October 30, 2020

LeBron James scores a triple-double and Jared Dudley gets to celebrate hitting a three-point shot against the Nets, his most recent former team

 The Brooklyn Nets are going in the wrong direction!

The Nets dropped their fifth-straight game last night, falling to the Los Angeles Lakers, 128-113. With the loss, the Nets fell to 18-25 on the season, while the Lakers improved to 36-9 with the victory. Amazingly, the Nets are currently holding down the eighth seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, which would put them in the NBA playoffs, if the playoffs were held today. It may seem like it’s a little early to talk about playoffs, but in a few weeks after the NBA All-Star break, the playoff hunt will begin in earnest.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers by the Numbers:

The Los Angeles Lakers shot 50 percent (47-of-94) of their field goals compared to the Brooklyn Nets’ 44 percent (40-of-91). From behind the arc, it was pretty much more of the same, the Lakers led with 50 percent on 19-of-38 shots made from three-point land, versus the Nets 45.7 percent (21-of-46). Brooklyn did shine over the Lakers when it came to the free-throw line from a percentage perspective, 80 percent to 75 percent, but points do matter and the Lakers pulled in 15-of-20, contrasted to the Nets’ 12-of-15.

During the first half, the Brooklyn Nets kept it close, only trailing by five points, 75-70, and then at the end of the third, Los Angeles ended that quarter up by just 10 points, 104-94. But during the final quarter, the Lakers decided it was “showtime” and put more distance between themselves and the Nets, up by as much as 25 points (121-96) with 5:32 left in regulation. In the time remaining, the Brooklyn Nets could only chisel off 10 points before the buzzer sounded, which left the Nets 15 points in the hole with the final score, 128-113.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on his team’s breakdown in the 2nd half

“I think we did not shoot it well,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about the Nets not being able to score more points during the second half. “We couldn’t really figure out our transition defense. Even on dead balls, which is very frustrating to me as a coach. They exploited us continuously in transition defense. (The) third game in a row where we really struggled there. So, that was a big one. They shot the heck out of it. I think some of that was us not defending well, and some of that was them shooting the heck out of it.”

“I do think they have to be one of the best, if not the best, passing teams in the league, led by LeBron (James),” Coach Atkinson continued. “Obviously (Rajon) Rondo supports that. They get downhill and I think they started getting into our paint. We throw so much attention at LeBron. He started throwing out to shooters and their spacing was excellent. They went small without JaVale (McGee) in there, so now it’s not two big guys in there in the paint, they have everybody outside. We tried to match up and go small. They did a great job spreading us out, creating space and making shots.”

“You have to stay disciplined,” said Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving regarding the difficulty defending a team that includes LeBron James. “As great as he is going downhill and making plays for others, just have to stay disciplined. I feel like a few times we got caught ball-watching, and he did what a great player should do, and he took advantage of it. Guys were knocking down shots in the first half, and it continued in the second half.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Brooklyn Nets guard, Kyrie Irving, scored a team-high 20 points with three rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 33 minutes against the Lakers last night. Taurean Prince totaled 18 points with four assists, three rebounds, and a game-high three steals in 29 minutes; Caris LeVert recorded 16 points with four boards and three assists in 23 minutes off the bench; Wilson Chandler came off the bench and tallied a season-high 15 points (5-of-7 FG, 4-of-6 3FG, 1-of-1 FT) and three rebounds in 22 minutes, and; Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.

Spencer Dinwiddie did not cross the double-digit mark in points, but he recorded a game-high 13 assists with seven points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes.

Los Angeles Lakers Scoring Leaders

As dominant as Lebron James was on the court last night, it’s surprising when you look at the stat sheet that he only scored 27 points. However, James’ greatness came in the form of a triple-double, adding 12 rebounds and ten assists to his 27 points in 34 minutes. Both Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma each scored 16 points, with Kuzma’s points coming off the bench and Davis adding 11 rebounds to his 16 total points scored. Similarly, both Dwight Howard and Danny Green each scored 14 points and two steals in 23 minutes and 19 minutes respectively. Howard also added 12 rebounds to his stat line during his 23 minutes on the floor. Lastly, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope rounds out the Lakers’ scoring leaders, chipping in 11 points off the bench in 28 minutes.

