's coached and also shared his thoughts on the immediate future.

"We'll have to collect our thoughts and get ready for the summer," Hollins said.

"It is an important summer for our young players. We're going to attend two summer leagues and try to get some of our internal players better, then I'll get with Billy [King] and our front office and we'll talk about other needs."

And those comments capped off a frustrating season leading into what could be an interesting off-season for the home-team, but most importantly there's always next year.

Disastrous 3rd Quarter Dooms Nets, Playoff Upset Hopes Dashed with 4-2 Series Loss

Deron Williams 35 Points led the way

All they needed was one.

All the Brooklyn Nets needed was one win in their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks to generate the confidence they needed going forward to have a realistic shot of winning or just being competitive, after losing the season series 4-0.

And after failing to return home with a win, the Nets answered the call in game three to extend this series, at least for another game.

They defeated the Hawks 91-83 in their 2015 postseason home debut, recapturing the attention of the fans while dispelling the early projections of an opening-round sweep, of course, favoring the Hawks.

I mean they are the no.1 seed in the Eastern Conference and pretty much owned the Nets all season long.

But those fortunes have changed.

The tides have turned, and on Monday night, the Nets enjoyed that good ol' home-cooking for the second straight game behind the performance of an unlikely hero.

After an up-and-down year of injuries and inconsistent play, Deron Williams erupted for a team-high 35 points and helped lead the Nets to a 120-115 win in extra time, tying the series at two apiece.

Unlike any other game this season, as an observer watching how he was able to exploit his match-ups and get to his spots, you actually wanted the ball in Williams’ hands.

He finished the first quarter with 11 points, but I highly doubt that anyone saw what was to come from the Texas native once the second half arrived.

Williams scored 16 points in the 4th quarter alone, connecting on four threes, none bigger than his last points of the quarter, a trey, which put the Nets up, 102-101 with under two minutes to go.

And moments later, Brook Lopez, who feasted down low for 26 points, found the basket for two on a floater, a critical possession, improving the Nets lead to three, 104-101.

Brook Lopez 600x591Brooklyn Nets center, Brook Lopez

You could almost feel it. The Nets were about to execute the unthinkable and what seemed like a long shot a week ago was becoming a reality, but this is the Nets were talking about, 38-44 at season's end and that's not how this past regular season played out for the home team.

This 2014-15 campaign was a roller coaster ride, and the Nets, staying true to who they really are, took the crowd on yet another twisted turn.

One made free-throw by Jeff Teague, poor defense on Paul Millsap and a missed game-winner by Williams, was all the Hawks would need to tie this game up in the closing minutes of the 4th and send this game into OT.

At least if you were a fan, you got your money's worth in addition to a free "We Are Playoffs", T-shirt.

But in all honestly, Brooklyn was provided with a reason to smile.

In the OT period, the Nets traded baskets with the Hawks and in the end, made the necessary plays to secure the victory.

And this time, they didn't need Williams to rise to the occasion.

Instead, Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young took turns saving the Nets season from an improbable 3-1 comeback situation.

Bojan Bogdanovic 600x338Brooklyn Nets shooting guard,  Bojan Bogdanovic


Thaddeus Young 650x366Brooklyn Nets power forward, Thaddeus Young

With the Nets down by a deuce, 113-111 and a little over a min remaining in the 5-minute period, Lopez found Bogdanovic for a corner three, giving the Nets the go-ahead basket, now 114-113, quickly erasing the thoughts of a loss looming which seemed like the likely narrative just 20 seconds ago.

With the Nets down by a deuce, 113-111 and a little over a min remaining in the 5-minute period, Lopez found Bogdanovic for a corner three, giving the Nets the go-ahead basket, now 114-113, quickly erasing the thoughts of a loss looming which seemed like the likely narrative just 20 seconds ago.

"I got a couple open shots today because we are doing a great job on the pick and rolls," said Bogdanovic following the game.

"Brook is doing a great job swinging the ball to shooters."

And then Young, who has been a godsend since his arrival in Brooklyn, scored the final basket the Nets would need in this contest, sinking a running jump shot and collected the foul, missing the and-1, which put the Nets up for good 116-113, with 54 seconds left.

In a must-win game, the Nets delivered despite the constant criticism from the outsiders especially Washington Wizards own Paul Pierce, who last week, was openly critical about his time with the Nets last season and the core players which this team was built on.

Pierce said he "Hated" his time with the Nets and called out Williams for not wanting to be the man that $99 million dollars would warrant him being, but yesterday night, Williams showed up and quieted the critics.

He was the man and every man.

