November 15, 2019

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.

 
 

Taurean Prince leads Nets with team-high 27 points in 123-116 win over the Houston Rockets

One always hopes for the Brooklyn Nets to win even when powerhouse teams like the Houston Rockets come to the Barclays Center. But if not, at least be competitive. Considering the way the Nets have been playing as of late, no one in their right mind would have bet the farm on a Nets victory against the Rockets, one of the elite teams in the NBA. However, last night, had you bet the farm, you would have come up big as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Houston Rockets 123-116.

There is something about the Brooklyn Nets and the Houston Rockets because this isn’t the first time the Nets have beaten the James Harden-led Rockets. Last season, on January 16, 2019, the Nets bested the Rockets 145-142 in overtime. Last night, with the firepower of both James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Nets’ once-again found the winning formula to get the W.

With the win on Friday night, the Nets improved to 2-3 overall this season, while the Rockets fell to 3-2 with the loss.

By The Numbers

Brooklyn shot 49.4 percent from the field (42-of-85 FG) and 59.4 percent from 3-point range (19-of-32 3FG), both season highs, while holding Houston to 41.4 percent shooting from the field (41-of-99 FG) and 25.0 percent shooting from distance (12-of-48 3FG).

The Nets also outrebounded the Rockets 55-40 and edged the Rockets 26-21 in assists on Friday. Brooklyn’s 55 rebounds marked a season-high and its 26 assists are a season-high in a regulation game.

This game was no walk in the park for the Nets, as the Rockets did present some obstacles. The Nets ended the first quarter down by nine points, 34-23, and at 8:21 in the second stanza, the Rockets led the Nets by 15 points 45-30. However, Brooklyn righted itself and outscored Houston 71-50 in the second and third quarters combined; ending the second quarter up two with a score of 61-59, and by 12 at the end of the third, 95-83. The Nets led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter and the Rockets chipped away at that lead, but when it was all said and done, the Nets held the off to win by seven, 123-116.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on the Game and his players

“I thought our defense was really good third quarter,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson in explaining one of the keys to defeating Houston Rockets. I thought we came out really good, and overall the defense was against an explosive offensive team. I thought our defense kind of kept us alive.”

Kind of?

“A lot of guys played well,” Atkinson added commenting on the Nets’ scoring effort. “I thought that’s what we need going forward. We can’t rely on Kyrie (Irving) every night to be Superman. And he was good tonight, but we need other guys in a supporting role.”

Last night, Taurean Prince was one of those guys who let his presence be known. Prince led the Brooklyn Nets with a team-high 27 points, a career-high-tying 12 rebounds, of which 11 were defensive rebounds.

“He was big,” Atkinson said about Prince. “Just toughness, obviously he made shots – that always helps. I thought his defense was really good. He gave us some relief. He played (James) Harden a little bit. He played (Russell) Westbrook. He was big tonight.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

When asked about Atkinson’s praises of his effort against Houston, Prince responded: “That means a lot to me. I hold myself accountable for a lot of things besides scoring. That’s the type of player I want to be, and I’m glad he’s holding me to that expectation. I plan to uphold that for now and as long as I’m in the league.”

Other Brooklyn Nets scoring leaders included Caris LeVert, who tallied 25 points (8-of-15 FG, 8-of-9 FT) with four rebounds, four assists in 32 minutes against the Rockets. Kyrie Irving notched his first double-double as a Net with 22 points and a game-high 10 assists and four rebounds in 34 minutes; Garrett Temple had a huge night, recording 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots, Temple’s first time scoring in double digits this season, and; Joe Harris contributed 15 points, nine rebounds, and three steals in 34 minutes against the Rockets.

Coach Speak: Mike D’Antoni on the Brooklyn Nets

“Brooklyn played well,” said Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni. “They hit a bunch of threes the whole game. I thought we guarded them pretty well, they just knocked them down. We tried to get it close and eke one out, but we just weren’t sharp. We looked a little fatigued, we’ll get there. Maybe we got tired. I’ll have to go back and look at it harder. Maybe Brooklyn just played better and started hitting hard shots. Who knows? We just have a lot of things to tighten up. We have to get better production out of certain people defensively. It was a great game. We’ll move right along."

