June 05, 2020

Caris LeVert led all scorers with 23 points; D’Angelo Russell’s return to the Barclays Center celebrated with an in-arena video tribute

Last night at the Barclays Center, thousands of fans were excited to see the Golden State Warriors on the court. Not to get a Stephen Curry sighting, but to see and welcome back, former Brooklyn Nets player, D’Angelo Russell, who helped to lead the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs last season. The Nets organization also gave thanks to former Brooklyn Nets point guard, D’Angelo Russell, via an in-arena video tribute for his contributions to helping lead the team to the NBA Playoffs last season.

So, what was it like for former teammates to play against one of its former leading scorers?

“Honestly, it was a little weird,” said Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert about competing against his former teammate for the first time since Russell was traded to the Golden State Warriors. “I’ve never played against him before. In my first year, I was injured with my foot, and, obviously, the second year he came here. So, it was a little different, but it was good competing against him for sure.”

As one might assume, preparing for D’Angelo Russell was also part of the coaching strategy.

“Yeah, I do think it helps knowing him, definitely, and knowing how good he is”, said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Obviously, we made a concerted effort to limit his touches. He was 5-for-8 from mid-range in the first half, just so everybody understands that the analytics doesn’t always work out. I don’t know what he was from mid-range in the second half, I would be curious to see, but (a) heck of a player – glad we slowed him down a little. But definitely an advantage when you know a guy.”

Other Factors That Helped the Brooklyn Nets

With no Stephen Curry, the Brooklyn Nets were fired up and ready to take advantage of that particular Golden State weakness. Then the mood of the Golden State Warriors team went south when they learned how the Warriors’ were affected by the looming NBA trade deadline. The Warriors’ management held out Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks as trade chips. Consequently, the respected veteran players did not dress for last night’s game, which affected the Warriors’ game plan and psyche.

Coach Speak: Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on his team’s mood after learning about the looming trade deal

“It was a tough night to go out and play,” Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told the media postgame. “Two of our leaders, elder statesmen, guys who are really beloved in the locker room – for the team to find out that those two guys are most likely going to be traded was pretty tough. We all just found out prior to the game. There’s not a really good way to prepare for a game when something like that happens, and I think it showed. Brooklyn played great, and I give them a lot of credit. I thought they were fantastic. We were definitely affected by the circumstances, and we took it on the chin.”

With the 129-88 wire-to-wire victory over the Golden State Warriors last night, the Brooklyn Nets improved to 23-27 on the season, while the Warriors fell to 12-40 with the loss.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won By The Numbers:

So, how did the Brooklyn Nets defeat the Golden State Warriors by the numbers?

The Brooklyn Nets led by as many as 44 points last night, which marked the Nets’ largest lead in any game this season.

The Nets held the Warriors to .128 (5-of-39) from 3-point range last night, which marked the lowest 3-point field goal percentage for a Nets opponent in a game.

The Brooklyn Nets shot 51 percent (51-of-100) from the field versus the Golden State Warriors’ 36.5 percent (35-of-96)

The Nets outscored the Warriors 68-38 (+30) in points in the paint.

The Nets also shot 41.2 percent (14-of-34) from 3-point range against the Warriors’ 12.8 percent (5-of-39).

The Nets bested the Warriors at the stripe, hitting 13 of 15 (86.7 percent) of their free throws compared to the Warriors’ 13 of 18 (72.2 percent).

Brooklyn edged Golden State 65-34 on rebounding and 29-20 in assists.

Brooklyn led Golden State 40-25 at the end of the first quarter, the most Brooklyn has tallied in a first quarter this season; 68-47 at halftime, and going into the fourth quarter, the Nets led the Warriors 95-64.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on his team’s defensive strategy

“Obviously we knew taking D’Lo (D’Angelo Russell), try to bring his percentages down, that was the game plan – first part of the game plan – and limiting Draymond’s (Green) effect on the game with his passing. And mission accomplished. I like how our young guys finished it, you know, finished the game. They showed real progress. All around good defensive effort.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Against the Golden State Warriors last night, Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert led all scorers; LeVert scored 23 points, a season-high eight assists, along with four rebounds in 27 minutes. Joe Harris totaled 17 points and a season-high-tying nine rebounds in 22 minutes; Garrett Temple recorded 16 points (7-of-11 FG) with two rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes off the bench, and; both Taurean Prince and Rodions Kurucs each scored 12 points. In his 20 minutes on the floor, Prince added six rebounds to his scoring total, and Kurucs in his 27 minutes of play off the bench, added five rebounds to his total points. Meanwhile, DeAndre Jordan, also part of the second unit last night, posted 10 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.

