August 11, 2020

Spencer Dinwiddie leads all scorers and cements Nets’ lead over the Bulls with two late free-throws, Caris LeVert and Joe Harris each score more than 20 points

The Brooklyn Nets have entered a new era.

In case you missed it, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and Brooklyn Nets general manager, Sean Marks, mutually agreed that Atkinson would move on. Assistant Coach, Jacque Vaughn, has been elevated to interim head coach. Under Coach Vaughn’s leadership, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Chicago Bulls 110-107, and now Vaughn’s record is 1-0. With the win, the Nets’ win-loss record improved to 29-34, while the Bulls fell to 21-43 on the season with the loss to the Nets.

By The Numbers

Brooklyn shot .500 (32-of-64) from the field on Sunday and improved to 8-1 this season when shooting .500 or better from the field in a game. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls shot 42.4 percent (39-of-42)

From behind-the-arc, the Chicago Bulls edged the Brooklyn Nets on three-pointers; the Bulls made 12-of-34 vs. Brooklyn’s 11-of-30.

In the land of the free, Brooklyn shot .854 (35-of-41), which was a season-high number of free-throws for the Nets. They have now shot .850 or better from the free-throw line in 10 games this season. Chicago’s free-throw production of 17-of-25 (68 percent), was less than half of Brooklyn’s free-throw production (35-of-41).

Brooklyn outrebounded Chicago 50-31 (+19) on Sunday. Entering yesterday’s game, the Nets’ 48.5 rebounds per game ranked second in the league.

Considering the 28 turnovers made by the Brooklyn Nets versus the seven (7) made by the Chicago Bulls, luck was on the side of the Nets.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn

Coach Vaughn was probably sweating a bit on the bench when in the closing seconds the Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr. made it a one-point game particularly with the 28 turnovers made by the Nets.

And, the number of turnovers made by the Nets was a question put before its new coach.

“Not completely sure – we even ended up changing the basketball throughout the course of the game, which doesn’t happen too often,” responded Nets interim head coach, Jacque Vaughn. “We complained that it was a little bit too slippery, and Chicago did too, and they (the referees) changed the ball. I think that was the first seven (turnovers). The other 21, we’ll have to look at tomorrow. But overall, they’re an aggressive team and they’ve always forced you to not be casual – and I think we were casual at times with the basketball. (A) good test for us, especially going out West.”

Despite the number of turnovers, the Nets won the first game under their new coach.

So, what was Coach Vaughn’s message to his team about the last 24 hours and pulling off a win against Chicago?

“Just glad for the guys that were able to get back on the floor, get back to what they enjoy doing, love doing – compete and playing the game of basketball,” said Coach Vaughn. “At the end of the day, that was the best part of getting together and competing today.”

“We have a road trip coming up,” Coach Vaughn continued. “Chicago gave us a little dose of aggressive teams and our ability to take care of the basketball on the road, take care of each other put us in a position to get some wins on the road.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

The Brooklyn Nets had five scoring leaders yesterday, players with scores of more than 10 points. Spencer Dinwiddie led all players with 24 points and six assists (both team highs), while shooting 4-of-9 from the field, 2-of-5 from 3-point range, and 14-of-15 from the free-throw line in 37 minutes. Dinwiddie’s 14 made free-throws matched a season-high, which was also done against Chicago on November 16, 2019. Caris LeVert scored 23 points and added six rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes; Joe Harris also scored 23 points (8-of-12 FG, 3-of-7 3FG, 4-of-4 FT) in 31 minutes versus the Bulls; DeAndre Jordan, with his fifth start of the season, tallied 11 points, a game-high 15 rebounds, four assists, and a game-high three blocks in 29 minutes, and; Jarrett Allen added 11 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench for Brooklyn.

This was the first time three Brooklyn Nets players scored more than 20 points in the same game since January 29, 2020, which was against the Detroit Pistons. They were: Spencer Dinwiddie, Kyrie Irving, and Taurean Prince.

Chicago Bulls Scoring Leaders

The Chicago Bulls had four scoring leaders and three of the four came off the bench: Otto Porter, Jr., Coby White, and Thaddeus Young.

Otto Porter, Jr. led all Bulls scorers with 23 points, four steals, and three rebounds in 25 minutes; Coby White recorded 23 points, eight assists, and three rebounds in 35 minutes; Thaddeus Young (a former Brooklyn Nets player) registered 17 points and five rebounds, and; Lauri Markkanen, a member of the starting five, chipped in 16 points and four assists in 26 minutes.

