January 28, 2020

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

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

How The Nets Beat the 76ers By the Numbers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brooklyn Leading Scorers

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

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

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

Philadelphia 76ers Leading Scorers

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIP-INS

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

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

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

 

Spencer Dinwiddie leads all players with 29 points in a loss against the Miami Heat

The Brooklyn Nets put up a great fight against the Miami Heat last night; starting the final quarter down by two points at 83-81 and then building a seven-point lead twice at 4:07 and then again 1:45, only to fall to the Heat 109-106. The Nets fell to 10-10 the loss, while the Heat improved to 14-5 with the victory.

The Brooklyn Nets By the Numbers

Brooklyn shot 44.0 percent (40-of-91 FG) from the field while limiting Miami to 38.9 percent shooting (37-of-95 FG). The Nets have now held opponents under 40.0 percent shooting in three games this season.

The Nets edged the Heat 24-16 in assists yesterday, led by Garrett Temple (five assists), Taurean Prince (five assists), and Spencer Dinwiddie (four assists).

Brooklyn led Miami 65-58 at halftime before being outscored 51-41 by the Heat in the second half. The Nets have done well with holding the lead at halftime this season. They have held a lead at halftime in 15 of their 20 games this season, including eight of 10 home contests.

The Closing Seconds

With just under 30 seconds in regulation, the Nets were leading by one, 106-105. Dinwiddie fouls Jimmy Butler and then Butler hits both free throws giving the Heat a one-point lead, 107-106. Dinwiddie gets possession of the ball misses a driving layup; Miami’s forward Justise Winslow gets the ball, Dinwiddie fouls him, Winslow knocks down his free throws and now Miami is up 109-106 with 11.3 seconds on the clock. With two seconds left on the clock, Dinwiddie goes for a 28-foot three-pointer and misses, and the Heat leaves the Barclays Center with a 109-106 win.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on how the Brooklyn Nets Lost

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson believes his team missed several opportunities down the stretch to defeat the Miami Heat yesterday.

“We had opportunities, tons of opportunities, Coach Atkinson told the media postgame. They made plays, we didn’t. Just one of those see-saw games. Like I said, we had our opportunities.”

Coach Atkinson also didn’t like his team’s final possession.

“No, and they did a good job,” Atkinson responded to a reporter’s question about if he liked the final possession.

The answer was evident considering the Nets didn’t win, but in the rush of asking questions, many times the question gets asked in a way that the reporter didn't intend.

“We were obviously trying to get a switch and a weakness defender,” Atkinson continued. “I thought they had (a) good strategy to kind of deter that. It always comes down to do you want to search the mismatch, or do you want to keep the ball moving and stay within your offense. I thought we were seeking a mismatch – got it sometimes, sometimes we didn’t. I thought they did a good job trying to stay out of that mismatch. It was obvious who we were going at, and then when we did get Bam (Adebayo) out there at the 3-point line guarding Spencer (Dinwiddie), Spencer got downhill, we missed. Kind of that simple.”

Coach Speak: Erik Spoelstra on how critical the last two stops were for the Miami Heat

“We’ve been talking about it for 48 hours that we need to take a stand, particularly on the road,” said Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “We find a game where we have to grind, even if it’s ugly, to show the mental toughness. Brooklyn is a tough team. They’re playing well. They had some momentum in the fourth quarter when Joe Harris hit those three’s and some triggers that forced us to overreact. That’s who Brooklyn is, they move you. We really had to step up and make two big-time stops and then Jimmy Butler was able to draw some fouls and that extended the game and gave us more life.”

“I think we played pretty well,” responded Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris. “It was obviously a competitive game from the start. Just, (at) the end of the game, a few possessions kind of got away from us. We just didn’t do as good as a job as they did to execute down the stretch.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets with a game-high 29 points (10-of-21 FG, 4-of-9 3FG, 5-of-5 FT) with six rebounds, four assists and a steal in 34 minutes. Joe Harris scored a season-high 25 points (eclipsing his previous season-high of 22 points, done twice previously) while shooting 9-of-16 from the field and 5-of-9 from distance; DeAndre Jordan tallied 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 24 minutes off the bench, and; David Nwaba chipped in a season-high-tying 10 points in 18 minutes off the bench.

