November 17, 2019

Kyrie Irving leads the Brooklyn Nets with a team-high 39 points to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 135-125

It was a close one, but the Brooklyn Nets eked out a 135-125 win against the New Orleans Pelicans sans Zion Williamson. The Nets are not at .500, yet, but improved to 3-4 overall this season with the win, while the Pelicans fell to 1-6.

How The Nets Did It By The Numbers:

The Nets scored 33 points in the first quarter, which marked the most points Brooklyn has tallied in any opening period this season. At the midway point, Brooklyn led New Orleans 67-50, with the 17-point advantage marking Brooklyn's biggest halftime lead this season, also the most points in any half this season.

Brooklyn also recorded a season-high 32 assists, while edging the Pelicans 32-18 in assists. The Nets also posted a season-high 13 steals, led by Taurean Prince (four steals) and Kyrie Irving (three steals).

However, the third quarter was not the Nets’ strong suit, as they allowed the Pelicans to edge them by 11 points (48-37) and therefore shortening the gap ending the third quarter, Brooklyn 104, New Orleans, 98. The fourth quarter was even tighter, with Brooklyn only outscoring New Orleans by four points 31-27, and ending the game ahead by 10 points, 135-125.

Kenny Atkinson on the close call 

“We just found a way,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding how his team was able to hold on for the win. “Crazy game. A lot of back-and-forth. (Brandon) Ingram was phenomenal of course. He hit some tough shots. We took a combination, a haymaker, however, you want to call it – a couple of left hooks in the jaw in the third quarter. I thought in the fourth quarter we did a better job and slowed them down a little, but third quarter, they were unstoppable.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Kyrie Irving led Brooklyn with a team-high 39 points, a game-high nine assists, four rebounds, and three steals in 35 minutes. Caris LeVert posted 23 points with seven rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes; Joe Harris recorded a season-high 19 points with three rebounds, four assists and a steal in 33 minutes; Jarrett Allen came through and totaled a season-high 18 points and 10 rebounds against New Orleans, recording his second double-double of the season, and; Garrett Temple scored in double figures for the second time as a Net and chipped in 13 points, two rebounds, and four assists.

The Closeout

Kyrie Irving spoke on the closing run of the game: “That’s part of my responsibility – getting in the paint I draw so much attention. Being able to see that weak side, guys are putting the triangle on me when I’m driving left or driving right. That’s part of the evolution of my game, just being able to make those plays as often as I can. Whether I’m scoring or whether someone is getting a wide-open shot – just got to trust it. Continue to trust that the basketball gods will reward you for making the right play. I think they did that for us tonight.”

VIDEO: Kyrie Irving on defeating the Pelicans and the Nets' Upcoming 8-Game Road Trip

 

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry speaks on his team digging a deep hole

“We decided to play 20 minutes in a 48-minute game and that doesn’t work out,” responded New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry. “At least it hasn’t in the 31 years I’ve been in the NBA. We have to have the same effort throughout the game. You can’t spot a team 20 points on their home court. That being said, I did think that group that we had in there competed like crazy, got us back to within a field goal. When that happens though and you get yourself that close, it still has to be the perfect storm and it’s not going to happen. There’s no perfect storms in this game. Disappointed in the way we started the game. Really appreciate the effort that we gave to get the game back, but then you have to make every play down the stretch and that’s been something that we haven’t been able to do.”

New Orleans Pelicans' Leading Scorers 

For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram led all scorers with a career-high 40 points, along with five rebounds and assists, respectively. Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball each scored 15 points and three assists, respectively, while Holiday added 7 rebounds to his total; Josh Hart contributed 14 points, 7 rebounds, and four steals, and; both JJ Redick and Frank Jackson each contributed 12 points off the bench.

Brandon Ingram spoke on his career-high scoring last night.

“Like I said, to God be the glory,” Ingram said about his career-high scoring night. “He gives me confidence just to come out here every day and do my job. And my teammates give me a lot of confidence when I come out here, just to keep pushing forward, creating for myself and creating for others, so I just felt like I was in (a) rhythm. I still missed some layups, still missed a couple shots, still missed some threes, so I could have done better.”

Ingram gets his next opportunity to do better this Friday, November 8, 2019, when the New Orleans Pelicans host the Toronto Raptors. Game time is at 7 p.m. CT.

