March 25, 2019

In the loss, Allen Crabbe and Ed Davis, lead the Brooklyn Nets in scoring against their old team, the Portland Trail Blazers

Last night, fresh from the excitement of the NBA All-Star extravaganza, which saw four Brooklyn Nets players participating in different activities and Nets forward Joe Harris beating out Stephen Curry to win the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest, the Brooklyn Nets sputtered in its first game after the NBA All-Star break losing to the Portland Trail Blazers 113-99. With the loss, the Nets have a 30-30 overall win-loss record and 17-14 at the Barclays Center. They are also still in the sixth position in the NBA Eastern Conference playoff berth standings right behind the Boston Celtics. On the contrary, the Portland Trail Blazers improved to 35-23 overall and 11-15 on the road with the win.

Like the Nets’ game against the Chicago Bulls, Portland’s starting five out-sized the Nets starters with the Trail Blazers’ center and forward being 7’0” and both forwards 6’9” while the Nets players in those positions are 6’11” (center) and 6’7” and 6’5” for the forwards. Also, Portland’s players in those positions have more experienced with 6, 8, and 4-years’ NBA experience versus no more than two years of experience (2, 2, and 1) for Nets players in similar positions. This not to excuse the Nets loss, but to put into context things that can contribute to the ups and downs in the NBA and sports in general.

When Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was asked about the biggest difference between the two teams, he responded, “I think rebounding, I think physicality. I think they were the more physical team. I see 19 offensive rebounds. We couldn’t corral. I think we did a decent job on (Damian) Lillard and (CJ) McCollum, just a tough time rebounding tonight. I said pregame that’s one of the things we’re focused on, so I’m disappointed there was no carryover from the emphasis at the All-Star break. So, credit to Portland – I thought overall, they were the more energetic, more physical team, and deserved to win.”

Atkinson also added what he would like to clean up regarding the Nets’ rhythm and flow: “We didn’t have great rhythm tonight, didn’t play well. I think that’s across the board – didn’t coach well, didn’t play well. It’s just one of those games where Portland was simply the better team. There’s just no way around it. I thought in all facets they played really well.”

All of the Portland Trail Blazers starting five scored in double digits. Jusuf Nurkic, the team’s center achieved 27 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocked shots; CJ McCollum recorded 21 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots; both Maurice Harkless and Damian Lillard each scored 13 points and eight rebounds, while Lillard added 8 assists to his total and Harkless added four assists; Al-Farouq Aminu contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds, and; Enes Kanter, who recently landed in Portland via a transaction with the New York Knicks, came off the bench and registered 18points and nine rebounds to help his team get the “W”.

“Good to get a road win, good to get that first win after the break,” Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said about his team’s victory against the Brooklyn Nets. “Brooklyn played a lot of zone. We didn’t have a lot of offense in with Enes Kanter, so it was just kind of playing free basketball. I thought we did a good job with pick-and-rolls when we had it. Obviously, our two big guys dominated inside. That was an important part of our offense.”

“Yeah, that’s my game,” Kanter said not shying away from his style of basketball. “Just go out there, I play hard and bring energy, rebounds – the inside game. I think it’s just the important thing to go out there and get a win.”

Allen Crabbe, a former member of the Portland Trail Blazers and in his second season with the Nets, summed up his thoughts on where the Trail Blazers hurt the Nets most: “Offensive rebounds. They got a lot of second-chance points, they got a lot of offensive rebounds. It’s hard to beat a team when you give up that many offensive rebounds and they get that many looks, second chance aside, so you’ve just got to give them credit. They outworked us tonight. We’ve just got to get back to the drawing board and figure it out.”

Crabbe understands there is no time to dwell on this loss and what to do next is not rocket science. Everyone understands what needs to be done to be ready for the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.

“I think just practice really, just keep going back, watching film, looking at things we can correct, things we can sharpen up a little bit,” Crabbe added. “Like you said, finally getting back to a full, healthy roster, so just that rhythm of playing with the regular lineups we had at the beginning of the season. I think in due time it will come, so we’re not worried about it. We know we have a lot of guys capable of doing good stuff for us each and every night, so I think it will click for us eventually.”

