November 22, 2019

Nets still figuring out their system during their last preseason game, and; group protesting NBA yielding to China caps Nets game

Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets played their last game of the NBA preseason and, in many ways, the Nets cohesiveness was similar to their first opponent of the preseason, the SESI/Franca Brazil Basketball Club. Granted, the Nets were going up against the reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, but with the addition of Kyrie Irving, fans are expecting more.

Some are attributing the Nets’ lackluster appearance to “jet lag” from their China trip, and there is some truth in that reasoning. Anyone who has taken a trip where your destination is more than six hours ahead or behind knows that it takes some time to get your groove back. But Nets center Jarrett Allen threw cold water on blaming jet lag for the team’s defeat.

“We can’t fully blame it on the hangover from China because they (Toronto Raptors) were in Japan,” Jarrett explained. “So, you could say they would have a hangover too. At the same time, we’re still learning our defensive scheme, we’re still learning playing with each other and that’s exactly what preseason is for.”

And, he’s right.

Early on the Nets were very competitive ending the first quarter even at 28 points, but in the second quarter, the Raptors pulled away ending the half with a 21-point lead 74-53. During the third quarter, the Brooklyn Nets, still down, closed the gap slightly 101-84, but ultimately lost 123-107.

“I think the first part of it is that they’re (Toronto Raptors) really good,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson regarding whether the Nets loss was due to jet lag.

“I think they’re one of the top teams in the East and they’re going to compete for the top spots. So that’s the respect I have for them. Second of all, yes, I think that was a part of it. I think that’s the first time Kyrie (Irving) was with that group in a live game. First one, so I think there will be some adjustments there. You could say that the China – kind of hangover or whatever – but I think they were in Japan if I’m correct about that, so I’m not sure what the time difference is, that’s not my area of expertise, but I’m not sure how much that plays into it. I told the guys in the locker room I was a little disappointed. This happens in this league against good teams, but I felt like we lost sight of our principles, our habits, all the things we have been working on. They kind of – poof – they kind of disappeared. So that concerned me. That was everybody, starters, guys that came in off the bench, end of the bench guys. It was kind of a breakdown of all the good things I’ve been saying all camp.”

“Camp has been great,” Atkinson continued. “The two games against the Lakers were really intact with what we’re doing, so I think when we get back to practice, we’ll get back to our core principles. You have to rewind a little bit.”

Kyrie Irving co-signed on Atkinson’s sentiment to some degree.

“They did a great job, Toronto, just stretching us on the 3-point line and I think they hit over 20 threes,” Irving said about the Raptors’ prowess. “Any NBA team that’s hitting over 20 threes is going to be successful out there on the offensive end. We’ve just got to get back to maintaining our principles, our system. Still new on the fly for us, not expected to get it right, right away, and we’ve got time to build. Just take it as a preseason game. For me, personally, I was just happy to be out there. I enjoy the game so much and entertaining, so it was just good to be out there.”

However, Coach Atkinson took it a step further when he responded to a question about whether the Nets' lack of defense was a breakdown of Nets’ principles.

“Yes,” Atkinson responded. “Defense, transition defense, guarding the ball, individual defense. I think it was just a cakewalk to the rim for them. They were in our paint all night. Then we started sucking in and they started kicking out for threes. The offense wasn’t great either, but I think we gave up 47 threes tonight. That’s not how we play. It will be good feedback and information, good film to watch with the guys and kind of restructure what we’re doing.”

On the other hand, Toronto Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse seemed to like what he saw from his team end-to-end.

“It was good,” said Coach Nurse. “I thought I played the seven that I know we are going to play and tried to keep turning it around and that was easy enough to get them in a lot of different rotations and different positions and all that stuff. They were fine. They flowed, it looked like it didn’t bother them much and we’re just giving them some experience. So, on both ends they were good.”

Coach Nurse even liked what he saw at the bottom of his rotation.

Terence (Davis) played good, right,” Coach Nurse asked? “He looked great, looked like he should’ve been in that rotation in the first half and then I thought he, like a young player does, he comes in there and gets a little comfortable and throws it all over the place for two or three possessions. That’s a growing process for him. Right now, he’s a combo guard, probably combo’ing more towards the two. But we would like him to play someone and be our third point guard, maybe, but if not we will just keep him at the two and you’ve heard me talk about it, I think it’s easier to play at the two, not as much responsibility.”

Toronto had seven players scoring in double digits including three off the bench: Serge Ibaka (15 points, 11 rebounds); Norman Powell (11 points, 3 assists), and; Terence Davis (10 points). The Raptors’ starters who were scoring leaders were: OG Anunoby (18 points, six rebounds); Fred VanVleet (16 points, eight assists, and three rebounds); Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol each scored 11 points, and Gasol added nine rebounds and three assists to his total, while Siakam complemented his total points with six rebounds and four assists.