Coach Speak: Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen

“I thought we battled the whole game,” said Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen. “We were fighting uphill, but I thought our spirit was really good. I thought we had opportunities that were really good opportunities. I thought we left some money on the table in transition, but we kept playing, kept competing. Coby White, I thought, was terrific – 21 points, eight assists, and I think six rebounds. He was good. I thought Lauri Markkanen was active and moving around. Thaddeus Young kind of held it together for us there in the third quarter. A lot of good things. We made some big shots down the stretch too, to make it a one-possession game. We gave ourselves a chance but didn’t make enough plays at the end of the day.”

Up Next for the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets

So, what’s next for the Chicago Bulls?

The Chicago Bulls will return home to Chicago to host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. CT.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets have a four-game West Coast road trip:

• Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at 10:30 p.m. ET
• Golden State Warriors on Thursday, March 12, 2020, at 10:30 p.m. ET
• Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, March 13, 2020, at 10:30 p.m. ET
• Sacramento Kings on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at 9:00 p.m. ET

The Brooklyn Nets will then return home to play the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Hopefully, the spread of the COVID-19 virus will have abated by then.

TIP-INS:

Spencer Dinwiddie has now scored 20-plus points in a single-season career-high 37 games this season in 63 games played for the Brooklyn Nets. He scored 20-plus points 18 times last season (in 68 games).

Since re-entering the Brooklyn Nets starting lineup on February 3, 2020, vs. Phoenix, Caris LeVert has averaged 24.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 32.8 minutes per contest for the Brooklyn Nets.

DeAndre Jordan recorded his 13th double-double of the season on Sunday and pulled down his eighth game of 15-plus rebounds this season.

 

Spencer Dinwiddie led all scorers with 23 points, and Joe Harris and Dzanan Musa come alive

Last night, was a good night for the Brooklyn Nets; they defeated the Sacramento Kings 116-97 and held the lead wire-to-wire, the first time this season. This is also the second time this season the Nets have won consecutive games having beaten the Charlotte Hornets 101-91 on Wednesday and the Kings last night and both times holding their opponent to under 100 points. With the win against the Kings, the Nets are now just one game below .500 improving to 7-8, while the Kings fell to 6-8 with the loss.

How The Nets Beat The Kings By The Numbers:

Rebounding

Brooklyn outrebounded the Kings 48-33 (+15). And, if you think this was a fluke, the Nets also had a +15-rebounding differential earlier this season on November 1, against the Houston Rockets, when the Nets outrebounded the Rockets 55-40. The Nets also defeated the Houston Rockets 123-116.

Points Along The Way

Brooklyn led Sacramento 56-49 at halftime and then led the Kings 86-70 at the end of the third stanza. This 16-point lead marked Brooklyn's biggest through three quarters this season. The game that came close to this point differential at the end of the third was against the James Harden and Russell Westbrook-led Houston Rockets again on November 1, 2019, when the Nets led by 12 points.

Three-Pointers

Additionally, the Nets were 8-of-23 (.348) from 3-point range in the first half, while holding the Kings to 1-of-11 (.091) from distance.

Without Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert being available because of injury, the Brooklyn Nets appear to be developing a much-needed comradery and Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has taken notice.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on the Game and his players

“I do see that,” Coach Atkinson said about his current rotation’s level of confidence, continuity, and chemistry. “I see (the) chemistry between Garrett Temple and Spencer (Dinwiddie). I can see them connecting. I thought Garrett was fantastic tonight on both sides. Limiting Buddy’s (Hield) points, which is always a huge task, touches in general. And then he obviously made shots. I thought he drove the ball, Garrett was excellent. Getting Joe (Harris) going again is huge. Obviously, making shots really, really helps our cause. But yes, I do see some real chemistry starting to form out there with that group.”

Speaking of Joe Harris, who has been scoring less than 10 points during the prior two games, last night matched his season-high with 22 points while shooting 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range in 28 minutes. He also recorded four rebounds and a career-high-tying two blocks in 28 minutes.

Harris explained what it feels like when he is in the zone: “I think you get a lot of confidence when you see the first one go in – actually I missed my first one, but in terms of just guys looking for you, finding you, makes the game flow a lot easier. It’s sort of an effortless approach, but a lot of it is, you hit one, hit another, guys are starting to look for you, screen for you and you find your way to open shots.”

Brooklyn Nets Leading Scorers

Spencer Dinwiddie led all scorers posting a game-high 23 points (8-of-15 FG, 7-of-7 FT) with seven assists and two steals in 28 minutes. Dinwiddie is taking his career to new levels. He has now posted 20-plus points in four consecutive games, doing so for the first time in his career. In his last four games (all starts), Dinwiddie has averaged 23.8 points, 6.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and, 1.5 steals in 32.0 minutes. As mentioned, Joe Harris contributed 22 points; Garrett Temple registered a season-high 18 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 35 minutes; Jarrett Allen posted 11 points, and; Dzanan Musa chipped in 10 points. DeAndre Jordan didn’t score points in double digits, but he posted his eighth game of double-digit rebounds this season with a game-high 10 boards.