“I think everybody was locked in in terms of what the game plan was, knowing the personnel, knowing who we were shifting off of, knowing who we were staying attached to, trying to take away,” said Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris about using last night’s performance as a blueprint for defensive efforts going forward. “I thought we did a good job just contesting everything too, even if we were in rotations or scrambling, it seems like guys were always getting in to contest. They didn’t have a lot of just clean, open looks. But then a little bit of that I think can be attributed to what I just mentioned, the fact that they are kind of going through sort of an unfortunate time.”

Golden State Warriors Scoring Leaders

For the Golden State Warriors, guard D’Angelo Russell had the hot hand. Russell scored 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 33 minutes; guard Jordan Poole, came off the bench and contributed 16 points, four assists, and three steals in 27 minutes; Eric Paschall posted 15 points and five rebounds; and Kevon Looney registered 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists off the bench in 18 minutes.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on upcoming games against elite teams

“Golden State, I thought, played really well the last three games and this game really worried me, so taking care of business was important,” said Coach Atkinson. “Now we look forward to playing two elite teams in the next three games, and it will be a good test to see where we are. But we know we are going to need our physicality and athleticism to play against those two teams. So, good test coming up for us.”

What’s Next for the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Toronto to play the Toronto Raptors this Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Then the Nets will travel to Indiana to play the Indiana Pacers on Monday, February 10, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. ET, and then will travel home to meet up with the Toronto Raptors again on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Golden State Warriors also have a tough road ahead, they return home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. PT.

TIP-INS:

o Caris LeVert has recorded 20+ points in each of his last two games (both starts), doing so in consecutive games for the first time since November 2, 2018, through November 6, 2018 (three straight games). LeVert has averaged 26.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in 29.4 minutes per game in his last two while shooting .450 (18-of-40) from the field and .556 (5-of-9) from 3-point range.

o In his last three games, Joe Harris is averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 26.7 minutes per game while shooting .537 (22-of-41) from the field and .500 (10-of-20) from distance.

o Last night’s win snapped Brooklyn’s eight-game losing streak against Golden State, which had marked the Nets’ longest active losing streak against any opponent. Prior to last night’s victory, the Nets’ last win against the Warriors came on March 2, 2015, at the Barclays Center.

 
 

Spencer Dinwiddie scores a game-high 28 points in loss; no Kyrie Irving and no Caris LeVert

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Indiana Pacers 115-86, ouch! And, with this loss, a few things were exposed. The Nets need its scoring machine, Kyrie Irving, who at this point in the season is averaging 28.5 PPG. Unfortunately, Irving is out with a right shoulder impingement. They also needed Caris LeVert, who averages 16.8 PPG. LeVert is out after having surgery to repair ligaments in his right thumb. The Nets also could have used a more focused second unit, between them, they only netted 24 points. Perhaps, the second unit needs more practice time with the regular starters or more minutes in real games, whatever the scenario, they need to be ready to produce. Yesterday, they looked lost.

“We totally weren’t there tonight,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson responding to a question regarding what he saw from both teams during Indiana’s 32-6 run. “For whatever reason – defensively, offensively, rebounding, physicality – I just think it was total domination by Indiana. I always do this, in a game like this in the NBA you have to give them a lot of credit because they had a lot of guys out too. So, (a) fantastic job by Indiana, a lot of credit. Nets, we weren’t very good tonight. When that happens, much like Phoenix, it’s a 30-point difference.”

Thank God for Spencer Dinwiddie. If for some reason, Dinwiddie was not in the lineup, the referees would have had to call this game. Dinwiddie was one of only three Nets players to score in double digits. The other two players were Jarrett Allen and Garrett Temple. Dinwiddie posted a game-high 28 points (9-of-21 FG, 4-of-8 3FG, 6-of-7 FT) with a season-high-tying eight assists, five rebounds, a steal and a block in 33 minutes; Allen posted a double-double with 10 points and a team-high 12 rebounds in 24 minutes, while Temple recorded 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a team-high two blocks in 32 minutes. The only other player that came closest to scoring 10 points was Theo Pinson, who came off the bench and scored eight points; even Joe Harris aka “Joey Buckets,” who beat out Stephen Curry to win the 3-Point shooting contest at last season’s NBA All-Star weekend, only scored seven points.

So, what gives? The question of the Nets lacking physicality was a concern that came up during the postgame press conference to which Coach Atkinson addressed, “I think it’s a mindset, first of all. I think you have to come with a mindset and of course you have to come with your wears – your physicality and your toughness. Listen, it’s not like we don’t have those things. We’ve shown we have them, we’ve done it, but right now, below-average teams are inconsistent and that’s what we are right now. We’re kind of like this and until we get the group together and find some more consistency – what’s disappointing, I thought that we took two good efforts at Denver and Utah and then an excellent road win and then obviously to come here, in front of our fans, it just doesn’t feel good at all.”

