January 28, 2020

Kyrie Irving held to 17 points, Spencer Dinwiddie gets 11, and Caris LeVert scores just six points; but rookie Nicolas Claxton shows promise with 14 points

Last night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the 18-22 Brooklyn Nets met up with the 37-6 Milwaukee Bucks, a team that is clearly on a mission to represent the NBA Eastern Conference in the 2020 NBA Finals and it wasn’t pretty. The Nets fell to 18-23 with their 117-97 loss to the Bucks last night, while the Bucks improved to 38-6 on the season with the victory.

How the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Brooklyn Nets by the numbers:

In terms of metrics, the Brooklyn Nets shined at the free-throw line. Brooklyn shot a season-high-tying .941 (16-of-17) from the free-throw line, which was previously done against the Phoenix Suns on November 10, 2019, at Phoenix (also 16-of-17 FT). The Nets also edged Milwaukee 18-13 in fast breakpoints.

However, Milwaukee shot .500 (45-of-90 FG) from the field last night compared to Brooklyn’s .333 (33 of 99 FG) from the field. From behind the arc, the Bucks outpaced the Nets 45.9 percent (17-of-37) to 30.6 percent (15-of-49), and of course, the Bucks’ 117 points overall to the Nets’ 97 points sealed the winning deal.

Milwaukee Bucks Leading Scorers

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo registered a game-high 29 points, 12 rebounds, along with four assists in 25 minutes. Khris Middleton added 20 points, four assists, four rebounds, and three steals in 29 minutes; Brook Lopez scored 12 points, seven rebounds, five blocked shots, and four assists in 26 minutes; Wesley Matthews accumulated 11 points and three assists in 27 minutes; Donte DiVincenzo came off the bench and also posted 11 points, with sides of six rebounds and two steals in 26 minutes, and; Kyle Korver chipped in 10 points in 17 minutes off the bench.

Coach Speak: Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer on the Bucks’ defense

“Brooklyn is a team that drives it a ton, like everybody in the league, a lot of pick-and-rolls too,” said Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer. “I thought the discipline in just getting over screens, playing without fouling, making them uncomfortable, making them hopefully get to spots that they don’t want to be in. Brook Lopez is always good in the paint. Giannis (Antetokounmpo) was good in the paint.”

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on what was the most difficult part about playing the Milwaukee Bucks

“I thought our defense was actually decent,” responded Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I’m not saying it was great or outstanding. I thought we fought defensively and offensively, obviously didn’t make shots. They’re the number one rim protection team in the league and I don’t know – I feel like, yes, we attacked the rim, but we also have to figure out how – against a great rim protecting team – maybe just make that extra pass, those extra two passes. I thought they were going against a wall, especially in the first half. I thought the second half we moved it a little better. I thought there were a ton of open threes. We knew we were going to get the threes, it didn’t go down, that makes it look worse. But credit to Milwaukee. I think they are playing as good as anybody I’ve seen in a while in this league. So just have to give them credit, give Bud (Mike Budenholzer) credit. They’re playing great basketball.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 17 points, six rebounds, six assists, and a season-high four steals in 31 minutes. Brooklyn Nets rookie player, Nicolas Claxton, a member of the Nets second unit, scored a career-high 14 points (on a career-high 7-of-12 FG) with a career-high-tying six rebounds, and a career-high-tying three blocks in a career-high 19 minutes; Taurean Prince recorded 13 points in 24 minutes; Spencer Dinwiddie, who had been carrying the Brooklyn Nets in point-scoring during Kyrie Irving’s absence, registered 11 points, three rebounds, and three assists in 27 minutes, and; Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot chipped in 10 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

Nets rookie Nicolas Claxton, who came off the bench against Milwaukee last night, told the media what kind of feedback he is receiving from Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks, and the Brooklyn Nets coaching staff.

“They all have been giving me great feedback,” said Claxton. “In Long Island, I’ve been solid, and that’s what they want, especially from a young guy like me who they’re really trying to develop. So, I’m just doing the best that I can with that.”

What’s Next for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Milwaukee Bucks will return home to Milwaukee to host the Chicago Bulls on Monday, January 20, 2020, at 4:00 p.m. CT.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will host the Philadelphia 76ers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn also on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 20, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. ET.

 

TIP-INS:

Taurean Prince’s second 3-pointer made last night against the Milwaukee Bucks was his 100th of the season, moving him past Joe Harris (99 threes) for the team lead. He now has made 101 threes on the season.

