November 15, 2019

Taurean Prince leads Nets with team-high 27 points in 123-116 win over the Houston Rockets

One always hopes for the Brooklyn Nets to win even when powerhouse teams like the Houston Rockets come to the Barclays Center. But if not, at least be competitive. Considering the way the Nets have been playing as of late, no one in their right mind would have bet the farm on a Nets victory against the Rockets, one of the elite teams in the NBA. However, last night, had you bet the farm, you would have come up big as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Houston Rockets 123-116.

There is something about the Brooklyn Nets and the Houston Rockets because this isn’t the first time the Nets have beaten the James Harden-led Rockets. Last season, on January 16, 2019, the Nets bested the Rockets 145-142 in overtime. Last night, with the firepower of both James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Nets’ once-again found the winning formula to get the W.

With the win on Friday night, the Nets improved to 2-3 overall this season, while the Rockets fell to 3-2 with the loss.

By The Numbers

Brooklyn shot 49.4 percent from the field (42-of-85 FG) and 59.4 percent from 3-point range (19-of-32 3FG), both season highs, while holding Houston to 41.4 percent shooting from the field (41-of-99 FG) and 25.0 percent shooting from distance (12-of-48 3FG).

The Nets also outrebounded the Rockets 55-40 and edged the Rockets 26-21 in assists on Friday. Brooklyn’s 55 rebounds marked a season-high and its 26 assists are a season-high in a regulation game.

This game was no walk in the park for the Nets, as the Rockets did present some obstacles. The Nets ended the first quarter down by nine points, 34-23, and at 8:21 in the second stanza, the Rockets led the Nets by 15 points 45-30. However, Brooklyn righted itself and outscored Houston 71-50 in the second and third quarters combined; ending the second quarter up two with a score of 61-59, and by 12 at the end of the third, 95-83. The Nets led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter and the Rockets chipped away at that lead, but when it was all said and done, the Nets held the off to win by seven, 123-116.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on the Game and his players

“I thought our defense was really good third quarter,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson in explaining one of the keys to defeating Houston Rockets. I thought we came out really good, and overall the defense was against an explosive offensive team. I thought our defense kind of kept us alive.”

Kind of?

“A lot of guys played well,” Atkinson added commenting on the Nets’ scoring effort. “I thought that’s what we need going forward. We can’t rely on Kyrie (Irving) every night to be Superman. And he was good tonight, but we need other guys in a supporting role.”

Last night, Taurean Prince was one of those guys who let his presence be known. Prince led the Brooklyn Nets with a team-high 27 points, a career-high-tying 12 rebounds, of which 11 were defensive rebounds.

“He was big,” Atkinson said about Prince. “Just toughness, obviously he made shots – that always helps. I thought his defense was really good. He gave us some relief. He played (James) Harden a little bit. He played (Russell) Westbrook. He was big tonight.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

When asked about Atkinson’s praises of his effort against Houston, Prince responded: “That means a lot to me. I hold myself accountable for a lot of things besides scoring. That’s the type of player I want to be, and I’m glad he’s holding me to that expectation. I plan to uphold that for now and as long as I’m in the league.”

Other Brooklyn Nets scoring leaders included Caris LeVert, who tallied 25 points (8-of-15 FG, 8-of-9 FT) with four rebounds, four assists in 32 minutes against the Rockets. Kyrie Irving notched his first double-double as a Net with 22 points and a game-high 10 assists and four rebounds in 34 minutes; Garrett Temple had a huge night, recording 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots, Temple’s first time scoring in double digits this season, and; Joe Harris contributed 15 points, nine rebounds, and three steals in 34 minutes against the Rockets.

Coach Speak: Mike D’Antoni on the Brooklyn Nets

“Brooklyn played well,” said Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni. “They hit a bunch of threes the whole game. I thought we guarded them pretty well, they just knocked them down. We tried to get it close and eke one out, but we just weren’t sharp. We looked a little fatigued, we’ll get there. Maybe we got tired. I’ll have to go back and look at it harder. Maybe Brooklyn just played better and started hitting hard shots. Who knows? We just have a lot of things to tighten up. We have to get better production out of certain people defensively. It was a great game. We’ll move right along."

VIDEO: James Harden Gives Credit to Brooklyn Nets

When James Harden was asked what needs to change defensively, he responded, “Nothing, we did an unbelievable job. I think the two games that we lost we were up 15 and I think we just relaxed, we get comfortable, but again it’s still early. We’ve got to learn how to, when we go up double-digits and 15-point leads, sustain it and even try to take it to another level. Another learning experience, I think we fought hard all four quarters. They made some big-time shots, some of their role players made some big-time shots and you got to just give them credit."

