April 20, 2019

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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