The Nets on the other-hand, embark on their season-long five-game road trip, beginning in Portland this Friday, November 8, 2019, and ending in Chicago on November 16, 2019.

The Nets will return home to the Barclays Center on November 18, 2019, to meet up with the Indiana Pacers at 7:30 p.m.

 
 

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.

 

Kyrie Irving’s 3-pointer and Spencer Dinwiddie’s two free throws in closing minutes seal Brooklyn Nets 113-109 win over the New York Knicks

The Brooklyn Nets' second game of the NBA season is now on the books, with a 113-109 win against their crosstown rival, the New York Knicks. From last season until now, this is the Nets’ third straight victory over the Knicks. The Nets are now, 1-1 overall this season, while the Knicks are 0-2.

For the second consecutive home game this season, the Nets had a lead in the closing minutes and lost it. However, this time, they pulled themselves from the jaws of another NBA game loss. At the start of the fourth quarter, Brooklyn was leading the New York Knicks 94-83. However, starting early in the fourth stanza, the Knicks and Nets would play a cat and mouse game. The Knicks would chip away at the Nets’ lead and the Nets would regain it back. At 7:02 before the horn, the Nets were leading by 10, and at 5:16, there were only three points separating the Nets and the Knicks. Then the pendulum shift occurred at 3:41 in the fourth quarter, the Nets were down by three points, 109-106 and Knicks fans were on their feet cheering loudly.

Just under three minutes later, Irving hit a pullup jump shot at 59.6 seconds, bringing the Nets to 109-108, closer, but no cigar. Twenty seconds later at 39.2 seconds, Knicks forward Marcus Morris misses a 24-foot step-back shot, Nets center Jarrett Allen gets the rebound, and at 22.4, Irving hits a 26 ft. 3-point step-back shot to bring the Nets a two-point lead at 111-109. Kevin Knox, who is starting his second year with the Knicks, fouls with 8.9 seconds on the clock and Spencer Dinwiddie goes to the line and hits 2 for 2 widening the Nets lead by four with the score now 113-109. Wayne Ellington loses the ball and Irving steals it with .3 seconds on the clock and that sealed the win for the Brooklyn Nets.

VIDEO: Kyrie Irving talks about the final moments leading up to Brooklyn Nets’ win, his relationship with RJ Barrett, and the 82-game NBA schedule

 

Kyrie Irving led all scorers Friday night with 26 points (8-of-19 FG, 8-of-8 FT) along with a game-high-tying five assists, two rebounds, and three steals in 31 minutes. Irving has now totaled 76 points in his first two games as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, marking the most points tallied through the first two games of a season by a Nets’ player all-time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous high was 66 points held by Brooklynite, Stephon Marbury. And, in case you forgot or don’t know, Marbury accomplished that feat for the New Jersey Nets 20 years ago during the 1999-00 season. Now, here we are, it’s the 2019-20 NBA season and the script has been flipped. We have Irving, a Jersey guy, leading that same NBA team now residing in Brooklyn.

Irving seems to revel in clutch moments, as evidenced by opening night, Friday night, and during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ championship series. Irving truly is an elite point guard. Simultaneously, he clearly sees the floor, understands the pace of the game, and controls the pace to the best of his abilities. Tasks all point guards should do, but not all can.

“The game was slowed down probably in the third and fourth quarter a little bit with just the ways the fouls were going back and forth,” Irving said. “Fouls here and there and bonus, so we just wanted to play through it…it’s just opportunities for us to get better from those empty possessions that we had.”

Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson on the Game and his Players

Of course, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was delighted that his team got the win.

“Sometimes you have got to find a way and I thought our defensive effort was good,” Coach Atkinson said he told his team after the game. “Take the third quarter out, I thought overall our defense was much, much better.”

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 20 points off the bench, shooting 5-of-12 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line, with a game-high-tying five assists and one block in 27 minutes. Joe Harris recorded 13 points (5-of-8 FG, 3-of-5 3FG) with four rebounds in 31 minutes. Caris LeVert added 12 points and Taurean Prince chipped in 11 points.

LeVert is arguably the Brooklyn Nets second-best shooter so there was some head-scratching as to why LeVert only played 24 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes or more and particularly, down the stretch.