Coach Speak: Luke Walton on the game and his team

“Tough night for us,” said Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton. “If you’re a 3-point shooting team and you shoot 15 percent, you’re not going to win a lot of games. Where we have to be better at are things that we can control. We know that with 82 games you’re going to have games where you just don’t make shots. A big key and theme for us the last couple of games was defending without fouling. We gave up 31 free throws tonight, and Brooklyn beat us up on the glass. Rebounding we’ve actually done a much better job at and the free throws we have to continue to focus on that and do a better job.”

Sacramento Kings Leading Scorers

The Sacramento Kings scoring leaders were Harrison Barnes who scored 18 points and five rebounds; Buddy Hield registered 16 points and five assists; Justin James came off the bench and posted 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists; Nemanja Bjelica contributed 13 points and seven rebounds, and; Richaun Holmes chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds.

“They played small ball,” Kings guard Buddy Hield said about the Brooklyn Nets style of play. “But I think Jarrett Allen does a good job in rolling. I think Spencer Dinwiddie does a good job playing with him. It was tough to guard for us tonight. We should’ve done a better job with defensive schemes, trying to guard them. Joe Harris opened the game up too – he made like four or five in the first half and that killed us, and that’s when they opened…they game up. The lead was always back-and-forth from 10 (points), nine (points), and then after that, we couldn’t get ahead. That really opened the game up for sure – Joe opened it up.”

What’s Next for the Kings and the Nets?

The Sacramento Kings will travel to Washington to play the Wizards on Sunday, November 24, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will head across the East River to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, November 24, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

 
 

Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Taurean Prince each scored 20-plus points in defeating the Hornets 101-91

No Kyrie Irving. No Caris LeVert. No problem.

Finally, a home game without Irving and LeVert and the Brooklyn Nets were able to handle their business, defeating the Charlotte Hornets 101-91. With this win, the Nets improved to 6-8 overall this season, while the Hornets fell to 6-9 with tonight’s loss, and Brooklyn Nets fans celebrated as they left the Barclays Center.

The Hornets 101-91 loss to the Nets left their head coach James Borrego a little bewildered.

“We just couldn’t score tonight,” Borrego told the media postgame. “Those two (Nets players Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan), you have to give credit to. They impacted the game on the other end of the floor more than offensively.”

The season is still young, and so is Jarrett Allen. The 21-year-old is starting his third season in the NBA and recorded a season-high 22 points (9-of-12 FG) and a season-high 17 rebounds (including a career-high eight offensive boards) with two steals in 28 minutes last night against Charlotte. DeAndre Jordan led the Nets’ bench with 14 points (5-of-5 FG, 4-of-4 FT) and seven rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

“I just thought he was huge,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about Jarrett Allen’s performance last night. “They went small, they put Marvin (Williams) at the five, and he’s playing that game – do we match him with small? We said you know what, we’ll stick with JA (Jarrett Allen), and I thought he did two things great. He guarded when we switched, he guarded their smalls, their quick guys, and then he punished them on the other end with his offensive rebounding. Eight offensive rebounds – that’s the answer to when a team goes small. Stay big, punish them on the boards and have a big that’s fast enough to keep up with the guards.”

Great strategy because Marvin Williams only scored two points for Charlotte on 1-of-10 FG.

“I think we came out with the right mindset,” DeAndre Jordan added. “We came out with a defensive intensity, that’s something we can control. We can’t control if our shots go in or how well we play offensively. But, our effort defensively – we can control that. We went through a pretty lengthy film session yesterday and saw the things we can correct and try to get in to.”

Jordan added, “I think today it really showed that JA (Jarrett Allen) and I are very versatile players who can handle the basketball.”

Brooklyn outrebounded Charlotte 53-41 (+12) tonight, with the Nets’ +12 rebounding differential marking their third-highest of the season. The Nets edged the Hornets 46-36 in points in the paint and 19-9 in second-chance points this evening. Brooklyn led Charlotte 82-73 through three quarters, tonight, with Charlotte’s 73 points marking the fewest points Brooklyn has allowed through three quarters this season.

