June 17, 2019

Dwyane Wade scores a triple-double for the Miami Heat in the last NBA game of his career, which was at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY 

Wow, what an NBA season it has been for the Brooklyn Nets. During the 2018-19 NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets have seen their share of adversities, but managed to push through and earned an NBA playoff spot. This will be the Brooklyn Nets first appearance in the NBA playoffs since 2015. Few observers at the beginning of the season predicted this team would be in the playoffs, as this season alone has been a rough ride getting here. Nevertheless, on Sunday, after defeating the Indiana Pacers, 108-96, the Nets improved its overall record to 41-40 and clinched a playoff spot.

With the Detroit Pistons’ losses and Orlando Magic’s wins against their respective opponents between Sunday and Wednesday night, the Nets earned a sixth-seeded playoff spot in the NBA Eastern Conference last night after defeating the Miami Heat 113-94.

D’Angelo Russell led the Nets with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 20 minutes. Shabazz Napier posted 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists in 30 minutes off the bench; Rodions Kurucs totaled 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals in 28 minutes; Treveon Graham added 11 points, and; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert each chipped in 10 points respectively. Hollis-Jefferson, who came off the bench, added 12 rebounds, three assists, and three steals to his points total, while LeVert added three rebounds and four assists.

Miami Heat’s guard Dwyane Wade, who played his last NBA game last night, scored a triple-double: a game-high 25 points, a team-high-tying 11 rebounds, and a game-high 10 assists in 36 minutes. Also, for Miami, Duncan Robinson accumulated 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists; Derrick Jones Jr. registered 13 points and four rebounds; Udonis Haslem scored 12 points and 11 rebounds, and; Bam Adebayo chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.

It was fitting that Dwyane Wade, who was playing the last game of his NBA career, scored a triple-double on his way out the door, but it almost didn’t happen.

“Yeah, probably literally an hour before the game he and I were talking,” Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told the assembled media postgame. “He had been on the table. The entire time he was here he did a bunch of treatment – at the hotel this morning. This morning he texted me saying he didn’t know if he would be able to go. He asked me what I thought, how he could make it worthwhile for everybody. He felt such a responsibility. We just said okay, we’ll see how you feel after treatment and get a little more rest until we get to the arena. I talked to him an hour before tip and he still didn’t feel great. His knee, his leg, wasn’t moving great. Just in typical Dwyane fashion he just figured he had to be there.”

“Since so many Dwyane Wade and Miami fans showed up, he felt such a responsibility,” Spoelstra continued. “That’s so awesome. I said this before – his next book has got to be called Moments. He knows how to capture moments as well as anybody that’s ever played this game. To play this game when he didn’t feel great and get a triple-double and get his last assist to Udonis Haslem the definition of capturing these moments and really giving everybody what they wanted.”

Asked whether he could have scripted it any better with a triple-double in his last game, Dwyane Wade responded: “No, I couldn’t have. Coming into a game like tonight, a bit out of the playoffs, for myself, these are tough games to play when you’re not playing for anything. I’m not the kind of player that will come out and just shoot the ball every time. Coming into the game, I wanted to see what I could do. To be able to help my teammates, definitely helped me out a lot to hear everyone cheering for me, to be able to go out that way was pretty cool. I don’t think about the Kansas game, but it was the same way in college. I got a triple-double towards the end then so that was pretty cool.”

With all the love heaped on Dwyane Wade last night, it was a challenge for the Brooklyn Nets to stay focus on the goal of getting a win despite having clinched a playoff spot, but with some work, they managed.

“You have to stay locked in,” Nets guard D’Angelo Russell said. “But all the love and support that he has brought to this game and the love and support that he is getting on his way out is well deserved. You have to figure out a way to stay locked in but participate in the festivities as well. That dude is a legend. Just to see him on his way out like that, for me, it’s special. I got to be a part of Kobe’s (Bryant) and his, so I take that in a lot. It’s great to be on the floor.”