“I just felt comfortable with Spencer (Dinwiddie), more from a defensive standpoint,” Coach Atkinson told the media. “I thought Spencer was one of our better defenders. Just felt it…we went with our gut.”

New York Knicks Scoring Leaders

The Knicks had six players to score in double digits. Allonzo Trier scored a team-high 22 points and three rebounds off the bench; RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox II each had 16 points, Knox as part of the 2nd Unit, and Barrett, a member of the starting five, added three rebounds to his tally; Julius Randle tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists; Marcus Morris added 11 points, and; Elfrid Payton contributed 10 points and four rebounds.

Knicks Head Coach David Fizdale

In the loss, New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale lauded his team’s fight and ability to hang on to make it a close finish.

“We have grit," Fizdale said about his team’s competitive spirit. “We have grit. We just have to put it together with consistent play and trust.”

But what made it a really close call for the Nets towards the end, is when Fizdale decided to put Wayne Ellington in the game. Ellington used to play for the Nets before being traded to the Miami Heat. And, Ellington was a 3-point assassin when he played for the Nets, and he displayed his talents last night, scoring nine points in 11 minutes on 3-of-4 shooting. Ellington had two other opportunities to score, but prior to getting off a shot, he turned the ball over. Perhaps, had Fizdale brought Ellington into the game earlier, maybe there would have been a different outcome.

What's Next?

Like the Nets, there are 80 more games on the schedule for the New York Knicks. Perhaps, they will get a win against the Boston Celtics at their home opener tonight, Saturday, October 26, 2019, at Madison Square Garden, at 7:30 p.m.

The Brooklyn Nets’ next game is in Memphis against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, October 27, 2019, and then they will be back at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, to take on the Indiana Pacers at 7:30 p.m.

 

TIP-INS:

By the Numbers: How The Nets Defeated the New York Knicks

• The Nets led the Knicks 32-23 at the end of the first quarter
• Brooklyn led New York 94-83 through three quarters 
• The Nets outrebounded the Knicks 46-39
• Brooklyn edged New York 21-13 in fast-break points
• The Nets shot 10-of-12 from the FT line. Brooklyn attempted that many free throws in an opening period just once, all last season. When? On January 25, 2019, against the Knicks (also 10-of-12).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Kyrie Irving scores 50 points during opening night performance, but the Minnesota Timberwolves get the win over Brooklyn Nets 127-126 in overtime

Yes, opening night for the Brooklyn Nets was the Kyrie Irving Show! Irving posted 50 points (17-of-33 FG, 7-of-14 3FG, 9-of-10 FT) in his debut for Brooklyn last night with eight rebounds, a team-high seven assists, and one block in 38 minutes. Irving scored half of his points by halftime.

However, let’s not shortchange the contributions of the rest of the team. Caris LeVert, a member of the Nets young core, accumulated 20 points with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Keep an eye out for LeVert. Last season, LeVert posted nine games with 20+ points. LeVert was averaging 19 points a game last season just before suffering a gruesome subtalar dislocation of the right foot in the 14th game of the season against the Minnesota Timberwolves. When LeVert returned in February from his injury, he averaged 13.7 points in 40 games played. And, in the postseason LeVert showed out, averaging 21 points per game in three of the team’s five playoff games against the Philadelphia 76ers. And during the 2018 off-season, he worked out Kyrie Irving. As they say, if you want to be the best, then you need to run with the best.

Taurean Prince, who just received a contract extension from the Nets, tallied a double-double in his Nets debut, totaling 15 points and a team-high 11 rebounds with two steals in a game-high 41 minutes against Minnesota. Joe Harris, aka “Joey Buckets,” and Spencer Dinwiddie each scored 14 points with Dinwiddie scoring his 14 points off the bench in just under 19 minutes.

Kyrie Irving scored 23 points before the 3-minute mark in the 2nd quarter.

“He was outstanding,” remarked Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson about Irving’s performance. “Obviously, a great debut for him. Just disappointing we made such a big hole for us. The first half we were completely out of sync.”

Definitely out of sync. At the end of the first quarter, the Nets were behind by 11 points, with the score being 33-22, and the first half ended with the Timberwolves up by 12 points, 68-56.

