April 20, 2019

Washington Wizards down early, but used its wizardry to tie it up and wrap it up with 125-116 victory; D’Angelo Russell scored 23 points in the first half

This was a game where the final score really doesn’t tell the whole story. From the last third of the first quarter, it was tough sledding, but the Nets managed to close the gap in its 125-116 loss to the Washington Wizards.

At the outset, it took the Wizards more than three minutes to get points on the board. At 8:56 in the first, the Nets were leading 10-0, but with some wizardry, Washington scored its first two points. At the 4:08 mark in the first quarter, the score was tied 18-18. By the end of the quarter, the Washington Wizards finished on top 34-28. The remaining three quarters were more of the same. In the second stanza the Nets stayed close, tying twice, but ultimately, ending the quarter on the losing end 68-60. The third quarter was when things really went south, the Nets were down by as much as 28 points at 2:14, ultimately ending the third, 101-79, a deficit of 22 points. In a word, UGLY. Now, to their credit, towards the end of the third quarter and into the fourth, you could physically see the Nets hustling. But prior to the fourth period, everything that could go wrong went terribly wrong, it was as if they were under a spell. But, ultimately, the Nets managed to dig themselves out of the double-digit hole, ending the game down by nine, 125-116.

“I was concerned before the game about this team (Wizards),” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said responding to a question about the Nets lack of defense. “They’re a very good, talented offensive team. We didn’t stop them. Credit to them, I thought they played really well. Obviously, we didn’t have that it. Whatever it is, we didn’t have it across the board – players, coaches. It just wasn’t there. Just not nearly good enough to beat them tonight.”

Atkinson went on to say that he addressed the Wizards’ numerous fast-breaks during the team’s meeting at halftime.

“Yeah, we told them,” Atkinson continued. “Even without John Wall, they played faster than they did before. That was key, number one. We had poor transition defense. It doesn’t help when you’re missing shots – 5-for-23 for three in the first half, missing lay-ups and etcetera, etcetera. I think we can throw it in one bucket, it was across the board. I just thought we just weren’t very good, and they were very good. Really, it was nine points, but it’s really a 20, 25-point loss, the way it feels.”

THE THIRD QUARTER BREAKDOWN

“We were locked in, we defended,” Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said about the third quarter. “We did a great job of defending the basketball. Brooklyn is a hard team to guard. They have a lot of players that play fast. They can make a lot of threes. We did a good job of guarding the 3-point line. That was a point of emphasis that we wanted to accomplish tonight, and we did. It’s just one game, we played solid on the defensive end. We made too many mistakes down the stretch with the eight turnovers in that fourth quarter. Other than that, I thought we played solid throughout the game.”

“I think it just all happened after the 10-point lead,” Nets center Jarrett Allen said responding to a question about the Nets’ third-quarter breakdown. “We just came out unprepared, just mentally unfocused. You could tell that our energy wasn’t there, and our minds weren’t there either.”

In addition to beating the Nets 33-19 on points in the third quarter, the Wizards also took over on the boards. On the defensive end, Washington outrebounded Brooklyn 10-7 and offensively 4-1.

“I think we got a little dejected,” Nets forward Joe Harris said about his team’s performance in the third. “The energy felt down when they started to make a run in the third quarter. It seemed the harder that we tried, the worse that it got. We made a little run at it and then they started making some plays, they took advantage of our low energy. Tough to dig yourself out of it. But I thought the guys that went in at the end of the game did a good job of competing all the way through. Seeing Tahjere (McCall) go out there and compete, get a few buckets was awesome. Shabazz (Napier) played well. But, collectively, it was not a good enough effort on everybody’s part tonight.”

SCORING LEADERS

D’Angelo Russell led all Brooklyn Nets scorer with 28 points (9-of-16 FG), seven assists and three rebounds; Shabazz Napier came off the bench and scored 22 points, and Jarrett Allen accumulated 12 points and six rebounds.

Tahjere McCall, who the Brooklyn Nets signed to his first 10-day contract, made his NBA debut and registered four points and one rebound in under eight minutes after stepping on the court for the first time in the fourth quarter at the 7:58 mark. McCall scored his first two points on a driving layup at 5:16.

For the Washington Wizards, five players scored in double digits. Bradley Beal led all scorers with 31 points and four assists; Trevor Ariza registered 23 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists; Thomas Bryant accumulated 18 points, five rebounds, and three assists off the bench; Jeff Green scored 15 points and five rebounds, and; Bobby Portis chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds.

UP NEXT

The Washington Wizards will travel to Boston to play the Boston Celtics tomorrow, Friday, March 1, 2019. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets remain at home to play the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, March 1, 2019, at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

D’Angelo Russell leads all scorers with 30 points and Shabazz Napier adds 24 points off the bench to help Brooklyn Nets defeat the Chicago Bulls

On the heels of losing to the Boston Celtics on Monday night, the Brooklyn Nets had just enough energy to bounce back on the second night of a back-to-back to get their 9th-straight win at home by overtaking the Chicago Bulls 122-117. The Nets are now 28-24 overall and a testament to a popular saying, “believe in the system”. With the win last night, the Nets have matched their win total for all of last season.