Other Brooklyn Nets scoring leaders included Spencer Dinwiddie, who has posted 20-plus points in each of his last three games (all starts), recording averages of 24.0 points, 6.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks in 33.5 minutes per contest. Taurean Prince also posted 20 points (4-of-9 3FG) with eight rebounds, four assists and a steal in 33 minutes, marking Prince’s third game of 20-plus points for Brooklyn this season. In fact, this game marked the first time this season that the Nets had three players tally 20-plus points in the same game.

The Charlotte Hornets’ scoring leaders included, Terry Rozier who scored 18 points and six rebounds, DeVonte’ Graham recorded 17 points, six assists, and three rebounds; Malik Monk tallied 13 points and three rebounds; Miles Bridges contributed 12 points and five rebounds, and; Bismack Biyombo chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight,” Hornets Coach Borrego said. “Offensively we were stagnant. You have to give Brooklyn credit, but we have to get back to work on Friday night.”

The Charlotte Hornets get another opportunity to get a game in the win column when they travel to Washington to play the Wizards tomorrow, Friday, November 22, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will remain home to host the Sacramento Kings at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, also tomorrow, Friday, November 22, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

So, what will it take for the Brooklyn Nets to keep up its scoring and defense, starting with its game against the Sacramento Kings on Friday?

“Just keeping a good mindset, playing quarter by quarter, not getting too ahead of ourselves, not getting too down on ourselves when certain things go wrong or when we face adversity – just continue to do what we do and stick to our gameplay,” responded Taurean Prince.

 
 

Nets forward DeMarre Carroll leads all scorers with 22 points; Dirk Nowitzki on “retirement tour”, receives a warm welcome from NBA fans at Barclays Center

Oh, what a night! The Brooklyn Nets took advantage of the Dallas Mavericks vulnerabilities at the Barclays Center on Monday night and came up with a 127-88 win for the home crowd. The Nets improved to 33-33 overall and 19-16 at Barclays Center with tonight’s win, while the Mavericks fell to 27-36 overall and 6-25 on the road with the loss.

So, what did it take to get the Brooklyn Nets back on track?

“It was really about the two things we emphasized before the game, defense and rebounding,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson responded. “I thought we defended much better tonight and we secured rebounds. We held them to one possession, and on the other side, we made shots. We were struggling to make shots before tonight, and it was nice to see the ball go through the basket. This helped our spirit. Good team win.”

“We drove the ball more tonight than in previous games, but I still think we can take it to another level,” Coach Atkinson continued. “We are still a little timid getting to the rim. I would love to see more rim attacks and free throw attempts. It was better tonight.”

The Nets snatched a win from the Mavericks right on time to stop a three-game losing streak in preparation for one more home game tomorrow against the Cleveland Cavaliers before hitting the road to play the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Hopefully, Brooklyn can get two more wins under its belt before the team plays the Detroit Pistons on Monday at the Barclays Center and before hits the road to play six Western Conference teams and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Nets need these wins against the Cavaliers and the Hawks because they need the wins and a win against these two non-playoff bound teams will help with the Nets standing in the Eastern Conference as things get tight in the coming weeks. They also need to have a recent memory of what it feels like to win and because the upcoming stretch starting with the Detroit Pistons on Monday is going to be a dogfight. After Detroit, the Brooklyn Nets face OKC Thunder, Jazz, Clippers, Kings, Lakers, Trail Blazers, and the 76ers.

Right now, the Nets are neck and neck in the Eastern Conference standings with the Pistons. The win against the Mavericks was good because a win is a win. But let’s face it, the game looked like a pro team playing against amateurs save a few players. And, Dirk Nowitzki really looked old. He was struggling to keep up and his numbers prove it, four points, four rebounds, and two assists. The conversation all season has been this may be Nowitzki's last season and no disrespect to Dirk, but by his performance last night, it should be. Dirk really looked old and the Nets took advantage, as they should.

“It was ugly from start to finish,” Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle bemoaned. “When you lose every quarter of an NBA game, you certainly haven’t done what you needed to do. It’s a very disappointing night.”

“I thought Brooklyn’s effort was phenomenally great and I know ours wasn’t up to it,” Carlisle continued. “The effort can’t be good if you lose by this number of points. We just simply have to do better.”

Doing better might start with limiting Nowitzki’s minutes. And, this is not to beat up on Nowitzki, as he has nobly put in 20 years in the NBA. He was a force to reckon with. However, this season, Nowitzki is averaging 5.5 points per game, while over the course of his career, Nowitzki averaged 20 PPG.

“…I was just fighting out there,” Nowitzki said. “I was just trying to get one down and get one in. In the first half, I had some great looks there – the trailing three and another one, a wide-open three from the corner. Frustrating night for me, but I kept on playing.”