“The second half we did a little better, got in sync,” Atkinson added. “We definitely saw the effects of guys not playing together. We’ve got to figure out our rotations. Credit to the Timberwolves, obviously (Karl-Anthony) Towns was huge. His threes were huge. I thought a lot of them were contested. Just credit to them.”

Remember the days when the Nets would get lost in the third quarter, digging a hole too deep to resurface? Not last night. The Nets picked up some energy and wrote a different story, outscoring the Timberwolves 37-20 in the third stanza and started the fourth quarter with a five-point lead over the Timberwolves (93-88).

With several lead changes in the fourth quarter, including when at 9:51, the Nets were up by eight points, it seemed like the Timberwolves were running out of steam. But then started chipping away at the Nets’ lead and tied the game at 6:53. The T-Wolves chipped away some more and took the lead from the Nets (101-98) at 6:47. The Nets fought back, tying the game 110-110 at 1:41 on Irving’s first of three free throws. With all free throws made, the Nets are now ahead by two, 112-110, but Anthony Wiggins ties the game at 112-112 with a finger-roll layup. Irving then hits a three-pointer with 1:16 remaining pulling the Nets to 115-112. Minnesota calls a time out, Towns hits a 25-foot three and ties the score at 115-115 at 1:06.

The Nets had opportunities to pull ahead. Irving missed a fadeaway bank shot and a three-pointer and Jarrett Allen missed two free throws, which may have been done on purpose to set up an overtime scenario considering there were 5.7 seconds left in regulation.

During overtime, the Nets were down three points with 36.8 seconds remaining. Irving goes to the free-throw line and makes two shots bringing the Nets within one point. At 20.5 seconds, Karl-Anthony Towns misses a 3-point jump shot, Irving rebounds and calls a time out. With 14.5 seconds left, Irving dribbles, falls, gets up, shoots the ball at the buzzer, and misses. Minnesota survives and the Nets lose 127-126.

Irving’s mishap on the last play of the game in OT was on everyone’s mind; was the floor slippery, did he trip on something, etc.?

“I fell,” Irving told the media during a postgame briefing in the locker room. “I was in the process of making another move and just lost my footing, lost my balance. Somehow, I got it back and just got to get my elbow pointed at the rim. I had a better chance at making it. It was right a little bit, so, just gotta tuck the elbow in a little bit and I’ll have a better chance. But when you lose balance like that, you try to get your bearings really quickly and I give credit to them. Obviously just losing my balance made the big difference there.”

Regarding the Nets’ slow start out the gate?

“This is one game, Irving said. “One of 82. So, don’t need to get nervous. Just keep knocking them down.”

Game 1 is in the books, and Game 2 is tomorrow, Friday, October 25, 2019, against the New York Knicks, who is also 0-1. This game will be home game for the Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m.

 

Nets still figuring out their system during their last preseason game, and; group protesting NBA yielding to China caps Nets game

Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets played their last game of the NBA preseason and, in many ways, the Nets cohesiveness was similar to their first opponent of the preseason, the SESI/Franca Brazil Basketball Club. Granted, the Nets were going up against the reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, but with the addition of Kyrie Irving, fans are expecting more.

Some are attributing the Nets’ lackluster appearance to “jet lag” from their China trip, and there is some truth in that reasoning. Anyone who has taken a trip where your destination is more than six hours ahead or behind knows that it takes some time to get your groove back. But Nets center Jarrett Allen threw cold water on blaming jet lag for the team’s defeat.

“We can’t fully blame it on the hangover from China because they (Toronto Raptors) were in Japan,” Jarrett explained. “So, you could say they would have a hangover too. At the same time, we’re still learning our defensive scheme, we’re still learning playing with each other and that’s exactly what preseason is for.”

And, he’s right.

Early on the Nets were very competitive ending the first quarter even at 28 points, but in the second quarter, the Raptors pulled away ending the half with a 21-point lead 74-53. During the third quarter, the Brooklyn Nets, still down, closed the gap slightly 101-84, but ultimately lost 123-107.

“I think the first part of it is that they’re (Toronto Raptors) really good,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson regarding whether the Nets loss was due to jet lag.