VIDEO: Russell Westbrook Not Worried and Talks About What Really Matters

Russell Westbrook was a little more succinct in his response to what changed defensively for the Rockets in the fourth quarter and the game overall.

“We got stops,” Westbrook stated. “We started off getting stops. We had a lead ourselves, then we relaxed and didn’t lock in defensively for 48 minutes.”

Houston Rockets Scoring Leaders

For the Houston Rockets, James Harden led the all scorers with 36 points, 8 assists, and five rebounds; Russell Westbrook scored 27 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds; Danuel House, Jr. recorded 15 points and five rebounds, and Clint Capella chipped in 10 points and four rebounds.

What's Next?

Up next for Houston: The Rockets will travel to Miami to play the Heat on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will travel to Detroit and play the Pistons later tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET and return home to play the New Orleans Pelicans minus Zion Williamson on Monday, November 4, 2019, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

 
 
 

Kyrie Irving leads Nets with 28 points and Spencer Dinwiddie accumulates 20 points off the bench in the loss to the Indiana Pacers

Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon, and T.J. Warren accounted for 95 of the Pacers’ 118 points; add in Myles Turner’s seven points and the Pacers’ starting five accounted for 102 of their 118-point winning total. Compare the Pacers’ starting five’s 102 points to the Nets’ 72 points from its starters, of which Irving contributed more than a third with 28 points. Caris LeVert totaled 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists in 33 minutes, and; Joe Harris added 13 points and two boards in 30 minutes. With just eight points, Nets center DeAndre Jordan didn’t break through the 10+ threshold to be a “point-scoring leader”, but he more than made up for his 23 minutes on the court, pulling down 17 rebounds.

The Nets needed its bench to step up, but only Spencer Dinwiddie scored in double-digits with 20 points and a team-high seven assists in 27 minutes of play. Except for Dinwiddie, the Nets’ bench was abysmal. How does Rodions Kurucs justify just two points in 20 minutes of play?

Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson on the Game

“We're not really running anything,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about his team’s offense. “In training camp, you're practicing a lot, you have (a) nice flow, you kind of know what you're doing. I think we've lost a little bit of our structure and organization, which is natural with a new team and new guys. Like, I said, I think we have to play with each other more, get to know each other more, get on the same page in all aspects."

The Nets were in the game through the first half, leading the Pacers 63-60. But the Pacers started “out-pacing” the Nets in the third ending the quarter 90-83 and continued their winning pace into fourth.

So, what changed in the third quarter?

“I think our turnovers hurt us,” Coach Atkinson told the media.

Brooklyn turned the ball over eight times compared to Indiana’s two.

“Just overall, they dominated us physically, tactically,” Coach Atkinson continued. “It could have been a lot worse; we've got a lot of things to figure out. It's just a turnover thing, I don't remember seeing a stat line like that since I've been here, so it's just finding that balance. We’ve really got to get to know each other better, I think that's part of it. I knew Indiana was coming in here 0-3 and they've kind of historically took it to us physically and they did again tonight. (A) good lesson for us."

Kyrie Irving concurred, “they just got some separation. (We) turned the ball over a few too many times throughout the game. They were just comfortable, played with a sense of desperation. (Domantas) Sabonis got it going in the paint and had a really good game. (Malcolm) Brogdon hit some really good shots, and they have (Jeremy) Lamb filling in right there and T.J. (Warren) getting some backdoor cuts. Four of the main guys scoring over 20 points; it’s going to be hard to sustain any lead that we have.”

Particularly when you can’t figure out a way to stop them and the team is missing shots.

As for the Pacers’ perspective after getting their first win?

“It feels great,” said Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan. “These guys stay(ed) with it. We talked about having to be patient with this group. I thought tonight we did a better job of organizing on the offensive end of the floor. The defense was connected out there and with the injuries, guys kept believing and staying with it and we got out first win.”

Up Next

The Indiana Pacers will return home to Indianapolis to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets better bring their A++ game on Friday, November 1, 2019, or it probably will be ugly. They play host to James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Houston Rockets team at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The game time is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

 

D’Angelo Russell leads all scorers with 31 points and is the NBA’s reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week

The Brooklyn Nets’ comeback is making noise!

