January 24, 2020

Nets forward Taurean Prince leads Nets with 21 points in the loss, Caris LeVert posts 20 points in 22 minutes in 2nd outing since coming back from injury

And the losses keep coming!

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets met up with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the ending wasn’t pretty. The Nets stayed close to the Thunder during the first half, ending the half down one point at 49-48 and pulled ahead slightly in the third, 77-74. Unfortunately, the Nets couldn’t keep it together to stay ahead and allowed OKC to tie up the game-ending regulation with a score of 101-101. In overtime, only Joe Harris was able to hit a bucket for Brooklyn, scoring two points, while the Thunder added 10 points. Consequently, the Nets fell to 16-20 with the 111-103 loss to the OKC Thunder. Meanwhile, OKC improved to 21-16 on the season. Since December 1, 2019, the Nets have lost 11 of 17 games.

In just his second appearance since his thumb injury, Caris LeVert showed why reporters continued to ask about his return while he was out. LeVert added 20 points (7-of-16 FG) with six rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes off the bench for the Nets. LeVert looks like he’s on the road to be the scorer he was during the 2019 NBA Playoffs, as he is averaging 16.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 19.1 minutes per game in his two games since returning from right thumb surgery. So, given LeVert’s performance, it begged the question as to why he wasn’t on the floor in overtime.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on not putting Caris LeVert in the game during overtime

“It’s how we operate,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding keeping Caris LeVert out during overtime. “We knew there was an understanding of where he was. That’s how we work – thinking about long-term health and the long-term plan and sticking with that plan because it’s easy to say ‘hey, let’s win this game.’ I think you would regret it if something ever happened, so, I think it’s a plan that we stick with, we make it beforehand, and we stick with it.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Taurean Prince, Brooklyn’s scoring leader last night, recorded his fifth 20-point game of the season. Prince scored a team-high 21 points (8-of-15 FG, 5-of-10 3FG) and eight rebounds for the Nets. Spencer Dinwiddie, who had been Brooklyn’s leading scorer while Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert were both out with injuries, struggled with shooting early on, but accumulated 14 points, a game-high six assists, and five rebounds, in 36 minutes; Jarrett Allen posted 12 points, and; Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and three rebounds. DeAndre Jordan, not a scoring leader, as he only scored eight points, led the way for the Nets on the boards with 10 rebounds to go along with his eight points in 20 minutes off the bench.

“We played some really good basketball, so that’s the shame about it,” continued Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “And again, the defense was pretty good, obviously Chris Paul hit some tough, big shots at the end of the game. But we scored, I think, two points in overtime. Our offense is just not where it needs to be. We’re just really struggling. A lot of good defensive performances the last 10 games and our offense is just struggling big time.”

“Yeah, having had six losses in a row prior to this, and having played well, it’s not a good feeling to drop a game we definitely could’ve won and had our chance to win,” Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said regarding how this loss in particular hurts.

“Yeah, definitely,” said Joe Harris regarding how the loss stung a bit more given the way the game unfolded. “I thought we played better tonight than we had the previous losses that we’ve had, especially when you feel like you have a good opportunity there at the end, a chance to win. It’s a credit to OKC – both of us coming off a back-to-back. And again, it’s just one of those situations where they made more plays in critical moments. Obviously, they’ve got a big-time player in Chris (Paul), where he’s able to kind of take over down the stretch, the fourth quarter and overtime.”

OKC guard Chris Paul, who was the oldest player on the floor, led his team and all scorers with 28 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander knocked down 22 points and four rebounds; Dennis Schroder recorded 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists, and Steven Adams registered 10 points, 18 rebounds, and five assists.