He was the man the Nets needed to come alive in a crucial game four and everyone including Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins-loved every minute of it.

Lionel Hollins 07072014 resized 700x586 Brooklyn Nets head coach, Lionel Hollins

"For him to come out, it showed a lot of character to put on the performance like that, especially when we needed it because without that performance, I don't know if we get out of here with a win," Hollins said during his post-game press conference.

But that's why Williams has been the target of the criticism aimed in the Nets direction.

In the team’s season-long struggles, Williams has struggled and as the "Star" of the team, all of the blame, unfortunately, has landed on the shoulders of No.8.

But it's only right to shower him with the praise he deserves because William's performance has provided the Nets with new life in this first round series.

"We really needed to get this win to stay in the series," Williams said.

"It was definitely one of my better games this year for sure and probably as a Net."

And how can you argue with that?

Williams also said that this win was a team win, and that is a fact as six Net's scored in double-figures.

In addition to Deron and Lopez, Bogdanovic scored 15, Young added 10, Joe Johnson poured in 17 and Alan Anderson finished with 11.

As a team, the Nets were out-rebounded, 55-40 especially during the second half of tonight's game where Hollins elected to go small surrendering rebounding and defense for offense.

"Well, Brook got in foul trouble and he was tired, and we needed a change," Hollins said.

"It's just something that sometimes your gut says, 'what else is there to do?' That was what came about in my gut, and fortunately for us, it worked."

And what worked for the Nets, on this night, happened to be enough to fend off the Hawks, who boasted six players in double-figures, just like the Nets.

Teague and DeMarre Carroll led the way with 20 points each.

Kyle Korver and Millsap both scored 16 points. Al Horford added 17 and Dennis Schroder chipped in 10.

But it wasn't enough.

"We had some opportunities tonight that we just didn't take advantage of,” said Mike Budenholzer Atlanta Hawks Head Coach and NBA Head Coach of The Year, for your information.

"In this situation and in this time, it's important when you get an advantage or an opportunity. You have to take advantage of it. Credit to Brooklyn."

The Hawks led by 12, late in the 3rd and also led by eight heading into the 4th, to no avail.

Monday night belonged to the Nets, and most importantly Deron Williams.

"I played with Deron in Utah for a few years and that's the Deron I remember," Korver said post-game.

No kidding.

He continued: "You know, that's what he's capable of. He hit some really amazing shots, and you've got to give him credit."

This team will go as far as Deron will take them; and with the series tied 2-2, the Nets have the momentum and are in the right position to upset the no.1 seed.

It also doesn't hurt that Deron has the full support of Coach Hollins, who defended the point-guard earlier today regarding all of the criticism he's received recently.

"It means a lot when you're struggling like that and your coach comes out and defends you the way he did," Deron said.

"It means a lot. Says a lot about him and how much he cares about not only me but, this team and our players."

For the first time in a long time, the Nets are actually in a good place.

Game 5 is tomorrow night back in Atlanta.

The Last time the Nets won a road playoff game was when they outlasted the Toronto Raptors, in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs, game 7 to be exact.

It's time for the Nets to mirror those results come Wednesday night.

Lopez Leaves Horford Open Allowing the Go-Ahead Basket; Prokhorov Not Selling Team

Early Wednesday morning, Atlanta Hawks players Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha were arrested for obstruction of justice by the NYPD, in association with Indiana Pacers Chris Copeland, who is recovering from a stabbing incident outside of 1 Oak nightclub in Chelsea.

Later that day, the Hawks were scheduled to visit the Brooklyn Nets after routing the Phoenix Suns, the previous day, 96-69.

Even without two players that have helped the Hawks clinch the no.1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the remaining group of players posed a viable threat to the Nets, in terms of preventing the Nets from securing their sixth consecutive home win.

And tonight, that's exactly what happened.

The Hawks outlasted the Nets 114-111, executing late in the 4th quarter to seal their 59th win of the season.

With the win, the Hawks are in position to be the second team in the NBA to reach 60+ wins, now (59-19) on the season, while the Nets fell to (36-42).

To the Nets credit they were in this game and put themselves in a position to win.

Their play tonight reflected how their 2014-15 season has played out thus far, with 5 games left in the regular season.

This year, the Nets have battled injuries to their core players, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, and have found a way to remain competitive enough to make the playoffs, even as a low seed.

Tonight, the Nets battled back from numerous double-digit leads through-out the game and gave themselves, as well as, the sellout crowd of 17,732 in attendance, the chance for a home victory.

In the first quarter, the Nets found themselves down 28-17, a run in which five Hawks: Dennis Schroder, Mike Muscala, DeMarre Carroll, Al Horford and Mike Scott all made a contribution.