For the Nets, Irving led all scorers with 19 points, four assists, and three rebounds. Both Taurean Prince and Spencer Dinwiddie produced 13 points, with Dinwiddie adding his points off the bench along with four assists. Jarrett Allen added 12 points and seven rebounds; David Nwaba recorded 11 points and six rebounds off the bench, and; Caris LeVert chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Brooklyn Nets start the NBA regular season at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.

TIP-IN: Although there was a group protesting the NBA’s yielding to China, the protestors didn’t catch this reporter’s attention until the game ended when people were filing out of the arena.

Protestors seeking help from Nets and NBA for freedom in China 20191018 214423 600x450

People protesting the NBA’s lack of involvement in helping Chinese and Tibetans gain more freedom from the Chinese government. Photo Credit: What's The 411 Networks, Inc.

 

 
 
 
 

D’Angelo Russell leads Nets with 26 points; but two thrilling overtimes, missed shots, unfavorable calls, and Nets get handed fifth consecutive loss

Wow, wow, wow, what a ride the Brooklyn Nets took its fans on when it played the Memphis Grizzlies last night at the Barclays Center. It took two thrilling overtimes to complete the game, but unfortunately, the Nets came out on the losing end with a score of 135-131. The Nets had their biggest lead of 10 points at 3:52 in the fourth quarter on a Spencer Dinwiddie three-point 25-foot jump shot and then the Grizzlies started to chip away during the waning minutes to end the fourth tied at 111-111.

Then there was the first overtime session, which ended with a score of 117-117 and the second and final session of the game, which led to the 135-131 final score.

“Tough; tough league, tough way to end,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson about how tough of a loss this was for the Nets. “I thought we played a good game and listen – up seven with 33 seconds, the kid makes a heck of a shot, two great shots. I regret we fouled him on that three. Can’t foul him, can’t suck in off the 3-point shooter. We had a guy suck in and then Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) goes to make a contest. You just can’t foul him there and then, hell of a job, he makes a hell of a shot against Jarrett Allen, contested three. That’s on us, but you gotta give them a lot of credit. Give that kid a lot of credit.”

Dinwiddie gave a different perspective of the game as he sees common threads to the Nets’ losses.

“…in a lot of ways it kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Dinwiddie stated. “So, if in the minds for some of the people out there…You know what I mean, like, this one’s going a certain way or whatever, and they have the ability to control that, then it’s going to go that way. (Are) You feeling me? So, there you go.”

In the loss, D’Angelo Russell led Brooklyn with 26 points, eight assists, and three steals; DeMarre Carroll tallied a season-high 21 points and a season-high 12 rebounds in 39 minutes tonight. Ironically, Carroll’s 21 points off the benchmarked the most points he's scored off the bench in a game in his career. Carroll’s previous high was 19 points off the bench with Utah vs. Charlotte on March 1, 2013. Shabazz Napier scored a season-high 18 points, a season-high-tying six rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes. Three Nets players scored 15 points. Jarrett Allen recorded his team-high ninth double-double of the season with 15 points (5-of-5 FG, 5-of-6 FT) and a team-high-tying 12 rebounds in a career-high 39 minutes. He also recorded a season-high-tying five assists. Additionally, Allen shot 100 percent from the field for the third time in his career. In his first start of the season, Dinwiddie also posted 15 points, five assists, and two rebounds in 43 minutes. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, in his seventh game since returning from injury, tallied 15 points with three rebounds in 38 minutes.

Scoring leaders for the Grizzlies were Mike Conley with 37 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds; Jaren Jackson, Jr., registered 36 points and eight rebounds; Marc Gasol scored 15 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and two steals; Garrett Temple tallied 13 points and three steals, and; JaMychal Green chipped in 11 points and four rebounds.

After the work of a two-overtime game, the Grizzlies do have a minute to breathe, as they meet their next opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.

The Nets, on the other hand, only have a few hours to get ready for their next opponent. Next up for the Nets, are the Washington Wizards in DC tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET.

So, will the Nets bounce back?

“We’ve got to bounce back,” Coach Atkinson said. “We’ve got a resilient group. It’s the good thing about having a young group. They’ll bounce back.”

The Memphis Grizzlies lived up to their name on Monday night at the Barclays Center, getting off to a fast and deep start mauling the Nets and ultimately winning the session 112-103.

It wasn’t a blow-out, but with Mike Conley’s game-high 32 points for the Grizzlies juxtaposed to the Nets high scorers Brook Lopez and Spencer Dinwiddie's lowly 17 points each, it just looks worse than it was. But, then again, anytime you lose is not a good thing.

The Nets led the first quarter 19-17 before the Grizzlies went on a 10-0 run ending the quarter 27-19 and then keeping the lead without looking back.

The Nets didn’t go away quietly, scoring 30 points in the third quarter to pull within seven. But, basketball is a game of runs and a Grizzlies run with two minutes remaining in the fourth, kept the Nets at bay.

