June 27, 2019

In the loss, Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell leads Nets in scoring with 27 points, seven rebounds, and six assists

It wasn’t a blowout last night at the Barclays Center when the Brooklyn Nets lost 115-105 to the Toronto Raptors, the second-best team in the NBA Eastern Conference. Some say a loss is a loss no matter what the point spread is. But, in this case, when you’re fighting to clinch a spot in the playoffs, a loss can be more than a loss.

With the loss, the Nets fell to 39-40 overall and 22-18 at the Barclays Center, while the Raptors improved to 56-23 overall and 25-14 on the road with the win. But, moreover, the musical chairs of who’s in the NBA playoff seeding and who isn’t shifted last night and is likely to be a game of musical chairs over the remaining week. The Nets are still in the seventh spot, but the Miami Heat's loss to the Boston Celtics put the Orlando Magic in the eighth spot, while Miami fell to the ninth position.

So, what happened to the Nets last night.

“They were the better team,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I don’t know how else to tell you that. I think they were the better team tonight – from start to finish, gotta give credit. Excellent team. A team that’s going to compete for a championship. We were not up to that. Like I said before the game, those standards, you’ve got to be almost perfect. We weren’t. I would say we were average, and that’s not getting it done against a team like that.”

Toronto is the better team, hence the reason they are in the second position in the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks are a better team, hence the reason, it is first in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Nets have no experience of turning it up in the final stretch of the regular season. And, they are traveling to play the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday and then will travel to play the Indiana Pacers the very next day on Sunday. So, should we expect an upset in Milwaukee or in Indiana or both or two losses for the Nets? The best scenario for the Nets to make the playoffs is that since Miami is in the ninth position that Miami loses to Toronto on Sunday and Philadelphia on Tuesday and when Miami comes to Brooklyn on Wednesday, it would be too tired on the second game of a back-to-back to be victorious over Brooklyn. Of the three games on the Orlando Magic’s schedule, only the Boston Celtics are worrisome because the Magic could overtake Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets. But, of course, anything could happen.

The Nets really do have to turn it up because last night, the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Toronto Raptors despite shooting .477 (41-of-86) from the field and limiting Toronto to .419 (44-of-105) from the field. The Nets also edged the Raptors 60-48 in points in the paint.

With the Toronto Raptors in the rearview mirror and as the Net face the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, a question was posed to Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell: What can the Nets do against Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo on Saturday?

“Just you know, make him feel us,” Russell responded. “He’s dominated the league this whole season. It’s a tough matchup. But we know what we gotta do. It’s going to take five of us to stop him, it’s not just (one) individual.”

Nets fans hear you, D’Angelo Russell, and they hope that you and the rest of the team can muster up a strategy and the energy to follow the strategy to prevail.

The Brooklyn Nets will play its final game of the regular season on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at home at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m. Hopefully, it won’t be the last game of the season and this team that has faced so many adversities this season gets a taste of what the NBA postseason is all about.

D’Angelo Russell led all Nets scorers with 28 points, Caris LeVert put up 24 points off the bench, but the loss is a cloud hanging over Nets’ head

Last night at the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets met up with the Milwaukee Bucks, the best team in the NBA, by its 58-20 record; yes, the Bucks’ record is better than the Golden State Warriors’ record, which is 52-24.

The bad news is that the Nets lost to the Bucks 131-121. The good news for the moment is that the Nets are still holding on to the seventh playoff spot in the NBA Eastern Conference (EC). The three other teams that are also jockeying for position for the NBA’s sixth through eighth playoff spots in the EC, the Detroit Pistons (#6), Miami Heat (#8), and the Orlando Magic (#9), also lost last night.

The Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, and the Orlando Magic all have at least two formidable teams to play between now and April 10, 2019, the last day of the NBA regular season. And, by formidable, these teams have already clinched the 1 through 5 NBA Eastern Conference playoff spots. NBA Eastern Conference spots 6 through 8 are up for grabs between four teams or five, depending on how you feel about the Charlotte Hornets because technically, right now, sitting at 35-42, mathematically, the Hornets are not out of contention. Teams that the Hornets have on their schedule right now are the New Orleans Pelicans (32-46) a Western Conference team, and then EC teams, the Toronto Raptors (55-23), Detroit Pistons (39-38), Cleveland Cavaliers (21-57) and the Orlando Magic (38-40).

But, looking at the upcoming schedule for the teams that most people believe are in the race, Detroit has two strong teams to play, the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. On Miami’s schedule are the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Orlando Magic being in the ninth spot is currently on the outside looking in and seemingly has the easiest schedule. The Magic’s last three games are against the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and the Boston Celtics. Of this lot, only the Boston Celtics is a playoff team. However, that doesn’t mean that the Magic would only lose to the Boston Celtics. Not in the least, the Nets just beat the Celtics, who were without Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, on Saturday. These are all NBA teams and on any given night, there could be key players out, there could be an upset or the outcome could be predictable, which will make the next few days very exciting for some and not so exciting for others.

Focusing on the Nets, they have four more games on their schedule. The Nets play the Toronto Raptors tomorrow at the Barclays Center, a back-to-back on the road on Saturday and Sunday, against the Milwaukee Bucks again, and the Indiana Pacers and then they come back home to play the Miami Heat on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, the last day of the regular season.

Wednesday, April 10, could be the determining day between the Nets and the Miami Heat, as well as other teams. Or, it could be over before the Nets get home depending upon what they do from this point forward and what the other teams do. Clearly, this is not a good position to be in.

And, as Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert, who scored 24 points, four rebounds and six assists, assessed last night’s game against the Bucks, the Nets have to be focused and dialed in from start to finish if they truly want to secure a playoff spot.

“I think we put ourselves in a big hole in that first quarter and it was tough fighting back, especially against a good team like that,” said LeVert. “They’re number one in the East for a reason. But we just have to learn from it. We played great basketball for like three-and-a-half quarters, so we have to learn from it and keep going.”

D’Angelo Russell led all Nets scorers with 22 points in the loss; Spencer Dinwiddie back in the lineup after missing 14 games following surgery on right thumb

This was a tough game to watch. For the second time this week, the Brooklyn Nets got pushed into the L column by an opponent that was either banging on the door for a playoff spot or seeking to move up in the standings. On Wednesday, it was the Washington Wizards, last night, the Nets lost to the Charlotte Hornets 123-112. The Nets are now 32-32 overall and 18-16 at the Barclays Center and the Hornets improved to 29-33 overall and 9-21 on the road with the win.

“We have given up 68 points in the first half two games in a row,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about his team’s recent streak. “It starts on the defensive end. It’s not about the lineups or working guys back in from injury. It’s about defense and we have to do a better job on that end. Right now, we just aren’t getting it done.”

Unfortunately, the Nets struggle wasn’t just defense, the Hornets had 50 field goals to the Nets 44 and 10 offensive rebounds to the Nets seven.

“We have to find some solution because we are out of sync right now,” Atkinson continued acknowledging his team’s offensive struggles. “We will figure it out because right now we aren’t sharp. Shot selection is not great, ball movement is not great. We will look at some things. Obviously, this late in the season, we won’t be changing our offense, but we will find some ways to help the guys.”

Coach Atkinson may want to look at his team’s offense because other teams certainly are looking at their offense to take them off their game, case in point, Hornets head coach James Borrego.

“…I think when we were here last time, Kemba was rolling there in that fourth quarter and they switched to a zone and they tried to take the ball out of his hands. This is a zone team, they’re number one in the NBA playing zone. We‘re going to see zone tonight, we understand that we play better against the zone of late…,” Coach Borrego told the media just before the game started.

