August 18, 2019

D’Angelo Russell leads Nets scorers with 22 points; Nets Sitting Right Outside 8th Seed in NBA Eastern Conference

It's January 2nd and it's supposed to be cold, but it's not. Today, the Brooklyn Nets fought off the New Orleans Pelicans, with one of the best players in the league in the name of Anthony Davis and sent them home in defeat to the Nets 126-121.

The Nets playing with poise and skill improved to 18-21 overall and 10-11 at the Barclays Center, while the Pelicans fell to 17-22 overall and 4-16 on the road with the loss.

D’Angelo Russell led all Nets scorers and starters with a team-high 22 points, a career-high-tying (and Nets season-high-tying) 13 assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Other Nets starting players scoring in double-digits were Joe Harris who scored 21 points (9-of-16 FG, 3-of-4 3FG) with two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 29 minutes; Rodions Kurucs and Jarrett Allen each scored 10 points, while Allen added 11 rebounds.

DeMarre Carroll led the Nets bench with 19 points, six rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie added 18 points, and four assists, and; Shabbazz Napier chipped in 12 points and four assists.

Ed Davis, not a prolific scorer, led all Nets rebounders with 12 rebounds.

When asked about the effort from the Nets’ bench, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson responded: “It’s a heck of a win against a very good team, so great job all around. I thought everybody contributed – big play from all the guys. I thought we were very balanced, and the bench was great.”

Brooklyn’s bench is legendary; it outscored New Orleans’ reserves 55-5, yep 55-5. Entering tonight’s game, the Nets bench ranked second in the NBA with 46.3 points per game.

As good as the Nets scoring leaders were, Pelicans’ Anthony Davis led all scorers with 34 points and 26 rebounds. In fact, all of the New Orleans Pelicans scored in double digits. Elfrid Payton had 25 points and seven assists; Julius Randle registered 21 points, four rebounds, and two blocked shots; Jrue Holiday posted 20 points and four assists, and; E'Twaun Moore chipped in 16 points and two steals.

Even with the firepower from the Pelicans starters, it just wasn’t enough.

“Brooklyn started out shooting the ball extremely well,” New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry told the media postgame. “We got behind and you’re playing uphill. We know the story. We’ve seen the story before. We’re playing uphill – it’s extremely hard against a team with that talent level that has the ability to score. Once again, you’re talking about a perfect storm to get back and we almost got there but we just didn’t. You can’t start the game and get that type of separation and think that against a team with that kind of firepower that you’re going to be able to get all the way back.”

“We weren’t playing good defense,” Pelicans forward Anthony Davis echoed. “The whole first half they did what they wanted. They didn’t feel us on the defensive end. We weren’t physical. We weren’t talking. They had a lot of layups, a lot of open threes. They shot the ball well in the first half.”

Each team will have another opportunity to gain a win this weekend. The Nets will travel to Memphis to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, January 4, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Pelicans will be in Cleveland to face off against the Cavaliers on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Brooklyn Nets Defeat Orlando Magic 98-95, on the second night of a back-to-back; Caris LeVert comes up big with 15 hustle points, 8 Assists, five rebounds

Tonight the Brooklyn Nets met up with the Orlando Magic for the third time this season and for their second meeting at the Barclays Center this season. With a team effort, the Nets did not disappoint the hometown fans. Starting the New Year on a good note, the Nets held Orlando to under 100 points and came up victorious 98-95.

What is significant about this win is that it is the second night of a back-to-back, something that this team hasn’t had much success with and tonight’s accomplishment wasn’t lost on Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“It was a good, great way to come back from last night,” Atkinson said. “We played Boston tough and this is a talented team, especially with Aaron Gordon back, so great job by our guys. Great resiliency, we weren’t great offensively but we did it with our defense. I thought we got some real big 50-50 balls and rebounds. Allen Crabbe gets the block at the end of the game, so a lot of guys contributed. Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson), I thought was really good, made some big plays and free throws. A really good team win.”

Crabbe’s block at the end of the game and his career-high total of three blocks for tonight didn’t go unnoticed by the media. When asked about tonight’s block stat, Crabbe told the media, "I'm low key tired of hearing people trying to question my defense.”

Okay, we hear you.

In addition to showing off his defensive chops with three blocks, Crabbe also scored 15 points and eight rebounds.

Brooklyn Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen is blossoming right before our eyes. He led the Nets in scoring tonight with a career-high 16 points. He also added eight rebounds and two blocks.

Caris LeVert scored 15 points, eight assists, and five rebounds for the Nets. LeVert has also registered seven or more assists in each of his last four games, becoming just the second Net since the 1983-84 season to record seven or more assists in four straight games off the bench.