Yesterday, on Martin Luther King Day, the Brooklyn Nets smoothly defeated the Sacramento Kings 123-94. Okay, so what’s all the hubbub about you ask? The Nets are now 17-5 since December 7th, which matches their best 22-game stretch in the Brooklyn era. The last time the Nets had a 22-game stretch this good was way back in the 2013-14 season. Still not convinced, the Nets are 8-2 this month, tied with Toronto for the second-best record in the East in January, trailing only Milwaukee (9-2). Oh, yeah, and if that isn’t enough, the Nets have now won six straight games against Western Conference opponents, including James Harden and his crew, the Houston Rockets, marking their longest winning streak against West teams within a season since the 2005-06 campaign when they won eight straight.

Now, last night’s game wasn’t a total walk in the park, the Kings had a 60-55 lead at the end of the first half, but the Nets turned up the heat in the third quarter outscoring the Kings 38-25, ending the third 93-85. In the fourth stanza, the Kings should have called the fire department to help because the Nets smoked them 30-9, which brings us back to the final score of 123-94.

The way the Brooklyn Nets turned up the heat on the Sacramento Kings in the second-half made Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson extremely proud and he pinpointed the x-factor that made all the difference.

“I think more our defense,” Atkinson told reporters. “We obviously made some shots, but I thought our defense was excellent. I thought TG’s (Treveon Graham) job on Buddy Hield was fantastic. I don’t think he scored in the second half. He was a real concern for us but great job on him and great defensive performance.”

Atkinson was right, Hield was held to zero points on 7:04 minutes of play in the third and zero in 4:39 minutes of play in the fourth. At the game’s conclusion, Hield only scored 11 points and 7 rebounds.

But defense is a general term and Atkinson has been preaching defense since day one, and he elaborated to be more specific.

“It was transition defense,” Atkinson added. “I thought they annihilated us in the first half with their transition buckets. We couldn’t get matched up. They were coming at you so fast, even off dead balls, makes. This is one of the most impressive transition offense teams I’ve seen. They’re fast and we had real trouble with it. We showed some clips, we talked about it. We said run back, it doesn’t matter your matchup, just pick up anybody. It’s a little bit like a pick-up game. You have to find somebody, you have to play them, and the guys did a much better job in the second of at least limiting their transitions.”

The only other Sacramento starter to score in double-digits was Willie Cauley-Stein with 12 points and six rebounds, which was not much more than Hield. If you’re wondering about De’Aaron Fox, he had an off-day, as he only scored nine points, six assists, and three rebounds. Consequently, Brooklyn’s starting backcourt of Russell and Joe Harris outscored Sacramento’s starting backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, 50-20. But more on Russell and Harris later.

The Kings’ bench did help. Bogdan Bogdanovic, who only has one year under his belt in the NBA, led the Kings in scoring with 22 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, and two steals. Justin Jackson, who also has just one year with the NBA, added 14 points, five rebounds, one steal, and one blocked shot.

Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger made a calculated decision to put Jackson in as a starter in the second-half.

“Yea, I thought (Rodions) Kurucs really hurt us and it was our first time seeing him,” Joerger explained. “But it was layup, layup, layup first half and then we switched the matchup in the second half and Justin (Jackson) – we did some other things and he’s a nice player. That was a very good pick up.”

And, Jackson saw his start for the Kings in the second half as a vote of confidence by Coach Joerger.

“Yeah, any basketball player would tell you it feels good whenever guys around you have confidence in you,” Jackson told the assembled media. “For him to feel confident enough to put me out there on the floor for one helps a lot, and for him to put me in different types of situations is definitely big because then I know I can just go out there and play because he has the confidence in me for me to go out there and do what I can do.”

D'Angelo Russell, the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week, led all scorers with 31 points, eight assists, four rebounds, 1 steal and one blocked shot.

When the Los Angeles Lakers dealt Russell to the Brooklyn Nets along with Timofey Mozgov in 2017, there were some media skeptics. However, Nets general manager Sean Marks and coach Atkinson saw Russell as an asset.

“Those pull-up threes are something,” Atkinson said about Russell’s performance last night and as of late. “Those are (James) Harden-esque. They switch and he gets in a couple moves, couple dribbles, and punishes the switch with the pull-up three. And then I thought, later, he mixed in the drive against the switches. So, to me, that was a growth area for him, handling switches better. But if he keeps making that pull-up three, it’s going to be tough to keep him in front. Impressive, impressive shots he hit tonight.”

Joe Harris, a Nets starting forward, tallied 19 points and seven boards, shooting 3-of-4 from distance and 8-of-14 overall. Rodions Kurucs, an NBA rookie, also started for the Nets and registered 16 points.

Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets second-unit with 11 points, six assists, and three rebounds, and; Shabazz Napier chipped in 10 points off the bench. Ed Davis led the Nets rebounding charge with 16 rebounds, and; starting center, Jarrett Allen, another player with just one-year NBA experience, posted 12 rebounds.

Up next, the Sacramento Kings will travel to Toronto to play the Toronto Raptors tonight, and the Nets will play the Orlando Magic tomorrow, Wednesday, January 23, 2018, at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m.

 

Carmelo Anthony responds to questions about his position with the Houston Rockets

MIKE: Well, Kelly Iko, the Houston Rockets beat reporter for The Athletic, reported on Twitter that Carmelo Anthony and PJ Tucker probably will not be seen on the floor together at the same time this season. According to the tweet from Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni, he wants Carmelo on the floor when Tucker is off and vice versa. D'Antoni sees them both as fours. So, how is this going to work out? We all know that Carmelo does not want to come off the bench. Keisha, will there be harmony in Houston?

KEISHA: Mike, I'm going to start off with a quote, "whatever I have to do to help this team win a championship. That's what's going to be done."

Who said that, none other than Carmelo Anthony. Now, this is not a definite admission that he is willing to come off the bench. However, this is a move from the outright scoff that he gave when he was in Oklahoma City and a reporter mentioned him coming off the bench. He just pooh-poohed that right off the bat and basically told the reporter like, you don't know...that's just ridiculous, how dare you even mention it's ludicrous.

Now, so we might be moving in the right direction. However, why is it that we must assume that Carmelo has to come off the bench? I know that he's you know, it seems like Carmelo is paying for the sins of Oklahoma City. I think that that wasn't the right fit for him and it showed, he had one of his worst seasons in his entire career and when I think about him being in New York before he went to OKC for that one year. He was still the Carmelo that we knew so I just found it hard to believe that his skills just dropped off that that quickly and that drastically.

So he is with Houston now, he's with Chris Paul who was very close to him off the court. He spoke with Chris Paul and he spoke to James Harden and they play pick-up games and there seems to be a real flow, a real chemistry, and those two see how he can be effective within the Houston Rockets offense. But now, it's time for Mike D'Antoni head coach of the Rockets to show us what he can do.

MIKE: Which if it was something that he didn't think that he could do, then the Rockets never would have gone after Carmelo Anthony in the offseason. I think that the Rockets have a nice team here, they make they came so close to getting the NBA Finals after losing to the Golden State Warriors in seven games last season. Look, I think, start or coming off the bench, Carmelo Anthony will have a big impact on this offense this season, there's no question about it.

Keisha, as you pointed out the lack of production that he had in Oklahoma City last season, we saw that there's no question. But what do you expect when you're playing with a guy like Russell Westbrook and of course Paul George, so of course we expected that those numbers were going to decline in which they certainly did. Not to mention I kind of looked at Oklahoma City. Even though yeah, they made the playoffs and everything, but it was almost like it was a season in purgatory for him. He never looked comfortable in that uniform. He never really looked comfortable when he was on the court necessarily. He got off to a very good start those first 10 games I think with OKC but after like, you know a quarter of the season, his numbers started to tail off. He just didn't really seem like he was comfortable and then there was this whole thing was what was his actual role going to be. I think here in Houston, Mike D'Antoni has an opportunity to be very creative here and I think what's ultimately going to wind up happening is they will bring Carmelo off the bench.

I think PJ Tucker, a guy who's one of if not, you know, he's one of the top five defensive players, top 10 defensive players in the NBA. The guy's a force, no question about that. I think he's got to keep him in the rotation. But we also got to remember, you know, injuries can happen things that you know that we don't expect. At the same time, the Rockets could be in the mix to make some upgrades once the season begins because they realize that they are a contender to go ahead and win the Western Conference. But I think like you pointed out, Mike D'Antoni, this is really up to him to kind of figure out what's going to be the best fit for this offense and for this team as they try to make a push to unseat the Golden State Warriors in the West.

Carmelo Anthony’s surprise pronouncement about his role in Houston; Tiger Wins; Brooklyn Nets culture continuity

Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, the hosts of What’s The 411Sports, are discussing:

Jimmy Butler’s impending trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves;
• The NBA allowing Mark Cuban to keep his team amid the numerous sexual harassment allegations against Dallas Maverick employees;
Odell Beckham, Jr.’s feeling that he could and wants to be more useful to the New York Giants;
Tiger Woods winning his first major golf tournament in five years
• Why some NBA players don’t want to play with LeBron James
Carmelo Anthony acknowledged that he will do whatever it takes to help Houston Rockets win;
• The Brooklyn Nets media day, and;
• The New York Yankees clinch a wild-card spot and Didi Gregorius injures his wrist

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."