Oddly enough, the players that led the Nets in scoring last night were former players from the Portland Trail Blazers, Crabbe and Ed Davis and they both came off the bench. Crabbe scored 17 points and four rebounds, while Davis scored a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

D’Angelo Russell led the Nets first unit with 14 points, eight assists, and four rebounds; Joe Harris scored 13 points and four rebounds, both Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen each scored 12 points, while Allen added 11 rebounds to his total.

Some have called this loss to Portland a wake-up call for the Brooklyn Nets.

Davis begs to differ: “It’s not really a wake-up call, I mean we’re woke. They’re a good team – they were the third seed (in the NBA Western Conference) coming in here. They played well, they(are) coached well and they just beat us. That’s the NBA. Like you said, you gotta move on and get ready for the next game.”

After playing the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, February 23rd, the Nets return home to take on the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, February 25, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

VIDEO: Coach Kenny Atkinson summarizes his thoughts about the Nets performance during their first preseason game playing the New York Knicks

REPORTER 1: Obviously, you guys put a lot of emphasis in getting shooting out on the floor. But when you see those, when you see those numbers what jumps out at you? Is it shooting or, is it something else?

COACH ATKINSON: I think it's, yes it’s the shooting Brian, that we missed a lot of open shots. But still, I thought we took some contested shots especially the contested ones off the dribble. You know the contested threes off the dribble is a tough shot. I felt like we took too many of those. But I do think our offense has a long way to go. We struggled to execute. You know give, give the Knicks credit that they pressured, put pressure on our guards, did a good job of getting into the ball and we struggled, struggled executing.

REPORTER 2: You know that (Enes) Kanter had his way with you on the inside again deep you 22 points 20 rebounds. What do you think the problem was there? It's the undersized or just poor defense?

COACH ATKINSON: First of all, he’s a very good player and he's a load. So when we play in the first game of the regular season, we’re going to need to do a better job. I thought he caught the ball too easily in the post, so a guy like that so good with the ball post, you better keep it from him or push him off the blocks. He caught it too deep. You know that we let him get to the middle too much I thought. And then, in offensive rebounding, we just we can't box him out with one guy, you know. We need two guys. We need three guys and I’m going to say this all year, we need five guys, five guys coming back to rebound. So that's kind of his strength, but we have to do a much better job. You're correct on that.

REPORTER 2: Caris (LeVert) kind of showed us I think what you might have been seeing in all this preseason and training camp. How would you evaluate his performance?

COACH ATKINSON: I thought he was up and down, you know, I thought he did some good things and obviously he gets to the rim well. I thought some of those contested threes were on his plate. He needs to clean up his shot selection a little. I would say it was up and down, some good things mixed in and like I said, shot selection was one, one of the things that concerned me a little bit.

REPORTER 1: With Caris(LeVert) specifically, is one of those things defense on (Allonzo) Trier who obviously had a heck of a night? And I guess, you know somewhat to a lesser extent, you know, you talked about how if you had everybody healthy you would be able to go big and be able to use a lot of different lineups and take a look at a lot of different things. Did the fact you had so many forwards that were out they kind of prevent you from experimenting you can see how those people are?

COACH ATKINSON: Yeah, and yeah, I think, I think we were obviously we had a few guys out and so that too. You know the first game Brian, we’re really, you know focused on understanding the minutes where guys gotta play, so it’s tough to mix and match a little bit at that first preseason game because you know guys were on a set number of minutes and that’s, that's on me. So didn’t maybe have a chance playing Ed (Davis) and Jarrett (Allen) together like I said we might. But yes, I thought Allonzo Trier he drove the heck out of the ball and especially in the first half, we couldn’t keep him in front of us and that was, that was collectively, everybody got beat by him and credit to him he was very aggressive driving the ball.

REPORTER 3: Kenny, Rodi (Rodions Kurucs) had some good numbers and good moments in the fourth, what did you see there?

COACH ATKINSON: Yeah, I was very pleased with Rodi, I loved was his energy. I think he, he's a talented guy and he’s got nice length. I like how he drove it. You know, he showed some good things defensively. Listen, I think at training camp, he's been, talk about Caris and the other guys, but I thought he's been a little bit of a surprise, you know. He's a multi-position player. I think his speed is better than I thought. I was, I was really pleased with how well he played, love his energy he came out with.

