May 27, 2020

Brooklyn Nets defeated the Toronto Raptors 101-91, Caris LeVert recorded a team-high 20 points

Last night at the Barclays Center was a momentous occasion. The Brooklyn Nets ended the Toronto Raptors 15-game win streak for this season by defeating the Raptors 101-91. With the win, the Nets are inching their way back to surpass the .500 mark. Currently, the Nets are now 25-28 on the season with their victory last night, while the Raptors fell to 40-15 for the season following this loss against the Nets.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won By The Numbers

Brooklyn outrebounded Toronto 55-42 (+13), including a 12-6 edge on the offensive glass

The Nets clipped the Raptors 27-21 in assists.

The Nets outscored the Raptors 50-38 in points in the paint.

Overall, both teams shooting percentages weren’t anything to write home about. The Nets field goal percentage was 40.9 percent (36-of-88), while the Raptors field goal percentage was 37.8 (34-of-90). The Nets also shot 25.7 percent (9-of-35) from three-point land versus the Raptors’ 30.2 percent (13-of-43), and; in the land of free, Brooklyn made 80 percent (20-of-25) of its free-throws, while Toronto hit 76.9 percent (10-of-13) of its buckets from the stripe.

At the end of the first quarter, Brooklyn had a four-point lead over Toronto, 23-19, which marked the fourth time this season that Brooklyn held its opponent under 20 points in an opening quarter. The Nets led the Raptors 52-40 at halftime. Toronto’s 40 points marked the second-fewest Brooklyn has allowed in a first half this season. The team that Brooklyn held to the lowest points at halftime, which was 35 points, was the New Orleans Pelicans with no Zion Williamson, which was on December 17, 2019, at New Orleans.

Going into the fourth quarter, Brooklyn led Toronto 75-65. In previous meetings against Toronto this season, the Nets trailed through three quarters in each of their three previous meetings by a total of 22 points. This is another testament that on any given night, even the elite NBA teams can be beaten by teams who have not reached elite status.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on the intangibles that helped his team defeat the Toronto Raptors

“I think I said it before the game, our compete level, our intensity level has to be three levels higher than them to have an opportunity to win the game, said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought our physicality, the things we were missing in the last two games against them, I thought we just raised that. We wanted it bad. The execution wasn’t perfect, but our will to win was at a super-high level. That’s why we came out with the W.”

“I think the process has been right,” Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris said to the media about the team’s defensive effort against the Toronto Raptors. “Sometimes you get a little fortunate, teams are off. I thought tonight and especially against Indiana we just did a better job contesting every shot. We did a good job scrambling around. A lot of times defense gets broken down, but it’s about the second effort, closing out still getting contests. You know, we just talked about trying to be the more aggressive and assertive team on both ends. Especially when you play against quality teams. That’s usually what dictates the game, who is able to establish as the aggressor early on.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert recorded a team-high 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and a season-high four steals in 36 minutes against the Toronto Raptors last night. Joe Harris scored 19 points (7-of-12 FG), six rebounds, and two assists in 35 minutes against the Raptors last night; Spencer Dinwiddie posted 17 points, six boards, and a team-high nine assists in 34 minutes; Jarrett Allen hit a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while adding three assists to his points and rebounds total in 20 minutes, and; Garrett Temple also scored in double figures for Brooklyn last night against the Toronto Raptors with 10 points in 25 minutes off the bench.

Toronto Raptors Scoring Leaders

For the Toronto Raptors, Serge Ibaka led all scorers with 28 points, nine rebounds, and two blocked shots in 35 minutes; Fred VanVleet posted 22 points in 39 minutes; Pascal Siakam registered 16 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in 37 minutes, and; Kyle Lowery contributed 12 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes.

Coach Speak: Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse on what’s ahead for the Raptors going into the NBA All-Star Break

“I think when you look at it in totality, sitting where we are right now, I think we’re extremely pleased to get to this point,” Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said about his team’s status. “The good news is I think we’ll (have) Marc Gasol back after the break. Norman Powell is pretty close as well. Obviously, that’s what is most important, is to get our team back as a whole. I think our team really battled well with a couple of key guys missing. I think we’ve had a healthy team for two games this season, so we’ve done a nice job of plugging in and picking up. In the big scheme of things, you look at the overall of where you’re sitting, and we have to be pleased with that.”