You can watch the first game featuring the Brooklyn Nets against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs on Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Philadelphia at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The second game is scheduled for Monday, April 15, 2019, at 8:00 p.m., and can be seen on TNT. Next, the Nets return home to the Barclays Center to play Game 3 on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at 8:00 p.m., and Game 4 on Saturday at 3:00 p.m., also on TNT.

 

Miami Heat defeats Oklahoma City Thunder 86-85; Kevin Durant misses a last-minute shot that could have tied the game

Like the unpredictability of the stock market on a daily basis, trying to pick the winner of this year's NBA Championship on a game-by-game basis has been just as difficult. Game 1 saw the Miami Heat jump out to an early lead, only to have the Oklahoma City Thunder storm back (no pun intended) and steal the victory.

The Heat got off to an even bigger lead in Game 2 but the Thunder, after a furious comeback saw their star Kevin Durant miss a last-second shot that would have tied the game. With the series tied at one game apiece, the scene shifted to Miami for the next 3 games.
Oklahoma, playing in one of the loudest arenas in all of basketball, did not allow Miami to get off to a fast start as they did in the first two games although the Heat never trailed in the first period. LeBron James scored 10 points and Chris Bosh, starting his second straight game, chipped in six. Prior to the game, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks was asked if Bosh is all the way back from the injury that kept him out for all but one game in the Indiana series and all of the games against the Celtics.

"I think he's fine," Brooks opined. "I think anytime you step on the court, you are 100 percent."

Miami extended their lead to eight points in the second (30-22) after a Mike Miller block of a Kevin Durant shot led to a James lay-up. The Thunder responded by outscoring the Heat 24-17 the rest of the way to trail by 1 at the half. Durant and Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma with 13 each while James added six more. OKC's defense stifled Miami as they just shot 41% from the floor missing 7 of 9 three-point attempts. The Thunder took that momentum and carried it over to start the third.

Trailing by three (49-46), the Thunder takes the biggest lead of the game 64-54 after crafty veteran Derek Fisher nails a 3-pointer, getting fouled by James Harden. He calmly sinks the free-throw making him only the 12th player to accomplish such a feat. It must have awakened the Heat, as they went on to outscore Oklahoma 15-3 the rest of the way to take a 2 point lead (69-67) entering the final period. Dwyane Wade scored 6 of those points with James hitting a 3-pointer to give them the lead. It set up yet again a final period to what has been a stomach-turning series for both teams and their fans.

For more than 8 minutes, neither team could extend the lead to more than 4 points. Then James follows a dunk with a free-throw putting the Heat up by 7 (84-77) with 3:47 to go. Trailing by seven again, the Thunder clawed back to within one (86-85) with 6 straight points. That's as close as they would get as Miami hit five of their last six free-throw attempts. The Thunder did not help its own cause melting down by turning the ball over as Westbrook inexplicably threw the ball in the wrong direction after missing a three-point attempt.
Miami escaped with the win and a two-game to one lead in the series despite shooting only 37.8% from the floor and a skinny 30.8% from 3-point land. When your team converts 31 of 35 free throws, while the other team misses 9 (15 of 24) it makes a big difference in the outcome.

"I think what we focus on is every game is a different challenge," Heat's head coach Erik Spoelstra said afterward. "You have to find ways to put yourself in the position to win."

Brooks didn't come across as deflated noting that as in the other two games, this game was just as intense.

"I thought we did some good things, he said. Give them credit. They're a very physical team. I thought both teams played as hard as they can play."

The end-of-season stench of disappointment that occupied the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, the newly minted home of the NBA Brooklyn Nets, is gone, for now.

What has replenished the stench is a new smell, more appealing to the ever-growing fan base that the Nets continue to grow. That new smell, similar to a new car smell is hope, opportunity, and expectations. Those are the words that can be and will be attached to the Nets as they begin their 2013 NBA campaign on the road against a promising Cleveland Cavaliers basketball club. What's different about this year's assembled Nets team, despite its new home, is billionaire boys' club owner Mikhail Prokhorov's recently retired and just hired NBA coach Jason Kidd and the new additions that they have acquired to help bolster their roster with the expectations of positive results.

