July 05, 2020

Nets still figuring out their system during their last preseason game, and; group protesting NBA yielding to China caps Nets game

Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets played their last game of the NBA preseason and, in many ways, the Nets cohesiveness was similar to their first opponent of the preseason, the SESI/Franca Brazil Basketball Club. Granted, the Nets were going up against the reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, but with the addition of Kyrie Irving, fans are expecting more.

Some are attributing the Nets’ lackluster appearance to “jet lag” from their China trip, and there is some truth in that reasoning. Anyone who has taken a trip where your destination is more than six hours ahead or behind knows that it takes some time to get your groove back. But Nets center Jarrett Allen threw cold water on blaming jet lag for the team’s defeat.

“We can’t fully blame it on the hangover from China because they (Toronto Raptors) were in Japan,” Jarrett explained. “So, you could say they would have a hangover too. At the same time, we’re still learning our defensive scheme, we’re still learning playing with each other and that’s exactly what preseason is for.”

And, he’s right.

Early on the Nets were very competitive ending the first quarter even at 28 points, but in the second quarter, the Raptors pulled away ending the half with a 21-point lead 74-53. During the third quarter, the Brooklyn Nets, still down, closed the gap slightly 101-84, but ultimately lost 123-107.

“I think the first part of it is that they’re (Toronto Raptors) really good,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson regarding whether the Nets loss was due to jet lag.

“I think they’re one of the top teams in the East and they’re going to compete for the top spots. So that’s the respect I have for them. Second of all, yes, I think that was a part of it. I think that’s the first time Kyrie (Irving) was with that group in a live game. First one, so I think there will be some adjustments there. You could say that the China – kind of hangover or whatever – but I think they were in Japan if I’m correct about that, so I’m not sure what the time difference is, that’s not my area of expertise, but I’m not sure how much that plays into it. I told the guys in the locker room I was a little disappointed. This happens in this league against good teams, but I felt like we lost sight of our principles, our habits, all the things we have been working on. They kind of – poof – they kind of disappeared. So that concerned me. That was everybody, starters, guys that came in off the bench, end of the bench guys. It was kind of a breakdown of all the good things I’ve been saying all camp.”

“Camp has been great,” Atkinson continued. “The two games against the Lakers were really intact with what we’re doing, so I think when we get back to practice, we’ll get back to our core principles. You have to rewind a little bit.”

Kyrie Irving co-signed on Atkinson’s sentiment to some degree.

“They did a great job, Toronto, just stretching us on the 3-point line and I think they hit over 20 threes,” Irving said about the Raptors’ prowess. “Any NBA team that’s hitting over 20 threes is going to be successful out there on the offensive end. We’ve just got to get back to maintaining our principles, our system. Still new on the fly for us, not expected to get it right, right away, and we’ve got time to build. Just take it as a preseason game. For me, personally, I was just happy to be out there. I enjoy the game so much and entertaining, so it was just good to be out there.”

However, Coach Atkinson took it a step further when he responded to a question about whether the Nets' lack of defense was a breakdown of Nets’ principles.

“Yes,” Atkinson responded. “Defense, transition defense, guarding the ball, individual defense. I think it was just a cakewalk to the rim for them. They were in our paint all night. Then we started sucking in and they started kicking out for threes. The offense wasn’t great either, but I think we gave up 47 threes tonight. That’s not how we play. It will be good feedback and information, good film to watch with the guys and kind of restructure what we’re doing.”

On the other hand, Toronto Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse seemed to like what he saw from his team end-to-end.

“It was good,” said Coach Nurse. “I thought I played the seven that I know we are going to play and tried to keep turning it around and that was easy enough to get them in a lot of different rotations and different positions and all that stuff. They were fine. They flowed, it looked like it didn’t bother them much and we’re just giving them some experience. So, on both ends they were good.”

Coach Nurse even liked what he saw at the bottom of his rotation.

Terence (Davis) played good, right,” Coach Nurse asked? “He looked great, looked like he should’ve been in that rotation in the first half and then I thought he, like a young player does, he comes in there and gets a little comfortable and throws it all over the place for two or three possessions. That’s a growing process for him. Right now, he’s a combo guard, probably combo’ing more towards the two. But we would like him to play someone and be our third point guard, maybe, but if not we will just keep him at the two and you’ve heard me talk about it, I think it’s easier to play at the two, not as much responsibility.”

Toronto had seven players scoring in double digits including three off the bench: Serge Ibaka (15 points, 11 rebounds); Norman Powell (11 points, 3 assists), and; Terence Davis (10 points). The Raptors’ starters who were scoring leaders were: OG Anunoby (18 points, six rebounds); Fred VanVleet (16 points, eight assists, and three rebounds); Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol each scored 11 points, and Gasol added nine rebounds and three assists to his total, while Siakam complemented his total points with six rebounds and four assists.

