April 20, 2019

Nets hit 19 3-pointers; D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with 27 points and Shabazz Napier gets his first career double-double against the Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets may be No. 2 in the NBA Western Conference, but there is something about the Brooklyn Nets that the Nuggets just can’t shake. The Nets became the second team this season to sweep the Nuggets (2-0), the other being the Milwaukee Bucks. And, because teams only play teams outside their conference twice in a season, there won’t be an opportunity for the Nuggets to even the score, so see you next season.

Perhaps, the Nuggets got too comfortable with their 14-point lead in the first quarter. Or, perhaps it was Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s decision to pull starting forward Rodions Kurucs, who wasn’t as productive as he could have been, and slide in DeMarre Carroll in his place, but whatever the reason, in short order the momentum changed. The Nets ended the first quarter down five points, Nuggets 35 – Nets 30. Brooklyn turned up the heat in the second leading by as much as 14 points at 5.6 seconds before ending the half up by 12 with a score of 72-60. The Nets saw more gold in the third quarter ending it up by 21 with a score of 108-87. Now, the Denver Nuggets are No. 2 in the Western Conference for a reason, and in the fourth stanza, the Nuggets dug deep into their inner being and gave the Nets a run for the money. Fortunately for the Nets, the Nuggets couldn’t seal the deal and the Nets won 135-130.

With the win, the Nets improved to 29-27 overall and 17-12 at Barclays Center and besting last season’s win total of 28-54, a huge accomplishment.

“I think it’s a sign of real progress,” Coach Atkinson said about the Nets’ current standing in the NBA. “It’s a sign that we’re a little ahead of schedule – I don’t want to get too excited because I look at the schedule for the rest of the year, but this was one of those games I looked at the schedule and said this is gonna be a tough one to get. But, I’m proud of the guys, proud of the organization. We’ve reached this victory mark this early – it’s a sign of real progress.”

At the end of a game, there are some coaches that take a loss and don’t show their disgust or disappointment in their team’s performance. However, last night, Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone gave kudos to the Brooklyn Nets, and overall, he was not happy with his some of his starters.

“The 3-point line was a byproduct of the real difference in the game which was how hard Brooklyn played,” Coach Malone told the media. “I think it’s a shame I have to take five starters out in the third quarter because you’re not playing at the level you’re supposed to play. This is a game of mistakes, you’re going to make mistakes, and you’re going to miss shots. Things are going to happen but when you’re out there and you’re going through the motion, that’s one thing I can’t stand to watch and will not stand to watch. I was really happy and proud of the guys who went into the game in that third quarter. They got us back in the game and gave us a little bit of life. Nineteen threes is an awful number, but alarming for me is back-to-back games when we have guys out there in our starting lineup and not playing as hard as they need to play.”

Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell explained how the Nets were able to take advantage of the Nuggets.

“I think it’s just us figuring out how to win,” Russell said. “Last year we were in this position a lot of the times and it came down to that – figuring out how to win situation. I think we were really putting our foot on that.”

And, on how good it felt as a group for the Nets to get their offensive groove going after Monday night’s shellacking by the Milwaukee Bucks, Russell said: “It’s special. To be honest, we got our guys coming back. We’ve been doing this without our guys so just to get our guys back in one at a time and keep that groove going, I think it’s really special.”

D’Angelo Russell was one of seven Nets players scoring in double-digits against the Denver Nuggets. Russell led the Nets with 27 points (6-of-9 3FG), six rebounds and 11 assists in 35 minutes and registered his single-season career-high sixth double-double in the process. And, he will now play in the NBA All-Star game replacing the Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo who is out with an injury. DeMarre Carroll, posting his third double-double of the season, recorded 18 points, 10 rebounds, a career-high-tying six assists and a season-high four steals (matching the most steals recorded in a game by any Net this season) in 28 minutes off the bench. Joe Harris scored 17 points (7-of-13 FG, 3-of-6 3FG) with five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 32 minutes. Treveon Graham tallied 16 points (6-of-9 FG, 4-of-6 3FG) – marking his second-most points scored in a game in his career – with three rebounds, two steals and, an assist in 23 minutes. Both Jarrett Allen and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson logged 15 points and Allen added five rebounds to his total. Shabazz Napier, part of the Nets second unit last night, posted his first-career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 11 assists in 27 minutes.

For the Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic registered 25 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists; former Nets player, Mason Plumlee, posted 24 points, six rebounds, and three blocked shots; Jamal Murray accumulated 19 points, 11 assists, and three rebounds; Monte Harris, came off the bench and scored 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists; Malik Beasley, a starting guard, tallied 17 points, and; Trey Lyles, a member of Denver’s second unit chipped in 15 points and five rebounds.

With Plumlee being a former Nets player, of course, someone had to ask Coach Malone about Plumlee’s performance last night.