For the Charlotte Hornets, Kemba Walker led all scorers with 27 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and four steals; Jeremy Lamb registered 22 points off the bench; Nicolas Batum accumulated 17 points, six rebounds, and five assists; Frank Kaminsky recorded 15 points and seven rebounds; both Cody Zeller and Tony Parker scored 12 points, with Parker scoring his 12 points and five assists off the bench and Zeller adding nine rebounds and three assists, and; not to be outdone, Marvin Williams chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds.

D’Angelo Russell led Brooklyn with 22 points and nine assists in 28 minutes. DeMarre Carroll scored 20 points (5-of-10 FG, 3-of-5 3FG, 7-of-8 FT) with five rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench; Spencer Dinwiddie returned to action last night for the first time since January 23, 2019, vs. Orlando and posted 15 points and four assists in 23 minutes off the bench. Dinwiddie missed 14 games following surgery that repaired ligaments in his right thumb. Caris LeVert totaled 14 points (6-of-11 FG) with seven rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes, and Jarrett Allen chipped in 10 points in 23 minutes.

Regarding the Nets struggles lately, could it be an abundance of riches now that everyone is healthy and back in the lineup and they need to adjust?

Or, is it just as simple as what D’Angelo Russell said: “We can’t dig ourselves in holes and teams shoot well and expect to get out of it by us scoring; we’ve got to get stops.”

Or, perhaps, it’s both.

The Brooklyn Nets travel to Miami to play the Miami Heat tonight at 7:30 p.m.

TIP-INS:

Dinwiddie has now scored 808 points off the bench this season, becoming the second player in franchise history to tally 800+ points in a season off the bench (Armen Gilliam scored 878 points off the bench in the 1993-94 season).

With his fourth rebound tonight, Ed Davis moved past Detlef Schrempf (3,640) and is now third in NBA history in rebounds off the bench (since the NBA first tracked starters in 1970-71). He now has 3,641 career rebounds off the bench and trails only Kevin McHale (3,526) and Paul Silas (5,337).

Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell were game scoring leaders for the Brooklyn Nets, perhaps, putting to rest that the two can’t be on the floor together

The Brooklyn Nets added another win to its list last night by beating the Orlando Magic 114-110. There was no scenario where it looked like it would be a blow-out on either side. The game was close all the way, just a back and forth, one team up, one team down, with the Nets pulling it out at the end.

“First of all, like I keep saying, I think they’re a really good team,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about the Orlando Magic postgame. “It’s a struggle to beat them. They have really good players. Nip and tuck, back and forth, we made mistakes and they made mistakes. I don’t think it was a perfectly played game by any means, especially on our part. I thought we were so-so overall. That’s a sign of a good team, to pull it out when you’re not at your top level.”

The Nets improved to 26-23 overall and 14-11 at Barclays Center with last night’s win against the Magic. Meanwhile, the Magic fell to 20-28 overall and 8-15 on the road with the loss. Additionally, the Nets have won five straight games, seven-straight at home, and 11 of their last 12 at Barclays Center with last night’s victory. And, if you’re wondering if the Nets are still in the NBA playoff hunt, yes, they are holding on to the sixth spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, if the NBA Playoffs were held today.

For the Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie led all players with a game-high 29 points (10-of-17 FG) with three rebounds, three assists, and a steal in 30 minutes off the bench. Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell led all Nets starters with 25 points, a game-high 10 assists, seven rebounds, and two steals in 34 minutes.

Earlier in the season, there was some chatter that Dinwiddie and Russell couldn’t co-exist on the floor together, but with the passage of time, things are looking better for this duo.

“I see more as they are meshing,” Atkinson said about their progress. “More and more every time. I know advanced stuff says they don’t play well together, but they’re going to be in at the end of the game. They’re two of our top players. Having multiple ball handlers like that is huge. They really know how to play off of each other now. Especially the plays we run at the end of the game, they’re looking out for each other. D’Angelo called a play for Spencer with under two minutes there. It was a big play. That’s the kind of altruism we have right now. Guys are really playing for each other.”