And, it shouldn’t feel good. It shouldn’t feel good to the coaching staff and it shouldn’t feel good to the players and quite frankly, they all should feel downright disappointed. Even the fans were disappointed, as many headed for the exits when it was clear the Nets weren’t just losing this game, they were going down in flames.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen told the media postgame. “We dug ourselves in a hole. We started out strong and then the second quarter they started playing hard and got the lead.”

Allen is right. The Indiana Pacers didn’t just take over right out the gate. The first quarter ended with a tie, Nets 18, Pacers 18. But, the second quarter is where the Pacers outpaced the Nets 41-17 and ended the half with the score, 59-35. In the third stanza, the Nets went on a run and scored more points than the Pacers (33-25), but not enough to close the gap significantly, as the third quarter ended with a nod to the Pacers 84-68. The fourth was no better, as the Indiana Pacers bested the Brooklyn Nets 31-18 and ended the game with an overall score of 115-86.

“I thought our bench came in and gave us a lift,” Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said explaining how his team found a way to win after a slow start. “I thought Naz Mitrou-Long came in and did a good job of making some baskets. We couldn’t make anything in that first quarter and the bench came in and got us going. They got us a rhythm and the lead, and we went from there. Another team effort tonight. I thought both young guards, Aaron Holiday and Naz Mitrou-Long, did a good job tonight.”

Scoring leaders for the Indiana Pacers were Aaron Holiday who scored 24 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds; Justin Holiday contributed 20 points and four rebounds; TJ Warren contributed 19 points and six rebounds; Domantas Sabonis registered 16 points, a game-high 18 rebounds, and three assists, and; Naz Mitrou-Long came off the bench and chipped in 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

Indiana will now return home to get ready to host the Orlando Magic on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET.

The Brooklyn Nets will get to redeem themselves on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, when they play host to the Charlotte Hornets at home at the Barclays Center on at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 
 
 

Kyrie Irving leads the Brooklyn Nets with a team-high 39 points to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 135-125

It was a close one, but the Brooklyn Nets eked out a 135-125 win against the New Orleans Pelicans sans Zion Williamson. The Nets are not at .500, yet, but improved to 3-4 overall this season with the win, while the Pelicans fell to 1-6.

How The Nets Did It By The Numbers:

The Nets scored 33 points in the first quarter, which marked the most points Brooklyn has tallied in any opening period this season. At the midway point, Brooklyn led New Orleans 67-50, with the 17-point advantage marking Brooklyn's biggest halftime lead this season, also the most points in any half this season.

Brooklyn also recorded a season-high 32 assists, while edging the Pelicans 32-18 in assists. The Nets also posted a season-high 13 steals, led by Taurean Prince (four steals) and Kyrie Irving (three steals).

However, the third quarter was not the Nets’ strong suit, as they allowed the Pelicans to edge them by 11 points (48-37) and therefore shortening the gap ending the third quarter, Brooklyn 104, New Orleans, 98. The fourth quarter was even tighter, with Brooklyn only outscoring New Orleans by four points 31-27, and ending the game ahead by 10 points, 135-125.

Kenny Atkinson on the close call 

“We just found a way,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding how his team was able to hold on for the win. “Crazy game. A lot of back-and-forth. (Brandon) Ingram was phenomenal of course. He hit some tough shots. We took a combination, a haymaker, however, you want to call it – a couple of left hooks in the jaw in the third quarter. I thought in the fourth quarter we did a better job and slowed them down a little, but third quarter, they were unstoppable.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Kyrie Irving led Brooklyn with a team-high 39 points, a game-high nine assists, four rebounds, and three steals in 35 minutes. Caris LeVert posted 23 points with seven rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes; Joe Harris recorded a season-high 19 points with three rebounds, four assists and a steal in 33 minutes; Jarrett Allen came through and totaled a season-high 18 points and 10 rebounds against New Orleans, recording his second double-double of the season, and; Garrett Temple scored in double figures for the second time as a Net and chipped in 13 points, two rebounds, and four assists.

The Closeout

Kyrie Irving spoke on the closing run of the game: “That’s part of my responsibility – getting in the paint I draw so much attention. Being able to see that weak side, guys are putting the triangle on me when I’m driving left or driving right. That’s part of the evolution of my game, just being able to make those plays as often as I can. Whether I’m scoring or whether someone is getting a wide-open shot – just got to trust it. Continue to trust that the basketball gods will reward you for making the right play. I think they did that for us tonight.”

VIDEO: Kyrie Irving on defeating the Pelicans and the Nets' Upcoming 8-Game Road Trip

 

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry speaks on his team digging a deep hole

“We decided to play 20 minutes in a 48-minute game and that doesn’t work out,” responded New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry. “At least it hasn’t in the 31 years I’ve been in the NBA. We have to have the same effort throughout the game. You can’t spot a team 20 points on their home court. That being said, I did think that group that we had in there competed like crazy, got us back to within a field goal. When that happens though and you get yourself that close, it still has to be the perfect storm and it’s not going to happen. There’s no perfect storms in this game. Disappointed in the way we started the game. Really appreciate the effort that we gave to get the game back, but then you have to make every play down the stretch and that’s been something that we haven’t been able to do.”