LeVert and Allen are emerging as a dynamic duo. When they are both on the floor, LeVert will find Allen because he knows that unlike a lot of big men, Allen keeps his eye on the ball. To his credit, with just two months of NBA playing time, Allen is being recognized as a “catching and going” type of big man. And, LeVert is not too shabby either as he’s tough to defend with his great on-the-court decision-making.

Regarding his chemistry with LeVert, Allen said, “I don’t know where it came from, but it’s just been there since we started playing together. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

DeMarre Carroll scored a double-double adding 14 points and 10 rebounds, this is Carroll’s fourth double-double of the season, and; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds for the Nets.

Orlando had five players in double digits. Aaron Gordon led all players with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Elfrid Payton added 17 points and seven assists. Bismack Biyombo scored a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds. Also scoring 13 points for Orlando was Evan Fournier, and; Jonathan Simmons chipped in 10 points and five rebounds.

Next up, the Brooklyn Nets meet the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m. According to Atkinson, Nets recent addition from the Philadelphia 76ers, Jahlil Okafor, could make his debut at home for the Nets on Wednesday.

“He’s close. I’d expect to see him against Minnesota,” Atkinson told the media. “I think we’ll start to get him some minutes. He’s been doing a phenomenal job getting ready physically with our assistant coaches learning what we’re doing. Collectively we feel like he’s ready to get some minutes.”

Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker, and the Nets bench had a huge night

The Brooklyn Nets are now officially on their “glow-up” tour, as they beat the Orlando Magic 121-111 at the Barclays Center on Saturday evening.

The Nets have now won three of their last four home games. There is a lot to like about how the Nets are playing lately and specifically how the team played against the Magic. The Nets scored a season-high 72 points in the paint, outscoring the Magic 72-32 in the painted area. Hello!

“Brook is really hard to guard down there,” Jeremy Lin said. “We keep trying to find ways to exploit the defense with his size and his touch. I think he’s finding a great balance inside and outside. I felt like he really made his presence known tonight.”

“I thought we were very unselfish today and we got back to moving the ball – that’s the first thing J-Lin (Jeremy Lin) brought out, coming out into the start of the game,” Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez said about what got the offense clicking in tonight’s game.

“I thought we moved the ball very well. Honestly, for me, I thought the bench did such great job tonight. They came in and picked us up in the second and again in the third. They were just spectacular out there and they were the difference tonight,” Lopez continued.

Yep, the Brooklyn Nets’ bench did show out tonight. The Nets’ reserves outscored the Magic’s reserves 72-16. And this was not a fluke, as the Nets’ bench outscored Phoenix’s bench on March 23 with a season-high 81 points and back in January against New Orleans with 73 points.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson liked how his bench played in big spots.

“Similar how teams have done to us, we started to pick them up, we started denying some passes, we got into the ball,” Atkinson said. “It was an overall energy, a youthful energy. Isaiah (Whitehead) I thought was really good, Archie (Goodwin) gives us a big boost with his athleticism and how fast he is and he did a good job defensively…then (Trevor) Booker was really good on both ends.”

Lopez was overjoyed about the Nets reserves.

“It was fun to watch honestly,” Lopez said. “They did it tonight for us – no question. Again, it was just great to see that energy on the floor and our guys were so excited for them on the bench.”

At the end of the day, the game’s outcome is what really matters. However, in the first few minutes, one could not tell that Brooklyn would have such a great night. Orlando came out the gate strong scoring nine points to Brooklyn’s two in less than 3 minutes. However, like a ship in rough seas, the team got righted; Lopez scored 12 points in under 8 minutes during the first quarter. A Booker jump shot at 2:48 in the first, gave the Nets its first lead, 27-26. A back and forth ensued and a Sean Kilpatrick jump shot with less than 11 seconds to go helped the Nets to end the first quarter tied at 33-33.

Brooklyn ended the second quarter 60-53 over Orlando; and then, it was all even 89-89 at the end of the third.

And then came the fourth quarter when the Nets went on an 11-0 run and the Magic, without an answer, could not get over the hump. The Nets’ bench took over offensively and defensively.

Off the bench, Spencer Dinwiddie and Booker helped to break open a big lead for the Nets in the fourth, which did not go unnoticed by Atkinson.

“Yeah, that kind of broke it open,” Atkinson stated. “I thought Spencer made some big plays; he was really good in the pick and roll. His size, he gets in the paint and he’s a tough guy to deal with. Trevor in the pick and roll, in transition, just making the simple play, that was where we were able to break it open a little bit.”

And the performance of the Nets’ bench was certainly on the radar of the Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel.

“I think Brooklyn’s bench came in and took over the game during that stretch to start the fourth quarter to build a big lead,” Vogel said. “I credit their bench.”