 
 

Nets slow to react to the Hornets zone defense in second-half, allow Charlotte’s Devonte’ Graham to score 27 points in the second stanza, and 40 overall

The Brooklyn Nets fell to 13-11 with their loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, while the Hornets improved to 11-16 on the season with their victory.

How the Brooklyn Nets Lost by the Numbers

The Nets outrebounded the Hornets 52-47 on Wednesday night, including a 17-15 edge on the offensive glass. Brooklyn’s 17 offensive rebounds marked their third-most offensive boards in a game this season. Brooklyn also edged Charlotte 52-36 (+16) in points in the paint.

At 7:44 in the second quarter, Brooklyn led by 20 points, with a score of 52-32.

But, Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham said, not so fast. Graham, who just started his second year in the NBA, torched the Nets with his 27-point burst of scoring in the second half, and 40 points overall along with five rebounds and five assists.

So, what was the difference for Graham on Wednesday night?

“Just knocking down shots,” Devonte’ Graham responded. “Getting to the free-throw line. I think as a team, collectively, we were locked in knowing that we were under-manned and a couple (of) guys were out and everybody just had to step up and bring energy. In the second half, I felt we played a lot tougher and a lot more physical.”

Coach Speak: James Borrego on DeVonte' Graham and his Team

Can the Hornets resiliency be attributed to Devonte’ Graham?

“I think resiliency manifests itself in different ways, and I think you could be led by your top guy or one of your top guys for sure,” replied Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego. “I think in general this group has been resilient one through 15. They keep battling. We’ve been down throughout the season and we just keep fighting, keep clawing. We find a rhythm and a rotation out there that works, and we did tonight (Wednesday night). But you gotta give Devonte’ (Graham) a big piece of that. What he’s doing right now is special, and he deserves a lot of credit.”

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on Why the Brooklyn Nets Just Didn’t Have it?

“For some reason, we just weren’t in sync tonight (Wednesday),” explained Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “We were just talking about it. It’s hard to figure out. We had two days in between, it wasn’t that we had been playing every other day, we had two days in between. I thought we were going to be a little fresher—physically a little better. But like I said, we got lulled into thinking it was going to be an easy game, psychologically, and it’s just not that way in the NBA. They have too many shooters, too many scorers. But they completely deserved the game. I thought they outplayed us. It’s hard to argue anything else.”

So, did the Nets’ players think it was going to be an easy night, which affected the team’s energy?

“I think so,” said Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen. “In the NBA, if you get a team twice like we did, you think it’s gonna be an easy night. At the end of the day, it’s the NBA and every team comes out to play to win.”

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie sees it a bit differently. He thinks the team may not have been ready for the Hornets switch to a zone defense in the second half.

“We definitely got stagnant after they went to (a) zone which is pretty surprising with the caliber of shooters that we have on the team,” explained Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. “We just have to make quicker decisions as a unit to get those guys shots. When you have guys like Joe (Harris), (Garrett Temple), and Taurean Prince on the floor, we’ve got to get those guys shots. They’re phenomenal shooters. Nobody should be able to zone us, especially in our own house. We should be able to shoot them out of the thing. We just have to do a better job collectively.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Spencer Dinwiddie scored a team-high 24 points (including 17 second-half points) with five rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes. Jarrett Allen posted 21 points and 10 rebounds, extending his career-best streak of games with at least 10 rebounds to nine consecutive games last night against Charlotte; Theo Pinson tallied a season-high 12 points (5-of-9 FG, 2-of-4 3FG) with three rebounds, and his first-career block in 15 minutes off the bench, and; Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and four assists in 32 minutes.

DeAndre Jordan wasn’t a point-scoring leader, but he pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds with nine points in 22 minutes off the bench. Jordan has posted 11 games of double-digit rebounds for Brooklyn this season.

Charlotte Hornets Scoring Leaders

In addition to Devonte Graham’s 40-point night, Miles Bridges added 14 points and four rebounds; P.J. Washington and Terry Rozier each contributed 13 points, Washington funded six rebounds, while Rozier added seven rebounds and four assists to his point score; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist supplied 11 points and seven rebounds, off the bench, and; Cody Zeller chipped in 10 points and six rebounds, also off the bench.

What’s Next for the Charlotte Hornets and the Brooklyn Nets?

