January 24, 2020

Spencer Dinwiddie leads all Brooklyn Nets’ players in scoring and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was the only other Net to score in double digits

Yesterday, was the day after Christmas and most people in and around the Barclays Center were filled with good cheer. Of course, Brooklyn Nets fans were expecting the 16-13 Nets to be able to handle their business over the lowly 7-24 New York Knicks. But the Nets put up very little effort and someone forgot to tell the Knicks players that it was the day after Christmas, and it would be okay if they slacked off. So, instead of a Nets win, the Knicks pulled off an embarrassing upset.

How The Nets Lost By The Numbers

The Nets shot 26.9 percent from the field (21 of 78) versus the Knicks’ 40.2 percent (37 of 92). From behind the arc, the Nets hit 13 of 50 (26 percent) buckets and the Knicks weren’t much better at 9 of 29 (31 percent), but they didn’t have to be. From the line, the Nets made 27 of its 36 free-throws versus the Knicks’ 11 of 15. The Knicks also outrebounded the Nets 60-50.

Looking at how the points were distributed among the players, New York boasted four players scoring in double digits to the Nets’ two.

For the Knicks, Julius Randle led all scorers with 33 points and eight rebounds; Marcus Morris, Sr. posted 22 points and eight rebounds; Elfrid Payton contributed 13 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, and; Mitchell Robinson registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Meanwhile, only Spencer Dinwiddie and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored in double digits for the Nets. Dinwiddie scored 25 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, while Luwawu-Cabarrot made the scoring leader cut with 10 points.

So, what the hell happened? How does one explain the Nets’ poor performance against the New York Knicks?

“For us, we held them under 100 points, which was the target,” Dinwiddie explained. “We also shot 27 percent from the field. Let’s go with too much eggnog. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Perhaps, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson can shed more light on his team’s disappointing loss.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on his team losing to the New York Knicks

“They just outplayed us, plain and simple,” Coach Atkinson explained. “You could sit there and write or talk about missed shots – and we missed a lot of open shots – I don’t buy that. Give them credit, they were just simply the better team. Take the missed shots out. They were excellent defensively at the rim. They obviously guarded the 3- point line well enough for us to miss a ton of threes. I thought our defense, besides the third quarter, our defense was good. This is one of those nights where you just have to give the other team credit.”

And the Knicks didn’t waste any time taking credit and who could fault them for claiming a win they rightly deserved.

Coach Speak: Mike Miller on how the New York Knicks were able to defeat the Brooklyn Nets

“I like the start,” said New York Knicks head coach Mike Miller. “I thought our guys played with great energy. I thought we really had a great focus. Brooklyn is a very good offensive team. They probably felt like they missed some open looks and opportunities, but I really felt like we did a good job with how we started just making them go through us to make some plays. I think that really helped us in the beginning. It got us off to a great start. I love the effort that we played with and how connected we were tonight.”

“Games are so different,” Coach Miller continued as he reflected on the Knicks’ 121-115 loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday night. “Game to game things can be different. The game on Monday we got off to a great start, we just didn’t sustain it. So tonight, I was really pleased because we played a very good offensive team and they hit you so many different ways. As you go in when you play a team that good you have to try to slow them down somehow.”

What’s Next for the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets?

The New York Knicks head to Washington to take on the Washington Wizards on Saturday, December 28, 2019, at 8 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets begin a three-game road trip at Houston, also on tomorrow, Saturday, December 28, 2019, at 8 p.m. ET, then it’s on to Minnesota to play the Timberwolves on Monday, December 30, 2019, at 8:00 ET; Thursday, January 2, 2020, they travel to Dallas to meet up with the Dallas Mavericks at 8:30 p.m., before facing the reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, at the Barclays Center on Saturday, January 4, 2020.

Hold the eggnog!

 
 

LeBron James makes his teammates better;…but…They don't want to have that scrutiny

KEISHA: Welcome back to What's The 411Sports? I'm going to start off this segment by just asking a simple question. Why don't people want to play with LeBron James?

Mike.

MIKE: Well, I think there's a few reasons. I mean, you know. One reason is that LeBron James has made the NBA finals every season since 2011 and I feel like when you're on a team where it's NBA finals or bust, it almost takes some of the fun out of playing, right, because you have this high-pressure mentality. So there's no question that the, you know, the pressure is always on when you're playing with LeBron James.

The other thing is that LeBron James has never been one to shy away from throwing his teammates and coaches under the bus, right? He's had a history of doing this throughout his whole career and the evidence is it's proven. But I think that it's easy to say people don't necessarily like playing with LeBron James, but what about like you go ask a guy like Mike Miller who really resurrected his career by playing with the Miami Heat where they won those two championships. I guarantee you that if you were to ask him. Did you enjoy playing with LeBron James? Of course, the big thing with LeBron James is he makes his teammates better? I think that's the number one reason why he's the top player in the NBA, is because the other four guys that are on the court with him automatically become better players because LeBron can hit them when they're open. LeBron plays such good defense that he's going to find the open man when he makes a steal. He's very good on the fast break despite the fact that he's getting up there in years.