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!

 

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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.

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

DeMarre Carroll leads Nets players with 21 points in the loss; Caris LeVert leaves game with concussion

In a game where the lead changed six times, the teams tied three times, and during the fourth quarter, the Houston Rockets led the Brooklyn Nets by as much as 16 points, at 1:22 left in regulation the Nets managed to close in on a six-point differential on an Isaiah Whitehead nine-foot floating shot. Unfortunately, Brooklyn couldn’t sustain the momentum to stop the Rockets and bowed to Houston 123-113 on Tuesday night.

“I think we competed better than we did against Milwaukee,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters in his postgame presser. “We never found a solution to stop them, obviously. They made a lot of tough shots. For them, we limited their 3-point attempts. Instead of shooting 50 – what’d they have, 33? – so that was good. We did a decent job keeping them off the free-throw line, but, it’s pick your poison with them so we never really found a solution to stop them.”

In addition to the game loss, Nets guard Caris LeVert suffered a concussion after running into a hard screen set by Houston center Nene Hilario at the end of the third quarter.

“I think it moved all of us,” Atkinson told the media. “I think we’re all affected, but we’re professionals and guys moved on, it’s just we obviously missed Caris the player. He was playing really well, so that was a big blow.”

LeVert, who was only on the court for 12 minutes, left the game with nine points, three assists, and three rebounds.

Although the outcome of this game against the Rockets didn’t go the Nets way, the team’s competitive spirit was on full display.

“…I think we did a great job as a team and making them work,” Nets guard D’Angelo Russell stated. “They’ve got some All-Star caliber guys over there, so making it as tough as we can is the objective.”

At the end of the night, the Nets shot .457 (16-of-35) from 3-point range and recorded their 10th game with 15-plus made threes this season. The Nets’ assist record bested Houston 24-16, and so did Brooklyn’s free-throw record, which was 88.2 percent versus the Rockets 81 percent.

“Oh, we definitely competed,” Nets center Jahlil Okafor expressed. “I think everybody across the roster played extremely hard. The Rockets are an extremely tough team to beat. Their dynamic was a challenge for us but I do think everybody did compete...”

DeMarre Carroll scored a team-high 21 points (7-of-12 FG, 5-of-8 3FG, 2-of-2 FT) with two boards and two steals in 30 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie tallied 18 points (5-of-7 3FG, 3-of-3 FT) with three rebounds, nine assists, and a career-high-tying three steals in 25 minutes. Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen, recorded 16 points (6-of-11 FG, 4-of-4 FT) with two rebounds and one assist in 23 minutes. With his 16 points on Tuesday night, Allen extended his career-best streak of games scoring in double figures to eight games. Okafor had a good night, he posted 15 points (7-of-9 FG, 1-of-3 FT) and six rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. (D’Angelo) Russell also scored in double figures for Brooklyn, recording 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench.

When asked about Houston putting up so many points against the Nets, “Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni laughed and said, “It’s all coaching out there – you saw that, right?” But in all seriousness, D’Antoni gave credit where credit was due, “Chris Paul and James Harden, when you have those two guys, it’s either one or the other. It’s unbelievable.”

D’Antoni also tipped his hat to Brooklyn’s effort.

“You have to give it to Brooklyn, they wouldn’t let us put it away,” D’Antoni added. “They kept coming back. They kept hitting hard shots. We would go up seven and Brooklyn would hit a hard three. They played well; they played with a lot of energy. Like I told them, Brooklyn isn’t going to beat themselves, we’ll have to beat them. I think at the end we did. They’re well-coached and they do a good job.”

Harden led all scorers with 36 points and five assists with his effort for Houston. (Chris) Paul scored 25 points, seven rebounds, and five assists; and Clint Capela added 18 points and 11 rebounds. Coming off the bench for the Rockets, Gerald Green added 16 points, and Eric Gordon chipped in 13 points.

Hopefully, both teams will have enough energy to go up against their next opponents. Houston plays the Miami Heat on Wednesday in Miami, and Brooklyn goes up against the Detroit Pistons with the newly-acquired Blake Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers also on Wednesday.

The Brooklyn Nets next home game at the Barclays Center is on Saturday, February 10, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. against the New Orleans Pelicans.

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