VIDEO: James Harden Gives Credit to Brooklyn Nets

When James Harden was asked what needs to change defensively, he responded, “Nothing, we did an unbelievable job. I think the two games that we lost we were up 15 and I think we just relaxed, we get comfortable, but again it’s still early. We’ve got to learn how to, when we go up double-digits and 15-point leads, sustain it and even try to take it to another level. Another learning experience, I think we fought hard all four quarters. They made some big-time shots, some of their role players made some big-time shots and you got to just give them credit."

VIDEO: Russell Westbrook Not Worried and Talks About What Really Matters

Russell Westbrook was a little more succinct in his response to what changed defensively for the Rockets in the fourth quarter and the game overall.

“We got stops,” Westbrook stated. “We started off getting stops. We had a lead ourselves, then we relaxed and didn’t lock in defensively for 48 minutes.”

Houston Rockets Scoring Leaders

For the Houston Rockets, James Harden led the all scorers with 36 points, 8 assists, and five rebounds; Russell Westbrook scored 27 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds; Danuel House, Jr. recorded 15 points and five rebounds, and Clint Capella chipped in 10 points and four rebounds.

What's Next?

Up next for Houston: The Rockets will travel to Miami to play the Heat on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will travel to Detroit and play the Pistons later tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET and return home to play the New Orleans Pelicans minus Zion Williamson on Monday, November 4, 2019, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

 
 
 

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.”

D’Angelo Russell leads Nets scorers with 22 points; Nets Sitting Right Outside 8th Seed in NBA Eastern Conference

It's January 2nd and it's supposed to be cold, but it's not. Today, the Brooklyn Nets fought off the New Orleans Pelicans, with one of the best players in the league in the name of Anthony Davis and sent them home in defeat to the Nets 126-121.

The Nets playing with poise and skill improved to 18-21 overall and 10-11 at the Barclays Center, while the Pelicans fell to 17-22 overall and 4-16 on the road with the loss.

D’Angelo Russell led all Nets scorers and starters with a team-high 22 points, a career-high-tying (and Nets season-high-tying) 13 assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Other Nets starting players scoring in double-digits were Joe Harris who scored 21 points (9-of-16 FG, 3-of-4 3FG) with two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 29 minutes; Rodions Kurucs and Jarrett Allen each scored 10 points, while Allen added 11 rebounds.

DeMarre Carroll led the Nets bench with 19 points, six rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie added 18 points, and four assists, and; Shabbazz Napier chipped in 12 points and four assists.

Ed Davis, not a prolific scorer, led all Nets rebounders with 12 rebounds.

When asked about the effort from the Nets’ bench, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson responded: “It’s a heck of a win against a very good team, so great job all around. I thought everybody contributed – big play from all the guys. I thought we were very balanced, and the bench was great.”

Brooklyn’s bench is legendary; it outscored New Orleans’ reserves 55-5, yep 55-5. Entering tonight’s game, the Nets bench ranked second in the NBA with 46.3 points per game.

As good as the Nets scoring leaders were, Pelicans’ Anthony Davis led all scorers with 34 points and 26 rebounds. In fact, all of the New Orleans Pelicans scored in double digits. Elfrid Payton had 25 points and seven assists; Julius Randle registered 21 points, four rebounds, and two blocked shots; Jrue Holiday posted 20 points and four assists, and; E'Twaun Moore chipped in 16 points and two steals.

Even with the firepower from the Pelicans starters, it just wasn’t enough.

“Brooklyn started out shooting the ball extremely well,” New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry told the media postgame. “We got behind and you’re playing uphill. We know the story. We’ve seen the story before. We’re playing uphill – it’s extremely hard against a team with that talent level that has the ability to score. Once again, you’re talking about a perfect storm to get back and we almost got there but we just didn’t. You can’t start the game and get that type of separation and think that against a team with that kind of firepower that you’re going to be able to get all the way back.”

“We weren’t playing good defense,” Pelicans forward Anthony Davis echoed. “The whole first half they did what they wanted. They didn’t feel us on the defensive end. We weren’t physical. We weren’t talking. They had a lot of layups, a lot of open threes. They shot the ball well in the first half.”

Each team will have another opportunity to gain a win this weekend. The Nets will travel to Memphis to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, January 4, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Pelicans will be in Cleveland to face off against the Cavaliers on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at 8:00 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.