D'Angelo Russell also commented on the chemistry between him and Spencer Dinwiddie, “I just think when we’re both aggressive it works out best for us. Like I said, as we’re getting games under our belts. I think we’re realizing how to play off each other and be aggressive and kind of playmaking and make things happen every time we get the ball.”

As for the other Nets players making it happen when they got the ball, DeMarre Carroll recorded 19 points (6-of-13 FG) and four rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench for the Nets. Rodions Kurucs, a starter for the Nets and an NBA rookie, posted 13 points, four rebounds, one steal and one block in 22 minutes. Joe Harris also scored 13 points and four rebounds, and; Jarrett Allen registered a team-high 11 rebounds with six points and two assists in 29 minutes.

Leading starting scorers for the Orlando Magic were, Nikola Vucevic, who scored 21 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and four blocked shots; D.J. Augustin registered 19 points, six assists, three rebounds, and two steals; Jonathan Isaac tallied 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and three blocked shots, and; Aaron Gordon added 10 points and six rebounds.

Jonathon Simmons came off the bench for the Orlando Magic and chipped in 13 points and three assists.

Next up: the Orlando Magic head home to play the Washington Wizards on Friday, January 25, 2019. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will also be at home to host the New York Knicks at Barclays Center also on Friday, January 25, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

 

 

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.

In the win against the Orlando Magic, Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points in 26 minutes for the New York Knicks

For the second straight game, the New York Knicks took the floor without Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin. They were able to get a win against Milwaukee Monday night without them as Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, hitting all 12 of his free-throw attempts while battling a tender groin. But last night, it was the Orlando Magic with their 32-18 record taking the floor at Madison Square Garden.

Magic's guard Jameer Nelson took immediate advantage of the Knicks backcourt, scoring 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting. Orlando took an eight-point lead (24-16) with a little less than 3 minutes to go in the first period. New York finished the period outscoring the Magic 9-5 as Steve Novak scored 5 of those points cutting the deficit to 4 (29-25) as the period came to an end.

With Orlando's Dwight Howard on the bench to begin the second, The Knicks scored the first 6 points to take their first lead of the game (31-29). It started a spark that elevated New York to a shocking 16 point lead before halftime (57-41).

With crisp passing on the offensive end and suffocating defense, the Knicks finished the second period on a 26-12 run. It was capped by a Novak 3-pointer at the buzzer. Both Novak and Anthony finished with 13 points apiece to lead New York while Iman Shumpert, inserted into the starting line-up, contributing 10 points. They shot 54% from the floor while limiting the Magic to 40%. Orlando, who relies heavily on their 3-point shooting, missed 11of their first 13 half attempts (15%). Meanwhile, after a rough start themselves, where the Knicks missed seven of their first nine 3-point attempts, they made four of their last six. The momentum they took in with them carried over to the third period.

If this was a boxing match, the refs would have stopped it so Orlando would not have endured further damage. How good did it get for the Knicks? At one point, the Knicks scored 21 straight points, leading by as many as 39 points (88-49). How bad did it get for Orlando? They missed eight of their first 11 shots as they watched New York pull away.

Magic's head coach Stan Van Gundy was not a happy camper in trying to explain the lopsided loss.

"What's shocking to me is that a team that's playing over .600 basketball could get absolutely rocked by as many teams as we have been." On the 21-point explosion, he said, "we got behind, they hit a lot of shots, they got us down and then we just sort of died."

With the Magic having nothing to lose and Howard and Nelson riding the bench dumfounded by how the game got out of hand, the reserves came out and outscored the Knicks 19-8 to creep within 19 (93-74) to begin the final period. Shumpert scored six of the next eight points, putting Orlando out of its misery.

Carmelo Anthony made the most of his evening finishing with 25 points in 26 minutes, his best game so far this season. He rode the exercise bike to keep his tender groin warm when he wasn't in the game.

Said Anthony afterward, "I just wanted to come out with a focus. My shot was falling today."

