May 27, 2020

Bittersweet: Chris Chiozza scored in double figures for the first time in his NBA career last night in the Brooklyn Nets’ loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

What a difference a day makes.

On Tuesday night, the Brooklyn Nets pulled off an upset against the 41-18 Boston Celtics. The Nets, a 7th-seed Eastern Conference team, defeated the Celtics, a 3rd seed Eastern Conference team, 129-120 in overtime behind Caris LeVert’s 51 points, rendering the Celtics’ win-loss record to 41-19.

And, what a difference a day makes. No need to cry for the Celtics, like the Nets, they played a back-to-back last night and defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-106. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets were blown out by the Memphis Grizzlies 118-79. This is the difference between elite NBA teams and the not-so-elite teams, among many things, their ability to bounce back. With the loss to the Grizzlies last night, the Nets fell to 27-34 and the Grizzlies improved to 31-31.

By The Numbers:

Let’s just say, the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Brooklyn Nets on every metric that matters:

Field Goals: Grizzlies - 43 percent (43-of-100) versus Nets - 33.3 percent (30-of-90)
Behind the Arc: Grizzlies 45.5 (20-of-44) versus Nets 16.7 percent (7-of-42)
Free Throws: 85.7 (12-of-14) versus 70.6 (12-of-17)

The Memphis Grizzlies even outrebounded the Brooklyn Nets 59-42, as well as, on assists 21-15; steals 8-6, and blocked shots 5-4.

So, what does a head coach say when a team is blown out in this fashion?

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson

“These are the type of games where, you know – 40-point losses, believe it or not, happen in this league,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “But I think collectively we didn’t like our compete level and our spirit wasn’t where it needed to be. And we talked about it in the locker room. Coaches and players having a good old-fashioned great communication. Like I always say, these are the moments where you really have to embrace the adversity. We’re obviously disappointed and frustrated that we couldn’t build off of a great win. We’re definitely frustrated with that.”

And, what was the most disappointing aspect of Coach Atkinson’s team’s performance?

“That our energy wasn’t there,” Coach Atkinson continued. “I don’t know if it was mental spirit, whatever that, you know, we’re playing for something. Like I said, we came off of a really good win last night. We didn’t build on that. I didn’t feel that we had our, I keep saying the word, but our spirit in the right place and that’s disappointing. The crowd let us know about it and I think they are 100 percent right. I think that you feel it when it’s not there. So, we have a great group of guys, I think fatigue plays something in a back-to-back. Guys were a little frustrated we got down, we were missing shots, but we didn’t have that fighting spirit that we normally do.”

 

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Brooklyn Nets forward Taurean Prince led Brooklyn with 15 points and added five rebounds in 25 minutes last night against the Memphis Grizzlies, scoring in double figures in six of his last seven games. Caris LeVert, after scoring 51 points the night before, totaled 14 points, four rebounds, and a game-high-tying six assists in 27 minutes; Chris Chiozza scored a career-high 14 points (5-of-8 FG, 2-of-4 3FG, 2-of-2 FT) and three rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench, and; Joe Harris tallied 13 points and eight rebounds in 29 minutes against the Grizzlies.

Some reporters were a little concerned that Spencer Dinwiddie hasn’t had a high offensive output as of late, including only scoring four points against the Memphis Grizzlies last night.

“That’s the thing,” said Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. “I’ve seen people kind of talk about my offensive output in Boston, I mean I had 14 and four in like 20 minutes. Not bad guys, that’s not bad. Granted – don’t get me wrong – Boston should be all about Caris (LeVert), he had 51 and the crazy comeback win. But the stigma of like ‘Spencer (Dinwiddie) played bad in Boston’ is not quite accurate. Tonight is a totally different story. But you know, played all 61 games we had. I’m sorry. Deeply Nets fans, I’m sorry.”

Memphis Grizzlies Scoring Leaders

For the Memphis Grizzlies, its top two scorers were from its second unit, Josh Jackson and Tyus Jones.

Jackson came off the bench and scored 19 points and two steals in 17 minutes, and Jones recorded 18 points, six assists, and five rebounds in 21 minutes. Among the Grizzlies’ starters, Ja Morant recorded 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in 29 minutes; Kyle Matthews tallied 12 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes, and Dillion Brooks chipped in 12 points in 22 minutes.

While Jonas Valanciunas may have missed being a scoring leader with only nine points, he more than made up for it with a game-high 16 rebounds.