Down by as much as 28 points, the Nets tie the game to send it into OT on an Allen Crabbe 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation

Saturday’s Brooklyn Nets game against the New Orleans Pelicans was schizophrenia on display. In the first half, it was the timid, sluggish-looking, run over me Nets, as they ended the first-half with a 20-point deficit, New Orleans 72 and Brooklyn 52. A really ugly way to start a professional basketball game, and it didn’t end there. The Nets carried their slow-start style into the third quarter and dug even a deeper hole, as midway through the third quarter the Nets were down by 28 points (89-61). And, it was at that point, it was as if the team had a light bulb moment that there was a way to dig out of the hole they had gotten themselves into. The Nets went on to cut their deficit nearly in half and ended the third quarter only down by 15 points, 100-85. In the fourth quarter, powering through and chipping away, Brooklyn closed the gap and on an Allen Crabbe 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation, tied the score at 116-116 and forced overtime. Oddly enough, it was an Allen Crabbe bobble-head doll night.

Brooklyn took its first lead of the game with 3:45 remaining the game’s first overtime period and led by as many as four points before being outscored 14-4 in the game’s second overtime period to seal a Pelicans’ win.

So what changed?

“…We obviously started the game small,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media post-game. “We started with DeMarre (Carroll) at the four and then we put DeMarre back at the three and we brought Quincy (Acy) in, so we were just bigger. Being bigger helped us rebound and really helped us immensely.”

“I think in the second half we got ourselves in a big hole again, and we owe it to our fans not to get blown out like that,” Crabbe said. “Obviously, we didn’t play like us, as an organization wants to play in the first half, so Coach didn’t even come in and yell at us. He said y’all figure it out and get it together. I feel like we had a good effort in the second half but you can’t keep playing catch up all the time. It was a big hole, 27, 28, I guess we were down. Like I said, in the NBA, you can’t do that. We gave ourselves a chance, but didn’t make the plays we needed to make down the stretch.”

Crabbe scored a team-high 28 points (10-of-24 FG, 8-of-18 3FG) with six rebounds, one assist and, one steal in a career-high 44 minutes on Saturday for the Nets. Spencer Dinwiddie recorded 24 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and three steals in a career-high 43 minutes tonight vs. New Orleans. Dinwiddie posted his sixth-career double-double (and fifth this season). He also became the first Net to record a points/assists double-double in consecutive games since Deron Williams in the 2014-15 campaign (4/6 – 4/8/15). D’Angelo Russell posted 21 points (7-of-18 FG, 5-of-13 3FG, 2-of-2 FT) with a season-high nine rebounds, five assists and one steal in 32 minutes off the bench. Both DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris tallied 12 points, while Harris 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a career-high-tying two blocks in 34 minutes in his ninth start of the season for Brooklyn. Additionally, Harris recorded his second-career double-double tonight (previously done for the first time on 1/6/18 vs. Boston). Carroll added nine rebounds and five assists to his 12-point total. Newly acquired Dante Cunningham made his Nets debut tonight and recorded two points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 20 minutes off the bench. For New Orleans, Anthony Davis led all scorers with 44 points and 17 rebounds. Rajon Rondo scored a triple-double with 25 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. Jrue Holiday added 22 points, seven rebounds, and five assists; Nikola Mirotic had 21 points and 16 rebounds, and E’Twaun Moore chipped in 12 points. All was not lost for Brooklyn as its bench outscored New Orleans’ bench 44-14, during Saturday’s duel. With 21 points off the bench, D’Angelo Russell single-handedly outscored New Orleans’ reserves.

Next up for Brooklyn, it plays the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, February 12, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at home at the Barclays Center.

Turnovers and missing crucial plays cause Nets to lose to Pelicans 104-95; Jeremy Lin still inactive with hamstring injury

January 12th was an unseasonably warm winter day in Brooklyn as the Nets welcomed the New Orleans Pelicans to the Barclays Center. After the final buzzer sounded, the Pelicans left the arena holding a 104-95 victory over the Nets, making it eight straight losses for Brooklyn.

Coming into the game both teams were without their marquee names, Pelicans big man Anthony Davis and Nets point guard Jeremy Lin were inactive. So, would the Nets take advantage of the absence of the dominating force in the paint that is Anthony Davis? The Nets got off to a hot start with Joe Harris scoring five of Brooklyn’s first 10 points but shooting over 60 percent from the field and beyond the arc propelled the Pelicans to a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Undeterred, the Nets offense outscored the Pelicans 26-16 in the second quarter, dominating the paint to the advantage of fourteen points. Brooklyn held a 57-51 lead at the close of the half.