Welcome, Paul Pierce, the 36-year-old veteran, or as we like to refer to him as "The Truth", who has produced a resume that boasts an NBA championship, an NBA Finals MVP and 10 All-Star selections most notably. Meet Kevin Garnett, who aided Pierce in achieving their first NBA championship in 2008 with the Boston Celtics. Garnett is also the proud owner of an impeccable resume, which includes 15 All-Star selections, an MVP award, and the Defensive Player of the Year award, utilizing his anger to induce pain on everyone, not on his team. These Hall of Fame-bound players have to be properly introduced and separated from the rest of the players that complete the Nets offseason moves, and those players include journeyman Jason Terry, wingman Alan Anderson, a rehabilitated and resurrected Shaun Livingston, forward Andrei Kirilenko, and 1st Round Draft Pick center, Mason Plumlee. When you review the Nets 2012-2013 NBA season, analyzing their wins, playoff success or lack thereof, and compare it to the offseason roster changes to modify their chances within the eastern conference there's only one question that needs a response. How good can the Nets be this season? I think they can be very good, but at what expense?

When teams agree to swap players, contracts or draft picks, the overall and general goal is to rid themselves of their unwanted parts to gain something in return that they value more than what they have decided to give up. In this case, the Nets gave up relatively young starters and role players in forwards Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and guards, Marshon Brooks and Keith Bogans. The combination of Pierce and Garnett representing the upgrades in the starting lineup over Humphries and Wallace at both forward spots is a no-brainer every day of the week, but the difference is which tandem is actually capable of remaining on the court for the duration of an entire 82-game NBA regular season. The Boston Celtics realized that their condensed version of a dynasty, which produced an NBA Championship, had come to a close. On the other hand, the Nets felt that the addition of two soon-to-be Hall-of-Famers may be exactly what they need to make their dreams of contending for the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy a reality.

Basically, the Nets want to win now, but can they really? The Eastern Conference for all intended purposes has regained its honor back in being a respectable conference. The infusion of young talent and well organized and assembled teams spell trouble for the Nets in its climb to reach the mountaintop. Derrick Rose is healthy this year, returning to the same Bulls team that eliminated the Nets in the 1st round of the 2012-2013 postseason. Rose accomplishes the feat of the missing bulk to the Bulls' starting lineup. The Indiana Pacers added backup point guard CJ Watson, and forwards Chris Copeland and Luis Scola to replenish its bench. The Pacers also have All-Star forward Danny Granger back from injury to pair alongside budding star forward Paul George, who enjoyed the finest NBA season of his career averaging 17.4 points and being selected to his first All-Star team. The other NBA team sharing the same state with the Nets in neighboring Manhattan is the New York Knicks. It, too, has altered its roster adding famed NBA bad boy Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) to further improve its team defense. The Knicks also acquired forward Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors to help take the pressure off star forward Carmelo Anthony on the offensive end of the court. Meanwhile, the defending Champs in the Miami Heat are prepped for another title run. The Heat boasts the "Super Friends" in forwards Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and guard Dwyane Wade. The Heat also added much-needed size to its frontcourt in signing former 2007 number 1 overall draft pick in center Greg Oden, as well as, scoring punch off the bench by forward Michael Beasley, the Heat's former Number 2 overall draft pick in 2008.

On paper, the Nets can contend, but the court is where it matters. The questions that the Nets will be forced to answer beginning October 30th, on the road in a meet and greet with the Cleveland Cavaliers will be: Can Jason Kidd inspire starting point guard Deron Williams to play at a level that we have not seen yet? Can Jason Kidd in his initial year as a Head Coach manage the variety of personalities at his disposal? Will Pierce and Garnett survive the 82-game schedule to play in meaningful games in May and June? Will the defense be able to control the game that best fits their strengths, as they will have a difficult time defending the fast-break as well as completing them? And finally, will the bench be able to pick up the time that Pierce and Garnett will inevitably miss this year to keep the team afloat in their absence? If the Nets can answer all of these questions, Brooklyn will have a summer for the ages, but this is their Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test and not everyone can obtain their Masters.