In last night’s game, the Mavericks only had three scoring leaders. Dwight Powell led the Mavericks with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and six assists; Luka Doncic scored 16 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots, and; Jalen Brown chipped in 10 points and three rebounds.

For the Nets, DeMarre Carroll came off the bench to lead all scorers with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Rodions Kurucs registered 19 points and six rebounds; Caris LeVert accumulated 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists off the bench; Spencer Dinwiddie, also came off the bench and scored 16 points and five assists; D’Angelo Russell posted 13 points and 11 assists; Joe Harris chipped in 11 points, and; Ed Davis, who is not a prolific scorer, brought the heat around the rim with 10 rebounds.

And, with this win, D’Angelo Russell agrees that the Nets may have stumbled upon a winning formula.

“…With that second unit, you’ve got five starters coming off the bench. That team could start and be their own team and compete in this league, so I think that’s where we can get advantages. A lot of teams don’t have the personnel to do that so, it was a great move by coach,” Russell opined.

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.

 

D’Angelo Russell scores 34 points to help the Nets defeat the Celtics; the victory also snaps the Nets’ 10-game losing streak against the Celtics

Is it too early to cue up the music, “Movin’ on Up,” the theme song from the 1970s – 1980s sitcom, The Jeffersons? Perhaps, but to Brooklyn Nets fans, it sure does feel good to be one game away from reaching the .500 mark and to still be in contention for an NBA playoff spot.

NBA Playoff Watch: The Brooklyn Nets are now in the seventh spot in the NBA Eastern Conference (The Boston Celtics are currently in the fifth spot).

“We don’t really talk about it as a team,” Jarrett Allen said about the Nets currently in an NBA Playoff spot. “It’s obviously something on all of our minds that we want to make it, but it’s never that ‘oh, let’s make it.’ It’s never spoken out loud, but we all know what we have to do.”

We hear you, Jarrett Allen, but people who follow the Nets, are talking about it and not necessarily in hush tones because the upward trajectory of the Nets so far this season has taken many by surprise.

Last night, the Nets defeated the Boston Celtics 109-102 at home at the Barclays Center and in so doing, the Nets improved to 22-23 overall and 12-11 at Barclays Center, while the Celtics fell to 25-18 overall and 10-13 on the road with this loss. The Nets have also won five straight home games, which is a big deal for the Nets since it is the first time since the 2014-15 season (March 27 – April 6, 2015) that the Nets have won five consecutive games at home more evidence that the Nets are turning a corner.

This victory also snapped the Nets’ 10-game losing streak against the Celtics, which had marked the team’s longest active losing streak against any opponent. The last time Nets won a game against the Celtics it was three years ago on January 2, 2016, in Boston, for those of you who may be keeping score.

Last night’s win was not without some bumps in the road. The Nets ended the third quarter with a 24-point lead (90-66) and that wasn’t the largest lead of the night. The Nets had a 27-point advantage over the Celtics at 9:33 in the fourth quarter on a Spencer Dinwiddie 26' 3-point pull-up shot, but over the course of the last stanza, the Nets lead started slipping eventually getting to only seven points at 1:28 on a Jaylen Brown driving finger roll layup. Over the course of the closing seconds, the Nets were up by nine, up by seven, up by nine, and eventually ending the game at 109-102.

Of course, the media wanted to get Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s take on the Nets defensive breakdown in the fourth quarter.

“It speaks to how good they are,” coach Atkinson said regarding the Boston Celtics’ surge in the fourth. “We know it is coming. You’re not beating that team by 30 – you could but considering we haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here. I also think we played eight guys and that’s part of it. I think there was some fatigue. Sure, there’s things we can get better at. I’m going to talk to our 22-year-old point guard about being a little more secure with the ball. But overall, we hung on and closed it out.”

The Nets’ 22-year-old point guard, D’Angelo Russell, posted a game-high-tying 34 points (13-of-26 FG, 7-of-13 3FG, 1-of-2 FT) with five rebounds, a game-high seven assists, one steal and one block in 37 minutes. Russell scored 18 of his 34 points in the third quarter.

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had his eye on Russell.

“…The (Celtics) third-quarter defense was awful,” Stevens said. “Obviously, Brooklyn scored 44 in the quarter and D’Angelo Russell got going. We didn’t get a stop or a rebound for the first four minutes of the quarter. You’re not going to win games when you start the quarter like that in what was a back-and-forth, tougher, more physical game that we just couldn’t make a shot in the first half. But for whatever reason, our third quarter defense was not there. We (Celtics) went on a drought and Brooklyn just blew us out of the water…”

Still feeling good about his accomplishment in last night’s game against the Celtics, Russell told the media what it took for him to go on his scoring roll in the third quarter.