In the second, the Nets closed the gap that the Hawks generated in the first quarter, after a Bojan Bogdanovic layup +1 got the Nets to within one, down 47-46 with 4:41 left. It didn’t take long for an increased defensive stretch by the Hawks to lead to three fast break dunks courtesy of Scott and Horford, in addition to Jeff Teague attacking the rim which put the Hawks back up by ten, 59-49 around the 2-minute mark.

"We got some open looks and made some big shots, and our defense got some steals to add to the break," Teague said following the win en route to a double-double 15 points and 12 assists in addition to four steals.

More of the same would continue in the third where the Nets fell behind by as many as 14 points late in the third, with the 4th and final quarter within the horizon, the quarter where the Nets would have to make their final bid for the win and they did.

They presented a strong bid but in the end, not big enough to upend a team in position to win its first conference title since 1961 and fifth in franchise history.

With the Nets down one with 1:38 to go till the end of regulation, a missed three-point attempt by Jarrett Jack allowed Brook Lopez, who was in position, three attempts at seizing the offensive rebound and converting the basket, all of 7-feet tall.

Jarrett Jack Brooklyn Nets Media Day 2014

Brooklyn Nets guard, Jarrett Jack

Lopez (26 points,10 rebounds) would miss three tip-ins, in point blank range, of course-thwarted by a gang of Hawks who zeroed in on the action, and the final opportunity grabbed by Thaddeus Young led to no avail, as he would miss his attempt to play hero.

But instead, Williams who contributed a double-double in 10 points and 13 assists, became the hero, at least for a moment.

Williams converted a driving, off the glass floater, giving the Nets a one point lead, 111-110 forcing a Hawks timeout with 33.5 seconds to go.

Here, the Hawks showed why they are the no.1 seed and it only comes down to one important fact: they executed.

In the next possession, the Hawks ran a curl play for probably the most feared shooter and three-point specialist in the league, Kyle Korver, who received the inbound pass.

Korver noticed the extra help from the Nets particularly, Lopez who left Horford open and in the end, the Nets suffered the consequences as Korver found the big-man who quietly dunked, scoring his easiest two of the game giving his Hawks the go-ahead basket, up 112-111.

"I was just kind of reacting, and I was expecting Kyle to shoot the ball," Horford said, scoring a team-high 24 points, following the win.

"Kyle just made a great read."

It’s what the good teams do.

They win even when their backs are against the wall and unfortunately for the Nets, this loss meant the Hawks won the season series between the two, 4-0.

If you like moral victories, the Nets lost this game by the lowest margin (3) opposed to the other three contest, which were all routs like last weekend’s 131-99 nightmare, and Williams shed light on that fact.

"It's not really a moral victory," Williams said post-game.

Deron Williams Media Day PhotoBrooklyn Nets guard, Deron Williams

"I guess it is good because we pretty much got blown out by them every game before this one. It's a game we definitely wanted. It's a little disappointing how we started the game but we did finish well and we had our chances."

They did and with this loss, the Hawks came in and halted the momentum the Nets have been gathering over the past couple of weeks.

"I think it’s a good team win in a tough environment on the road," Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer told the media, post-game. "You need to have some close games, you need to be tested and a lot of credit to Brooklyn for how they played. We feel fortunate to get a good win on the road."

But a pat on the back won't do.

The Nets should have and could have won this game but that won't settle the unrest within the team's collective psyche.

This would've been a great win in proving to themselves that they can beat the best team in the east and now the Nets are left wondering whether or not they even have a shot against this team if they were to meet in the first round of the playoffs starting next weekend.

The 0-4 season sweep by the Hawks does not offer confidence, and this loss drops the Nets back to the 8th and final spot, only a game ahead of the Indiana Pacers (35-43), who just received their star, Paul George, back from the compound fracture he suffered during the Las Vegas scrimmage this past summer for Team USA.

The Nets have four games left in the season.

This Friday, they will host the Washington Wizards, travel to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks on Sunday and then finish the season hosting the Chicago Bulls on Monday and the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

The Nets can't look ahead or to any of the teams aiming for their spot.

They have to handle their business because if not, owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who addressed the media before tip-off will.

"I will do my best in order to find the opportunity to reach our common goal," Prokhorov expressed when asked about the team’s future.

"You know that if you analyze a championship team, 20 percent of it is draft picks and 80 percent are trades. So now we have talent, and I am sure that our front office is good enough and have a great eye to find some balance in order to improve our team if we need."

Sounds like somebody who means business.

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