“They’re an excellent team,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding the Grizzlies. “You know (Mike) Conley really gave us a lot of issues with the pick and roll. I forget, it was you know - made a lot of big shots at the end. It’s tough. They have rollers going down, down the gut of your defense. You have him coming off and you’re trying to – it is a tough play to stop. I thought Brook (Lopez) did a pretty good job on (Marc) Gasol. I thought he fought and did a good job. I just thought the pick and roll defense really hurt us tonight. You know a lot of that has to do with them and Conley, I thought he was really good but I thought we did some good things. I thought we had a ton of looks in the first half, a ton of open looks. I think we were 5-for-19 from 3. We had opportunities, I felt like some decent looks and we just didn’t convert at a high enough level but that is an excellent team right there.”

“That’s a very good team we just played and I think the good thing is we were out there, we competed until the end and we were aggressive and physical with them,” Lopez told reporters post game. “They definitely make their mark by grinding games out and being tough, being physical and I think we responded to that; we didn’t back down, definitely. And we came out in the second half and answered right back and made them call the first timeout.”

For the Grizzlies’ win, Marc Gasol had 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, Brandan Wright added 17 points, Vince Carter put up 14 points, and JaMychal Green chipped in 10 points and six points.

In the loss, Sean Kilpatrick scored 15 points and six rebounds for the Nets. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Trevor Booker each added 13 points, and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.

Next up for the Nets will be the Milwaukee Bucks at home at the Barclays Center, tomorrow, February 15, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.

Joe Johnson Snaps his personal streak of 937 games with at least one field goal

Last night the Memphis Grizzlies came to Brooklyn to play the Brooklyn Nets and it was the Grizzlies’ first game without Marc Gasol, who broke his right foot earlier in the day.

In a pre-game interview, Brooklyn Nets interim head coach Tony Brown spoke about the Nets’ chances against the Grizzlies with Marc Gasol being out of the Grizzlies’ lineup.

“Not having him around obviously helps us a little bit, but then it’s not the end all,” Coach Brown stated.

VIDEO: Watch Brooklyn Nets interim head coach Tony Brown talk about the Brooklyn Nets chances against the Memphis Grizzlies

On the other side of the ledger, Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger was a little concerned about not having Gasol, but wanted to focus on the game with the Nets and would wait until the NBA All-Star break to emerge with a plan to go forward without Gasol.

Regarding the Brooklyn Nets’ chances for a win, Joerger said, “It’s going to be a close game.”

VIDEO: Watch Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger explain the Memphis Grizzlies outlook without Marc Gasol

Coach Joerger’s pre-game interview was followed up by Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley.

Conley said regarding Gasol’s absence, “This team is resilient, we’ve been through a lot of diversity over the years, this is another hurdle, another obstacle to play without our leader, one of the best players on our team, we’re still confident.”

VIDEO: Watch Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley express the team's predicament without Marc Gasol

Okay so, no Marc Gasol. One would think the Nets would have been emboldened by their buzzer-beating win against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night. One would also think that the Nets would have used the opportunity to extend their home-court winning streak to three games. If you are an optimistic soul and said yes, you would be wrong.

The first half looked like it might be a game; the Nets led by five at the end of the first quarter, and only trailed by five at the half. But, in the second half, the Grizzlies sharpened their teeth and mauled the Nets like no tomorrow, ending the third quarter 89-63, and of course, the game at 109-90.

Nets double-digit leaders were: Brook Lopez who finished with 20 points, Wayne Ellington added 18, Bojan Bogdanovic dropped in 11 and Thaddeus Young chipped in 10, as did Markel Brown.

For the Grizzlies, they had seven players score in double digits. Conley finished with 20 points. Interestingly, the next highest scorer for the Grizzlies, Jeff Green contributed 18 points off the bench.

Now, the Nets have lost other games by 20 points or more this season, but this one was different. The Nets’ win against Sacramento and Denver were boosters, and even though Memphis is bound for the NBA playoffs, the Nets had a built-in advantage, no Gasol.

But real the real question on everybody’s mind was how could Joe Johnson end the game with a big fat zero points scored? Prior to last night’s game, Johnson played 937 games with at least one field goal. This was the longest active streak in the NBA. So how did he end up with zero?

“He’s a great pro, man; obviously, it wasn’t his best night,” Coach Brown said about Joe Johnson’s missed field goals. “We were trying to do some things to start the third quarter…..He had some opportunities, but he came up short.”

VIDEO Watch Brooklyn Nets interim head coach Tony Brown explain how Joe Johnson missed scoring a field goal for the first time in 937 games

Thank God for the NBA All-Star break! Also, thank God that the Nets practice facility will now be in Brooklyn starting on Wednesday, February 17, perhaps being closer to the Barclays Center will be helpful to the guys in black and white.

The day after, February 18 at 3:00 p.m., is the NBA trade deadline. Given the team’s performance this season, will the Brooklyn Nets join the shuffle? Only time will tell.

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