For the New York Knicks at 3-4, defeating the Atlanta Hawks tonight 95-91, seven games in and 75 more games left to complete their 82-game campaign, their world is already crumbling before they can experience enough time to be wholesome. Those to blame for their less than impressive start to their season include the cheerleaders, the president, and general manager, the hot dog vendors, as well as, the vending machines.

The blame game has already begun as well as the finger-pointing. One would assume that there would be a level of confidence attached to the New York Knicks label based on the season they enjoyed not too long ago capturing the Atlantic Division Crown, and winning 54 games in the process. To the naked eye, this team hardly resembles the team that accomplished those achievements last year due to the numerous roster changes in personnel but what’s most alarming about their start is their current mindset. Last year's Knicks team, although it struggled to play defense throughout the year, a re-occurring theme for the past decade, played with a certain level of intensity, focusing on competing against all challengers no matter the match-up and the strain. Last year’s Knicks team entered the season with expectations that they placed upon themselves of what they envisioned for themselves, revolving around the prime objective of winning an NBA championship, and with wins against the Spurs (which made me feel for the first time in a decade that the Knicks had arrived), three victories against the Miami Heat, as well as, winning a game on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder, fans, the public as well as myself believed that a championship was actually within reach. Sadly, thus far, I have not seen that same aura that surrounded the Knicks last year.

When you hear starting point guard Raymond Felton state that "I've got to play harder," team owner James Dolan requesting must-wins against the likes of the Atlanta Hawks, and star forward Carmelo Anthony having to validate the coaching of head coach Mike Woodson to the media, there is obviously a problem.

Tonight's win should grant the Knicks some breathing room until they face the Houston Rockets tomorrow night at home in an early season test against a Western conference contender. The result should indicate the direction of where this season’s destination will be.

The loss of center Tyson Chandler, out 4-6 weeks suffering a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula courtesy of a penetration dribble by Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker last week, will definitely impact the Knicks defense around the basket. The black cat has not left MSG as yet. This latest loss to their frontline makes their inside presence as soft as gummy bears relying on center Andrea Bargnani to be the last line, the enforcer. This loss to their front-court has prompted management to inquire about the services of Forward Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets a rebounding demon for G Iman Shumpert, in my opinion, an absolute mistake not because of what Faried can provide but because of what Shumpert can become, and that's one of the best two-way shooting guards in the league.

All in all, I believe it is too early to panic regarding the Knicks current state due to the infant stages of this 2013-2014 NBA season. Mike Woodson is still trying to find the correct ingredients in assembling the first and second unit. J.R. Smith has just returned furthermore planning to remind us all who the reigning 2012-2013 Sixth Man of The Year is. Bargnani is not comfortable yet, although recording a double-double in tonight's affair with 20 points and 11 rebounds seem as though he’s getting his feet wet, enjoying his new role and responsibilities and at the end of the day Melo is still on the roster right? Let them play.

As for Thursday's nationally televised wine and dine between the Knicks and the Rockets, I expect a shootout, if the Knicks are willing to respond because I know the Rockets will. James Harden is only scratching the surface of becoming the best shooting guard in the league behind Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Heat G Dwyane Wade. Every player in the NBA salivates at the opportunity to lace them up against their former employers and look for G Jeremy Lin to expose the Knicks as well as Felton. I do not know who on this roster is capable of defending Rockets C Dwight Howard but it will be fun to observe the Knicks and the schemes they will entertain and execute against arguably the best big man in the NBA. The only way the Knicks will be successful this season is if they replicate the production they relished last season and that is scoring more than the other team, a feat that Anthony has to spearhead being the Numero Uno. We'll see how much the Rockets fare under the Broadway lights as well as the North Pole conditions that we love so much as natives.