In a word, “Confidence,” Russell said. “I mean, I trust my craft. My teammates like I said they put me in the position to do that. They’re finding me when we have the hot hand, but once again I trust my craft and I know what I’m capable of.”

So, those of you who doubted D’Angelo Russell’s abilities and belief in himself, take note.

Looking at other Nets starters who were scoring leaders last night, Rodions Kurucs, a Nets rookie who has surprised everyone with his skills, totaled 19 points, four rebounds, and two steals in 33 minutes. Jarrett Allen also recorded 19 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks in 33 minutes. Joe Harris tallied 13 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in 35 minutes.

Coming off the bench for the Nets, DeMarre Carroll posted his second double-double of the season with 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in 33 minutes.

For the Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum had a game-high-tying 34 points, five rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots, and one steal. Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, six rebounds, and two steals. Brad Wanamaker, who came off the bench for Boston, chipped in 13 points, four assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

Both teams are really going to have to put on their big boy pants tomorrow as they both face formidable teams. The Celtics square off against the Toronto Raptors at home at the Boston Garden. The Brooklyn Nets travel to Houston to play the Rockets, also tomorrow, and then on to Orlando to play the Magic on Friday, January 18, 2019. The Nets will then return home to play the Sacramento Kings on Monday, January 21, 2019, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 3:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Lin-Mania Streak Hits 7

February 16, 2012

When Jeremy Lin came out of the game he sat next to Carmelo Anthony. Both had Cheshire Cat smiles on their faces

It was his first game back at Madison Square Garden since he torched Kobe Bryant and the Lakers last Friday to the tune of a game, season, and career-high 38 points. Add to that two come-from-behind road wins (including the game-winner against Toronto) and you knew why the sold-out crowd erupted when Jeremy Lin was introduced prior to the game against the Sacramento Kings. Given how the Knicks have fared against teams with losing records at home, the Kings and their 10-18 mark were no easy target. That was before Lin was propelled into the starting line-up.

Jeremy Lin rebounded from his 8 turnover night against the Raptors recording six assists to go along with five points and zero turnovers all in the first period alone as New York jumped out to a 12-point lead (25-13). They converted on 10 of their first 12 shots before Lin sat down late in the first quarter.

"I just thought we played really exceptionally well in the first quarter," said head coach Mike D 'Antoni.

The team didn't skip a beat while Lin rested. After a 3-pointer by Jimmer Fredette cut the lead to 5 (25-20) Iman Shumpert, Bill Walker and Jared Jeffries scored the next 9 points to extend the lead to 13 (35-22) before Lin returned with 7:38 in the second. Steve Novak, who has stepped up his game during the winning streak, hit his only basket of the half. After a Landry Fields rebound, he finds Novak in the corner who promptly steps up and drains a 3-pointer, getting fouled in the process. He calmly sinks the free throw giving the Knicks a 15 point (49-34) lead.

As well as New York did well offensively shooting 51% for the first half, they did better on the defensive end. The Kings shot only 33% and missed on 9 of 11 3-point attempts.

"Any time you play with good offense, you get excited, D 'Antoni continued. "Tyson (Chandler) anchors the whole thing. Then you have Shumpert who comes off the bench that you can put him on the point guard. With those two guys it's contagious. If you want to win, you play that way."

The Knicks began the third period up by 18 (54-36) and did not let up. At one point, they extended the lead to 25 points after a Fields layup. Walker added 8 more points, Fields 4 while Lin chipped in with 4 more assists. As a team, they increased their shooting percentage to 56 while the Kings dropped a point from the first half to 32%. It gave D 'Antoni a chance to rest not only Lin but Chandler as well. Neither played a minute in the last period. Lin had averaged 38 minutes in the last 6 games. Because of their lead from beginning to end, he only played 26 minutes. Important in that they will play 3 games in the next 4 nights. The scheduled amount of games and minutes do not concern D 'Antoni when it comes to Lin. "He's 23 years old. He should be able to go forever."

When Jeremy Lin came out of the game he sat next to Carmelo Anthony. Both had Cheshire Cat smiles on their faces, while they chatted and giggled as the reserves continued piling on points.

"We were just having fun talking about how we will be excited when he comes back," said Lin. He's looking forward to the first time they will play together. "He (Anthony) is a lethal scorer. Coming off the pick and roll, he can come off the pick and rolls too. We should be more dangerous offensively."

It's been 7th heaven for Lin and the Knicks since he came off the bench to score 25 points against the Nets in a win that may have just saved his head coach's job. The ride continues Friday night when they face a New Orleans Hornets team that had only 5 wins at the start of the evening.