Up next for the Charlotte Hornets are the Chicago Bulls in Chicago on Friday, December 13, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Toronto to play the Raptors on Saturday, December 14, at 7:30 p.m. ET, and then turnaround and head home to play the Philadelphia 76ers at the Barclays Center the very next day on Sunday, December 15, 2019, at 6:00 p.m.

After the Nets’ loss to the Charlotte Hornets, will the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers have the Nets’ full attention?

“Yes, it’s a wakeup call,” responded Jarrett Allen. “After we lose a game like this, credit to them still, but once we lose a game like this, we’re going to have to prepare extra hard for the next game. We’ll look at our mistakes and improve on them.”

 

TIP-IN:

Joe Harris hit his 485th 3-pointer as a Net tonight, moving him into a tie with Deron Williams for fifth place in franchise history. Harris also recorded nine points, six rebounds, and two assists in 29 minutes against the Charlotte Hornets.

 

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.

 
 

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!

Caris LeVert’s return to the Brooklyn Nets lineup spoiled with 125-106 loss to the 12-42 Chicago Bulls

On the heels of a 135-130 win on Wednesday night over the Denver Nuggets, the team that happens to be the No.2 seed in the NBA’s Western Conference, the Brooklyn Nets managed to get shut down at home last night by the 12-42 Chicago Bulls, 125-106.

Brooklyn allowed Chicago to shoot .541 from the field, .500 (14-of-28) from three-point land and was out-rebounded 50-33. The only metric that the Nets overpowered the Bulls on last night was bench points, 43-24.

So, what was the big difference between last night and 10 days ago when the Nets played the Bulls?

The Bulls traded Jabari Parker to the Washington Wizards for Otto Porter Jr. and in so doing, its starters have greater size over the Brooklyn Nets starting five. Both Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez are seven feet tall, the only Nets player close to seven feet tall is Jarrett Allen, who is in his second year in the NBA. Also, according to the NBA, Parker’s average points per game this season is seven and Porter’s PPG this season is 18. Averages for Chicago’s starting five with Jabari Parker was 66.2 and with Otto Porter Jr. is 77.2, which potentially is a big difference between Chicago on January 29, 2019, and last night. From an eyeball test, it was also Chicago’s aggressiveness and Brooklyn seemed to be missing a beat allowing the Chicago Bulls to shoot .541 from the field, .500 (14-of-28) from 3-point land and was out-rebounded 50-33. And, it’s obvious, if you can’t beat those numbers, you’re not going to win.

“I’ve said this before, but I thought we got a lot from a lot from a lot of guys,” Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen told the media. “Obviously, the addition of Otto Porter Jr. changes the way we look, how we play sliding Lauri Markkanen to the five. It’s obviously a difficult matchup for people. I thought we played hard. This team beat us three times and we defensively needed to do a better job. I thought defensively for most of the game we were really good, so I’m proud of us for that. We kind of ham and egged it a little bit. Kris Dunn had a great third quarter. Zach LaVine had his moments in the fourth. And we just kind of played together and I felt like we looked like a team out there and played like a team. I’m happy for them. I’m happy for our guys. I’m proud of our guys.”

“We just weren’t really locked in defensively tonight,” said Allen Crabbe. “They basically got whatever they wanted, did whatever they wanted to do. I don’t think we gave them any resistance on the defensive side. Guys were comfortable out there. They’ve got guys who are capable. It’s the NBA, regardless of their record, every team has players who can play, and we just weren’t ready to play tonight, and they took advantage of that.”

“Poor rating overall,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about his team’s performance last night. “Our defense was just non-existent. Couldn’t keep them in front of us. Couldn’t guard them. There wasn’t, one or two guys, I thought collectively we couldn’t guard them. Give them (Bulls) a lot of credit. I thought they played great. They obviously made shots. They added shooting with Otto (Porter Jr.) in there. It was really poor.”

And, Coach Atkinson said he tried everything.

“I think we tried one through 25 tonight,” Atkinson added. “If we had 25, we probably would have tried them. Yeah, we played some guys, but I don’t think that was an excuse tonight. They outplayed us 1 through 12. It’s just that simple. I don’t think tonight was a lineup thing.”

Truth.

Unfortunately, the Nets’ overall performance spoiled Caris LeVert’s return to the lineup. LeVert missed the previous 42 games with a subtalar dislocation of his right foot, which he sustained playing the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 12, 2018. Coming off the bench, LeVert gave the Nets an instant boost, which is what he always does. LeVert registered a career-high-tying (and Nets season-high) five steals, to go along with his 11 points, four assists, and two rebounds in 15 minutes.