Kawhi Leonard, who last season, helped lead the Toronto Raptors to win its first-ever NBA Championship, is now with the Los Angeles Clippers. Although a follow-up question was asked of Coach Nurse about the makeup of his team this year without Kawhi Leonard, reading between the lines, the real question continues to be, can the Raptors represent the Eastern Conference and win a consecutive NBA championship?

“Well, I think that we’re hoping that some of these guys have taken some steps forward,” responded Coach Nurse. Obviously Kawhi (Leonard) is a late-game closer on both ends of the floor. Pascal Siakam has to assume that role. Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol have kind of stepped forward to assume the secondary role to Pascal Siakam. Fred VanVleet continues to get better. Norman Powell, before he got hurt, was getting better. So probably it’ll be a little more by committee on both ends and trying to figure out matchups. Again, our team has played pretty well. We’ve got some growth to do and we need to do for sure if we want to make a run at it again.”

What’s Next for the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets?

Last night was the last game for both teams before the 2020 NBA All-Star break. The NBA All-Star activities end with the 2020 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16, 2020. The Toronto Raptors will host the Phoenix Suns on Friday, February 21, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET, their first game following the NBA All-Star festivities.

Following the NBA All-Star break, the Brooklyn Nets will play two games on the road before they play at home. The Nets will travel to Philadelphia to play the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, February 20, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET, and then on to Charlotte to play the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 7:00 ET. Next, the Brooklyn Nets will travel home to Brooklyn to take on the Orlando Magic on Monday, February 24, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center.

TIP-INS:

Joe Harris, the 2019 NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest champion, and Spencer Dinwiddie, the 2018 NBA All-Star Skills Contest champion, will represent the Brooklyn Nets during State Farm’s All-Star Saturday night this year. The event will be held on February 15, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET at United Center in Chicago, Illinois and will be broadcast on TNT and ESPN Radio.

 

Allen Crabbe leads Brooklyn Nets scorers with 21 points, as Nets break eight-game losing streak with 104-87 win over Bulls

Last night, Brooklyn Nets fans came out of the doldrums, as the Nets ended an eight-game losing streak with their 104-87 win over the Chicago Bulls and the fans could not have been happier. As the clock ticked down to the final minute at the Barclays Center, Nets fans showed their approval with spontaneous applause.

And, Monday night’s win against the Chicago Bulls was no ordinary win; it is a significant milestone in the recent development of the Brooklyn Nets. This win against the Bulls is the Nets’ 61st game of the 2017-18 NBA season and marks the 20th win of the season for the Nets and matches their win total from all of last season. Moreover, the Nets didn’t win their 20th game last season until their 80th game, which was a home win over Chicago on April 8, 2017.

This game wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. During the first half, the Nets lead by as much as 10 points at 4:27 in the first quarter and ended the first quarter up by nine points. Taking it into to the second quarter, the Nets were up by as much as nine points, 49-40 at 2:24. But by the closing horn of the second quarter, the Nets had lost its edge allowing the Bulls to depart the court at half-time up two points 51-49 and leaving this reporter with thoughts of which Brooklyn Nets team was going to show up in the second-half. Fortunately, the Nets played the second-half with a “take no prisoners” intensity. Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen, with an assist from Spencer Dinwiddie, using a reverse dunk tied the game 51-51 within the first minute of the third quarter. Starting the fourth stanza up 14 points at 84-70, the Nets stayed in control and ended this session with a 104-87 win over the Chicago Bulls, a victory that the team and Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson could feel good about.

“I thought our defense was really good,” Coach Atkinson said regarding the Nets power moves in the third quarter. “I thought our activity was good. I thought we got into them. Spencer (Dinwiddie) starts the first play of the second half, gets the deflection, DeMarre (Carroll) gets the deny and we just kept getting stops and that’s the real story. I think defensively, really good game by us and then 31 assists on the offensive end. I thought we really shared it, really moved it around.”

And, Atkinson didn’t stop there, heaping a whole bunch of praise on Allen Crabbe, who was the Nets leading scorer with 21 points.

“What I’m most proud of, I just told our staff, he was really good defensively also,” Atkinson said about Crabbe whose confidence level has noticeably increased. “When I watch him now, you’re really not worried about him defensively. He’s fighting through screens, he’s breaking up passes and I think that’s been a while now. I’m just glad he’s starting to realize that he can do it on both ends. Then offensively he’s just ultra-aggressive. I still think he can add some things to his game, I still think he can drive it more to the rim with the shot he has, but excellent all-around game by Allen (Crabbe).”

Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg was disappointed that Bulls did not get a “W,” and in his team’s offensive play.

“We missed some easy ones early and I thought that affected everybody, Hoiberg said. “We weren’t getting out with the same aggressiveness in transition. I was really pleased with how we finished the second quarter. I thought we had a really good stretch of basketball, I think we held them to 32 points in the final 22 minutes of the first half and that’s growth for our team.”

“…End of the first half was great and then we came out so sluggish with no energy and the adversity hit and we got stagnant, Hoiberg continued. “It’s just something that has to be a constant, playing through the good times and the bad. Handling adversity well is what you have to do as a young group. Tonight we handled the adversity in the first half but not the second. You have to keep playing through the tough times and we did not do that well tonight.”

In addition to Crabbe, the Nets’ players leading the offense were DeMarre Carroll and Jarrett Allen who both scored 18 points; Allen added nine rebounds and Carroll posted six. Joe Harris added 15 points and seven rebounds. Although newly acquired player, Dante Cunningham, was not a points scoring leader for the Nets, he chipped in nine rebounds (eight of them defensive rebounds). Dinwiddie, who is the NBA All-Star Game’s Taco Bell Skills Challenge winner, wasn’t a leading points’ scorer for the Nets this time around, but he helped his teammates by tallying nine assists and five rebounds.

For the Chicago Bulls, Kris Dunn led all scorers with 23 points. Lauri Markkanen totaled 19 points and six rebounds; Bobby Portia scored 12 points and nine rebounds, and; Denzel Valentine chipped in 11 points and 13 rebounds. It should be noted that Noah Vonleh recorded eight rebounds for the Bulls.

Next, the Bulls travel to Charlotte to face the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, while the Nets travel to Cleveland to meet up with the Cleveland Cavaliers, also on Tuesday.

The next home game for the Brooklyn Nets is against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center.

NBA designed a new format to allow captains of each team to choose their players

The NBA shook things up a little bit with a reconfiguration of the NBA All-Star 2018 teams. This year, instead of an East vs. West NBA All-Star game format with teams comprised of members from their respective conference, each of the two teams will be headed by the top two players who received the most votes. In this case, they are LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Each team captain will then select players regardless of conference.

Below is a list of teams and players: 

Team LeBron

NBA All Star 2018 Team LeBron James photo credit NBA

Starter: Kyrie Irving, G, Boston Celtics
Starter: Kevin Durant, F, Golden State Warriors
Starter: LeBron James, F, Cleveland Cavaliers
Starter: Anthony Davis, F, New Orleans Pelicans
Starter: DeMarcus Cousins, C, New Orleans Pelicans
Reserve: Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards
Reserve: LaMarcus Aldridge, F, San Antonio Spurs
Reserve: Kevin Love, F, Cleveland Cavaliers
Reserve: Russell Westbrook, G, Oklahoma City Thunder
Reserve: Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana Pacers
Reserve: Kristaps Porzingis, F, New York Knicks
Reserve: John Wall, G, Washington Wizards

Team Stephen

NBA All Star 2018 Team Stephen Curry photo credit NBA

Starter: Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors
Starter: James Harden, G, Houston Rockets
Starter: DeMar DeRozan, G, Toronto Raptors
Starter: Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks
Starter: Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
Reserve: Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers
Reserve: Jimmy Butler, G, Minnesota Timberwolves
Reserve: Draymond Green, F, Golden State Warriors
Reserve: Kyle Lowry, G, Toronto Raptors
Reserve: Klay Thompson, G, Golden State Warriors
Reserve: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves
Reserve: Al Horford, C, Boston Celtics


Should Kristaps be more worried about the state of the Knicks than whether he is a starter on an NBA All-Star team?

New York Knicks PF/center Kristaps Porzingis did not get selected for a starting position in the 2018 NBA All-Star game.

Porzingis believes he should be a starter on the NBA All-Star team and says that players know it.

Although Porzingis didn’t make the cut for the starting position on the NBA All-Star team, he was selected for the reserve team.

Did Kristaps Porzingis Get Snubbed for NBA All-Star 2018 Starting Position?

 

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