January 26, 2020

Kyrie Irving scores 50 points during opening night performance, but the Minnesota Timberwolves get the win over Brooklyn Nets 127-126 in overtime

Yes, opening night for the Brooklyn Nets was the Kyrie Irving Show! Irving posted 50 points (17-of-33 FG, 7-of-14 3FG, 9-of-10 FT) in his debut for Brooklyn last night with eight rebounds, a team-high seven assists, and one block in 38 minutes. Irving scored half of his points by halftime.

However, let’s not shortchange the contributions of the rest of the team. Caris LeVert, a member of the Nets young core, accumulated 20 points with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Keep an eye out for LeVert. Last season, LeVert posted nine games with 20+ points. LeVert was averaging 19 points a game last season just before suffering a gruesome subtalar dislocation of the right foot in the 14th game of the season against the Minnesota Timberwolves. When LeVert returned in February from his injury, he averaged 13.7 points in 40 games played. And, in the postseason LeVert showed out, averaging 21 points per game in three of the team’s five playoff games against the Philadelphia 76ers. And during the 2018 off-season, he worked out Kyrie Irving. As they say, if you want to be the best, then you need to run with the best.

Taurean Prince, who just received a contract extension from the Nets, tallied a double-double in his Nets debut, totaling 15 points and a team-high 11 rebounds with two steals in a game-high 41 minutes against Minnesota. Joe Harris, aka “Joey Buckets,” and Spencer Dinwiddie each scored 14 points with Dinwiddie scoring his 14 points off the bench in just under 19 minutes.

Kyrie Irving scored 23 points before the 3-minute mark in the 2nd quarter.

“He was outstanding,” remarked Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson about Irving’s performance. “Obviously, a great debut for him. Just disappointing we made such a big hole for us. The first half we were completely out of sync.”

Definitely out of sync. At the end of the first quarter, the Nets were behind by 11 points, with the score being 33-22, and the first half ended with the Timberwolves up by 12 points, 68-56.

“The second half we did a little better, got in sync,” Atkinson added. “We definitely saw the effects of guys not playing together. We’ve got to figure out our rotations. Credit to the Timberwolves, obviously (Karl-Anthony) Towns was huge. His threes were huge. I thought a lot of them were contested. Just credit to them.”

Remember the days when the Nets would get lost in the third quarter, digging a hole too deep to resurface? Not last night. The Nets picked up some energy and wrote a different story, outscoring the Timberwolves 37-20 in the third stanza and started the fourth quarter with a five-point lead over the Timberwolves (93-88).

With several lead changes in the fourth quarter, including when at 9:51, the Nets were up by eight points, it seemed like the Timberwolves were running out of steam. But then started chipping away at the Nets’ lead and tied the game at 6:53. The T-Wolves chipped away some more and took the lead from the Nets (101-98) at 6:47. The Nets fought back, tying the game 110-110 at 1:41 on Irving’s first of three free throws. With all free throws made, the Nets are now ahead by two, 112-110, but Anthony Wiggins ties the game at 112-112 with a finger-roll layup. Irving then hits a three-pointer with 1:16 remaining pulling the Nets to 115-112. Minnesota calls a time out, Towns hits a 25-foot three and ties the score at 115-115 at 1:06.

The Nets had opportunities to pull ahead. Irving missed a fadeaway bank shot and a three-pointer and Jarrett Allen missed two free throws, which may have been done on purpose to set up an overtime scenario considering there were 5.7 seconds left in regulation.

During overtime, the Nets were down three points with 36.8 seconds remaining. Irving goes to the free-throw line and makes two shots bringing the Nets within one point. At 20.5 seconds, Karl-Anthony Towns misses a 3-point jump shot, Irving rebounds and calls a time out. With 14.5 seconds left, Irving dribbles, falls, gets up, shoots the ball at the buzzer, and misses. Minnesota survives and the Nets lose 127-126.

Irving’s mishap on the last play of the game in OT was on everyone’s mind; was the floor slippery, did he trip on something, etc.?

“I fell,” Irving told the media during a postgame briefing in the locker room. “I was in the process of making another move and just lost my footing, lost my balance. Somehow, I got it back and just got to get my elbow pointed at the rim. I had a better chance at making it. It was right a little bit, so, just gotta tuck the elbow in a little bit and I’ll have a better chance. But when you lose balance like that, you try to get your bearings really quickly and I give credit to them. Obviously just losing my balance made the big difference there.”