REPORTER 3: Did you kind of go into it thinking you really want to give an opportunity to look at?

ATKINSON: Yeah, no doubt. We had him right up there. We want to see these guys play right off the bat. And then secondly, he's earned it. He earned it in training camp. You know every time he stepped on the floor when we scrimmaged, or in our breakdowns, he's been, he's been, he's been impressive and confirmed tonight that he's a talented, talented player.

REPORTER 2: And, you talked about him (Rodions Kurucs) the other day, as a stretch five. Even though it was garbage time and it was scrubs against scrubs.
Did you like the instincts he showed, as far as, being in the right place you know kind of showing a basketball IQ, showing passing ability, good hands?

ATKINSON: Yes, I loved, though, I liked all that. I think he showed good instincts passing the ball. And again, maybe the thing I liked about him, he doesn't have any fear that keeps, you know, he's going to, he's barreling in there and he's hitting guys.

And you know, I just like how aggressive he was, that his overall energy, it was like just a real bright spot, really. I thought it really helped that third unit, you know play pretty well.

 

 

Nets rookie Rodions Kurucs playing in his first NBA game showed true grit scoring 13 points in 12 minutes, all in the fourth quarter

Granted it's a preseason game, in a new season, but the Brooklyn Nets still look like the team of last season. The first competitive game for the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018-19 NBA season was held at the Barclays Center tonight against its East River rival, the New York Knicks. The one thing that was different from the very start was that a Brooklyn Brigade fan group showed up in full force and cheered the Nets from start to finish shutting down any Knicks’ fans in the audience. Believe me, this is a first. At one Knicks game last season, when I checked in on Facebook, the app thought I was at Madison Square Garden and would not allow me to put in the Barclays Center.

Tonight the Nets got off to a good start, which isn’t unusual, leading by as much as 15 points with 1:04 left in the first quarter. But in the closing minute of the first quarter, New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina put up a three-pointer at the 50-second mark. Nets guard Joe Harris missed a 3-point jumper with 35 seconds left, and Knicks guard Allonzo Trier added another three points at the buzzer, ending the first quarter with a score of Nets 26 and the Knicks 17.

During the second stanza, with just under eight minutes left to play in the half, the Nets had a 15-point lead (38-23). However, the New York Knicks found cracks in the armor and little by little chipped away to end the first-half 50-46. The reverse of fortunes continued into the third, when the Knicks went up 10, ending the third quarter with a score of 81-71. The Nets tried to claw their way back in the fourth quarter and came within one point (99-98) at the 2:26 mark, however, turnovers and defensive pressure on the part of the Knicks at the end of the day is what contributed to the Nets demise in Preseason Game 1, ending with a hurtful 107-102.

“I thought that we missed a lot of open ones,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media during his postgame interview. “But still I thought that we took some contested ones, especially the contested ones off the dribble. You know the contested threes off the dribble – it’s a tough shot, I felt like too many of those. But, I do think our offense has a long way to go. We struggled to execute, give the Knicks credit. I thought they pressured our guards and did a good job of getting into the ball and we struggled executing.”

“There were a lot of positives,” an assessment that Nets guard D’Angelo Russell gave the media in his locker room postgame presser. “I think we came out and competed, played hard. We focused on what coach was expecting of us. Things we can work on as well. But it’s something that we can watch film, build on it.”

In adversity, there is generally a silver lining somewhere, and Net rookie Rodions Kurucs was it. During the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, Kurucs got his first opportunity to play in an NBA game and he was pushing for a real comeback. Kurucs scored 13 points in 12 minutes.

Russell was not surprised by Kurucs’ deliverables.

Asked what he sees in practice from Kurucs that translated into tonight’s game, and Russell responded, “Same thing, same thing. He’s active, he’s athletic, he plays hard, he knows his role. He knows what he’s capable of. He never steps outside the box. He’s the guy that plays hard and brings that energy.”

“It was really emotional for me because I didn’t play last year,” Kurucs said about getting his chance to play for the first time ever in the NBA. “It was a really good moment for me. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed every minute.”