“That’s good to hear,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I didn’t know that. I think that says we’re ahead of schedule, so happy about that, happy for our guys, happy for our organization. I think it’s a good accomplishment so far. We obviously want more.”

And, that wasn’t the only good news of the night. The Nets learned that the NBA selected Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs to play during the NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. Allen and Kurucs will play in the NBA All-Star Rising Stars game on February 15, 2019, which is a great opportunity for these young men to play on the world stage.

"It means a lot,” Allen said about his selection to be part of the NBA All-Star festivities. “Just showing how far Brooklyn's come and for me to represent them, it means a lot to me."

But, Allen and Kurucs won’t be on the same team. Kurucs, who is a native of Latvia, will play on the international team with other players from outside the U.S. and Allen will be on the American team.

So, what will that be like with Allen and Kurucs playing against each other?

"Me and Rodi were talking about it,” Allen added. “He's going to try to dunk on me, so I'm going to show him what happens if he tries."

Both Allen and Kurucs are NBA newbies; Allen came into the league in 2017 and this is Kurucs’ rookie season, and both have bought into Coach Atkinson’s system of teamwork, offense and defense, and grinding it out to the last buzzer sounds.

“Guys are saying in the locker room – grinding it out, we’re keeping our head above water,” Atkinson responded to a question about what it took to grind out the win against the Chicago Bulls last night. “Toward the (NBA) All-Star break, everybody’s fatigued. They’re fatigued, we’re fatigued. We just found a way. It wasn’t pretty at all. I thought our defense was good. We obviously did not shoot the ball well tonight, but credit to their defense. I thought their defense was really good.”

Atkinson is right, the Nets didn’t shoot well. They made 42 out of their 94 field goal attempts (44.7 percent) and only 10 of 35 of their 3-point attempts (28.6 percent).

D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with 30 points (10-of-22 FG) along with a game-high seven assists and three steals in 36 minutes. Russell has now recorded nine 30-point games this season alone. Shabazz Napier scored 24 points with three rebounds, four assists, and three steals in 25 minutes off the bench. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson recorded 18 points (7-of-10 FG) with four rebounds, and two assists in 21 minutes also as a reserve player. Joe Harris, a starter, tallied 17 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a steal in 32 minutes, and; DeMarre Carroll posted 11 points, three rebounds, and two steals in 26 minutes.

For the Chicago Bulls, Zach LaVine, scored 26 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals; Jabari Parker came off the bench for the Bulls and posted 22 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 23 minutes; Lauri Markkanen registered 18 points and 19 rebounds; Kris Dunn tallied 15 points, three rebounds, and two blocked shots, and Bobby Portis chipped in 12 points and five rebounds.

Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen summed up his team’s performance.

“I thought we battled,” Boylen said. “I thought we hung around and tried to put three stops together to take the lead, but we never got over the hump there. I thought we hung in there. I thought in the fourth quarter we had a few loose ball situations where we knocked it loose, but we couldn’t get it and I thought those were big plays down the stretch… I’ve got to give Brooklyn credit. I thought they made some plays off of the bounce and some three’s that were contested. Those were big plays for them.”

So, what's next for the Chicago Bulls? They will travel to Miami to face the Miami Heat tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Nets will also hit the road and travel to San Antonio to play the Spurs tomorrow, Thursday, January 31, 2019, at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Orlando Magic will get a visit from the Nets on Saturday, February 2nd, and then the Nets travel back home to play the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, February 4, 2019, at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

Crabbe leads all scorers with a game-high 41 points and; Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen makes the NBA record books

Oh, what a difference a season makes for the Brooklyn Nets! Last night, the Nets played their last home game of the season against the Chicago Bulls and to the delight of the fans and the team itself, the appreciation and excitement were palpable. As the clock ticked off its final seconds, a good number of Nets’ fans stood and applauded, as the Nets with aplomb etched a “W” with a score of 114-105 against the Bulls, bringing the Nets season to 28-53, and no longer in the NBA basement.

Nets players gave the jerseys that they were wearing right off their backs to fans as a show of appreciation for sticking with the team. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson in his postgame press conference with the media underscored his appreciation for the Brooklyn Nets’ fans.

“I thought the fans have been great all year and really want to thank them for their support,” Coach Atkinson started. “We’ve had some tough games, some good games, some not so good games, but they’ve been there. I think this is the unique thing about being in New York, no insult to other markets and all that, but we have true basketball fans here. You see it, you feel it. When you talk to them after the games or when you’re walking around Brooklyn, they really know the game and they appreciate the effort our guys put in and we appreciate their patience, their understanding, and their enthusiasm. I just think it’s awesome. I’m really hopeful down the line we can really reward them with something special, give them a gift.”