Regarding the Nets’ slow start out the gate?

“This is one game, Irving said. “One of 82. So, don’t need to get nervous. Just keep knocking them down.”

Game 1 is in the books, and Game 2 is tomorrow, Friday, October 25, 2019, against the New York Knicks, who is also 0-1. This game will be home game for the Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m.

 

With the Brooklyn Nets new player composition, the Nets are on the map, and the competition is expected to be fierce

The NBA released its 2019-20 schedule of NBA games today, and the Brooklyn Nets followed showcasing their highly anticipated schedule. As one who has been regularly covering the Brooklyn Nets since its inaugural 2012-13 season in Brooklyn, I can tell you the first home game of the season at the Barclays Center is always thrilling. There’s electricity in the air, as excited diehard Nets fans are back to root for their team. However, if you follow NBA news, you know this season is going to be different. You will want to be at the Barclays Center when the Nets first game of the season tips off against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, October 23rd, at Barclays Center.

And, if you’re asking why, go have a seat. Seriously, this will be the night that the Brooklyn Nets unveils its new roster to the public, which includes the long-awaited introduction of new players Kevin Durant (although Durant won’t be playing), Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan, as well as, returning fan favorites: Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs, Caris LeVert, Dzanan Musa, and Theo Pinson.

The Timberwolves will feature its standouts Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and former Nets players Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier should be in the house, as they now play for the Timberwolves.

Over the course of the season, fans are going to be paying attention to see if Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson will be able to work his player development magic on 2019 NBA draftees Nicolas Claxton and Jaylen Hands, in addition to weaving into the Nets system new players Deng Adel, Wilson Chandler, Henry Ellenson, David Nwaba, Taurean Prince, and Garrett Temple.

Want to see Zion Williamson, the NBA’s 2019 No.1 Draft Pick, in Brooklyn? The Nets play his team, the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, November 4, 2019. It will be Williamson’s first NBA game in New York City during the regular NBA season.

If going out during the week isn’t your thing, you’re in luck because 18 of Brooklyn’s 41 home games will be played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. And, if you’re good with arithmetic, you know that’s just under half of the home game schedule.

The Nets will also host five-afternoon matches, including a 3 p.m. game versus the Philadelphia 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 20, 2020.

Want to see the Nets’ first home game against 2019 NBA playoff foe, the Philadelphia 76ers featuring Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons? You can check them out on Sunday, December 5, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. Former Boston Celtics player, Al Horford, is now with the Sixers, so this offers a matchup between him and ex-Boston teammate and new Nets signee, Kyrie Irving.

A couch potato, or a Nets fan living in another city, you’re in luck. The Nets did so well last season, they will be featured on national television 20 times this season, six games on ESPN, six contests on TNT, and eight games on NBA TV.

If you prefer radio, Brooklyn Nets games will broadcast regionally on the YES Network for the 18th consecutive season and on WFAN radio for the 16th consecutive season.

The Nets will play two season-long four-game homestands this season, with the first beginning Tuesday, January 7, versus Oklahoma City and ending Tuesday, January 14, versus Utah, and the second spanning from Wednesday, March 18, versus Washington through Wednesday, March 25, versus the L.A. Clippers. The month of January will feature a season-high 10 home contests.

Brooklyn’s longest stint away from the Barclays Center will come in November, when they embark on a nine-day, five-game road trip, beginning on Friday, November 8, at Portland and concluding in Chicago on Saturday, November 16.

The team’s schedule also includes 11 back-to-back sets. And, you know how players hate back-to-back games.

You can see the full Nets schedule here.

With the player moves that Nets general manager Sean Marks made over the summer, this Nets season is highly anticipated. Expect games to be sold out, so don’t wait until the last minute, get your tickets as soon as possible. This Brooklyn Nets season is going to be lit!

VIDEO: Knicks fans should be encouraged with Kristaps Porzingis, the 4th pick overall in 2015 NBA Draft

The top 2 picks in the NBA draft Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell made their summer league debuts and showed glimpses of what’s to come. Towns scored 12 points while Russell dazzled sharing the ball with 6 assists. And, New York Knicks fans should be encouraged, Kristaps Porzingis had a respectable showing during the NBA Summer League.

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