Kurucs was drafted by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018 NBA Draft in the second round (40th overall).

“I think I bring energy on defense,” Kurucs continued. “I’m just working on all the stuff, what coach told me. I’ll help my team out. I’ll do all my best. I’ll give my all.”

And, from tonight’s performance, he’s definitely one to watch this season.

The Nets had six players to score in double digits. Caris LeVert led the Nets with 15 points and four steals. Both Spencer Dinwiddie and Kurucs scored 13 points. Dinwiddie added six assists, while Kurucs added four rebounds and four steals. Russell and Treveon Graham each tallied 11 points. Russell added three rebounds and three assists, while, Graham secured eight rebounds and three assists. Joe Harris chipped in 10 points and three rebounds.

For the Knicks, Allonzo Trier led all scorers with 25 points and four rebounds; his teammate, Enes Kanter contributed 22 points and 20 rebounds.

Next up, for the Knicks, are the New Orleans Pelicans at home at Madison Square Garden on Friday, October 5, 2018.

The Nets travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Monday, October 8, 2018. The Nets first regular season game at home will be against the New York Knicks on Friday, October 19, 2018. 

In His Own Words: Rodions Kurucs:

VIDEO: Hornacek reflects on the state of the NY Knicks and the opportunity that a road trip could bring for the team before and after the NBA All-Star break

The New York Knicks came across the Bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, looking for a win after losing to Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans 123-118 just 24 hours ago. As a side note, the Brooklyn Nets also go into this game with a recent loss. The Nets lost to the Washington Wizards on Saturday also in overtime, 119-113.

Ahead of the New York Knicks matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, Knicks head coach, Jeff Hornacek, briefed the media on the current state of his team.

“No Tim Hardaway Jr., tonight,” Hornacek said straightaway.

Hardaway, who is just back from an injury, is on a minutes restriction. Last night’s game against the Pelicans went into overtime and Hardaway played more minutes than he should have.

“We’re going to make him inactive today,” Hornacek said responding to a reporter’s question. “No setback or anything like that, the plan was to gradually build him up. Unfortunately, the game went into overtime and we ended up playing him a few extra minutes, so we’re going to hold back today.”

Hornacek also commented on Kristaps Porzingis’ remark to a reporter after the team’s loss to the Pelicans last night. Porzingis is coming to the revelation that he might want to concentrate more on defense and shoot less.

“Well, we still want to use him and I like that attitude,” Hornacek said. “I think that’s all of our guys. When you get the ball and we call a play for you, it’s not necessarily for you to shoot the ball; it’s for you to make a play. So if you have the shot, great, if not, you’ll make a play to kick it out to somebody; that’s what we have to do to do a better job of coming out of these plays and that could help KP more if he could pass it out. He did it a couple of times last night; he made a pass to Enes (Kanter) late in the game for a dunk. That keeps teams a little more honest, so that’s throughout our team, we need a little more of that.”

Technically, today’s game against the Nets is the start of a seven-game road trip for the Knicks. However, coming across the bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn isn’t a typical NBA road trip. Nevertheless, Coach Hornacek is looking forward to playing the Nets today because it’s a chance for the Knicks to start its seven-game road trip on good footing.

“I think we look at these seven games as an opportunity for us to play better on the road. The last five games, we’ve only won two of them, but we were right there. We’re going to play some tough teams, but if we play well, we’ll have a chance to win that’s what I think. It’s an opportunity for these guys to get out on a little roll,” Hornacek said.

Hornacek went on to talk about Knicks center and team leader, Porzingis, as a big guy will need more time for his body to catch up to his role; there may not be too much change to the second-half strategy with Tim Hardaway being out today; understanding that Jahlil Okafor brings an inside game for the Nets, so that will be something that the Knicks will have to keep an eye on, and; the fans do get a little extra amped when the Knicks and Nets play each other.