Obviously, as a team, a cohesive unit, the Nets gave the fans a gift, but on a night that capped off his birthday, Allen Crabbe gave and received the best birthday gift of all. Crabbe dropped 41 points on the Chicago Bulls, count ‘em, 41 points. Crabbe scored 20 points in the first quarter, which included five 3-pointers, a field goal and three points from the stripe and became just the second player in Nets’ franchise history to make five or more 3-pointers in three straight games. And, in case you’re wondering, Vince Carter was the first Nets player to make five or more 3-pointers in three straight games in the 2008-09 season.

But wait, there’s more! Crabbe went on to score 29 points in the first-half, which marked the most points he’s scored in any half in his career and the most points tallied by a Net in any half this season. For the night, Crabbe tallied 12-of-15 FG, 8-of-11 3FG, and 9-of-9 FT in 34 minutes. He also posted five rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block.

“The ball’s going in the hoop for me,” Crabbe modestly told reporters postgame about his hot shooting streak. “Like I’ve said from the jump, I’ve been capable of doing this all season. Just in the beginning I was missing shots, getting the same shots I was shooting earlier in the season but I just wasn’t making them. So I mean it’s starting to come around for me. I’m starting to find my rhythm, and you know just getting more comfortable within the flow of the offense. Tonight was just a night where, I’m glad I had a night on my birthday, and we got the win. It just puts the cherry on top.”

But Crabbe didn’t make it all about him; he gave plenty of credit to his teammates.

“They trapped the pick-and-roll, and then we played great team basketball,” Crabbe added. “The roll man finds us, or D’Angelo [Russell] found us, Spencer [Dinwiddie] found us, Rondae [Hollis-Jefferson] found me. I got everybody a couple assists tonight, so I think just our ball movement when the ball’s moving like that and everybody’s for it, it’s contagious. Everybody’s having a good time, so I think that was the key for us tonight, and it was a good night.”

The Allen Crabbe mutual admiration society was in full effect.

“I shook his hand after the game and it was still hot, still cooking,” Nets coach Atkinson said about Crabbe’s accomplishment. “I thought his overall game was good, obviously started out hot and kept it going… He’s really finishing the season the way we’re asking the team to finish, on a strong note. These games are important to us so the fact that he kept working on his game, kept improving, it’s really good for us.”

“Big time,” D’Angelo Russell said underscoring Crabbe’s performance. “Could easily come out, B.S. the game. For him, the player that he is to come out and put a performance like that on against anybody is big time.”

Other Brooklyn Nets leading point scorers were Russell with 21 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and two steals in 36 minutes. This makes Russell’s fifth double-double of the season after recording three in his first two NBA seasons combined. Spencer Dinwiddie totaled 20 points, seven assists, and three rebounds in 35 minutes. This was Dinwiddie’s 16th 20-point game of the season, matching Crabbe for the team lead in 20-point games this season.

Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen didn’t hit the double-digit points-scored mark, but he posted eight points, five rebounds and four blocks in 28 minutes. Allen is now in the record books becoming the fifth NBA rookie in the last 20 years (since 1997-98) to block four or more shots in three straight games. Jarrett Allen joins Yao Ming (2002-03), Kenyon Martin (2000-01), Lamar Odom (1999-00) and Tim Duncan (1997-98).

Nets rookie Milton Doyle, who shares his time between the Nets G-League team and the Nets on a two-way contract, showed a glimmer of who could be next. Doyle, a four-year student from Loyola University Chicago, bested the Nets second-unit players in points in the least amount of time by scoring a career-high eight points and one blocked shot in 16 minutes.

In their loss, seven of the Chicago Bulls’ players scored 10 or more points. Former Nets player, Sean Kilpatrick came off the bench for the Bulls and scored 16 points, three rebounds, one assist, and two steals. Bobby Portis, also part of the Bulls’ second unit, tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, and two assists; and Cameron Payne, led the Bulls’ starting five with 15 points, three rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

“I thought we really went out and competed at a really high level,” Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said postgame. “I thought we reversed that from the last game that we played the other night against Brooklyn. It was really good effort for 48 minutes. I thought we moved the ball much better as well. We had a really good film session this morning. We’re still learning. We’re still teaching. I thought our guys responded by going out and playing with great effort tonight. That’s what it’s about. I thought each and every guy that stepped on the court tonight competed at a very high level. That’s what it’s all about for our group right now.”

The Bulls will play their last game of the 2017-18 season, on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, at home against the Detroit Pistons.

The Nets will play their last game of the 2017-18 season on the road in Boston against the Boston Celtics also on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

Tip in: The Chicago Bulls lost to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, April 7, 2018, 124-96

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