Although Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince did not score more than 10 points, they both made some noise on the boards for the Brooklyn Nets. Allen pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds, while Prince tallied seven rebounds.

Miami Heat Scoring Leaders

Goran Dragic lifted the Miami Heat with a team-high 24 points, while adding six assists; Jimmy Butler scored 20 points and seven rebounds; Bam Adebayo registered 17 points and 16 rebounds; Kendrick Nunn recorded 11 points and three assists; Duncan Robinson added 10 points and 10 rebounds, and; Justise Winslow also chipped in 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists off the bench.

What's Next for the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Miami Heat will travel to Toronto to face the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Brooklyn Nets will be on the road for the next two games, traveling to Atlanta to play the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET, then on to Charlotte to play the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, December 6, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Brooklyn Nets will then travel home to play the Denver Nuggets at the Barclays Center on Sunday, December 8, 2019, at 3:00 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.

 

 
 
 
 

Taurean Prince makes a declaration with 22 points, rookie Nicolas Claxton shows he has skills, and; Nets new locker room décor makes a statement all its own

It’s only preseason, but the Brooklyn Nets blew out the Brazilian basketball team, SESI/Franca, 137-89, last night at the Barclays Center.

As with any sport, on any given night, any team could defeat their opponent. Unfortunately, for Brazil’s SESI/Franca, the pride of the country couldn’t even make them more competitive last night. Granted, NBA players as a group, are the most elite basketball players in the world. However, the Nets players that were on the floor last night are not NBA elite players, some have the potential, but they are not there yet.

Beyond the information provided to this reporter about SESI/Franca’s starting five, i.e., names, numbers, and player positions, there really isn’t that much information to go on about this team. In doing background research on Google, Franca Basquetebol Clube  is the legal name for the team, but it is known as SESI/Franca for sponsorship reasons. It is a Brazilian men's professional basketball club that is based in Franca, São Paulo state. Founded on May 10, 1959, the club has won the South American Club Championship six times. The players range in age from 16 -37 years old. The oldest player is David Jackson, who is an American and a starting guard. Both Rafael Hettsheimeir and Lucas Cipolini are 33 years old.

With 26 points and five rebounds, Hettsheimeir put up the most points for SESI/Franca and led all scorers; Jackson added 19 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals, and; Jimmy De Oliveira who scored 15 points and three assists were the only players scoring in double digits for SESI/Franca. Their bench combined for 15 points.

Meanwhile, the Nets had eight players to score in double digits. Taurean Prince led the Brooklyn Nets with 22 points and four rebounds; David Nwaba and Dzanan Musa each scored 18 points, Nwaba added five rebounds and four assists, while Musa seven rebounds and three assists; Caris LeVert, and Nicolas Claxton, who came off the bench, both contributed 13 points, while LeVert added nine assists to his totals; starting center Jarrett Allen and second unit G/F Garrett Temple each scored 12 points, Allen achieved five rebounds and three assists, while Temple managed to add three assists and three rebounds to his total, and; lastly, DeAndre Jordan came off the bench to chip in 11 points and eight rebounds.

Spencer Dinwiddie, known for his scoring and assists, led all players last night in rebounds with 12.

There was plenty of ball movement and Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was pleased that his players dialed in on that note.

“I liked our quick decisions,” said Coach Atkinson. “It’s part of our principals. Shoot it, move it, drive it, and the guys did a really good job across the board. But we have to follow it up again. Forty assists is a big number. I’m very pleased with that.”

Claxton, a rookie who the Brooklyn Nets selected with the 31st overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, talked about playing his first NBA minutes.

“At the end of the day, whatever level it is, it’s basketball,” Claxton said. “I just wanted to come out there and affect the game in any way that I could, and I think I did a pretty good job of that. Just using the minutes that I had and making something happen. My teammates helped me out a lot too – just finding me in my spots and everything.”

Brooklyn Nets fans are going to be counting on all Nets players to be found in their rights spots as the season flows on. As we all know, there will be down days, but at least, when those down days are at home, the Nets players will have a locker room with beautiful décor to lament in.