New Orleans Pelicans' Leading Scorers 

For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram led all scorers with a career-high 40 points, along with five rebounds and assists, respectively. Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball each scored 15 points and three assists, respectively, while Holiday added 7 rebounds to his total; Josh Hart contributed 14 points, 7 rebounds, and four steals, and; both JJ Redick and Frank Jackson each contributed 12 points off the bench.

Brandon Ingram spoke on his career-high scoring last night.

“Like I said, to God be the glory,” Ingram said about his career-high scoring night. “He gives me confidence just to come out here every day and do my job. And my teammates give me a lot of confidence when I come out here, just to keep pushing forward, creating for myself and creating for others, so I just felt like I was in (a) rhythm. I still missed some layups, still missed a couple shots, still missed some threes, so I could have done better.”

Ingram gets his next opportunity to do better this Friday, November 8, 2019, when the New Orleans Pelicans host the Toronto Raptors. Game time is at 7 p.m. CT.

The Nets on the other-hand, embark on their season-long five-game road trip, beginning in Portland this Friday, November 8, 2019, and ending in Chicago on November 16, 2019.

The Nets will return home to the Barclays Center on November 18, 2019, to meet up with the Indiana Pacers at 7:30 p.m.

 
 

Kyrie Irving leads Nets with 28 points and Spencer Dinwiddie accumulates 20 points off the bench in the loss to the Indiana Pacers

Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon, and T.J. Warren accounted for 95 of the Pacers’ 118 points; add in Myles Turner’s seven points and the Pacers’ starting five accounted for 102 of their 118-point winning total. Compare the Pacers’ starting five’s 102 points to the Nets’ 72 points from its starters, of which Irving contributed more than a third with 28 points. Caris LeVert totaled 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists in 33 minutes, and; Joe Harris added 13 points and two boards in 30 minutes. With just eight points, Nets center DeAndre Jordan didn’t break through the 10+ threshold to be a “point-scoring leader”, but he more than made up for his 23 minutes on the court, pulling down 17 rebounds.

The Nets needed its bench to step up, but only Spencer Dinwiddie scored in double-digits with 20 points and a team-high seven assists in 27 minutes of play. Except for Dinwiddie, the Nets’ bench was abysmal. How does Rodions Kurucs justify just two points in 20 minutes of play?

Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson on the Game

“We're not really running anything,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about his team’s offense. “In training camp, you're practicing a lot, you have (a) nice flow, you kind of know what you're doing. I think we've lost a little bit of our structure and organization, which is natural with a new team and new guys. Like, I said, I think we have to play with each other more, get to know each other more, get on the same page in all aspects."

The Nets were in the game through the first half, leading the Pacers 63-60. But the Pacers started “out-pacing” the Nets in the third ending the quarter 90-83 and continued their winning pace into fourth.

So, what changed in the third quarter?

“I think our turnovers hurt us,” Coach Atkinson told the media.

Brooklyn turned the ball over eight times compared to Indiana’s two.

“Just overall, they dominated us physically, tactically,” Coach Atkinson continued. “It could have been a lot worse; we've got a lot of things to figure out. It's just a turnover thing, I don't remember seeing a stat line like that since I've been here, so it's just finding that balance. We’ve really got to get to know each other better, I think that's part of it. I knew Indiana was coming in here 0-3 and they've kind of historically took it to us physically and they did again tonight. (A) good lesson for us."

Kyrie Irving concurred, “they just got some separation. (We) turned the ball over a few too many times throughout the game. They were just comfortable, played with a sense of desperation. (Domantas) Sabonis got it going in the paint and had a really good game. (Malcolm) Brogdon hit some really good shots, and they have (Jeremy) Lamb filling in right there and T.J. (Warren) getting some backdoor cuts. Four of the main guys scoring over 20 points; it’s going to be hard to sustain any lead that we have.”

Particularly when you can’t figure out a way to stop them and the team is missing shots.

As for the Pacers’ perspective after getting their first win?

“It feels great,” said Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan. “These guys stay(ed) with it. We talked about having to be patient with this group. I thought tonight we did a better job of organizing on the offensive end of the floor. The defense was connected out there and with the injuries, guys kept believing and staying with it and we got out first win.”

Up Next

The Indiana Pacers will return home to Indianapolis to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets better bring their A++ game on Friday, November 1, 2019, or it probably will be ugly. They play host to James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Houston Rockets team at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The game time is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

 

With the NBA blockbuster signings during this NBA off-season, Caris LeVert, a young star will continue to shine in Brooklyn this season

From the moment the Brooklyn Nets acquired guard Caris LeVert in an NBA Draft night trade with the Indiana Pacers in 2016, you knew there must be something special about this young man. Why else would Nets general manager Sean Marks, who was only an NBA general manager for four months, risk his career giving up Thaddeus Young, a serviceable player, for an unknown rookie? Even though Nets ownership gave Marks wiggle room, he couldn’t totally strikeout. To many NBA observers at the time, this move was a head-scratcher.

