April 25, 2019

D’Angelo Russell leads Brooklyn Nets with 23 points; Vince Carter gets a video tribute, and; Jeremy Lin says he feels good

Last night was evidence that the Brooklyn Nets are working hard to turn a corner and a page on losing seasons of the recent past. Early on in last night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn dug itself into an 18-point hole at the 38.3-second mark in the first quarter and minus 19 points with a score of Hawks 46 and Nets 27 at the 9:02 mark in the second quarter. But, by the end of the first half, the Nets whittled the Hawks lead to six at 57-51. The reversal of fortunes for the Hawks occurred in the third quarter as the Nets ended the third stanza up by six points with the score 86-80. In the fourth is where the Nets kicked things into high gear leading by 20 points at the 2:38 mark on a Shabazz Napier running layup, and then ultimately defeating the Atlanta Hawks 116-100.

With this win, the Nets improved to 21-22 overall and 11-11 at Barclays Center, while the Hawks fell to 12-29 overall and 5-19 on the road with the loss. The Nets are now 13-4 in their last 17 games, which marks their best 17-game stretch since the 2013-14 season when the Nets had a 13-4 stretch from March 9, 2014, through April 8, 2014. Wow, that seems like eons ago. But hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen because right now, the Brooklyn Nets are now the sixth seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference, which would make them playoff bound. If the NBA playoffs were held today, the Nets would be playing the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Not my favorite choice, I think they would have a better chance emerging from the first round if they were to play the Philadelphia 76ers. Just saying.

Die-hard Nets fans know that 2014 was the last time the Brooklyn Nets were in the NBA Playoffs. They also know during the Nets’ “Dark Ages” starting with the 2014-15 NBA season through 2017-18, that if the Nets got behind by more than 10 points, most likely, it would be a wrap because they lacked the strategic basketball acumen to climb back to the top. In many cases, the individual talent was there but collectively, they just didn’t know how to mix all of the strategic elements to survive as winners. And, last night, it was if someone hit a switch and pulled them out of a losing trance. Perhaps, it’s the influence of the respected new veteran players, or, hungrier new younger players, their own growth and maturity as a team, listening to the coaches, or, just tired of losing, or, any combination of the listed reasons and more.

But somehow, last night, the Nets figured out a way to climb out of a 20-point deficit to win by 16 points.

“First of all, no easy games in the NBA, that’s for sure,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about how his team turned around a losing game to a winning one. “They blitzed us in the first quarter. I think a lot of that was them and some of it was us. And 38 points in the first quarter, it’s like you’re playing with fire when you dig a hole like that. Then I think 19 points in the second quarter we gave up and then 43 points in the second half, so we turned our defense around. I think the zone helped us, just got them out of rhythm a little bit, wasn’t our main kind of slice, but it was helpful. I thought it got them out of rhythm a little bit, helped us.”

Nets guard Joe Harris also chimed in on how this comeback showed the maturity and growth of the team.

“Yeah, obviously not the start that we wanted,” Harris said. “We talk about it a lot, trying to be consistent over four quarters, and if you’re not, you have a blimp. Say you have a quarter like today, 38-23, a little sluggish, especially on the defensive end – that’s where the veteran leadership comes in. Guys like J.D. (Jared Dudley) and DeMarre (Carroll) and Ed (Davis), they’re the ones who are vocalizing. They’re talking about aspirations that we have for this team. We can’t have these lapses if we want to get where we’re trying to go. I think considering where we’ve been, where we’re at now says a lot about the team. A lot of it rests with those veteran guys.”

What’s really amazing is that the Brooklyn Nets have found their way to win even without Caris LeVert, who was scoring 18 points per game and seemed destined to be the team’s rising star before his injury on November 12, 2018, when the Nets were playing the Minnesota Timberwolves. So, right now, we are witnessing “next man up” in action.

Obviously, Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce was disappointed in the game’s outcome and he pinpoints where things went awry for his team.

“I think we came out with the momentum from last night’s game, Atlanta Hawks coach Pierce told reporters. “A lot of energy, a lot of ball movement, a lot of pace, attacking downhill, and we just ran out of gas in the second quarter is where it started. It looks like the second half, but it really started in the second quarter. I don’t think we had a turnover in the first quarter, I could be wrong, it may have been at the end. But to end up with 22 turnovers basically over three quarters and just being flat. Tough, tough.”

Nets starting point guard, D’Angelo Russell, scored a team-high 23 points (11-of-20 FG) with three rebounds, four assists, and one steal in 26 minutes. Joe Harris registered 16 points and eight rebounds, and; Rodions Kurucs and Jarrett Allen, also starters, each contributed 11 points, Allen added five rebounds, while Kurucs, a rookie, added four rebounds.