With a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, Isaiah Thomas is ecstatic; St. John’s Red Storm has people talking, and; Le’Veon Bell wants SZA to be his Valentine

In this episode of What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are talking about the moves the Cleveland Cavaliers made at the NBA trade deadline; Damian Lillard hitting 50 points in 29 minutes, and should he sit or continue to play until the end of the game; the Top 5 prospects for NBA MVP consideration; Isaiah Thomas says he got his powers back; Paul Pierce celebrated in Boston; the state of the Brooklyn Nets and NY Knicks; Tim Tebow is back with the NY Mets; the New York Yankees acquire Russell Wilson; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell wants R&B singer, SZA, to be his Valentine; and will the XFL get off the ground?

What’s The 411Sports’ Photo of the Week

The What’s The 411Sports Photo of the Week is a photo of Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie shaking hands with his former teammate Trevor Booker who was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Spencer Dinwiddie shaking hands with former teammate Trevor Booker 750x469

Quick Takes: Kemba Walker on Trade Block, Enes Kanter trolled LeBron James

• It looks like the Charlotte Hornets are ready to trade Kemba Walker.
• According to The Score, LaMelo Ball appears to be causing some headaches for his coach in the LKL, a premier men’s basketball league in Lithuania.
• LSU RB Derrius Guice signs with agent from Kendrick Lamar's record label’s new sports division.
• New York Knicks center Enes Kanter trolled LeBron James on Twitter after the Cavaliers 148-124 loss to OKC. Kanter tweeted: "148. #StriveForGreatness"
Zion Williamson - one of the top high school basketball players in the country with 1.1 million Instagram followers- has announced his decision to play for Duke next season.

And, according to Keisha, Duke is known as the "Duke of the North"

Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson score career-highs, Caris LeVert leads Nets 2nd Unit, but team could not capitalize on Porzingas absence

For this reporter, being at the Barclays Center last night watching the Brooklyn Nets get routed by the New York Knicks was a bit surreal. It wasn’t that the Knicks defeated the Nets 111-104, but the atmosphere didn’t feel like a Nets home game. The home crowd was overrun by Knicks fans. The Nets entertainment team was hard-pressed to get a response from Nets fans to engage in its usual t-shirt toss and other activities. Who turns down a free t-shirt? Even if the Nets isn’t your team, it’s the holidays, give it away to a Nets fan. Next, as I was checking in on Facebook, every business came up as if I was at Madison Square Garden. Seriously, Facebook; I’m in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.

Now back to the Nets game against the Knicks. Although the Nets seemed to be off-kilter, there were flashes of brilliance. Both Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson put in strong performances for the Nets scoring career-highs of 26 and 25 points, and seven rebounds respectively.

“I was just fortunate to hit shots,” Dinwiddie said about his performance against the Knicks on Thursday. “Last game, I couldn’t hit the side of a barn so today they went in and looked like a better game. That’s really it.”

Other Nets scoring leaders were Caris LeVert, who added 15 points, 5 rebounds, and five assists; and DeMarre Carroll chipped in 13 points. Tyler Zeller didn’t cross the double-digit line in points for the Nets, but he led the Nets in rebounds with eight.

The Nets’ bench is rated second in the NBA, but last night, the second unit just couldn’t find its rhythm, only mustering up 27 points. Meanwhile, the Knicks bench put up 45 points.

“I thought their second unit came in and just really took the game over,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media in his postgame presser. “Similar to the first game [against the Knicks], they turned up their pressure, their physicality really. I thought they were the much more physical team.”

Yes, the Knicks were very physical and proud of it.

Even the Nets three-point shooting was off as a result of the Knicks physicality. Brooklyn hit 12 of its 42 three-point shots partly because the Knicks’ physicality forced the Nets to take bad shots. Joe Harris, the Nets G/F, is a three-point specialist and Harris shot 1 for 7. Allen Crabbe, who has had a rough go of it lately, shot just 1 for 8, including 1 for 7 from behind the arc.

New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingas, who proved nearly unguardable, left the game in the second quarter with an injured knee and the Nets could not take advantage of his absence for a “W” mainly because of the Knicks’ physical play.

For the Knicks, Courtney Lee led all scorers with 27 points. Michael Beasley scored 15 points; both Porzingas and Enes Kanter had 13 points with Kanter putting up nine rebounds, and Kyle O’Quinn was the leading rebounder for the Knicks with 10 rebounds.