What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are also talking about NY baseball, NY Knicks, Nets, the Athlete of the Week, and more!

 

Listen to the Podcast for this episode and others by clicking the menu button

 

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POPPIN PART 1

NBA Playoffs

The NBA PLAYOFFS are finally here, and the excitement is building.

Q. Was the run-up to the playoffs anything that you could have predicted?

UFC fighter Conor McGregor will always remember Brooklyn. McGregor was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief charges and misdemeanor assault, menacing and reckless endangerment after McGregor and his entourage stormed the Barclays Center and threw a hand truck at a bus full of fighters after a news conference for UFC 223.

Q. Is Dana White and the UFC done with Conor McGregor or, will he return?

The Baltimore Ravens signed Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick fans are livid.

Q. Are Kaepernick fans justified in their outrage over the RG III signing?

QUICK BITES

• Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was involved in an accident when his Ferrari F12 was rear-ended by a dump truck. According to TMZ, Newton was not injured.

• Former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins told TMZ that he believes that Rob Gronkowski is frustrated with Patriots because he’s not being paid what he’s worth.

• University of Alabama guard Collin Sexton announced that he was “officially declaring” for the 2018 NBA Draft! Sexton is the first player to attend Alabama for one season before leaving for the NBA since the league added the “one and done” rule before the 2006 draft.
• Red Sox minor league prospect Michael Chavis just lost 80 games’ worth of his player development (and salary) thanks to testing positive for DHCMT a banned substance.
• Congrats to Villanova Wildcats on winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.

Quick Question: Augusta National Golf Club officials don’t like the phrase, “Dilly Dilly” and threatened to throw out anyone who uttered the words, Dilly Dilly in an effort to crack down on unruly fans.

Q. Is this silly, silly?

Poppin Part 2

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. Professional golfer Tiger Woods made a comeback appearance at the Masters in Augusta this past Weekend.

Q. What’s the verdict?

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard, Russell Westbrook, praised Houston Rockets guard James Harden’s accomplishments for this NBA season but stopped short of an MVP endorsement.

Q. Was this a back-handed compliment or, is Westbrook not counting himself out?

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Brooklyn Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen blocking a shot at the rim by Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker. The Nets defeated the Bucks 119-111.

NEW YORK SPORTS REPORT

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. It’s time for our NY Sports Report.

Let’s have a little fun with baseball.

Q. Right now, looking at both New York baseball teams, who has a better chance of playing in the World Series?

LeBron James to the Knicks for the 2018-2019 NBA Season?

A billboard went up near Madison Square Garden attempting to recruit LeBron James to the Knicks. Dwyane Wade says good luck with that one.

Q. Do you think LeBron James would ever consider the NY Knicks?

End of the NBA Regular Season and Nets with no playoff opportunity still playing hard

The Brooklyn Nets threw a wrinkle in the Milwaukee Bucks game plan. The Bucks were looking for a win over the struggling Nets to move up in the NBA Eastern Conference playoff standings, but the Nets beat the Bucks 119-111.

Q. In light of the Nets win over the Bucks, there’s a question floating, why do teams who are out of the playoff picture have to play so hard?

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK:

Our Athlete of the Week spotlight goes to Elgin Baylor. The legendary Los Angeles Lakers’ player recently received a great honor. The Lakers unveiled a statue of Elgin Baylor outside the Staples Center becoming the 10th person to be honored with a statue.

Sports Illustrated capitalizes off of Colin Kaepernick and omits him from iconic cover photo; Stan Van Gundy wants to eliminate NBA Draft

In this episode of What’s The 411Sports, Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, co-hosts of What’s The 411Sports are talking about: Kevin Hart, Sports Illustrated, Colin Kaepernick, Stan Van Gundy, Carmelo Anthony, Odell Beckham Jr., Dwyane Wade, and Rick Pitino.