Can anyone say the 8th Wonder?

Nets rally in second half, too little, too late as Kings defeat Nets on the second night of their back-to-back on the road

The Brooklyn Nets loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night was a tough pill to swallow. Sacramento came into the Barclays Center with a 10-20 record compared to the Nets’ 11-18 record, not much of a difference, but it should mean something particularly when you’re at home. To add insult to injury, the Kings had just defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 101-95 the night before, so the Kings were playing the second game of a back-to-back when they played the Nets at the Barclays Center. Instead of showing sign of lethargy, Sacramento took the floor and busted the game wide open. Sacramento closed out the first half by 16 points (64-48); just after doing the same thing in the first quarter. The Nets allowed the Kings to score 36 points in the first quarter, ending the first at 36-20.

“Yeah, giving up 36 points in the first quarter,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson remarked about the Nets’ abysmal first half. “They have good players on the other side and you can’t get in a hole like that. It is [a] disappointment in our defense and our defensive mentality to start the game. Obviously, the second half shows we are capable of doing it and capable of getting stops. But we let our guard down in the first quarter, dug a hole, and too deep of a hole.”

Yes, it was too deep of a hole. The Nets tried to claw their way back by scoring and getting stops in the second half, but it wasn’t enough and the Kings walked away with a 104-99 win over the Nets.

Once again, the Nets let a team force them to play their game. Instead of leading out of the gate, the Kings made the Nets play their game.

“I don’t know what you want to call it,” Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie said regarding the Nets slow start. “Lack of focus, lack of attention to detail, lack of effort, I don’t know what you want to call it. Sixty-four points in the first half is inexcusable, regardless of what team you play…”

“I think they had 30-something points in the first quarter,” Nets guard Caris LeVert said. “We can’t start a game off like that.”

Darn straight, not if you want to win! Why make the game harder than it needs to be, particularly with middling teams. What happens when Houston, Boston, and Cleveland come to town? Fortunately, Atkinson is not adverse to looking at changing the starting lineup, which is a good thing.

“I think four losses in a row, we have to look at everything,” Atkinson told the media. “We have to look at the start, what our lineup looks like to start. I definitely think we have to look at it. We have to analyze it and see if there is something to change up. We will look at that in the next day and see what is going on there.”

The one thing of many that is puzzling to the media is Atkinson’s reticence to putting Jahlil Okafor in the lineup. Looking for answers, one reporter did ask with Trevor Booker traded for Okafor and if Okafor is not playing, does this leave the Nets shorthanded?

“No, we are not shorthanded,” Atkinson responded. “We have Quincy (Acy) and Jarrett (Allen) in there as our back up bigs and Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson)and Tyler (Zeller), so we are not playing shorthanded there. I thought Quincy gave us some decent minutes. You know Jarrett is a young guy trying to learn this league, obviously, that is a physical team – did some good things. I thought he had some big blocks in the second half. We got to get our rhythm in general. We have lost it these last four games. It is a little perplexing this game after I thought we had two good days to get ready for this game. I was hoping we had the juice to compete at a higher level. But again, perplexed with the first quarter and the first half in general.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson

Dinwiddie led all Nets players with 16 points. DeMarre Carroll scored 15 points and seven rebounds; both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Joe Harris scored 14 points and Hollis-Jefferson also added 10 rebounds to his total. LeVert and Allen Crabbe each chipped in 13 and 10 points respectively.

Sacramento’s scoring leaders were also rebounding machines. George Hill led all scorers with 22 points and seven rebounds; Zach Randolph scored 21 points and eight rebounds; former Nets player Bojan Bogdanovic added 14 points; Willie Cauley-Stein had 13 points and nine rebounds, and; Kosta Koufos chipped in 12 points and 8 rebounds.

Next up: Sacramento plays the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, December 23rd, and the Nets will play the Washington Wizards for the second time this month at home at the Barclays Center on Friday, December 22, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.

Nets blow nine-point lead; DeMarcus Cousins drops 37 points on Nets in win for the Kings

Sean Kilpatrick scored 22 points, Brook Lopez had 17 points; Bojan Bogdanovic added 13 points, and Isaiah Whitehead chipped in 11 points for the Nets, in their loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. In losing 122-105, the Nets have lost seven straight games.

The Nets kept it competitive through the first half; leading the Kings 35-31 at the end of the first quarter and 59-58 at the end of the first half. However, the third quarter arrived and as in games in the recent past, things began to unravel in a way that no one seems to be able to explain.