“I think they’re one of the top teams in the East and they’re going to compete for the top spots. So that’s the respect I have for them. Second of all, yes, I think that was a part of it. I think that’s the first time Kyrie (Irving) was with that group in a live game. First one, so I think there will be some adjustments there. You could say that the China – kind of hangover or whatever – but I think they were in Japan if I’m correct about that, so I’m not sure what the time difference is, that’s not my area of expertise, but I’m not sure how much that plays into it. I told the guys in the locker room I was a little disappointed. This happens in this league against good teams, but I felt like we lost sight of our principles, our habits, all the things we have been working on. They kind of – poof – they kind of disappeared. So that concerned me. That was everybody, starters, guys that came in off the bench, end of the bench guys. It was kind of a breakdown of all the good things I’ve been saying all camp.”

“Camp has been great,” Atkinson continued. “The two games against the Lakers were really intact with what we’re doing, so I think when we get back to practice, we’ll get back to our core principles. You have to rewind a little bit.”

Kyrie Irving co-signed on Atkinson’s sentiment to some degree.

“They did a great job, Toronto, just stretching us on the 3-point line and I think they hit over 20 threes,” Irving said about the Raptors’ prowess. “Any NBA team that’s hitting over 20 threes is going to be successful out there on the offensive end. We’ve just got to get back to maintaining our principles, our system. Still new on the fly for us, not expected to get it right, right away, and we’ve got time to build. Just take it as a preseason game. For me, personally, I was just happy to be out there. I enjoy the game so much and entertaining, so it was just good to be out there.”

However, Coach Atkinson took it a step further when he responded to a question about whether the Nets' lack of defense was a breakdown of Nets’ principles.

“Yes,” Atkinson responded. “Defense, transition defense, guarding the ball, individual defense. I think it was just a cakewalk to the rim for them. They were in our paint all night. Then we started sucking in and they started kicking out for threes. The offense wasn’t great either, but I think we gave up 47 threes tonight. That’s not how we play. It will be good feedback and information, good film to watch with the guys and kind of restructure what we’re doing.”

On the other hand, Toronto Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse seemed to like what he saw from his team end-to-end.

“It was good,” said Coach Nurse. “I thought I played the seven that I know we are going to play and tried to keep turning it around and that was easy enough to get them in a lot of different rotations and different positions and all that stuff. They were fine. They flowed, it looked like it didn’t bother them much and we’re just giving them some experience. So, on both ends they were good.”

Coach Nurse even liked what he saw at the bottom of his rotation.

Terence (Davis) played good, right,” Coach Nurse asked? “He looked great, looked like he should’ve been in that rotation in the first half and then I thought he, like a young player does, he comes in there and gets a little comfortable and throws it all over the place for two or three possessions. That’s a growing process for him. Right now, he’s a combo guard, probably combo’ing more towards the two. But we would like him to play someone and be our third point guard, maybe, but if not we will just keep him at the two and you’ve heard me talk about it, I think it’s easier to play at the two, not as much responsibility.”

Toronto had seven players scoring in double digits including three off the bench: Serge Ibaka (15 points, 11 rebounds); Norman Powell (11 points, 3 assists), and; Terence Davis (10 points). The Raptors’ starters who were scoring leaders were: OG Anunoby (18 points, six rebounds); Fred VanVleet (16 points, eight assists, and three rebounds); Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol each scored 11 points, and Gasol added nine rebounds and three assists to his total, while Siakam complemented his total points with six rebounds and four assists.

For the Nets, Irving led all scorers with 19 points, four assists, and three rebounds. Both Taurean Prince and Spencer Dinwiddie produced 13 points, with Dinwiddie adding his points off the bench along with four assists. Jarrett Allen added 12 points and seven rebounds; David Nwaba recorded 11 points and six rebounds off the bench, and; Caris LeVert chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Brooklyn Nets start the NBA regular season at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.

TIP-IN: Although there was a group protesting the NBA’s yielding to China, the protestors didn’t catch this reporter’s attention until the game ended when people were filing out of the arena.

Protestors seeking help from Nets and NBA for freedom in China 20191018 214423 600x450

People protesting the NBA’s lack of involvement in helping Chinese and Tibetans gain more freedom from the Chinese government. Photo Credit: What's The 411 Networks, Inc.

 

 
 
 
 

A new Big 3 arrives in Brooklyn to add firepower to the Brooklyn Nets which already feature standouts Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Joe Harris

When the news broke during the first moments of the 2019 NBA Free Agency that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant would be signing with the Brooklyn Nets, it was clear that this was the start of a new era in Brooklyn. Today, that notion was underscored and co-signed by the number of media that showed up to see and hear from these two NBA superstars at the Brooklyn Nets Media Day held at the Nets practice facility.