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Los Angeles Lakers' players standing arm-in-arm in unity.

 

Big moves in the NBA, power centers shifted for NBA 2017-18 Season

In this Quick Bites segment:
Derrick Rose says he’s no longer in a “dark place,” he is happy with the Cavaliers.
Russell Westbrook signed a five-year, $205 million extension with the OKC Thunder and the OKC mayor declared everyday Russell Westbrook Day
• With Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony on the same team, NBA analyst Stephen Jackson said that OKC is the scariest team in the NBA.
Carmelo Anthony is happy being in OKC, he told ESPN, "... From an individual standpoint, I feel born again, feel rebirth, a different type of energy within myself, around the guys, around the organization, around the city. You can feel it."
• And, as we all know by now, Dwyane Wade has joined LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers

This might be the best bittersweet news of the entire year if you're an avid Knicks fan and supporter. Reported first by Stephen A. Smith, a journalist and NBA insider for ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, Phil Jackson was approached by New York Knicks management about a possible job offer that would give him the responsibilities as the next Head Coach of the Knicks.

Recent reports have been modified updating that report stating that the Knicks have offered Jackson a front office position as team president of basketball operations. I thought that was current GM Steve Mills' job to lose? What about Assistant GM Allan Houston? But this is how Jim Dolan, President and CEO, Cablevision Systems and Chairman, Madison Square Garden company orchestrates his business. The business that we are most concerned with is the New York Knicks.

As of today March 3, 2014, the New York Knicks are well on their way to a disappointing and deflating representation of an NBA regular season, positioned 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, a 25-40 overall record currently enjoying a 4-game winning streak. A new episode of Marvel Agents of Shield premiered tonight on ABC-TV. If you were unaware, it's a pretty good show.

Let's get this Knicks stuff out of the way because that's how hard it is to watch this team. That's how hard it is to fully invest your spirit into the Orange and Blue. Maybe the addition of Phil Jackson in a management arrangement could ease the pain and give us a substantial amount of faith even though it might not translate to wins on the court immediately. Maybe down the road, we will see the fingerprints of what 11-world championships won as a coach and two championships won as a player could transition into as a talent evaluator and trader.

Maybe down the road, we could see an entire franchise image make-over rivaling the San Antonio Spurs organization, minus the dynasty (it's too early) due to the insertion of one man. Maybe he could be exactly what we need. All of these predictions and future dreams could be a reality if Jackson indeed joins the Knicks organization and is given the space and opportunity to operate, only if Dolan keeps his hands to himself. Only if Dolan owns the team and does not get involved in basketball related ideas influencing management transactions and in that case, he has done enough.

Donnie Walsh, remember him? Presently a consultant for the Indiana Pacers was the former President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks. He only drafted a Hall-of-Famer in Reggie Miller in 1987 and aided the construction of a team in the 2013-2014 Pacers who are the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. As of today, the Pacers are 47-17, the best record in the NBA. What Walsh did for the Knicks made him our messiah, as long as he was employed by the Knicks. In 2008, Walsh cleared $27 million off the Knicks payroll in trading players with large contracts for cheaper and durable pieces. He cleared cap space for the Knicks to have a chance at signing a max player among the summer free agent class of 2010, in which Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Amar'e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson, were all available. He signed Stoudemire to a five-year $100-million dollar deal. The Knicks were back.

They were having a great season until some bumps in the road steered the Knicks off-track momentarily which prompted Dolan to don his basketball hat and command the pursuit of then Denver Nuggets star F Carmelo Anthony. Walsh obeyed his wishes sacrificing the punch of the team while mortgaging the future. Due to health, pride, and superior basketball knowledge Walsh resigned June 3, 2011.