“He was everywhere,” Malone responded. “The guy was blocking shots on defense, running the floor and finishing around the basket. He was screening, rolling. What didn’t Mason Plumlee do to start that game? Literally, Mason was everywhere. Mason played hard. Mason cared. Mason left everything he had on the floor until he fouled out. You have to give a guy who plays that hard respect.”

Yes, you should.

So, what’s Denver’s next move?

The Denver Nuggets will be in Philadelphia tomorrow, Friday, January 8, 2019, to play the Philadelphia 76ers.

Meanwhile, the Nets will still be at home and will host the Chicago Bulls, also tomorrow, Friday, January 8, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

 

 

Nets in striking distance of Bucks through first-half, but overwhelmed by Bucks in 3rd quarter 36-22; Nets still 6th in NBA Eastern Conference

The Brooklyn Nets have been undergoing a rough patch lately. All teams in the NBA go through a backward slide during the NBA season at some point or another, even the reigning NBA champion, the Golden State Warriors, as of today, has lost 15 games this season. However, when you’re fighting for relevancy and trying not to fall out of NBA playoff positioning, you have little room for error and so is the case for the Brooklyn Nets.

Last night, and every game at this point and going forward is important for the Nets. Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Nets couldn’t pull off a win against the Milwaukee Bucks, the current number 1 team in the NBA. The Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets, 113-94. With the loss, the Nets fell to 28-27 overall and 16-12 at Barclays Center. Meanwhile, the Bucks improved to 39-13 overall and 17-9 on the road. There’s little surprise that the Nets would lose to a team aiming to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, but the play of game exposed how Nets player injuries have put a serious dent in the Nets ability to keep pace with an elite team operating at full strength.

Even Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer agrees.

“Brooklyn’s really banged up so it’s almost not fair,” Budenholzer said graciously. “But for us on the end of a road trip, it’s a good win.”

Budenholzer highlighted key elements that helped the Bucks pull off a win against the Nets: “Really good win. The focus coming out of the halftime was really good. Khris (Middleton) had a stretch there for two or three minutes -- kind of put us on his back, and obviously, Giannis is special. I thought the defense between (Eric) Bledsoe and Malcolm (Brogdon) on D’Angelo Russell and Shabazz Napier was very good.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson sees a silver-lining ahead for his team, as Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe will be at a full-on practice today.

“Progressing great,” Atkinson said about LeVert during his pregame press conference last night. “He will practice with the G-League team tomorrow, a full-on practice. Allen Crabbe will be in that bucket too and then we will evaluate after the practice, but both of them (are) progressing nicely.”

Nets guard D’Angelo Russell is chomping at the bit for Crabbe and LeVert’s return to the lineup because he knows how much their return will help the team.

“A lot, a lot, a lot,” Russell said about how much getting Crabbe and LeVert back in the lineup would help the team. “It’s forcing Coach to really go deep in the bench (player absences), but you get that caliber of guys back and you’re at another level, so the sooner the better.”

In addition to LeVert and Crabbe being out for the Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie, a team leader, is also out. Dinwiddie underwent successful surgery last week to repair ligaments in his right thumb. There is no timetable for his return as yet. And, Nets center Jarrett Allen acknowledges Dinwiddie's importance to the team and what the Nets are missing without Dinwiddie’s presence.

“Just Spencer driving to the rim,” Allen said. “Just Spencer being able to create space. Just him all around.”

Regarding Nets scoring leaders, Russell led the Nets with 18 points and five assists in 29 minutes against the Bucks. Shabazz Napier, who made his second start for the Nets last night, recorded 15 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 28 minutes. Theo Pinson added 10 points, a career-high-tying eight rebounds, and two assists in 26 minutes off the bench.

Although (Jarrett) Allen did not score in double-digits, he led the Nets in rebounding with 11.

For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 30 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists, and three blocked shots; Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 points and eight rebounds; Eric Bledsoe registered 15 points, five assists, five steals, and three rebounds, and; Khris Middleton chipped in 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.

The Bucks are heading home to Milwaukee to host the Washington Wizards, tomorrow, Wednesday, February 6, at 8 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Nets will stay at home and host the Denver Nuggets at the Barclays Center on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Deron Williams out of Nets lineup and "next man up" mentality propels Nets to a victory; Brook Lopez thanks fans for NBA All-Star Support

Despite Deron Williams missing his second straight game of the season, the Brooklyn Nets managed to defeat the Denver Nuggets 119-108 Wednesday night at Barclays Center.

The 119 points were a season-high for Brooklyn, topping the 115-point game against the Sacramento Kings on January 5.

Brooklyn was led by Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, and C.J. Watson, who each scored over 20 points. Watson replaced Deron Williams in the starting lineup.

Williams has missed 23 games since joining the Nets, including the Nets' wins over the Pacers and Nuggets this week because of inflammation in his ankles.

When all was said and done, Williams' replacement scored a season-high 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting and five threes.