“I don’t know,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We have to fix the third quarter blues. For some reason, we don’t come out with the requisite and the energy that we need to. We felt that and I think we called a timeout and addressed it, so we need to figure that one out because that’s hurting us. We cut it to six like you said, made a run there with that group and again they made some shots and we turned the ball over a few times.”

That ball movement in the direction of Sacramento translated into starters DeMarcus Cousins scoring 37 points and 11 rebounds; Rudy Gay posting up 22 points and eight rebounds; and Darren Collison adding 18 points; while Ty Lawson chipped in 13 points off the bench.

Most Nets games are generally run of the mill, but it took Sacramento’s Matt Barnes to make a hockey game out of an NBA basketball game by clocking Brooklyn’s Kilpatrick for seemingly no reason. The officials promptly ejected Barnes for a Flagrant Foul 2 on Kilpatrick with 9:34 left in the fourth quarter and Sacramento leading 97-79. Brooklyn then went on a 14-2 run to cut the deficit to 99-93, but Sacramento responded with a 16-0 run of its own to extend the lead to 115-93.

“It was more of a why, why would you do that, but I mean it was still the same mentality. It was the same killer mentality,” Kilpatrick stated regarding the Matt Barnes hit. “You gotta keep continuing to try to destroy anybody that’s in your way and I think that’s something that told me to get up. I mean at the end of the day if were down 10 and I go down like that and were on a roll, I mean that’s not gonna stop me. I mean I gotta get up and keep playing and I think that’s something that triggered me off the way it did. ”

Next up at home for the Brooklyn Nets is a date with the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m., and still no word when Jeremy Lin will return.

The Nets score 65 points in the first half, en route to a shocking season-best win

The Brooklyn Nets don’t enjoy nights like this very often so when they do, you (the fan), have to enjoy it. The Nets matched their season high (38 points in 2nd quarter vs. GS) for most points scored in any quarter this season scoring 38 in the 3rd en route to a shocking 128-119 win over the Sacramento Kings Friday night. After going back-and-forth with the Kings for the majority of the first half, in which they scored 65 points, (first half season-high) the Nets took control of the game and as a result, extended their home winning streak against the Kings to seven games.

To begin the third, Donald Sloan and Thaddeus Young would combine to score the Nets first 12 points of the quarter, increasing what was a narrow four-point 65-61 advantage to a double-digit 77-66 lead. The Nets great start to the third quarter forced a Kings timeout but it didn’t matter. It was their night and the offensive success to finish the third continued with Brook Lopez.

Lopez scored 11 of his 26 points in that third quarter to sustain the Nets double-digit lead where they could have folded and allowed the Kings to get back into the game. The Nets dodged that bullet. There was no slippage.

To end the third, Sloan once again made the Kings pay scoring six straight points, capped off by a three that signaled the Nets 101 point of the night with a little over a minute left to the Kings 79. Along with Sloan, every Nets starter scored in double-digits in addition to Bojan Bogdanovic (23 points) who lit the Kings up from behind the arc draining seven threes but the star of the night was old veteran star, Joe Johnson. The Nets win doesn’t start without him.

He scored 13 points in the first quarter and ended the half with 18. He finished with 27 for the night and also played playmaker recording 11 assists.

“I think his reads, his vision on what’s available is just as good as anybody in the league and you try and out him in situations where he can make those kind of plays,” Nets head coach Tony Brown said referring to Johnson’s big night.

Johnson definitely turned back the clock and for a team that just ended a five-game losing streak with the win, nights like the one Johnson enjoyed as well as Brook, and Sloan is what the Nets will need more of going forward. The Nets won’t shoot 60 percent in the first quarter every game or 52 percent for the half but there’s nothing wrong with a little encouragement. On the opposing bench, things seem to be a little more complicated than not scoring enough points.

DeMarcus Cousins (24 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) who will make the trip to Toronto for his second straight All-star selection said that the loss is bigger than energy and effort.

“We gotta bigger issue, and we need to figure it out as a team,” Cousins said post-game. “I rather keep it in house, but we definitely have a bigger issue than just energy and effort. That can't be the excuse every night.”

Cousins doesn’t enjoy the greatest relationship with head coach George Karl so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out where that statement is coming from. It also didn’t help that Kings’ wing, Rudy Gay was done for the night after spraining his ankle early in the first either.

Although the Kings are in a better space personnel wise, their situation just might be as tumultuous as the Nets and that isn’t a compliment. The fact is, the Nets won on Friday night and according to Johnson, it felt great.

It feels great to get a win, to see everything kind of clicking on all cylinders,” Johnson said regarding the win. “Everybody was pretty much involved, and it led to a great win.”

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