 
 

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!

Spencer Dinwiddie leads all scorers with 28 points

The Cleveland Cavaliers put up a good fight last night but ultimately lost to the Brooklyn Nets 113-107. A good win for the Nets, as the team is now back over .500, improving their record to 34-33 overall, while the Cavaliers fell to 16-49 overall and 6-25 on the road with the loss. The Nets also improved its wins against Eastern Conference teams, which could be needed to sort out placement and ties if the Nets are still in the running for a playoff position at the end of the regular season.

After the NBA All-Star break and into the month of March, the playoffs are on everyone’s mind, especially, as with the Nets, if your team hasn’t been there in a few years. As much as Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson would like not to have the NBA playoffs front and center, at this point there is no escaping it, particularly when a reporter asks, what tonight’s win means for a playoff push.

“Yeah, I think there was a moment in the fourth quarter where we were desperate,” Coach Atkinson responded. “And even in the third, they had an eight-point lead, I think. I’m glad we kept our cool though because you know, maybe last year or two years ago we would lose that lead, or the lead would go to 16 or 18. The fact that we kept our cool, weathered the storm and came back was important. We won that game without playing great.”

Atkinson didn’t respond directly to the playoffs. But reading between the lines, if a team doesn’t know how to come back from a deficit, it probably won’t be in NBA playoff conversation at least from a positive perspective. In years past, the Nets would get into trouble in the third quarter even after leading in the first half. However, players have bought into Atkinson’s system and have learned to take back control when they are not leading coming out of the third quarter, as in this case, Cleveland led 85-80.

“I thought our defense was good all night,” Atkinson said starting to explain how the Nets were able to take control of the fourth quarter. “I think we did a pretty good job – they hit a few too many three’s – but for the most part, we defended. I think Caris (LeVert) had an important stretch there when we were struggling and couldn’t really score. He made some big plays, started to get downhill, and obviously, Spencer (Dinwiddie) too. Those two guys, I thought they turned it up. Our offense, we’re struggling. And we really needed those two guys tonight. I think they did a good job.”

“We needed stops,” Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell proffered. “Teams get going like that. Any team in the league can get going. It’s hard to stop the bleeding without getting stops so we knew we had to get stops.”

And, the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew pretty much co-signed on how the Brooklyn Nets were able to take down his team.

“First of all, come out ready to play at the start of the game,” Drew said. “I believe we had eight turnovers in the first quarter, but we were able to overcome that. Playing on the road you just can’t play like that. Going down the stretch we just didn’t make the plays on either end. Brooklyn’s been playing well. You have to give credit where credit is due. They’ve really been getting after people. We allowed them to speed us up a little bit. When it came down to it down the stretch, we just didn’t make the plays. We had some bad shots. We had a couple of turnovers and we let it get away from us.”

At the end of the day, it was the Nets’ defense and keeping their composure under pressure.

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench and led all scorers with 28 points, four rebounds, and five assists. D'Angelo Russell registered 25 points, four rebounds, and five assists, and three steals; Jarrett Allen had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and he added three assists to his total; Caris LeVert accumulated 14 points and four rebounds off the bench; Rodions Kurucs chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds, and; Ed Davis crashed the boards with 12 rebounds.

The Nets’ bench outscored the Cavs’ bench 50-45 points. Brooklyn also edged the Cavs 7-3 (+4) in blocks, 58-38 (+20) in points in the paint and 22-14 (+8) in second-chance points.

Leading scorers for the Cavaliers were Kevin Love with 24 points, 16 rebounds, and four assists; David Nwaba added 22 points off the bench; Larry Nance Jr. registered 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and four steals; Jordan Clarkson came off the bench and accumulated 14 points and seven rebounds, and; Colin Sexton chipped in 12 points and five assists.

The Cavaliers will travel to Miami to take on the Heat on Friday, March 8, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. ET., and the Brooklyn Nets won’t see its next opponent, the Atlanta Hawks until Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Atlanta. The Nets will then travel back to Brooklyn and take on the Detroit Pistons on Monday, March 11, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center.

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