May 27, 2020

Caris LeVert hits a career-high-tying 29 points and Suns have no answer

The sun and the moon set on Phoenix last night as the Brooklyn Nets dimmed the lights 119-97. With the win, the Nets improved to 22-27, while the Suns fell to 20-30 on the season with the loss. Additionally, the Nets improved to 5-1 this season in games in which they hold their opponent under 100 points this season.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won by the Numbers:

The Brooklyn Nets shot 48.3 percent (43-of-89) from the field versus the Phoenix Suns’ 43.3 percent (39-of-90) and the Nets outscored the Suns 54-42 (+12) in points in the paint.

The Nets also shot 44.1 percent (15-of-34) from 3-point range against the Suns’ 35.3 percent (6-of-17).

At the free-throw line, the Nets bested the Suns at the stripe, hitting 18 of 21 free throws compared to the Suns’ 13 of 18.

Brooklyn led Phoenix 35-31 at the end of the first quarter, 55-52 at halftime, and going into the fourth quarter, the Nets led the Suns 90-73.

Brooklyn edged Phoenix 44-43 on rebounding and 28-23 in assists.

The Brooklyn Nets’ Leading Scorers

With no Kyrie Irving in the lineup, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson inserted Caris LeVert into the starting lineup who led all scorers with a career-high-tying 29 points with three rebounds, a season-high seven assists, and two steals in 32 minutes. Joe Harris recorded 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 28 minutes against the Suns; Taurean Prince scored 15 points (5-of-10 FG, 3-of-6 3FG, 2-of-2 FT) with six rebounds in 30 minutes; Spencer Dinwiddie posted 14 points, four assists, and three rebounds in 31 minutes, and; Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot came off the bench and scored in double figures for Brooklyn for the sixth time this season posting a season-high 13 points (4-of-7 FG, 3-of-4 3FG) and three rebounds in 25 minutes.

DeAndre Jordan didn’t hit double figures in scoring or rebounds, but he led the Nets in rebounding posting a team-high nine rebounds to go along with his eight points and five assists in 22 minutes off the bench.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on his team’s resilience after losing on Saturday to the Washington Wizards

“Like I’ve said, we have to start getting back some wins we left along the way, so this is a good start,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “It’s an important week for us, so I think the guys felt that. They felt the sense of urgency. I have a lot of respect for Phoenix. I know they’re banged up a little, but they really play good basketball, so it was one of our better wins of the year just on both sides of the ball. I thought we were good defensively and really shared it offensively.”

Coach Atkinson was thrilled about Caris LeVert’s performance against the Suns.

“Great timing,” said Coach Atkinson. “We needed it, especially with Ky (Kyrie Irving) going out. We needed it. He did it on both ends. The Devin Booker defense was excellent and of course, offensively really, really carried us. So great timing there.”

"It's one of those things where there's so many nights in the NBA where guys might go through four, five, six-game stretches where you're not playing your best basketball, but you can always turn it around and get it going for yourself,” Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris said about Caris LeVert’s performance. “And it's not something that's out of the ordinary for Caris. Everything stays consistent with him. Even if he's not making shots, he still does all the intangible stuff. He does all the hustle plays, activity. He stays locked in with the game plan. And tonight, he just made shots. He finished around the rim. He finished on the line. It's great to see that, great to see him get his confidence going. We need him to play that way in order for us to win here without Kyrie (Irving)."

Phoenix Suns’ Leading Scorers

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton led his team with 25 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots; Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 21 points and five rebounds in 39 minutes; Mikal Bridges posted 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists, and Devin Booker chipped in 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Coach Speak: Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams assessing his team's loss

“We just lost a bit of our poise tonight,” said Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams. “It was a three-point game at the half, and we didn’t make shots in the third quarter. I think our shot quality was decent. Brooklyn (Nets) packed the paint and dared us to shoot the ball and we couldn’t make shots. When you miss that many shots in a game it’s going to be tough. We gave up 13 threes when I took the guys out of the game. We had a 21-point third quarter and Brooklyn had 35 points. So, I thought that (the) third quarter did us in. Again, it was a moment like last night in Milwaukee in the third quarter. The competitive edge was there. I thought we let the officials get to us a little bit. Our competitive edge wanted it to be right and fair all of the time and sometimes it’s not that way, so we just have to keep battling.”