“We just really drove the ball well, Atkinson said about the Nets’ overall play. I felt like we were very aggressive to the rim. In transition we got out and got some easy ones, we were really driving it and finishing at a better rate. We didn’t shoot it well from the perimeter, but I thought we got a lot of open looks. But I was pleased with our defense too for the most part. The first quarter wasn’t great, third quarter they got going. (Nikola) Vučević got going. The difference in the game was probably the bench, though. At the end of the day, I thought they really brought great energy, picked up our defense, did a great job of playing together.”

For the win, Lopez scored a game-high 30 points; Booker had a season-high 23 points, he also added eight rebounds; Kilpatrick contributed 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists, Justin Hamilton chipped in 13 points and five rebounds.

To the Magic’s credit, four of its five starters scored over 20 points: Vučević had a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds and Aaron Gordon scored 22 points and 15 rebounds. Although both Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton each had 20 points, Payton had a triple double with 11 rebounds and 11 assists to his tally, which was overshadowed by the Magic’s loss.

The Magic’s loss is the Nets’ gain and Lopez speaking for the team is excited that the hard work, the grinding it out, and staying focus through the losses was very important to getting them on the winning track.

“It was very important, very big,” Lopez said. “We just continually talked about no slippage until the very end of the season – until whatever day, April 12, 15, whatever it is, I’m not exactly sure – but we want to continue to improve, and take every opportunity we can to get better as a team.”

The Nets will be back at it tomorrow for a home back-to-back, as they face the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks at 6:00 p.m.

With forced turnovers, bad shooting, and Brook Lopez not a huge factor, the Brooklyn Nets struggled against a young and athletic Orlando Magic

On Star Wars night at the Barclays Center, the force was clearly with the Orlando Magic, opposed to the host, Brooklyn Nets. To demonstrate how badly thing went for the Nets, lets skip to the 4th quarter. Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton and the rest of the Magic’s starters sat comfortably on the sidelines while the second unit finished the game because the damage to the Nets had already been done.

A second half surge revolving around defense, steals, and a consistent offensive effort, enabled the Magic to hand the Nets their second straight loss in a convincing fashion, 105-82 on Monday night.

The Magic improved to (13-11) on the season, while the Nets fell to (7-17), their third loss in the last five games.

Prior to tonight's game, Joe Johnson told What’s The 411Sports that the Nets would have to get off to a good start and keep their turnovers down. During the first half of the game, Johnson’s pregame strategy came into fruition. The Nets battled with Orlando, keeping it close and competitive, down by seven entering halftime up 52-45. In the 3rd, it all fell apart for the Nets.

Their offense struggled to keep up with the young and athletic Magic, and turnovers in addition to bad shooting, prevented the Nets from protecting their home-court. Facing an uphill climb in the fourth down by 14 points, the Nets would miss their first four shots, while the Magic enjoyed a 13-4 run, led by Andrew Nicholson who scored 10 of his 15 total points, in the 4th quarter alone.

The Magic converted eight forced turnovers into eight points while the Nets offense couldn’t find their rhythm. Even though six players scored in double-figures for the Nets, Brook Lopez, the team’s best player, on his star wars bobble-head night, wasn’t much of a factor recording 11 points total for the game.

“I definitely take responsibility for this one,” Lopez said post-game. “I felt I was a complete negative for our team. I kind of let us down, pulled us back. I definitely need to be better and know I can be. I was very frustrating.”

Where Lopez struggled, Vucevic, his counterpart flourished. The former USC Trojan scored his team-high 18 points in 27 min, 12 of which came in the 3rd. All 12 of Vucevic’s points helped extend what was a seven-point Magic lead to a double-digit advantage, setting up the second unit, who served as the clean-up crew in the 4th.

Payton, who also had a fine game-scoring 17 points and five assists-torched the Nets on the perimeter. Tobias Harris added 15 points and nine rebounds and Victor Oladipo punched in 10.

For the Nets, Jarrett Jack led all scorers with 15 points and described the Nets locker-room following the loss as “Disappointed.”

“We just didn’t perform with the necessary effort to be competitive in the game,” Jack said. “You do that, you get these embarrassing types of losses.”

Thaddeus Young, who finished his night with 10 points, also acknowledged the Nets lack of effort.

“They just played harder than us.” Young said following the loss. “They played harder than us, and they got to all the loose balls. They got to everything they wanted to do within their sets and they took away a lot of stuff that we wanted to do and forced us into tough, difficult shots that we didn’t make.”

The Nets, as a team, shot 38 percent from the field validating the Magic commitment to defense, a testament to their head coach, Scott Skiles, who lives and breathes it.

When most of your core players are questioning the effort of the team, that’s a problem, and the Nets owning one of the worst records in the league doesn’t make it any better.

Wednesday night, the Nets will host the (14-9) Miami Heat, who are in a two-way tie for first place in the southeast division.

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