“It felt good to get back out there with the team,” LeVert said about his return to the lineup. “Obviously, we didn’t get the win out there, but it felt good to be back out there for sure. I was kind of tired the first little stint I played, the first six minutes, but after that I kind of settled into the game and got more comfortable.”

Of course, when an athlete gets injured everyone is concerned about the return on a physical level.

“I prepared for it,” LeVert explained. “We put a lot of time in over the last couple of months, so it was kind of expected for me. I don’t want to make it about me because I wish we would have won the game for sure, but that’s expected. We didn’t come back to just be there. We wanted to be better than before.”

As for Coach Atkinson, LeVert’s return was the silver lining about last night’s game against the Bulls.

“If I had to take one positive from tonight that was a positive, I thought he looked good, looked athletic, he was athletic, came downhill like he does, make some passes,” Atkinson said. “Obviously there were a few bumps here and there, but for the most part I think he was a plus-five on the sheet, so he had some positives tonight and played well.”

D’Angelo Russell led the Nets’ with 23 points, six assists, and two steals; Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe each scored 19 points, and Harris added five assists to his total, and; Jarrett Allen chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds.

For the Bulls, Lauri Markkanen led all scorers with 31 points, 18 rebounds, and two blocked shots; Zach LaVine added 26 points, five assists, three rebounds, and two steals; Otto Porter Jr. accumulated 18 points and four rebounds; Kris Dunn tallied 14 points, nine assists, and five rebounds; Robin Lopez registered 12 points and five rebounds, and; Wayne Selden chipped in 11 points.

The Bulls will play the Washington Wizards today, February 9, 2019, in the nation’s capital. Meanwhile, the Nets have two road games before the NBA All-Star break. The Nets will travel to Toronto to play the Toronto Raptors on Monday, February 11, 2019, and then the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. The next time the Brooklyn Nets will be at home is on Thursday, February 21, 2019, to play the Portland Trail Blazers at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

Nets hit 19 3-pointers; D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with 27 points and Shabazz Napier gets his first career double-double against the Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets may be No. 2 in the NBA Western Conference, but there is something about the Brooklyn Nets that the Nuggets just can’t shake. The Nets became the second team this season to sweep the Nuggets (2-0), the other being the Milwaukee Bucks. And, because teams only play teams outside their conference twice in a season, there won’t be an opportunity for the Nuggets to even the score, so see you next season.

Perhaps, the Nuggets got too comfortable with their 14-point lead in the first quarter. Or, perhaps it was Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s decision to pull starting forward Rodions Kurucs, who wasn’t as productive as he could have been, and slide in DeMarre Carroll in his place, but whatever the reason, in short order the momentum changed. The Nets ended the first quarter down five points, Nuggets 35 – Nets 30. Brooklyn turned up the heat in the second leading by as much as 14 points at 5.6 seconds before ending the half up by 12 with a score of 72-60. The Nets saw more gold in the third quarter ending it up by 21 with a score of 108-87. Now, the Denver Nuggets are No. 2 in the Western Conference for a reason, and in the fourth stanza, the Nuggets dug deep into their inner being and gave the Nets a run for the money. Fortunately for the Nets, the Nuggets couldn’t seal the deal and the Nets won 135-130.

With the win, the Nets improved to 29-27 overall and 17-12 at Barclays Center and besting last season’s win total of 28-54, a huge accomplishment.

“I think it’s a sign of real progress,” Coach Atkinson said about the Nets’ current standing in the NBA. “It’s a sign that we’re a little ahead of schedule – I don’t want to get too excited because I look at the schedule for the rest of the year, but this was one of those games I looked at the schedule and said this is gonna be a tough one to get. But, I’m proud of the guys, proud of the organization. We’ve reached this victory mark this early – it’s a sign of real progress.”

At the end of a game, there are some coaches that take a loss and don’t show their disgust or disappointment in their team’s performance. However, last night, Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone gave kudos to the Brooklyn Nets, and overall, he was not happy with his some of his starters.

“The 3-point line was a byproduct of the real difference in the game which was how hard Brooklyn played,” Coach Malone told the media. “I think it’s a shame I have to take five starters out in the third quarter because you’re not playing at the level you’re supposed to play. This is a game of mistakes, you’re going to make mistakes, and you’re going to miss shots. Things are going to happen but when you’re out there and you’re going through the motion, that’s one thing I can’t stand to watch and will not stand to watch. I was really happy and proud of the guys who went into the game in that third quarter. They got us back in the game and gave us a little bit of life. Nineteen threes is an awful number, but alarming for me is back-to-back games when we have guys out there in our starting lineup and not playing as hard as they need to play.”

Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell explained how the Nets were able to take advantage of the Nuggets.

“I think it’s just us figuring out how to win,” Russell said. “Last year we were in this position a lot of the times and it came down to that – figuring out how to win situation. I think we were really putting our foot on that.”

And, on how good it felt as a group for the Nets to get their offensive groove going after Monday night’s shellacking by the Milwaukee Bucks, Russell said: “It’s special. To be honest, we got our guys coming back. We’ve been doing this without our guys so just to get our guys back in one at a time and keep that groove going, I think it’s really special.”

D’Angelo Russell was one of seven Nets players scoring in double-digits against the Denver Nuggets. Russell led the Nets with 27 points (6-of-9 3FG), six rebounds and 11 assists in 35 minutes and registered his single-season career-high sixth double-double in the process. And, he will now play in the NBA All-Star game replacing the Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo who is out with an injury. DeMarre Carroll, posting his third double-double of the season, recorded 18 points, 10 rebounds, a career-high-tying six assists and a season-high four steals (matching the most steals recorded in a game by any Net this season) in 28 minutes off the bench. Joe Harris scored 17 points (7-of-13 FG, 3-of-6 3FG) with five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 32 minutes. Treveon Graham tallied 16 points (6-of-9 FG, 4-of-6 3FG) – marking his second-most points scored in a game in his career – with three rebounds, two steals and, an assist in 23 minutes. Both Jarrett Allen and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson logged 15 points and Allen added five rebounds to his total. Shabazz Napier, part of the Nets second unit last night, posted his first-career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 11 assists in 27 minutes.

For the Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic registered 25 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists; former Nets player, Mason Plumlee, posted 24 points, six rebounds, and three blocked shots; Jamal Murray accumulated 19 points, 11 assists, and three rebounds; Monte Harris, came off the bench and scored 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists; Malik Beasley, a starting guard, tallied 17 points, and; Trey Lyles, a member of Denver’s second unit chipped in 15 points and five rebounds.

With Plumlee being a former Nets player, of course, someone had to ask Coach Malone about Plumlee’s performance last night.

“He was everywhere,” Malone responded. “The guy was blocking shots on defense, running the floor and finishing around the basket. He was screening, rolling. What didn’t Mason Plumlee do to start that game? Literally, Mason was everywhere. Mason played hard. Mason cared. Mason left everything he had on the floor until he fouled out. You have to give a guy who plays that hard respect.”

Yes, you should.

So, what’s Denver’s next move?

The Denver Nuggets will be in Philadelphia tomorrow, Friday, January 8, 2019, to play the Philadelphia 76ers.

Meanwhile, the Nets will still be at home and will host the Chicago Bulls, also tomorrow, Friday, January 8, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

 

 

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.

Nets center Jarrett Allen now in the NBA history books simply by blocking a LeBron James Dunk

Oh, how sweet it is, to coin a phrase from Jackie Gleason, an early 20th Century comedian from Brooklyn. Right now the Brooklyn Nets and their fans are savoring the sweet because the Nets won their sixth straight game last night against the Los Angeles Lakers 115-110.

This wasn’t just any ole Los Angeles Lakers. This Lakers team features LeBron James, the best all-around player in the NBA and one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. The Lakers also have rising stars Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, and an NBA standout Lance Stephenson from Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School. Even with this firepower and James leading all scorers with 36 points, the Lakers were no match for the Brooklyn Nets.

Within two minutes, the Nets put their stake in the ground when Nets center Jarrett Allen blocked a dunk by LeBron James, leading to shockwaves around the NBA. Allen, only in his second year in the NBA, is now the eighth player to block James, a four-time NBA MVP. James has 1,850 dunk attempts and has only nine denials. Let that sink in for a minute.

So what was going through Jarrett Allen’s mind when he attempted to block LeBron James’ dunk?

“He came down the lane and it was just going up to contest the shot,” Allen said matter-of-factly. “It’s LeBron (James), so I had to go up with some extra emphasis, and then I ended up getting it.”

So, let’s get inside the head of a 20-year-old going up to contest LeBron James.