Brooklyn’s bench outscored the Hawks’ reserves 55-31, led by DeMarre Carroll’s 17 points and four rebounds; Spencer Dinwiddie added 16 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals, and; Shabazz Napier chipped in 11 points, and three rebounds, assists, and steals respectively.

Veteran player, Ed Davis, who Nets center Jarrett Allen credits with helping him to up his game, crashed the boards with 16 rebounds to go along with his eight points.

John Collins led the Atlanta Hawks and all scorers in points last night against the Brooklyn Nets with 30 points and 14 rebounds; Trae Young registered 17 points and seven assists, and; Kevin Huerter rounded out the Hawks starters in double digits with 14points, 10 rebounds, and three assists.

The Hawks’ bench players in double digits were Jeremy Lin with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals, and; Alex Len who contributed 10 points, and four assists.

This is Jeremy Lin’s second time at the Barclays Center since being traded from the Nets to the Atlanta Hawks. Lin was plagued with injuries the two seasons he was on the Nets roster. He spoke with reporters about how feels about his game right now.

“I feel good,” Lin told reporters. “I know tonight shots didn’t fall the way I wanted to. But for me, it’s not about makes or misses, it’s about the quality of the shot. I felt like I got really high-quality shots tonight and honestly, a ton of them felt great. That’s how it is sometimes. As many of those nights as I have, where they feel great and don’t fall, I’ll have many where they do. So I’m not too worried about it, I’m more just concerned with making sure I take great shots that I know I can hit and continuing to ride this momentum of trying to be aggressive, trying to make plays for my teammates as well, just trying to be disruptive on both ends of the floor.”

Veteran NBA player Vince Carter who was a Net from 2004 -2009, when the team was in New Jersey, received a video tribute to commemorate his 21st year in the NBA, as he had the night before in Toronto. No one really knows if this is Carter’s last season in the NBA, however, Carter was grateful.

“It’s a great trip – stressful sometimes, a lot of people to see,” Carter said about the reception from both teams. “But the appreciation, I’m very thankful for and I’ll never forget. The video – yes, it could be premature or not –they’re thinking about me and I’m very thankful.”

And, what’s up for the Atlanta Hawks’ immediate future, the Philadelphia 76ers. Yes, the Hawks will travel to Philadelphia to play the 76ers tomorrow, Friday, January 11, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will have their own test as they travel to another country to face the Toronto Raptors, the team with the most wins in the NBA at 31, also on Friday, January 11, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Nets then play the Boston Celtics at home at the Barclays Center on Monday, January 14, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Noel Nerlens Falls to #6 & Gets Traded to Philly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See a complete list of the NBA drafts picks below.

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

 

Nets Dim the Phoenix Suns

December 02, 2015

Nets earn a 4th straight home victory with a 94-91 win over the Suns

In another close victory at home, Tuesday night, the Brooklyn Nets beat the Phoenix Suns 94-91 for their fourth consecutive home victory.

In an unusual scheduling, thus far, the Nets have played just seven home games, but will play a combined 20 times at home in December and January, the most in the NBA.

Brook Lopez was a force down low, finishing with 23 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Lopez also added six rebounds. Three other players scored in double digits, ironically, scoring 11 points each. Jarrett Jack, the only other starter in double digits totaled 11 points and eight assists; Wayne Ellington and Shane Larkin both came off the bench scoring 11 points each, and Larkin, like Jack, added eight assists.

It was a solid first half for the Nets. They led by nine at half, and shot 56 percent and scored 36 points in the paint.

The third quarter is proving to be the Nets Achilles heel. In the third quarter, Brandon Knight led the Suns on a 16-2 run giving the Suns a 62-56 advantage. Eric Bledsoe beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to send Phoenix into the fourth with a 73-70 lead.

Larkin broke an 85-all tie with a drive to the basket with 4:08 left, Ellington added a layup in transition and Lopez made a free throw for a 90-85 advantage. Phoenix’s Alex Len missed from close range with the Suns down three, and after they got the ball back a final time, it was no cigar! Phoenix couldn't even get a shot off after inbounding in the frontcourt.

These two teams battled it out to the end.

“I’ll take the win,” stated Lionel Hollins, Brooklyn Nets Head Coach.

As for the current winning streak at home, can the Nets keep the winning streak alive?

"We're just starting to put some things together," Jack said.

"Win a bunch of those games, just keep playing hard, take it one game at a time and just see what we can do," Larkin added.

And, although Bojan Bogdanovic and Thomas Robinson didn’t score in double digits, every point counts. Bogdanovic turned in a 3-for-5 performance with seven rebounds and Robinson chipped in six points and three rebounds.

What’s next?

The Nets are back on the road. They will cross the river to play the New York Knicks on Friday and back home on Sunday to challenge the Golden State Warriors.

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