Denver was led by Ty Lawson, who had 26 points and 9 assists in the game.

Lopez who finished the game with 23 points, acknowledged the fans at Barclays before the start of the game, expressing his excitement for the All-Star game Sunday.

After the game, the 24-year-old center told reporters that he was "thankful" and admitted he heard the "Lopez All-Star" chant while sitting on the bench.

"I'm expecting to have a lot of fun. The guys have been great so far," Lopez said on February 13 in an interview.

Kris Humphries, who has been dealing with an ongoing divorce battle with estranged wife, Kim Kardashian, provided much of the offense of the first half for the Nets.

Humphries scored 10 points in just 10 minutes. The Nets shot 9-of-14 from the 3-point line in first half and ended the half with a 62-57 lead over Denver. Despite NBA trade rumors, Humphries finished with 14 points.

The Nets (31-22) will play the Milwaukee Bucks on February 19 at the Barclays Center.

In a tale of two halves, the Nuggets defeat the Nets 124-111 at the Barclays Center

In a game where the Brooklyn Nets ended the first half with a 63-60 lead against the Denver Nuggets at the Barclays Center, it makes you wonder what happened during the halftime break. A one-sided, lop-sided third quarter saw the Nets shoot 1-for-15 to start the second half allowing the Nuggets to outscore Brooklyn 34-6 over the first 8:15 of the quarter to run their lead to 94-69. Ouch, yes really ouch.

In the fourth quarter, the Nets got close, 106-95 with 8:49 to go, but a pivotal moment came when Denver’s Gary Harris scored a 3-pointer for Denver and the Nets just couldn’t close the gap.

So how did the Nets start the downhill slide?

“I thought we were pretty good defensively for three quarters and the third quarter we gave up 40 points,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Felt like the ball stopped moving collectively and sometimes bad offense turns into good offense for the other team. Just a disappointing third quarter, I think that’s where they got their edge. ”

“Defense,” explained Nets guard D’Angelo Russell. “We struggled to get stops, they capitalized. That was it.”

“Teams are good, so when you turn the ball over or struggle to get good offense, other teams will make something happen out of that – and they’re a great offensive team so, like I said, they made something happen,” Russell continued. “I think we started playing harder, but it was too late. It kind of knocked us back and woke us up at the same time. Just try to go into games and not need that wake-up call for us to get going and play harder.”

Spencer Dinwiddie scored a career-high-tying 22 points for the Nets with four rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes off the bench. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 18 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes tonight, and Joe Harris tied his season-high with 16 points. Timofey Mozgov recorded a season-high 11 rebounds to go along with seven points in 21 minutes.

For Denver, the scoring leaders were Jamal Murray with 26 points, and Nikola Jokic had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

The Nets take on the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

Lopez scores 24 points; and Booker, Bogdanovic, and Kilpatrick come up big in the final seconds

The Brooklyn Nets held off the Denver Nuggets for an 116-111 victory on Wednesday night.

For once, the Nets didn’t have a third quarter meltdown; they went into the fourth 96-79.

Brooklyn led by as many as 29 points midway through the third quarter, but Denver closed the gap to 103-99 in the fourth on Kenneth Faried's layup with 4:31 left. And, it was almost as my colleague says, “the same ole Nets.”

"Look at the positive, I think we took a punch, two punches, maybe five punches and we got off the floor and finished it out," Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said.

Yes, the Nets did finish it out. With fans sitting on pins and needles, Bojan Bogdanovic and Sean Kilpatrick each made two foul shots in the final 13 seconds to help secure the win for the Nets.

Here’s the breakdown. Nets power forward Trevor Booker went 1 for 2 at the line with 13 seconds remaining for an 112-109 Nets lead. Denver’s Jameer Nelson then threw away the inbounds pass after a Denver timeout, and Bogdanovic made two free throws with 12.7 seconds left.

After Wilson Chandler hit a driving layup for Denver, Kilpatrick made two foul shots to help secure the win for the Nets.

"It's a confidence boost for me when I know my teammates are counting on me with the ball in my hands towards the end," Kilpatrick said. "I'm trying to make sure I make the right plays, especially down the stretch."

In the win, the Nets had six players score in double digits. Brook Lopez scored 24 points, eight rebounds, and four assists for the Nets. Kilpatrick had 22 and six rebounds, Bogdanovich added 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and Booker posted 15 points and 12 rebounds. Coming off the bench for the Nets, Joe Harris chipped in 16 points.

In the loss, Chandler led all scorers with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Will Barton had 15 points, and Nelson and Nikola Jokic each scored 14.

“It’s hard to look back at this game because when you play like that and come back, you just think of all the mistakes you made and the stuff you did to get down, but at that point, it’s a winnable game,” Chandler said. Now we can’t look back and dwell on it too much because we play tomorrow.”

The Nets will be off for two days and then the team will meet up with the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday in San Antonio.

 

 

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