“I’m going to say my quote growing up: ‘Either way, you’re going to be on the highlight.’ If you go up and you block it, you’re going to be on the highlight. You get dunked on, you’re going to be on the highlight. So just go up and protect the rim,” Allen added.

Talk about fearless! This kid is greatness in the making. Allen recorded eight rebounds along with two steals and two blocked shots.

D’Angelo Russell is another young man coming into his own. This was the first opportunity that Russell was available to play against the Lakers since they traded him to Brooklyn. And, of course, the general consensus is that a player in this situation is always ready to turn up.

When asked the question, Russell responded: “No. Honestly, the crowd was electric in there. You could feel it. The Lakers were in town, so we wanted to give them a run.”

“He hurt us,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton, said about D’Angelo Russell. “He’s a talented player, and we know that. When we forced him right and we were up shocking the ball I thought we did a pretty good job on him. When we let him dance and get to his left, he hurt us. Give him credit. He had a big-time game tonight. That’s why this team (Brooklyn) has won six games in a row. They have a lot of different guys that can hurt you.”

Russell led all Nets players with 22 points, 13 assists, and four rebounds. If you still think Russell wanted to prove something to the Lakers, then you might as well spread that thought over the entire Nets team, as six of the nine players in the rotation scored in double digits. Starters Joe Harris, aka “Joey Buckets,” tallied 19 points and four rebounds; and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson registered 17 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the Nets’ second unit, recorded 18 points and six assists; Jared Dudley and DeMarre Carroll each chipped in 13 points with five and three rebounds respectively.

When Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson looks at this win against the Lakers he sees a “Team victory”.

“Everybody that came in contributed. I thought Jared Dudley was huge making smart plays at the end of the game. DeMarre (Carroll) was good. I thought everybody that came in – that’s the only way you have a chance to beat this team, is if everybody plays well, and I thought they did.”

Looking at the two other Lakers’ scoring leaders, Lonzo Ball, who was sort of a laughing stock in his rookie season mainly because of his father LaVar Ball, and the way he shot the ball, contributed 23 points, six rebounds and, three assists. Kyle Kuzma tallied 22 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists.

Next stop for the Lakers is New Orleans, as they will go against the Pelicans on Friday, December 21, 2018.

For the Nets, they have a back-to-back; they face the Chicago Bulls tonight in Chicago at 8:00 p.m. The Nets are also at home on Friday, December 21, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. to play the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

On Wednesday night, the Brooklyn Nets held a 23-point lead against the Oklahoma City Thunder late (4:21) in the third quarter. And, things quickly began to unravel. Paul George became a one-man wrecking crew in the fourth quarter busting holes in the Nets sizeable lead to help the Thunder win 114-112. In the loss, the Nets fell to 8-18 overall and 3-10 at Barclays Center, while the Thunder improved to 16-7 overall and 6-4 on the road with the win.

Prior to being outscored 39-19 by the Thunder in last night’s fourth quarter, Brooklyn seemed to be clicking on all cylinders.

Allen Crabbe led the Nets 22 points (7-of-13 3FG) alongside four rebounds, two assists and one steal in 37 minutes tonight. Joe Harris, who returned to the starting lineup for this game, after missing the last three games due to left adductor tightness, tallied 19 points (6-of-12 FG, 3-of-4 3FG, 4-of-5 FT), a season-high seven rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes. D’Angelo Russell, also one of the Nets starters, scored 17 points and four assists; and Jarrett Allen, the Nets second-year center, registered 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Not to be outdone, the Nets’ bench outscored the Thunder’s bench 37-18 tonight, led by Spencer Dinwiddie with 17 points, and; DeMarre Carroll with 12 points.

Paul George led the Oklahoma City Thunder scoring leaders with 47 points, 15 rebound, and four assists. George scored 25 points in the fourth quarter alone. Russell Westbrook grabbed a triple-double with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and 17 assists; Steven Adams registered 15 points and eight rebounds, and; Dennis Schroder scored 12 points off the bench.

“Paul George really got going,” stated Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought their offensive rebounding hurt us. Obviously, Paul was fantastic. We had some defensive breakdowns, not picking them up in transition before Paul really got going.”

“..You can’t let a big shot like Paul George deflate you in the offensive end and allow you to discourage you from executing offensively,” Nets forward Joe Harris said about needing to be mentally tough. “You’ve got to still be able to come down, be mentally tough enough, execute whatever plays Kenny’s drawn up or whatever plays D-Lo (D’Angelo Russell) calls. That’s just a hurdle that mentally we need to mature in that regard and get better, and I think that’s ultimately what it is. That’s why we’ve been limited in closing out tough games.”