The New York Knicks have now won eight of their last nine games and their last six-in-a-row at home. They will be without Stoudemire for at least the next 4 weeks and Lin and his tender knee is on a day to day basis. Interim head coach Mike Woodson has no choice but to go with a smaller line-up.

"We will stay that way for a while," he said afterward. "Teams have to match up with us." He hopes the team continues to not only rebound but to keep the turnovers to a minimum. The Knicks out-rebounded the Magic by 15 (49-34) and had seven fewer turnovers (7-18).

They travel to Atlanta Friday night before returning to the Garden to face Cleveland on Saturday night.

Brook Lopez led Nets in scoring, while Kris Humphreys hits his second double-double of the season in Nets win over Magic

With a crowd of more than 16,500 fans, the Brooklyn Nets won its second back-to-back game against the Orlando Magic, with a final score of 82-74 at The Barclays Center on Sunday night.

Brook Lopez led the team with 20 points, while Kris Humphries landed his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 21 rebounds.

Orlando's Glen "Big Baby" Davis finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Orlando only led the game once-- early in the first quarter.

Despite the win, Nets head coach Avery Johnson still wants the team to start growing in areas.

"This is the second time we've had a substantial lead and couldn't hold it," said Johnson.

"Mentally, we weren't ready for a full game. We should've scored more," Johnson continued.

The Nets (3-2) take on Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers (2-5) Tuesday at The Barclays Center.

Brooklyn Nets Defeat Orlando Magic 98-95, on the second night of a back-to-back; Caris LeVert comes up big with 15 hustle points, 8 Assists, five rebounds

Tonight the Brooklyn Nets met up with the Orlando Magic for the third time this season and for their second meeting at the Barclays Center this season. With a team effort, the Nets did not disappoint the hometown fans. Starting the New Year on a good note, the Nets held Orlando to under 100 points and came up victorious 98-95.

What is significant about this win is that it is the second night of a back-to-back, something that this team hasn’t had much success with and tonight’s accomplishment wasn’t lost on Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“It was a good, great way to come back from last night,” Atkinson said. “We played Boston tough and this is a talented team, especially with Aaron Gordon back, so great job by our guys. Great resiliency, we weren’t great offensively but we did it with our defense. I thought we got some real big 50-50 balls and rebounds. Allen Crabbe gets the block at the end of the game, so a lot of guys contributed. Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson), I thought was really good, made some big plays and free throws. A really good team win.”

Crabbe’s block at the end of the game and his career-high total of three blocks for tonight didn’t go unnoticed by the media. When asked about tonight’s block stat, Crabbe told the media, "I'm low key tired of hearing people trying to question my defense.”

Okay, we hear you.

In addition to showing off his defensive chops with three blocks, Crabbe also scored 15 points and eight rebounds.

Brooklyn Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen is blossoming right before our eyes. He led the Nets in scoring tonight with a career-high 16 points. He also added eight rebounds and two blocks.

Caris LeVert scored 15 points, eight assists, and five rebounds for the Nets. LeVert has also registered seven or more assists in each of his last four games, becoming just the second Net since the 1983-84 season to record seven or more assists in four straight games off the bench.

LeVert and Allen are emerging as a dynamic duo. When they are both on the floor, LeVert will find Allen because he knows that unlike a lot of big men, Allen keeps his eye on the ball. To his credit, with just two months of NBA playing time, Allen is being recognized as a “catching and going” type of big man. And, LeVert is not too shabby either as he’s tough to defend with his great on-the-court decision-making.

Regarding his chemistry with LeVert, Allen said, “I don’t know where it came from, but it’s just been there since we started playing together. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

DeMarre Carroll scored a double-double adding 14 points and 10 rebounds, this is Carroll’s fourth double-double of the season, and; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds for the Nets.

Orlando had five players in double digits. Aaron Gordon led all players with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Elfrid Payton added 17 points and seven assists. Bismack Biyombo scored a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds. Also scoring 13 points for Orlando was Evan Fournier, and; Jonathan Simmons chipped in 10 points and five rebounds.