The event kicked off with Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson answering a myriad of questions from the media including: how the Irving – Durant deal came together, will Kevin Durant travel with the team to China (preseason), players Atkinson expects to see take the next step upwards, what it’s like working with elite basketball players, and more.

In his own words: Kenny Atkinson

Kyrie Irving Hits The Stage

Then the moment that everyone was waiting for, Kyrie Irving takes the stage. Before anyone could ask questions, Irving leaned in and laid it all out. Irving started off as though he was in a confessional, all that was missing was, forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

“I’m incredibly grateful to be here,” Irving said. “It’s been a journey that I’ve taken numerous steps in different directions, and I’ve failed and succeeded…”

Uhhh, so where is this going?!

Irving went on to say that he was the mastermind behind bringing Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan to the Brooklyn Nets.

Meanwhile, in the weeks leading up to the announcement, the drumbeat that Irving and Durant would be signing with the New York Knicks grew louder with each passing day. So, how did Irving and company land in Brooklyn?

From Irving’s detailing of the sequence of events, it seemed like the Brooklyn Nets were in the lead for a good while. He went into detail about his decision-making and listed the factors that swayed his decision. Irving watched a good deal of Brooklyn Nets tape, he noticed that the players played hard, the Brooklyn Nets were a well-managed and coached team, New York City is close to home, and he grew up watching and rooting for the Nets, which was his hometown team when they played in New Jersey.

So, how did those so-called basketball insiders get this so wrong? Easy, they were probably not talking with Kyrie Irving and probably didn’t know that he used to root for the Nets in the Julius Erving days. Additionally, when people hear New York, they forget that Brooklyn is part of New York City.

But, getting back to the deal, at 4:16 a.m. before NBA free agency started in earnest, Irving, Durant, and Jordan were on the phone, FaceTime, specifically, when Irving asked if they were ready to do this. Indeed, they were, and Irving reached out to Nets general manager Sean Marks to get the ball rolling. He also let Marks know that it wasn’t just him, saying, “I had some other pieces I wanted to bring with me as well…”

Marks, talking about the signing of Irving and Durant at his press conference on Tuesday played it cool as if it was just another day at the office. But, listening to Kyrie Irving, one could only imagine the “happy dance” that Marks and his team were probably doing when he learned that Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan were ready to sign with Brooklyn.

For the most part, Brooklyn Nets fans were exuberant at the news that Irving and Durant would be coming to Brooklyn and not the New York Knicks. However, some fans and reporters were wondering will Irving come and then leave Brooklyn high and dry like he did Boston. In answering the Boston issue without being asked, Irving stated, “nine months ago I was sitting in front of the Boston crowd saying that I wanted to re-sign. And after that, a lot of things happened in my personal life that really changed the landscape of how I felt about the game of basketball and actually playing it in a team environment, and that really affected me as a human being.”

“‘Hey…they loved me in Boston, I loved the Boston fans” Irving continued. “And then two weeks later things just got really, really rocky for me in terms of — when I left for, I believe you know, after the Phoenix game, I went to my grandfather’s memorial, and he passed on October 23rd and after he passed, basketball was the last thing on my mind. So, a lot of basketball and the joy I had from it was sucked away from me and there was a facial expression that I carried around with me throughout the year, didn’t allow anyone to get close to me in that instance and it really bothered me. I didn’t take the necessary steps to get counseling or get therapy or anything to deal with someone that close to me dying. I’ve never dealt with anything like that.”

At that moment, there was a momentum shift in the room, yes, Kyrie Irving is a basketball god, a basketball hero, but he is also a human being that grieves like the rest of us.

We also learned that Irving and Durant have a real bond and Irving is very protective of Durant which he made very clear when he recounted Durant’s injury to his Achilles.

“We all know K was not ready to play in that environment…we put him on a national stage to end up selling a product (that) came before the person,” Irving said as though they were fighting words.

So, if Irving has anything to do with it, don’t expect to see Kevin Durant on the court before he’s physically ready.