Today, the Brooklyn Nets announced the signing of guard Caris LeVert to a three-year contract extension, one day after his 25th birthday.

So, how has LeVert performed over the years?

LeVert has appeared in 168 career games (61 starts) across three seasons with the Nets, recording averages of 11.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.0 steals in 24.8 minutes per contest.

This past season, LeVert set single-season career highs in points per game (13.7) and rebounds per game (3.8), which marked his third straight season of improvement in both categories, to go along with 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 26.6 minutes per game through 40 contests (25 starts). The 25-year-old averaged 18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 29.7 minutes per game in his first 13 games prior to suffering a foot injury, and he capped off the 2018-19 campaign by registering averages of 21.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 28.9 minutes per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from 3-point range in Brooklyn’s five postseason games against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Caris personifies what it means to be a Brooklyn Net, and we firmly believe his best basketball is in front of him,” said Marks. “The growth he has displayed in his first three seasons is a testament to his tireless work ethic, along with an unrelenting will to maximize his talents and achieve team success. Our entire organization is excited to continue to have Caris as one of the leaders of our program moving forward.”

Although the Nets did not disclose LeVert’s deal in financial terms, Adrian Wojnarowski reported the deal to be about $52 million dollars for three years.

 

Dwyane Wade scores a triple-double for the Miami Heat in the last NBA game of his career, which was at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY 

Wow, what an NBA season it has been for the Brooklyn Nets. During the 2018-19 NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets have seen their share of adversities, but managed to push through and earned an NBA playoff spot. This will be the Brooklyn Nets first appearance in the NBA playoffs since 2015. Few observers at the beginning of the season predicted this team would be in the playoffs, as this season alone has been a rough ride getting here. Nevertheless, on Sunday, after defeating the Indiana Pacers, 108-96, the Nets improved its overall record to 41-40 and clinched a playoff spot.

With the Detroit Pistons’ losses and Orlando Magic’s wins against their respective opponents between Sunday and Wednesday night, the Nets earned a sixth-seeded playoff spot in the NBA Eastern Conference last night after defeating the Miami Heat 113-94.

D’Angelo Russell led the Nets with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 20 minutes. Shabazz Napier posted 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists in 30 minutes off the bench; Rodions Kurucs totaled 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals in 28 minutes; Treveon Graham added 11 points, and; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert each chipped in 10 points respectively. Hollis-Jefferson, who came off the bench, added 12 rebounds, three assists, and three steals to his points total, while LeVert added three rebounds and four assists.

Miami Heat’s guard Dwyane Wade, who played his last NBA game last night, scored a triple-double: a game-high 25 points, a team-high-tying 11 rebounds, and a game-high 10 assists in 36 minutes. Also, for Miami, Duncan Robinson accumulated 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists; Derrick Jones Jr. registered 13 points and four rebounds; Udonis Haslem scored 12 points and 11 rebounds, and; Bam Adebayo chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.

It was fitting that Dwyane Wade, who was playing the last game of his NBA career, scored a triple-double on his way out the door, but it almost didn’t happen.

“Yeah, probably literally an hour before the game he and I were talking,” Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told the assembled media postgame. “He had been on the table. The entire time he was here he did a bunch of treatment – at the hotel this morning. This morning he texted me saying he didn’t know if he would be able to go. He asked me what I thought, how he could make it worthwhile for everybody. He felt such a responsibility. We just said okay, we’ll see how you feel after treatment and get a little more rest until we get to the arena. I talked to him an hour before tip and he still didn’t feel great. His knee, his leg, wasn’t moving great. Just in typical Dwyane fashion he just figured he had to be there.”

“Since so many Dwyane Wade and Miami fans showed up, he felt such a responsibility,” Spoelstra continued. “That’s so awesome. I said this before – his next book has got to be called Moments. He knows how to capture moments as well as anybody that’s ever played this game. To play this game when he didn’t feel great and get a triple-double and get his last assist to Udonis Haslem the definition of capturing these moments and really giving everybody what they wanted.”

Asked whether he could have scripted it any better with a triple-double in his last game, Dwyane Wade responded: “No, I couldn’t have. Coming into a game like tonight, a bit out of the playoffs, for myself, these are tough games to play when you’re not playing for anything. I’m not the kind of player that will come out and just shoot the ball every time. Coming into the game, I wanted to see what I could do. To be able to help my teammates, definitely helped me out a lot to hear everyone cheering for me, to be able to go out that way was pretty cool. I don’t think about the Kansas game, but it was the same way in college. I got a triple-double towards the end then so that was pretty cool.”