The Nets continued to take advantage of Anthony Davis’ absence in the lane by scoring 50 points in the paint. Brooklyn’s defense clamped down in the quarter forcing the Pelicans to commit turnovers which converted into points for the Nets. As well as Brooklyn was scoring, they struggled from beyond the arc.

Even though the team possessed a six-point lead going into the last quarter, closing out games has been an issue for the Brooklyn Nets this season. New Orleans tied the score and a back and forth battle ensued. Sean Kilpatrick’s three-pointer around the 5:40 mark gave the Nets a three-point lead, one they kept for the next two minutes until the Pelicans began a 10-0 scoring run aided by missed shots and turnovers by Brooklyn.

On his team’s performance to end the game, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson asserted “we really struggled to score the ball. We had a few turnovers and just didn’t make the plays. We could do a better job executing down the end.”

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez was the high scorer on the Nets with 20 points and six boards. During the game, the Nets attempted 42 three-pointers but only made nine (21.4%). Some of those shots felt ill-advised considering the low completion rate but the Nets kept shooting.

When asked about the number of threes attempted, Lopez said, “we feel that if we move the ball and it is an open, good look, then we are confident in it.”

It was a tough loss for Brooklyn as they enter a tough stretch of basketball as they face the likes of the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets, a fact acknowledged by Harris.

“I mean, this month of January is especially tough just because of the number of games we’re playing, a lot of back-to-backs,” said Harris. “... going to Toronto tomorrow and then coming back and playing against Houston, two of the best teams in the NBA right now.”

In the loss Nets’ backup guard Sean Kilpatrick led Nets players with 15 points

Today, the brunch-time crowd came into the Barclays Center to see the Brooklyn Nets take on the New Orleans Pelicans at 1:00 p.m. Since the Pelicans were without star forward Anthony Davis, it seemed like this would be a game that the Nets could add in the win column. Unfortunately, the Nets lost to the Pelicans 106-87.

Now, hold on Sparky, before you start yelling and screaming, the Nets were without Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young, Nets head coach Tony Brown in his pre-game press conference told the assembled media that he was going to sit Lopez and Young for the rest of the season. The stated reason for pulling these players was to give them rest for next season and to prevent unnecessary injuries. Now, the conspiracy theorist in me says that yeah, I get your point, but rumors of trading Young before the February 2016 trade deadline makes me just a little skeptical. Now, the rational side says these are good players to build around and with a good head coach and the already A-Team general manager in Sean Marks, the Nets should be making some noise next season. So why take the risk, if you don’t have to do it? However, stranger things have happened, so I am in wait and see mode until the next season starts.  

As for the actual game against the Pelicans, Nets reserve guard Sean Kilpatrick, continues to wow the crowd. When his named was announced to substitute for Wayne Ellington with 4:36 left in the first quarter, the crowd at the BC applauded and chanted his name wildly. I think I was sitting next to Kilpatrick’s No.1 fans. Kilpatrick didn’t disappoint. Off the bench, Kilpatrick led all Nets scorers with 15 points; his off-the-bench teammate, Markel Brown added 12 points, as did starting center Henry Sims, a pickup from the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League on March 17. Sims whose last NBA team was the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2014-15 NBA season also had seven boards. Other Nets starters in double digits were Thomas Robinson with 11 points and 15 rebounds, and Ellington chipped in 10 points.

As for the Pelicans starting squad, Luke Babbitt led all scorers with 21 points; Dante Cunningham had 14 points, and Jordan Hamilton came up with a double-double, 13 points, and 11 rebounds. Pelicans’ reserves weren’t slouches. Tim Frazier came off the bench and added a stellar double-double performance of his own, 19 points and 13 assists. Alexis Ajinca put up 16 points and six rebounds, and James Ennis chipped in 14 points.

Without Lopez and Young, I don’t expect any wins for the Brooklyn Nets for the rest of the season. Next up on the docket for the Nets are:

4/6: DC Wizards in Washington, DC
4/8: Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte
4/10: Indiana Pacers in Indiana
4/11: DC Wizards at home in Brooklyn
4/13: Toronto Raptors at home in Brooklyn

 

Photo: Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick puts up a valiant effort in attempting to pass the ball past New Orleans Pelicans center Kendrick Perkins (5), but to no avail. Nets lose to Pelicans 106-87

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