But I think also, you know LeBron has never one to shy away from controversy. So there's always some drama that surrounds him. But I think it's easy to jump on him and say people don't like LeBron people don't want to necessarily play with LeBron but that isn't the case.

Remember how excited the Cleveland Cavs were specifically Kevin Love when he found out that he was going to be teaming up with LeBron James and I know that kind of played out a little bit differently. They did wind up winning a championship together, but I think it's a mixed bag. I think that there are some players that would not want to play with LeBron.

They don't want to have that scrutiny, but then I think that there are guys that would definitely salivate at the idea of teaming up with one of the greatest players of all time.

KEISHA: LeBron is such a presence. I mean, he just, just because of who he is. He's just otherworldly talented and he is a superstar and uber superstar. If you just want to put it even higher and in a League that is driven by stars, what he wants he's going to get, people are going to cater to him. Even Magic Johnson and company at the Lakers they're going to make sure that LeBron James is happy. When they were courting him, Magic Johnson showed up I mean, at least I think an hour earlier, or so before he was going to meet LeBron James because he knew it was that important that he didn't miss that opportunity to meet with him and talk to him and convince him to join the Lakers.

Now. I think that if you are a star and a superstar in your own right, it becomes difficult to play with LeBron because it's not going to be your team. And, you know, there's ego involved. There's machismo, like I'm just as good as you, in theory. Why can't I get this? Why can't this be my team? Why am I automatically pushed aside? So I think that's why you have people like Kyrie Irving and maybe Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, stars and superstars in their own right who don't want to be part of the LeBron James Show.

MIKE: Right.

KEISHA: Because they're going to be the supporting cast. When I was reading some articles the one thing that somebody said was that in order to play with LeBron James you have to specialize in something. You have to suppress some parts of your game to fit in with him and what that does for you long-term, who knows, you know, if you don't use it, you lose it I guess.

Miami Heat defeats Oklahoma City Thunder 86-85; Kevin Durant misses a last-minute shot that could have tied the game

Like the unpredictability of the stock market on a daily basis, trying to pick the winner of this year's NBA Championship on a game-by-game basis has been just as difficult. Game 1 saw the Miami Heat jump out to an early lead, only to have the Oklahoma City Thunder storm back (no pun intended) and steal the victory.

The Heat got off to an even bigger lead in Game 2 but the Thunder, after a furious comeback saw their star Kevin Durant miss a last-second shot that would have tied the game. With the series tied at one game apiece, the scene shifted to Miami for the next 3 games.
Oklahoma, playing in one of the loudest arenas in all of basketball, did not allow Miami to get off to a fast start as they did in the first two games although the Heat never trailed in the first period. LeBron James scored 10 points and Chris Bosh, starting his second straight game, chipped in six. Prior to the game, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks was asked if Bosh is all the way back from the injury that kept him out for all but one game in the Indiana series and all of the games against the Celtics.

"I think he's fine," Brooks opined. "I think anytime you step on the court, you are 100 percent."

Miami extended their lead to eight points in the second (30-22) after a Mike Miller block of a Kevin Durant shot led to a James lay-up. The Thunder responded by outscoring the Heat 24-17 the rest of the way to trail by 1 at the half. Durant and Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma with 13 each while James added six more. OKC's defense stifled Miami as they just shot 41% from the floor missing 7 of 9 three-point attempts. The Thunder took that momentum and carried it over to start the third.

Trailing by three (49-46), the Thunder takes the biggest lead of the game 64-54 after crafty veteran Derek Fisher nails a 3-pointer, getting fouled by James Harden. He calmly sinks the free-throw making him only the 12th player to accomplish such a feat. It must have awakened the Heat, as they went on to outscore Oklahoma 15-3 the rest of the way to take a 2 point lead (69-67) entering the final period. Dwyane Wade scored 6 of those points with James hitting a 3-pointer to give them the lead. It set up yet again a final period to what has been a stomach-turning series for both teams and their fans.

For more than 8 minutes, neither team could extend the lead to more than 4 points. Then James follows a dunk with a free-throw putting the Heat up by 7 (84-77) with 3:47 to go. Trailing by seven again, the Thunder clawed back to within one (86-85) with 6 straight points. That's as close as they would get as Miami hit five of their last six free-throw attempts. The Thunder did not help its own cause melting down by turning the ball over as Westbrook inexplicably threw the ball in the wrong direction after missing a three-point attempt.
Miami escaped with the win and a two-game to one lead in the series despite shooting only 37.8% from the floor and a skinny 30.8% from 3-point land. When your team converts 31 of 35 free throws, while the other team misses 9 (15 of 24) it makes a big difference in the outcome.

"I think what we focus on is every game is a different challenge," Heat's head coach Erik Spoelstra said afterward. "You have to find ways to put yourself in the position to win."

Brooks didn't come across as deflated noting that as in the other two games, this game was just as intense.

"I thought we did some good things, he said. Give them credit. They're a very physical team. I thought both teams played as hard as they can play."

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