As Walsh left, a man within the organization became his successor in Glen Grunwald, the former Vice President of the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. He only orchestrated a trade to acquire Vince Carter and drafted Tracy McGrady, giving the Raptors three consecutive playoff berths from 2000-02, which included a trip to the conference semi-finals. In 2012, Grunwald was promoted to general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations for the Knicks. He gave us one of the best seasons to date. In the 2012-13 NBA season, Grunwald manufactured a Knicks team with veterans and role players built around the centerpiece in Anthony to achieve a 54-28 regular season, which clinched their first Atlantic Division crown since the 1994 season and a trip to the second round of the 2013 playoffs.

Like Walsh, Grunwald was let go also following his success. This is all while Dolan has maintained his basketball hat. These moves illustrate that Dolan doesn't allow room to grow or develop, but space to do nothing as your General Manager job will be in jeopardy if he doesn't approve. Now the Knicks General Manager responsibilities belong to a bright gentleman who has never operated Basketball Operations in his life, Steve Mills. The basketball hat is still on. This is the beautiful mind of Dolan at work. Those are his actions.

What does the potential arrival of Jackson mean?

Does it mean that Dolan will actually let the basketball people handle basketball related activities or, is it only a matter of time before he interferes and aides another exit of a great basketball mind?

The mere idea of pursuing Jackson while Mills, the man occupying the current GM position, which hasn't lasted an entire NBA season, says it all.

Dolan can't wait.

You would think he will leave his hands to himself because it is Jackson, the "Zen Master," a man inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach, but we don't know. I have faith in a coach who has won 11 world championships to have an idea in choosing the kind of players he suspects has the characteristics and skills that result in wins on the basketball court. Does Dolan believe so, or is this just to save face and throw someone else to the wolves of the general public and the media capital of the world.

It's interesting, isn't it?

For the first time in four years, the Brooklyn Nets (1-1) defeated the Miami Heat (1-2) Friday night, 101-100 at Barclays Center

It was a sweet home-opening win for Brooklyn, proving they are just as good as the NBA champs, something that Deron Williams has been preaching lately. And, with the W over Miami, Brooklyn gets a bonus--- a rivalry. Yes, a rivalry is brewing between these two East Coast teams with the back-and-forth chatter between Kevin Garnett and LeBron James.

With the three-way trade that sent Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and Garnett to Brooklyn this past summer, James had plenty to say especially since he felt like Ray Allen was criticized for leaving Boston for Miami.

"I think the first thing I thought was, 'Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,'" James said a few weeks ago. "I think it's OK; I didn't mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they're leaving."

Prior to Friday's night tip-off, James brushed off all Brooklyn rival talk by telling reporters that he didn't want to answer any questions about the Nets.

"KG told me to worry about my team," James said.

And James tried to do just that, with 26 points, but his team fell behind before they could catch up.

After the game, Garnett gave Brooklyn fans a big shout out and admitted that although the crowd in Boston is over-the-top, the feeling is different at his new home.

"Big ups to Brooklyn," Garnett said.

Pierce and Joe Johnson each scored 19 points, which helped the Nets break their 13-game ending streak. The last time the Nets beat Miami was back on March 20 2009, before James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh got on the roster.

"It was good that we got a taste of this type of atmosphere this early in the season to try to see where we're at," Pierce said. "Miami, whenever they come into town, they're a measuring stick for everybody, so it was good for us to come out and get the win."

Andrei Kirilenko, who missed five preseason games and Wednesday's opener against the Cleveland Cavs due to injuries, had a big night--with eight points in just 12 minutes.

Nets Beat Chicago Bulls 107-106; Brook Lopez on the verge of breaking a Brooklyn Nets record to become the all-time leading scorer in Nets history

The Brooklyn Nets ended its last home game of the regular NBA season last night at the Barclays Center, pretty much as it started the season, with a win! Before a sold-out crowd of 17,732 people, the Nets hung tough to beat the Chicago Bulls 107-106. And, this wasn’t a game where the Bulls could go easy on the Nets trying to preserve their energy for the playoffs. The Bulls had to play hard as they are in a tie with the Miami Heat for the last place spot for an NBA playoff opportunity. The Bulls desperately needed this win. If the Bulls miss the playoffs, this would be two consecutive seasons that they didn’t make it.