Coach Speak: Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel on if the Lakers’ defense sparked the second half of the game against the Nets:

“Yeah, I mean that was sort of the halftime message, as a team, to lock in defensively and guard,” said Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “We relied on the positive experience of last night in the Knicks game where we were okay in the first half but really raised our level in the second half. We held them (Knicks) to 34 percent shooting and we did the same thing tonight. Great defensive effort in the second half. Obviously, we shot the ball well, LeBron (James) with a triple-double. Jared Dudley and Rajon Rondo (10 assists) with that second unit gave us a huge lift.”

What’s Next for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Los Angeles Lakers will travel to Philadelphia to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 8:30 p.m. ET.

As for the Brooklyn Nets, they will travel to Detroit to play the Detroit Pistons also on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Nets will then head back to New York City to play the New York Knicks the very next day on Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., at Madison Square Garden. Then, on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, the Nets will host the Detroit Pistons at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, at 7:30 p.m.

 

 

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.

‘Weird’ feeling for Paul Pierce as Nets get victory in their first matchup since Celtics trade

It was evident that Paul Pierce faced some challenges when he went up against the Boston Celtics Tuesday night-- the team that birthed and raised his career for the past 15 years.

The 36-year-old admitted that it "was a little weird looking over and seeing all the green uniforms" since he was used to "lining up in the green and white for so long."

Even before tipoff, the uneasiness was still there as he stopped by the Celtics' locker room and walked into the shower room to greet Rajon Rondo, then made his rounds to the other players. During warm-ups, the two former teammates had another chat.

Before game time, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd said he advised Pierce to treat the game like a scrimmage. But of course, that was easier said than done, as the veteran went scoreless for the first quarter and ended up with 4 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Unusual enough, Pierce was the first Nets starter announced when he was always the last one called in Boston.

Andray Blatche, who started in place of Kevin Garnett, picked up most of the slack with 14 points. Brook Lopez scored 20 points, but it was newbie Chris Johnson who put Brooklyn on top with the 82-80 victory.

Other new faces like Shaun Livingston, Mason Plumlee, Alan Anderson, Jorge Gutierrez and Brooklyn native and Benjamin Banneker alumni, Gary Forbes, banked in a few minutes.

Once a fan favorite at the Barclays—newly Celtic Kris Humphries was booed by the crowd in every moment possible, but he preserved and came out big, scoring 12 points in 28 minutes. There was some chatter on Twitter that Mr. Whammy, the Nets most-beloved fan yelled at fans for booing Humphries.

"He was a Net," Mr. Whammy reportedly said.

Meanwhile, the Nets played without Deron Williams, due to a sprained right ankle, and key reserves Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) and Jason Terry (left knee), who was also part of that Boston trade.

Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo, Dwayne Wade team up to push back Nets 118-88

The Chicago Bulls came into the Barclays Center on Halloween night to play the Brooklyn Nets with an undefeated 2-0 record; and it was apparent from the start, that the Bulls were determined to leave with its undefeated record intact.

Although Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez won the tip over his brother Robin, the Bulls set the tone early, running roughshod over the Nets, taking the First Quarter 38-20. Bulls forward Jimmy Butler wasted no time making his presence felt early. Butler knocked down 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter.

“I think they are playing with more pace,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson stated. “I think (Bulls point guard Rajon) Rondo helps with that. He pushed the ball up the court. They’re versatile off the bench so they can give you different looks with (Nikola) Mirotic coming off shooting. I think they set the tone, they set the pace, they really made their imprint on the game and we definitely did not have it tonight.”

“They were the more aggressive team,” Atkinson continued. “I thought they really came out and really got into us. I thought, for some reason, we were back on our heels a little bit and they took advantage of that. Give them credit. I thought they played really well. They played a great game.”

There’s no question the Bulls played really well. The numbers tell the story.

Nets shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovic led all Nets players with 15 points. Other Nets players in double digits were Jeremy Lin with 14 points, four assists, and four steals. Sean Kilpatrick and Brook Lopez each scored 13 points. A telling stat regarding Lopez, he only had two boards and both were offensive rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Bulls had seven players in double digits. Two of the top three Bulls scorers came off the bench. Butler led all players with 22 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Mirotic posted 16 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists off the bench. Isaiah Canaan, another backup player, scored 15 points and six assists. Bulls starting forward Taj Gibson contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dwyane Wade, against a backdrop of cheers, showed the crowd he still has it, tallying 12 points, four assists, and three each in the rebound and steals columns.

It’s early in the season, but the Nets have to get the fire in the belly and stand up to the better teams, or it’s going to be a painful season.

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