With all the love heaped on Dwyane Wade last night, it was a challenge for the Brooklyn Nets to stay focus on the goal of getting a win despite having clinched a playoff spot, but with some work, they managed.

“You have to stay locked in,” Nets guard D’Angelo Russell said. “But all the love and support that he has brought to this game and the love and support that he is getting on his way out is well deserved. You have to figure out a way to stay locked in but participate in the festivities as well. That dude is a legend. Just to see him on his way out like that, for me, it’s special. I got to be a part of Kobe’s (Bryant) and his, so I take that in a lot. It’s great to be on the floor.”

You can watch the first game featuring the Brooklyn Nets against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs on Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Philadelphia at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The second game is scheduled for Monday, April 15, 2019, at 8:00 p.m., and can be seen on TNT. Next, the Nets return home to the Barclays Center to play Game 3 on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at 8:00 p.m., and Game 4 on Saturday at 3:00 p.m., also on TNT.

 

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.”

In the Nets’ game loss, a phenom in the making emerges, Nets rookie Rodions Kurucs leads all Nets players with a career-high 24 points

Seven.

Seven was the number of consecutive wins the Brooklyn Nets had heading into their game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. Unfortunately, the Nets could not keep pace with the Pacers (pun intended) starting in the first quarter and lost 114-106.

In addition to snapping their season-high seven-game winning streak, the Nets fell to 15-19 overall and 7-11 at home, while the Pacers improved to 21-12 overall and 10-7 on the road with the victory.

With the Nets experiencing so many losses, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the team has had win streaks in the past. This current win streak matched the team’s longest winning streak since relocating to Brooklyn for the start of the 2012-13 season. The Nets winning back-to-back games in this fashion and at this time had many sports reporters talking about the Nets who wouldn’t have otherwise because the Nets win streak marked the longest active winning streak in the NBA.

Yesterday's breakdown for the Brooklyn Nets came in the first quarter when they ended the quarter with a 10-point deficit 37-27 and didn’t gain much in the second, ending that stanza 59-49. Brooklyn closed in on Indiana in the third, but still fell short by four points, finishing the third 84-80, and similarly, in the fourth, the Nets just couldn’t make up enough ground. The Pacers outscored the Nets in the final quarter by four points 30-26 and ultimately winning the game 114-106.

“We could really never stop them,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters after the game. “We didn’t stop them all night. I think we got in a big hole – 37-point first quarter and then (in the) fourth quarter we couldn’t stop them either. We tried some different things. We tried mucking up the game a little, some different defenses, and never found that key to stopping them.”

Despite the outcome of tonight’s game, there were several bright spots for the Brooklyn: a season-high .516 (16-of-31) from 3-point range including .647 (11-of-17) from 3-point range in the second half, which also marked a season-high for 3-point shooting percentage by the Nets in a half this season, which also included 7-of-8 from 3-point range in the third quarter, matching the team's highest 3FGM total in any quarter this season.

Additionally, the Nets edged the Pacers 28-24 in assists and also outrebounded Indiana 41-29, including an 11-6 edge on the offensive glass. Actually, when it comes to rebounding, the Nets have been on a roll, they have outrebounded their opponents 353-292 (+61) in their last eight games. The Nets’ bench also outscored the Pacers’ reserves last night 43-29. Entering the game against the Pacers, the Nets’ bench ranked fifth in the NBA with 45.4 points per game.

It was a special night for Nets rookie forward Rodions Kurucs, he led all Nets scorers with a career-high 24 points; he also registered three rebounds, one blocked shot and one steal in 34 minutes.

Last night’s game also marked Kurucs’ first-career 20-point game and the first time Kurucs has led the Nets in scoring; all the while proving each game with attitude and performance that he belongs in the NBA and perhaps in the Nets starting line-up. His four made 3-pointers marked a career high, while his six made field goals matched his career high. Kurucs has scored in double figures in four of his last six games and has averaged 12.3 points per game in those six outings.

When asked about his role and continued growth, Kurucs responded, “I mean, it’s been good. I’m enjoying it every day. I don’t really have much to say. Like before I said, I’m enjoying it every day. I enjoy the team, the guys, the staff, everyone. I just love to be here. I just love to help the team.”

Other Nets starters in double digits were Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Joe Harris who scored 13 points each, along with five and four rebounds respectively, and; Jarrett Allen tallied 10 points and five rebounds. D’Angelo Russell who had a rough scoring night with only three points contributed nine assists.

DeMarre Carroll led the Nets’ second unit with 16 points and four rebounds; Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 15 points and nine assists, and; Jared Dudley chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one blocked shot.

For Indiana, Victor Oladipo led all scorers with 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and two steals. Former Nets players, Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 and 17 points respectively; Myles Turner registered 15 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and five blocked shots, and; Domantas Sabonis came off the bench and chipped in 17 points and three steals.