Up next, the Knicks will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night, which will be Carmelo Anthony’s first visit to Madison Square Garden since leaving the team this season.

The Nets will visit the Toronto Raptors today and it will mark DeMarre Carroll’s first return to Toronto since leaving the Raptors. The Nets’ next home game is Sunday, December 17, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. against the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center.

"Maybe it’s a coincidence, but that’s the way we need to play every night. I guess we need to play every night like we’re playing OKC.” --- Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez

Winter superstorm Jonas arrived in NYC this weekend and blessed us with up to 18 inches of snow. Due to the storms results, the Brooklyn Nets pushed its late afternoon game against the Oklahoma City Thunder to the evening. Perhaps, just maybe, it had something to do with why the Nets decided to show up.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 31 points and 10 rebounds, his 18th double-double of the season, to upset the Thunder and their star-studded cast, 116-106.

“He was making shots,” Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant simply stated regarding Brook’s big night.

With the win, the Nets ended their five-game losing streak while stopping the Thunder’s seven-game winning streak.

Before this game, which was delayed by four hours, it was viewed as a sure loss by just about everybody and on Sunday night, the Nets defied the odds. They never trailed and other than the 3rd quarter where the Nets mirrored the Thunder in points scored with 25, Brooklyn outscored OKC in every other quarter. Whenever OKC got close, the Nets found a way to answer and score consistently, which is something the Nets have struggled with all season long.

Brooklyn Nets Scores when it counts

When OKC’s Kyle Singler drained a three, set up by Kevin Durant in the 2nd quarter with a little over five minutes left, bringing OKC to within one down 45-46, Bojan Bogdanovic and Andrea Bargnani answered with a three and jumper respectively, putting the Nets back up by six, 51-45. In the 4th with a little over six minutes remaining, Dion Waiters brought OKC to within five 93-98 after his two-point shot.

Shortly after, the Nets would spend the next three minutes sealing their 12th win of the season. Thaddeus Young scored twice en route to another solid performance, scoring 14 points with 14 boards and Lopez added two.

“We went out and executed, we ran our stuff all the way through,” Young said post-game.

Yes, the Nets finally won a game but the biggest winner of all was the fans.

Brooklyn’s faithful braved the aftermath of Jonas, got to witness a victory and also got to witness two of the league's greatest players in Durant and Russell Westbrook. KD and Westbrook both produced double-doubles of their own in 32 and 10 rebounds and 27 and 11 rebounds, respectively and after the game Durant praised Lopez and Young for their efforts.

“They were tough,” Durant said. “They kicked our ass all night, you know, rebounding the ball, scoring in the paint. They did what they wanted to.”

And that’s coming from a credible opponent, actually referencing the Nets. And Durant is talking about the Nets edging OKC on the boards 49 to 46, including 18 offensive rebounds, which led to extra possessions for Brooklyn. Steven Adams, OKC’s muscle in the post and starting center was missing in action which has a lot to do with the success Lopez, Young and the Nets enjoyed on the glass and scoring inside and to their credit, they took advantage.

It’s also worth noting that after the beat-down the Utah Jazz laid on the Nets on Friday night, the Nets were able to bounce back and that started with the team’s best player. Against the Jazz, Lopez was limited to eight points having to deal with Rudy Gobert’s block party all night long. Against OKC, guarded mostly by Enes Kanter, Lopez got his mojo back, which seems to happen more often than not when playing the Thunder. Brook is averaging 28.5 ppg vs. OKC this year.

“I don’t know,” Lopez said regarding his play against OKC this season. “Maybe it’s a coincidence, but that’s the way we need to play every night. I guess we need to play every night like we’re playing OKC.”

So basically, the Nets have to figure out how they can alter what’s left of their regular season schedule to take on the Thunder until season’s end. Or maybe the Nets finally got the message of what head coach Tony Brown has been emphasizing in sharing the ball recording 24 assists on OKC.

“I thought our guys heed the message, shared the ball, moving, moving bodies, and the floor opened up for us,” Brown expressed post-game. “The options will present themselves, if we don’t force it.”

Until Tuesday’s game hosting the Miami Heat, the Nets will have the chance to do something they haven’t done in a while: smile.

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