Coach Speak: Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins

“Another great win for our guys back-to-back,” said Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins. “Just really proud of the defensive activity. Didn’t have like we did against Atlanta in that first half, but our guys just turned it on in that third and fourth quarter. We just really clamped down, our ability to get out and scramble. Obviously, the Nets still end up shooting a lot of threes. They were highly contested. Our guys were flying around. Much better job in the second half keeping Brooklyn off of the boards, which allowed us to get out and run. Just great contributions throughout the entire rotation – the starters, but obviously the bench has been huge for us. Two nights in a row, the 3-point shooting, the defensive activity, the rebounding, the steals, the blocks, just the general unselfishness. So very proud of the guys. Great win for us tonight. Just have to keep focus of the daily task at hand – one day at a time.”

Up Next for the Memphis Grizzlies and the Brooklyn Nets

The Memphis Grizzlies will travel to Dallas to play the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, March 6, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will remain at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, to take on the San Antonio Spurs also on Friday, March 6, 2020, at 7:30 p.m.

TIP-INS:

Brooklyn Nets two-way guard, Chris Chiozza, scored in double figures for the first time in his NBA career last night after totaling a then-career-high-tying eight points on Tuesday night in Boston. In his last two contests, Chiozza has averaged 11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in 22.5 minutes per game while shooting .615 (8-of-13) from the field, .571 (4-of-7) from 3-point range and 1.000 (2-of-2) from the free-throw line.

Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris made three 3-pointers last night against the Memphis Grizzlies. Harris has now made at least one three in 51 straight games dating back to November 12, 2019, at Utah. Harris’ three-point shooting streak marks the second-longest streak in Nets history behind D’Angelo Russell’s 61-game streak last season.

Harris has also made at least one three in all 30 of Brooklyn’s home games this season.

Nets defeat weary Suns 111-103 and get back on the winning trail with eight wins in nine games

The Brooklyn Nets came out of the gate last night a bit sluggish but managed to snatch a 111-103 win from the Phoenix Suns who had just lost a 149-146 triple-overtime game against the Washington Wizards the night before.

With the win, the Nets get their eighth win in nine games and improved to 16-19 overall and 8-11 at Barclays Center, while the Suns fell to 8-26 overall and 3-15 on the road with the loss.

Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench to lead Brooklyn with 24 points (7-of-14 FG), seven assists, and two rebounds in 26 minutes. Ed Davis, also part of the Nets second unit, totaled 15 points (7-of-8 FG), nine rebounds and a career-high-tying three steals (done 14 times previously) in 24 minutes.

Although last night’s victory marked Brooklyn’s eighth win in the team’s last nine games. It was not a walk in the park.

“We had to grind it,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding what it took to pull away in the second half. “First of all, I want to give them (Phoenix Suns) a ton of credit. They came off a triple-overtime game and they fought us tooth and nail. That was not an easy victory at all, excellent job by them. I think they’re playing much better. They gave us a tussle; it was a tough game for us.”

D’Angelo Russell, who led Brooklyn Nets starters with 18 points (6-of-18 FG), a team-high eight assists, six rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes, underscored Coach Atkinson’s assessment of the work needed to get some separation from the Phoenix Suns.

“We just had to make winning plays in order to get a little separation,” Russell explained. “We had to get stops and it took a lot.”

“Just locking in,” Russell added on what changed defensively in the third quarter. “Definitely the game plan with what we’re supposed to do with each individual guy, but just locking in.”

Rodions Kurucs recorded his first-career double-double with 16 points and a career-high 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. He also recorded two assists and a steal in the win. Kurucs, an NBA rookie, has scored in double figures in five of his last seven games, averaging 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per contest during that stretch. Joe Harris tallied 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists in 32 minutes. Jarrett Allen posted 11 points with nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 24 minutes.

Leading scorers for the Phoenix Suns were Deandre Ayton with 26 points, 18 rebounds, three blocked shots, and two steals. Devin Booker registered 25 points and nine assists, and; Josh Jackson chipped in 11 points and three rebounds.

Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov summed up his team’s loss: “We knew it was going to be a tough game. (A) tough game when it came to finding fresh legs and energy. Overall, I think the energy was there. We tried and competed to the end of the game. We were looking for our chance. Brooklyn was ready. They came prepared and fresh with the understanding that we played last night and you could feel they were putting pressure on us with the hope we’re going to collapse at some point.”

One person who is not losing any sleep over the Suns’ loss is the Nets elder statesman and forward, Jared Dudley, who was unceremoniously traded to the Nets. Dudley had a lot to say about the Nets win over the Suns.

“I would say for me personally, every time you get to play the Suns…a team that traded me basically for nothing, a player they didn’t even want,” Dudley told the media. “So, for that franchise – to be able to come out there and get two dubs (wins) on those guys and keep it moving, it feels good.”

Next up for the Phoenix Suns is a road game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, December 26, 2018. The Nets will remain home to play the Charlotte Hornets also on Wednesday, December 26th at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center.

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