Next up, the Indiana Pacers will return home to host the Washington Wizards on Sunday, December 23rd at 5:00 p.m. ET. The Brooklyn Nets will host the Phoenix Suns at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn also on Sunday, December 23, 2018, at 6 p.m. ET.

Nets center Jarrett Allen now in the NBA history books simply by blocking a LeBron James Dunk

Oh, how sweet it is, to coin a phrase from Jackie Gleason, an early 20th Century comedian from Brooklyn. Right now the Brooklyn Nets and their fans are savoring the sweet because the Nets won their sixth straight game last night against the Los Angeles Lakers 115-110.

This wasn’t just any ole Los Angeles Lakers. This Lakers team features LeBron James, the best all-around player in the NBA and one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. The Lakers also have rising stars Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, and an NBA standout Lance Stephenson from Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School. Even with this firepower and James leading all scorers with 36 points, the Lakers were no match for the Brooklyn Nets.

Within two minutes, the Nets put their stake in the ground when Nets center Jarrett Allen blocked a dunk by LeBron James, leading to shockwaves around the NBA. Allen, only in his second year in the NBA, is now the eighth player to block James, a four-time NBA MVP. James has 1,850 dunk attempts and has only nine denials. Let that sink in for a minute.

So what was going through Jarrett Allen’s mind when he attempted to block LeBron James’ dunk?

“He came down the lane and it was just going up to contest the shot,” Allen said matter-of-factly. “It’s LeBron (James), so I had to go up with some extra emphasis, and then I ended up getting it.”

So, let’s get inside the head of a 20-year-old going up to contest LeBron James.

“I’m going to say my quote growing up: ‘Either way, you’re going to be on the highlight.’ If you go up and you block it, you’re going to be on the highlight. You get dunked on, you’re going to be on the highlight. So just go up and protect the rim,” Allen added.

Talk about fearless! This kid is greatness in the making. Allen recorded eight rebounds along with two steals and two blocked shots.

D’Angelo Russell is another young man coming into his own. This was the first opportunity that Russell was available to play against the Lakers since they traded him to Brooklyn. And, of course, the general consensus is that a player in this situation is always ready to turn up.

When asked the question, Russell responded: “No. Honestly, the crowd was electric in there. You could feel it. The Lakers were in town, so we wanted to give them a run.”

“He hurt us,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton, said about D’Angelo Russell. “He’s a talented player, and we know that. When we forced him right and we were up shocking the ball I thought we did a pretty good job on him. When we let him dance and get to his left, he hurt us. Give him credit. He had a big-time game tonight. That’s why this team (Brooklyn) has won six games in a row. They have a lot of different guys that can hurt you.”

Russell led all Nets players with 22 points, 13 assists, and four rebounds. If you still think Russell wanted to prove something to the Lakers, then you might as well spread that thought over the entire Nets team, as six of the nine players in the rotation scored in double digits. Starters Joe Harris, aka “Joey Buckets,” tallied 19 points and four rebounds; and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson registered 17 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the Nets’ second unit, recorded 18 points and six assists; Jared Dudley and DeMarre Carroll each chipped in 13 points with five and three rebounds respectively.

When Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson looks at this win against the Lakers he sees a “Team victory”.

“Everybody that came in contributed. I thought Jared Dudley was huge making smart plays at the end of the game. DeMarre (Carroll) was good. I thought everybody that came in – that’s the only way you have a chance to beat this team, is if everybody plays well, and I thought they did.”

Looking at the two other Lakers’ scoring leaders, Lonzo Ball, who was sort of a laughing stock in his rookie season mainly because of his father LaVar Ball, and the way he shot the ball, contributed 23 points, six rebounds and, three assists. Kyle Kuzma tallied 22 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists.

Next stop for the Lakers is New Orleans, as they will go against the Pelicans on Friday, December 21, 2018.

For the Nets, they have a back-to-back; they face the Chicago Bulls tonight in Chicago at 8:00 p.m. The Nets are also at home on Friday, December 21, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. to play the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Nets defeat Philadelphia 76ers 122-97 and contained Joel Embiid to just 16 points

It was Marathon Sunday in New York City and the Philadelphia 76ers probably felt like their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday was a marathon they couldn’t wait to see come to an end. The Nets took the Sixers off their game and cruised to a comfortable 122-97 victory at the Barclays Center. With the win, the Nets improved to 4-6 this season (3-2 at Barclays Center), while the Sixers fell to 6-5 (0-5 on the road).

A notable metric from Sunday is that the Nets forced a season-high (and NBA season-high) 28 turnovers on the Sixers, which marked their most turnovers forced in a game since March 7, 2014, vs. Boston (also 28 turnovers). Another remarkable stat is that Brooklyn also committed a season-low nine turnovers, good for a +19 turnover margin, which marked the Nets’ largest positive turnover differential in a game since the 2002-03 season on January 17, 2003, against the Toronto Raptors, which was also +19.