Next up, the Brooklyn Nets meet the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m. According to Atkinson, Nets recent addition from the Philadelphia 76ers, Jahlil Okafor, could make his debut at home for the Nets on Wednesday.

“He’s close. I’d expect to see him against Minnesota,” Atkinson told the media. “I think we’ll start to get him some minutes. He’s been doing a phenomenal job getting ready physically with our assistant coaches learning what we’re doing. Collectively we feel like he’s ready to get some minutes.”

Brooklyn Nets capitalize on Orlando Magic’s weakened defense to treat fans to win at the Barclays Center

In front of a home-opening crowd of 16,144 people at the Barclays Center on Friday, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Orlando Magic 126-121.

Before the game’s start, no one knew what to expect as Jeremy Lin, the team’s leader, was in the hospital. He had successful surgery on Friday morning to repair a season-ending ruptured patella tendon in his right knee that he injured in the season opener against the Indiana Pacers. With Lin out, there was fear that the Nets could repeat a lost season like last season.

So, this win against the Magic felt good. Despite Lin’s absence, it showed that the Nets’ hard work over the summer and the new acquisitions paid off.

"Honestly, that's our brother, so we don't want to forget that. You don't want to forget about him," D'Angelo Russell said. "But going out there I feel like guys knew they had to step up and they did."

Russell, Trevor Booker, and DeMarre Carroll all scored 17 points. Spencer Dinwiddie added 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Booker added 11 rebounds and made the clinching free throws with 0.9 seconds left after Orlando's Evan Fournier missed a tying 3-point attempt. Carroll chipped in eight rebounds to go along with his 17 points.

Even though the Nets had a favorable outcome, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson had some reservations about the win. He gave the team some slack because the players had to get used to new rotations without Lin.

However, not totally satisfied because of the Nets' play on both ends, Atkinson said, "but still, I think we can do a better job than we did tonight."

Atkinson doesn’t want his team to get used to bad habits because they could end up like Magic center Nikola Vucevic on another day. He had a career-high 41 points in 35 minutes. However, it was not enough to lift his team past the Nets, as the Magic broke down defensively.

“Our defense is what lost us the game,” Vucevic said. “We were able to score. We just never got stops, so we never could play our game, which is at a faster pace.”

“It just wasn’t good enough on that end,” Magic head coach Frank Vogel concurred. “You’re not going to give up 126 points and win too many nights.”

But one can bet Nets rookie Jarrett Allen left the Barclays Center feeling good. He scored 9 points, pulled down 2 rebounds, and blocked a shot. Allen even had an opportunity to show off his athleticism. He had a crowd-loving in-your-face slam over Vucevic off of a Dinwiddie pass in the fourth quarter.

Go, Jarrett.

Next up, the Nets play Atlanta at the Barclays Center on Sunday, October 22, 2017, at 3:30 p.m.

Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker, and the Nets bench had a huge night

The Brooklyn Nets are now officially on their “glow-up” tour, as they beat the Orlando Magic 121-111 at the Barclays Center on Saturday evening.

The Nets have now won three of their last four home games. There is a lot to like about how the Nets are playing lately and specifically how the team played against the Magic. The Nets scored a season-high 72 points in the paint, outscoring the Magic 72-32 in the painted area. Hello!

“Brook is really hard to guard down there,” Jeremy Lin said. “We keep trying to find ways to exploit the defense with his size and his touch. I think he’s finding a great balance inside and outside. I felt like he really made his presence known tonight.”

“I thought we were very unselfish today and we got back to moving the ball – that’s the first thing J-Lin (Jeremy Lin) brought out, coming out into the start of the game,” Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez said about what got the offense clicking in tonight’s game.

“I thought we moved the ball very well. Honestly, for me, I thought the bench did such great job tonight. They came in and picked us up in the second and again in the third. They were just spectacular out there and they were the difference tonight,” Lopez continued.