But, let’s get back to B-r-o-o-k-l-y-n. The Nets are now 11-11 since March 1 and have won four of their last five games.

So how did the Nets beat the Bulls who are desperately looking to get a playoff spot?

From the top line, Brooklyn recorded a season-high 15 steals, and 10 were in the first half. The Nets edged the Bulls 24-14 in assists while outscoring Chicago 42-36 in points in the paint and 19-7 in fast break points.

Now, here are more details. The Brooklyn Nets ended the first quarter leading the Chicago Bulls 32-25. Although the Nets were up by six at the half (51-45), the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 13 points at half-time. At the end of the third quarter with the Bulls leading 82-75, it appeared that the Nets’ ghost of the third quarter had reared its ugly head to torpedo a positive outcome. But the Nets became the comeback kings in the fourth. The Bulls allowed the Nets to score 32 points in the fourth quarter and was only able to put up 24 points of their own. The ending was thrilling. Spencer Dinwiddie hit a three with 1:23 left in regulation to tie the game at 101-101. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made two free throws at the 54-second mark to give the Nets the lead 103-101. At 31 seconds, Butler hits a step-back jump shot to tie the game at 103-103. With 13 seconds left, Dinwiddie comes back to the foul line and hits two free-throws breaking the tie to give the Nets a two-point lead, 105-103. With two seconds left, Bulls’ guard Dwyane Wade fouls and Dinwiddie gets back to line hitting two free throws and the Nets go up 107-103. And, with one second left, Butler hits a three, but there is no more time and the Nets win 107-106.

Caris LeVert and Dinwiddie each scored 19 points for the Nets. Although LeVert, a rookie, did not score in the second quarter, he ended the game with his 19 points on 7-of-11 field goals, and 4-of-7 from three-point land. He also had 5 rebounds in 25 minutes. In addition to his 19 points, Dinwiddie had three rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 26 minutes. Overall, Dinwiddie is a very efficient player; he’s averaging 11.0 points per game (.574 FG, .474 3FG, .806 FT) in 22.1 minutes per game in his last eight contests. And, last night against the Bulls, Dinwiddie was solid, not buckling under pressure.

Other Nets players in double digits were Hollis-Jefferson, who tallied his seventh double-double of the season with 16 points (5-of-8 FG, 6-of-7 FT) and a game-high 12 rebounds in 30 minutes. And, if that wasn’t enough, Hollis-Jefferson also recorded three assists and three steals vs. the Bulls. Brook Lopez scored 13 points and four rebounds in 31 minutes. Lopez is now 22 points away from passing Buck Williams to become the all-time leading scorer in Nets history. Jeremy Lin added 12 points with six rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in 29 minutes.

“The word we’ve been using all year is the team is resilient,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “…The guys stuck together. Guys made some big plays; Caris (LeVert) made some big plays, Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) came in and made some big plays, Spencer (Dinwiddie) obviously was really big. But I just liked our spirit, how we kept after it. I felt we kept defending, that was a key. They hit some tough shots – (Jimmy) Butler hit some tough shots – but we stuck with it and finally started to get some shots to go down.”

Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 33points.

"We're still in this thing, they're a good team,” Butler told reporters after the game regarding the Bulls’ playoff chances. “They've been playing as well as anybody. They've got guys who played incredibly hard. We lost, there's nothing we can really do about it right now. We have to go get better. We were saying how we needed to get this one today and now we need these next two (games)."

Next, up for the Nets, they travel to Boston to play the Celtics on Monday, April 10, and then their last game of the season is in Chicago against the Bulls on Wednesday, April 12. And that my friends, will be the last day of the season for the Brooklyn Nets.

Based on the way the Nets are playing right now, if everyone can stay relatively healthy and they continue to develop the cohesiveness that we are witnessing right now, next season they will no longer be in the NBA basement. In fact, they may even be playoff bound.

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