For the Nets, Irving led all scorers with 19 points, four assists, and three rebounds. Both Taurean Prince and Spencer Dinwiddie produced 13 points, with Dinwiddie adding his points off the bench along with four assists. Jarrett Allen added 12 points and seven rebounds; David Nwaba recorded 11 points and six rebounds off the bench, and; Caris LeVert chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Brooklyn Nets start the NBA regular season at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.

TIP-IN: Although there was a group protesting the NBA’s yielding to China, the protestors didn’t catch this reporter’s attention until the game ended when people were filing out of the arena.

Protestors seeking help from Nets and NBA for freedom in China 20191018 214423 600x450

People protesting the NBA’s lack of involvement in helping Chinese and Tibetans gain more freedom from the Chinese government. Photo Credit: What's The 411 Networks, Inc.



VIDEO: Kym Hampton reminisces about the very first WNBA game, her life leading up to the WNBA and after

The legendary FIRST center of the New York Liberty basketball team (WNBA), Kym Hampton, stopped by the What’s The 411TV studio and gave us a wide-ranging interview. Kym Hampton, talked to the What’s The 411Sports team of Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald about how she got interested in basketball, why she chose Arizona State University, how she was able to excel at basketball even though there were virtually no women basketball players as role models when she was in high school, the WNBA, and at the end of the day, life.

After college, with no real professional basketball options in the United States, Kym like other women collegiate basketball players at the time, traveled overseas to play basketball professionally. Eager to leave her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky and explore the world with wanderlust in her heart, Kym did not allow oceans and different languages and cultures get in the way of her love of the sport of basketball. While playing in Spain and Italy, she learned to speak Spanish and Italian, which she demonstrates during the interview.

The Road to the WNBA

Kym Hampton’s road to the WNBA came as a surprise, she knew eventually there would be a women’s professional basketball league in the U.S., but she didn’t expect it to come before she hung up her sneakers. Kym gives an honest inside look into what it was like the first day of the first WNBA season. She even talks about how she wasn’t exactly happy to be on a team in New York City because her friends and other players she knew were playing in Cleveland for the Cleveland Rockers. Good thing, it didn’t work out, because the Rockers were dissolved in 2003. As time went on, Kym understood quickly what playing in New York City could do for one’s career.

UCONN Women’s Basketball

Mike McDonald asked Kym if she thought the UCONN women’s basketball team losing in the Final Four round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament would be a good thing for women’s basketball going forward.

“I don’t think it should be dependent upon whether UCONN wins or loses, or that they’re dominant,” Kym Hampton said. “I really think that every program, every individual that plays should really put effort into and focus on what they can do to get better to compete against a UCONN. Guess what, Geno (Geno Auriemma, UCONN women’s basketball head coach)has the opportunity to get the best players in the world…Don’t forget that he pushes those players mentally and physically harder than probably most programs. I heard that if you want the cushy feeling, you’re doing a great job, Mike, I’m proud of you (with her arm around Mike’s shoulders demonstrating what Geno and many coaches would probably do), you’re not getting that from Geno from what they say. But, he’s building character, he’s building strength, just so you can be prepared in these situations.”

“But there going to be like anyone else,” Hampton continued. “They are going to have some great recruiting seasons and then they are going to have some lulls where they’re not and that’s what it was.”

And, then Kym Hampton put on her general manager hat.

“I think our focus is wrong…I think players should challenge themselves to want to go to other programs, to build other programs up, Hampton stated. “I think coaches should challenge themselves to really learn to utilize the talent that they have and to improve on decision-making, improve on people skills…UCONN is going to be UCONN…they are like everyone else, they can be beat.”

Life After Basketball

Keisha Wilson asked Kym Hampton what has she been doing since retiring as a professional basketball player?

Kym likes to sing and wanted to be a professional model, but because she is shy, she didn’t push herself. It seems ironic, but Kym loves public speaking.  When Kym is on the speaking circuit and particularly at high schools, the one thing that she sees that is so striking is that so many high school girls are very shy.

“We weren’t created to fit in and belong,” Kym tells the girls. “We were created to shine as an individual. We each have our own individual DNA." I love motivating and inspiring girls and women.”

"I love motivating and inspiring girls and women," Kym continued.

With a bit of self-reflection that highly motivated people do, Kym added, “I’m not quite where I want to be, so it’s still a transition. But it’s partly me, understanding and knowing how to ask, make the ask, and who to ask, and just being diligent. My thing is I don’t want to be a pest to people. Sometimes, in order to make things happen, I can’t do the things that I was created to do if I don’t make the ask to make it happen.”

No truer words were spoken; I hear you loud and clear. Note to self!

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