Individual Nets players have been having a great start to this young season, lifting above their own records. Caris LeVert, who has been having a break-out season scored 20 points tonight, his sixth 20-point game of the season (in his 10th game), matching his total from all of last season. LeVert didn’t register his sixth and final 20-point game of the 2017-18 Season until March 19, 2018, against Memphis. And, tonight, he scored 18 points in the first half, which marked the highest-scoring half of LeVert’s career. Keep an eye on LeVert, as he is an NBA All-Star in the making.

In addition to LeVert, other Brooklyn Nets scoring leaders are part of the team’s young core. Starting PG D’Angelo Russell, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, each scored 21 points. Hollis-Jefferson, who is coming back from injury, was part of the second-unit and added six rebounds and three assists to his total, while Russell added six assists and just one turnover in his 25 minutes on the floor. Starting center, Jarrett Allen, in his second year with Nets and the NBA, registered a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. This is Allen’s third double-double of the season, an improvement over his total four double-doubles in his rookie season. Spencer Dinwiddie, also part of the second unit tonight, tallied 12 points and eight assists; while Joe Harris, as a starter, chipped in 11 points and three assists.

For years, the Nets’ Achilles heel has been the third quarter. But not tonight, as Brooklyn scored 41 points in the third quarter alone, which wasn’t lost on Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“That’s where you’re like, decent first half,” Atkinson stated. “The third quarter is going to decide where the game goes. So, again, we made shots too. That helps a ton. I think we scored 41 points in the third quarter and kept our defense sharp. And like we talked about before the game, closing a really good team out, that’s the tough part. So I thought we handled that. I thought we were really good to finish it out.”

“We wanted to close them out in that third,” LeVert added regarding the Nets scoring 41 points in the third quarter. “We knew it could go either way, they could make a run or we could make a run, and we wanted to throw the first punch there.”

VIDEO: IN HIS OWN WORDS: CARIS LEVERT

The Nets had only nine turnovers versus the 76ers’ 27, an indicator that Brooklyn handled the ball well while putting defensive pressure on Philadelphia.

“I don’t know the numbers…,” Russell responded. “But as far as getting in the passing lane, anticipating passes and anticipating their plays, we did a good job of that.”

“Defensively, Brooklyn was good and we were not,” stated Brett Brown, head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. “I give Brooklyn credit.”

Philadelphia did take the first quarter, leading the Nets 21-18. Even at the end of the first half, no one could see a slaughter-fest in the making, with the Nets having a four-point lead of 51- 47. Additionally, the Nets have a history of collapsing in the third quarter. But, not tonight, the second half just didn’t go right for the Philadelphia 76ers, which left Coach Brown befuddled, the Nets ended the third stanza 92-75, and the final quarter 122-97.

“I think it was a combination of some frustration on offense and with our inability, at times, to guard them one-on-one,” Brown said about what didn’t go right in the second half. “Brooklyn did a good job of making shots. I thought they did a really good job of hitting rollers and finishing or throwing lobs for dunks. In general, it was a poor performance that was unexpected and nobody is going to overreact to it, but that’s the lay of the land. That’s what happened. That’s the way I see it.”

Philadelphia scoring leaders were Ben Simmons with 20 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Joel Embiid registered 16 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists. JJ Redick scored 15 points in 27 minutes off the bench. Dario Saric added 14 points and three rebounds, and; Landry Shamet came off the bench to chip in 12 points.

The Sixers will travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Nets will embark on a four-game road trip (their second-longest road trip of the season), beginning on Tuesday night in Phoenix to play the Phoenix Suns.

The next time the Nets will play at home at the Barclays Center will be on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at 7:30 p.m., against the Miami Heat.

 

TIP INS - The Nets Moving in the Right Direction:

• The Nets scored 39 points off Philadelphia’s 28 turnovers, which marked their most points scored off an opponent’s turnovers since the 2002-03 season (47 points on 11/22/02 vs. Cleveland).

• Brooklyn’s nine turnovers were good for a +19 turnover margin, which marked the Nets’ largest positive turnover differential in a game since the 2002-03 season (+19 on 1/17/03 vs. Toronto).

• The Nets registered a season-high 70 points in the paint, which marked their most points in the paint in a game since the 2016-17 Season (72 points in the paint on 4/1/17 vs. Orlando).

• The Nets have recorded 60+ points in the paint three times through 10 games after doing so twice all of last season.

• Brooklyn tallied 41 points in the third quarter, which marked the Nets’ highest-scoring quarter of the season and their third-highest-scoring third quarter in Barclays Center history (since the start of the 2012-13 season).

• The Nets improved to 9-4 all-time against the Sixers at Barclays Center, matching their most wins against any opponent at Barclays Center (also: nine wins over the Orlando Magic).

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