Were the 3-pointers the Nets hit defensive breakdowns or just hot shooting?

“We’re in the NBA with great NBA players,” said Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre. “They have a lot of great guards on their team who find ways to get buckets. They got hot at one point in the game and you can’t do anything but go to the next possession and keep playing the right way. They punched first in the second half and they just continued to punch, so, it happens.”

What’s Next for the Phoenix Suns and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Phoenix Suns will travel to Detroit to face the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will remain at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 
 

Nets defeat weary Suns 111-103 and get back on the winning trail with eight wins in nine games

The Brooklyn Nets came out of the gate last night a bit sluggish but managed to snatch a 111-103 win from the Phoenix Suns who had just lost a 149-146 triple-overtime game against the Washington Wizards the night before.

With the win, the Nets get their eighth win in nine games and improved to 16-19 overall and 8-11 at Barclays Center, while the Suns fell to 8-26 overall and 3-15 on the road with the loss.

Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench to lead Brooklyn with 24 points (7-of-14 FG), seven assists, and two rebounds in 26 minutes. Ed Davis, also part of the Nets second unit, totaled 15 points (7-of-8 FG), nine rebounds and a career-high-tying three steals (done 14 times previously) in 24 minutes.

Although last night’s victory marked Brooklyn’s eighth win in the team’s last nine games. It was not a walk in the park.

“We had to grind it,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding what it took to pull away in the second half. “First of all, I want to give them (Phoenix Suns) a ton of credit. They came off a triple-overtime game and they fought us tooth and nail. That was not an easy victory at all, excellent job by them. I think they’re playing much better. They gave us a tussle; it was a tough game for us.”

D’Angelo Russell, who led Brooklyn Nets starters with 18 points (6-of-18 FG), a team-high eight assists, six rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes, underscored Coach Atkinson’s assessment of the work needed to get some separation from the Phoenix Suns.

“We just had to make winning plays in order to get a little separation,” Russell explained. “We had to get stops and it took a lot.”

“Just locking in,” Russell added on what changed defensively in the third quarter. “Definitely the game plan with what we’re supposed to do with each individual guy, but just locking in.”

Rodions Kurucs recorded his first-career double-double with 16 points and a career-high 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. He also recorded two assists and a steal in the win. Kurucs, an NBA rookie, has scored in double figures in five of his last seven games, averaging 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per contest during that stretch. Joe Harris tallied 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists in 32 minutes. Jarrett Allen posted 11 points with nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 24 minutes.

Leading scorers for the Phoenix Suns were Deandre Ayton with 26 points, 18 rebounds, three blocked shots, and two steals. Devin Booker registered 25 points and nine assists, and; Josh Jackson chipped in 11 points and three rebounds.

Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov summed up his team’s loss: “We knew it was going to be a tough game. (A) tough game when it came to finding fresh legs and energy. Overall, I think the energy was there. We tried and competed to the end of the game. We were looking for our chance. Brooklyn was ready. They came prepared and fresh with the understanding that we played last night and you could feel they were putting pressure on us with the hope we’re going to collapse at some point.”

One person who is not losing any sleep over the Suns’ loss is the Nets elder statesman and forward, Jared Dudley, who was unceremoniously traded to the Nets. Dudley had a lot to say about the Nets win over the Suns.

“I would say for me personally, every time you get to play the Suns…a team that traded me basically for nothing, a player they didn’t even want,” Dudley told the media. “So, for that franchise – to be able to come out there and get two dubs (wins) on those guys and keep it moving, it feels good.”

Next up for the Phoenix Suns is a road game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, December 26, 2018. The Nets will remain home to play the Charlotte Hornets also on Wednesday, December 26th at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center.

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