Kevin Durant Speaks, sort of

Speaking of Durant, when it was his turn to speak, it was more question and answer and a noticeable shift in the relationship with the media. While Kyrie was open and laying it all bare, Durant, was closely guarded and with good reason. Since his move to the Golden State Warriors from the Oklahoma City Thunder, some media people seem to be out to get him.

For Durant, the opportunity to play for the Brooklyn Nets with his friends at this moment in time was not to be taken lightly, “it’s very rare we could meet up at this point… to control our destinies.”

Durant also did his homework researching the Nets. He already knew Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert from working out with him last summer. But he researched Nets coach Kenny Atkinson.

“I was doing a lot of YouTube research on Kenny Atkinson and watching interviews to see how he talked after games and stuff,” Durant admitted. “I really liked his approach to his craft as a coach and that’s what drew me in pretty quickly.”

DeAndre Jordan

In every group, there seems to be someone who brings the comic relief and DeAndre Jordan was just what the doctor ordered. Jordan made it clear that as a veteran player at the center position, he will mentor Jarrett Allen, who is going into his third year, but the position will be competitive.

Jarrett, you have been put on notice.

What’s Next?

The Brooklyn Nets will play two games at home at the Barclays Center during the NBA preseason, on Friday, October 4, 2019, against the SESI/Franca Basketball Club (Brazil) and on Friday, October 18, 2019, against the Toronto Raptors. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

The first regular-season home game is on Wednesday, October 23rd at 7:30 p.m., against the Minnesota Timberwolves, followed by the New York Knicks on Friday, October 25, 2019, also at 7:30 p.m.

 
 

With the NBA blockbuster signings during this NBA off-season, Caris LeVert, a young star will continue to shine in Brooklyn this season

From the moment the Brooklyn Nets acquired guard Caris LeVert in an NBA Draft night trade with the Indiana Pacers in 2016, you knew there must be something special about this young man. Why else would Nets general manager Sean Marks, who was only an NBA general manager for four months, risk his career giving up Thaddeus Young, a serviceable player, for an unknown rookie? Even though Nets ownership gave Marks wiggle room, he couldn’t totally strikeout. To many NBA observers at the time, this move was a head-scratcher.

Today, the Brooklyn Nets announced the signing of guard Caris LeVert to a three-year contract extension, one day after his 25th birthday.

So, how has LeVert performed over the years?

LeVert has appeared in 168 career games (61 starts) across three seasons with the Nets, recording averages of 11.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.0 steals in 24.8 minutes per contest.

This past season, LeVert set single-season career highs in points per game (13.7) and rebounds per game (3.8), which marked his third straight season of improvement in both categories, to go along with 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 26.6 minutes per game through 40 contests (25 starts). The 25-year-old averaged 18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 29.7 minutes per game in his first 13 games prior to suffering a foot injury, and he capped off the 2018-19 campaign by registering averages of 21.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 28.9 minutes per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from 3-point range in Brooklyn’s five postseason games against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Caris personifies what it means to be a Brooklyn Net, and we firmly believe his best basketball is in front of him,” said Marks. “The growth he has displayed in his first three seasons is a testament to his tireless work ethic, along with an unrelenting will to maximize his talents and achieve team success. Our entire organization is excited to continue to have Caris as one of the leaders of our program moving forward.”

Although the Nets did not disclose LeVert’s deal in financial terms, Adrian Wojnarowski reported the deal to be about $52 million dollars for three years.

 

The Brooklyn Nets have signed forward Deng Adel.

Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

Adel (6’7, 200) appeared in 19 games (three starts) with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018-19 season, averaging 1.7 points and 1.0 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game after signing a two-way contract on January 15, 2919.

Adel also appeared in 37 NBA G League games last season split between the Raptors 905 (25 games) and the Canton Charge (12 games), recording averages of 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 31.2 minutes per contest. The 22-year-old competed for Houston’s NBA Summer League Team in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Prior to beginning his professional career, Adel spent three years (2015-18) at Louisville, averaging 15.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 33.1 minutes per game as a junior.