Yep, the Brooklyn Nets’ bench did show out tonight. The Nets’ reserves outscored the Magic’s reserves 72-16. And this was not a fluke, as the Nets’ bench outscored Phoenix’s bench on March 23 with a season-high 81 points and back in January against New Orleans with 73 points.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson liked how his bench played in big spots.

“Similar how teams have done to us, we started to pick them up, we started denying some passes, we got into the ball,” Atkinson said. “It was an overall energy, a youthful energy. Isaiah (Whitehead) I thought was really good, Archie (Goodwin) gives us a big boost with his athleticism and how fast he is and he did a good job defensively…then (Trevor) Booker was really good on both ends.”

Lopez was overjoyed about the Nets reserves.

“It was fun to watch honestly,” Lopez said. “They did it tonight for us – no question. Again, it was just great to see that energy on the floor and our guys were so excited for them on the bench.”

At the end of the day, the game’s outcome is what really matters. However, in the first few minutes, one could not tell that Brooklyn would have such a great night. Orlando came out the gate strong scoring nine points to Brooklyn’s two in less than 3 minutes. However, like a ship in rough seas, the team got righted; Lopez scored 12 points in under 8 minutes during the first quarter. A Booker jump shot at 2:48 in the first, gave the Nets its first lead, 27-26. A back and forth ensued and a Sean Kilpatrick jump shot with less than 11 seconds to go helped the Nets to end the first quarter tied at 33-33.

Brooklyn ended the second quarter 60-53 over Orlando; and then, it was all even 89-89 at the end of the third.

And then came the fourth quarter when the Nets went on an 11-0 run and the Magic, without an answer, could not get over the hump. The Nets’ bench took over offensively and defensively.

Off the bench, Spencer Dinwiddie and Booker helped to break open a big lead for the Nets in the fourth, which did not go unnoticed by Atkinson.

“Yeah, that kind of broke it open,” Atkinson stated. “I thought Spencer made some big plays; he was really good in the pick and roll. His size, he gets in the paint and he’s a tough guy to deal with. Trevor in the pick and roll, in transition, just making the simple play, that was where we were able to break it open a little bit.”

And the performance of the Nets’ bench was certainly on the radar of the Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel.

“I think Brooklyn’s bench came in and took over the game during that stretch to start the fourth quarter to build a big lead,” Vogel said. “I credit their bench.”

“We just really drove the ball well, Atkinson said about the Nets’ overall play. I felt like we were very aggressive to the rim. In transition we got out and got some easy ones, we were really driving it and finishing at a better rate. We didn’t shoot it well from the perimeter, but I thought we got a lot of open looks. But I was pleased with our defense too for the most part. The first quarter wasn’t great, third quarter they got going. (Nikola) Vučević got going. The difference in the game was probably the bench, though. At the end of the day, I thought they really brought great energy, picked up our defense, did a great job of playing together.”

For the win, Lopez scored a game-high 30 points; Booker had a season-high 23 points, he also added eight rebounds; Kilpatrick contributed 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists, Justin Hamilton chipped in 13 points and five rebounds.

To the Magic’s credit, four of its five starters scored over 20 points: Vučević had a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds and Aaron Gordon scored 22 points and 15 rebounds. Although both Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton each had 20 points, Payton had a triple double with 11 rebounds and 11 assists to his tally, which was overshadowed by the Magic’s loss.

The Magic’s loss is the Nets’ gain and Lopez speaking for the team is excited that the hard work, the grinding it out, and staying focus through the losses was very important to getting them on the winning track.

“It was very important, very big,” Lopez said. “We just continually talked about no slippage until the very end of the season – until whatever day, April 12, 15, whatever it is, I’m not exactly sure – but we want to continue to improve, and take every opportunity we can to get better as a team.”

The Nets will be back at it tomorrow for a home back-to-back, as they face the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks at 6:00 p.m.

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