Next up for the Oklahoma City Thunder will be the Chicago Bulls on Friday, December 7, 2018, in Chicago at 7:00 p.m. CT.

The Nets will host the Toronto Raptors tomorrow, Friday, December 7, 2018, at home at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris lead Nets; as Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose shows flashes of brilliance leading all scorers with 25 points

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the Brooklyn Nets are back home after playing back-to-back games against the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks on the road; getting a 104-92 win over the Heat and a 119-113 loss against the Mavericks. As fans piled into the Barclays Center, of course they were hoping that the home team would prevail against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but unfortunately, the Nets fell to the ‘Wolves 112-102.

With the loss to the Timberwolves, the Nets fell to 8-12 overall and 3-5 at Barclays Center, while the Timberwolves improved to 8-11 overall and 1-8 on the road with the win.

At the end of the first quarter, there was a glimmer of hope that the energetic-looking Nets just might pull off a win, as the Nets outscored the Timberwolves 26-22 in the first quarter. Although the Timberwolves took the lead in the second stanza, the differential was small enough at 54-49, that there was no real need to hit the panic button. In the third quarter where the Nets often struggle, there was cause for alarm as the T-Wolves continued to outpace Brooklyn, ending the third with a score of 89-72.

“I think we were searching for energy but we kind of just didn’t have the juice,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about the damage caused in the third quarter. “I don’t know how many turnovers we had in the third. I thought the turnovers hurt us overall. Thirty-one points off our turnovers I believe, that’s a huge number. That’s tough. We’ve done a fantastic job of taking care of it. Tonight we didn’t take care of it. I see (Karl-Anthony) Towns hurt us in the post there in the third quarter. We tried different things, tried different guys on him, we tried fronting him. We just couldn’t get the stops we needed. ”

The Nets did come roaring back in the fourth just enough to make it interesting, outscoring Minnesota 30-23, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the gap that was built up in the third quarter.

“First of all, I like that group that had the energy to come back and make it a heck of a game,” Atkinson said regarding the Nets’ effort in the fourth quarter. “I thought we missed a couple open shots that could have really cut the lead. But like you said, we couldn’t get over the hump. Again, I think our turnovers were a big part of our inefficiencies tonight. ”

Those inefficiencies allowed Minnesota to score 31 points off of Brooklyn’s turnovers.

“That was big,” Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau told the media following the game. “And we then we didn’t turn it over either. I thought that was a big part of the game. I thought with Karl-Anthony Towns in foul trouble I thought our bench came in and did a really solid job. And then down the stretch, we made plays.”

This win for the Timberwolves was especially sweet, as it was the team’s first road win this season.

“It’s a start,” Thibodeau added. “We have a long way to go. It’s challenging to play a noon game and then turn right around and be ready to play again tomorrow night on a back-to-back. We have to play well at home.”

The Nets scorers in double digits this afternoon were Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris, each scoring 18 points. Harris added six rebounds and four assists, while Dinwiddie, who came off the bench, supplemented his 18 points with eight assists, and three rebounds. DeMarre Carroll, scored 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Shabazz Napier, another member of the second unit tallied 12 points and six rebounds; Jarrett Allen, now in his second year with the NBA, registered 12 points and four rebounds, and; Allen Crabbe chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.

The Timberwolves leading scorer was also from the second unit. Derrick Rose, the only Minnesota player to come off the bench and score in double digits, also led all scorers with 25 points and three assists leaving some media people to believe that we are witnessing the resurgence of NBA All-Star Derrick Rose.

However, Coach Thibodeau believes the qualities of Rose as an NBA All-Star didn’t vanish.

“I say this all of the time,” Thibodeau responded. “I’ve watched most of his games. I watched him the year he was in New York. The only time he hasn’t played well is when he was injured, so I’m not surprised.”

Other Minnesota leading scorers were Karl-Anthony Towns who attained 21 points and nine rebounds; Taj Gibson registered 16 points, 11 rebounds, and three steals, while; Jeff Teague chipped in 15 points and nine assists.

Next up, Minnesota will return home to host the Chicago Bulls tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. CT

Meanwhile, the Nets will host the Philadelphia 76ers at the Barclays Center on Sunday, November 25, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. ET

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