A South Sudan native, Adel is an Australian citizen and will join the Australian Boomers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Best Playoff Atmosphere ever for Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center; Nets played with urgency, but lack of experience got in the Way of Nets Advancement

Just like the Philadelphia 76ers last season was a young and inexperienced team and couldn’t advance as far as they would have liked in the NBA Playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets are finding themselves in a similar predicament. The Nets took Game 1 of this first-round NBA Playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers and lost Games 2, 3, and 4. This is not uncharacteristic for a young NBA team. They made a ton of mistakes like other young teams primarily because of lack of experience. Yesterday, the lack of experience was glaring. The Nets played 3.5 quarters in stellar fashion and looked like they were on the brink of tying the series by winning Game 4. We should be going to Philadelphia with a 2-2 series. However, between 4:11 and 2:09 of the fourth quarter, the Nets turned the ball over four times and the Sixers took advantage of those mistakes, just like the Boston Celtics took advantage of the Philadelphia 76er’s mistakes last season.

Similarly, if the Nets can’t win Game 5 in Philadelphia, it will be a wrap for them this season, but not a lost season. In the last two seasons, the Nets only managed to win 20 and 27 games. This season, the Nets won 42 games and made it to the playoffs and for all tense and purposes did not get swept. The Brooklyn Nets were able to accomplish this feat because the new management under Sean Marks is focused on player development and culture, and to a man, the team is all in. And, Sean Marks has been able to do this with no top draft picks and a first-time coach in Kenny Atkinson. The Nets have taken in guys who many considered to be castaways and because of the culture surrounding the Nets, they have managed to shine quickly.

Last season, Spencer Dinwiddie was selected to participate in the NBA All-Star Skills Challenge. This season, Joe Harris beat out Stephen Curry and won the NBA All-Star 3-Point Shooting Contest, and D’Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft was cast out of the Los Angeles Lakers by Magic Johnson in 2017. This season, Russell participated in the NBA All-Star Game 2019 and lately is the talk of the “NBA Town” and looked upon by some as the leader of the Nets team. As the regular NBA season was winding down and Russell was tearing up the scoreboard, the “Brooklyn Brigade/Block” consistently chanted, “Thank You, Magic.”

At the end of the day, the Nets should not feel ashamed about this season. It’s their lack of experience, not heart, that is putting them behind the eight ball.

At the end of yesterday’s playoff game against Philadelphia, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson summed up the outcome: “I think a little bit of our experience, (a) little bit of their length and activity. I think it’s one of their strengths and I thought we got a little out of sorts, had a few turnovers that we didn’t need. We also had a bunch of good looks. I thought we had a bunch of good looks, and they didn’t go down.”

So, what did yesterday’s box score tell us about the Brooklyn Nets top scorers?

Caris LeVert, who was among the Nets starting five in Game 4, scored a team-high 25 points with five rebounds, a team-high-tying six assists and a steal in 42 minutes. D’Angelo Russell posted 21 points, seven rebounds, a team-high-tying six assists, two steals and a block in 37 minutes. Jarrett Allen also recorded 21 points and added a team-high eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 32 minutes to his point total. A good game for Allen by the numbers; he recorded his fifth-career game of 20+ points and his first in the postseason. He also turns 21 today. Spencer Dinwiddie totaled 18 points (7-of-12 FG) with four rebounds and a steal in 27 minutes off the bench. Joe Harris, who is usually the Nets best 3-point shooter was 0-for-6 from the 3-point line but chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, and two steals.

How are Nets players feeling about last night’s game, going back to Philadelphia for Game 5, and down 3-1?

“There’s a disappointment losing any game – whether it be home or on the road – especially, when you’re up, five minutes left to go in the game,” Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert responded. “That’s disappointing in itself. But obviously, with the great crowd, we had tonight, we like to protect our home court. So, it was frustrating. But we’ve got another game.”

D’Angelo Russell sounding a bit more optimistic is looking forward to Game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“You see two teams out there hungry, trying to compete,’ Russell said. “They sure as hell don’t want to lose to the Brooklyn Nets, and I think we’ve got a chance to beat the Sixers, so it’s just a high-intensity game and that’s what it’s going to look like. It’s going to be hard for all. Bodies are going to be flying. Give each other what we want.”

And, Russell has a game plan, particularly adjusting to Joel Embiid down low clogging the lane.

“I think that’s part of the game plan,” Russell continued. “When these big guys are clogging the lane like that, we’re able to throw over the top and get in and kick it out. When there’s three guys in there, it works in our favor. Like I said, we’ll look at the film, see where the help’s coming from, see where their scouting help is coming from and we capitalize on that. Simple as that.”

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