Coach Speak: Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan

“The guys did a lot of really, really good things,” said Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan. “It was unfortunate we fought so hard; I think we were down by seven to get back in the game. The break that left the game open was (Spencer) Dinwiddie missing that free throw when we fouled before the ball was thrown in bounds on the side out-of-bounds play. But you know, from there I thought our guys battled and competed. I thought Terrance’s (Ferguson) defense in terms of him chasing Joe Harris around and just trying to get him off his spots because he’s such an elite shooter, was really something else. And then, obviously, Chris (Paul) coming down the stretch, helping us get the game to overtime with the way he was scoring. There was (were) a lot of different things that happened during the course of the game, where there was a lot of major contributions and a lot of guys chipped in. We struggled to score. We were probably a little bit tired, (a) little weary. We had some decent looks we couldn’t really get anything to go down. But we kind of stayed with it to your point, we defended and rebounded.”

What’s Next for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Oklahoma City Thunder will return home to Oklahoma City to host the Houston Rockets on Thursday, January 9, 2020, at 8:30 p.m. CT.

The Brooklyn Nets will stay at home to host the Miami Heat at the Barclays Center on Friday, January 10, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

Spencer Dinwiddie leads all Brooklyn Nets’ players in scoring and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was the only other Net to score in double digits

Yesterday, was the day after Christmas and most people in and around the Barclays Center were filled with good cheer. Of course, Brooklyn Nets fans were expecting the 16-13 Nets to be able to handle their business over the lowly 7-24 New York Knicks. But the Nets put up very little effort and someone forgot to tell the Knicks players that it was the day after Christmas, and it would be okay if they slacked off. So, instead of a Nets win, the Knicks pulled off an embarrassing upset.

How The Nets Lost By The Numbers

The Nets shot 26.9 percent from the field (21 of 78) versus the Knicks’ 40.2 percent (37 of 92). From behind the arc, the Nets hit 13 of 50 (26 percent) buckets and the Knicks weren’t much better at 9 of 29 (31 percent), but they didn’t have to be. From the line, the Nets made 27 of its 36 free-throws versus the Knicks’ 11 of 15. The Knicks also outrebounded the Nets 60-50.

Looking at how the points were distributed among the players, New York boasted four players scoring in double digits to the Nets’ two.

For the Knicks, Julius Randle led all scorers with 33 points and eight rebounds; Marcus Morris, Sr. posted 22 points and eight rebounds; Elfrid Payton contributed 13 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, and; Mitchell Robinson registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Meanwhile, only Spencer Dinwiddie and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored in double digits for the Nets. Dinwiddie scored 25 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, while Luwawu-Cabarrot made the scoring leader cut with 10 points.

So, what the hell happened? How does one explain the Nets’ poor performance against the New York Knicks?

“For us, we held them under 100 points, which was the target,” Dinwiddie explained. “We also shot 27 percent from the field. Let’s go with too much eggnog. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Perhaps, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson can shed more light on his team’s disappointing loss.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on his team losing to the New York Knicks

“They just outplayed us, plain and simple,” Coach Atkinson explained. “You could sit there and write or talk about missed shots – and we missed a lot of open shots – I don’t buy that. Give them credit, they were just simply the better team. Take the missed shots out. They were excellent defensively at the rim. They obviously guarded the 3- point line well enough for us to miss a ton of threes. I thought our defense, besides the third quarter, our defense was good. This is one of those nights where you just have to give the other team credit.”

And the Knicks didn’t waste any time taking credit and who could fault them for claiming a win they rightly deserved.

Coach Speak: Mike Miller on how the New York Knicks were able to defeat the Brooklyn Nets

“I like the start,” said New York Knicks head coach Mike Miller. “I thought our guys played with great energy. I thought we really had a great focus. Brooklyn is a very good offensive team. They probably felt like they missed some open looks and opportunities, but I really felt like we did a good job with how we started just making them go through us to make some plays. I think that really helped us in the beginning. It got us off to a great start. I love the effort that we played with and how connected we were tonight.”

“Games are so different,” Coach Miller continued as he reflected on the Knicks’ 121-115 loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday night. “Game to game things can be different. The game on Monday we got off to a great start, we just didn’t sustain it. So tonight, I was really pleased because we played a very good offensive team and they hit you so many different ways. As you go in when you play a team that good you have to try to slow them down somehow.”

What’s Next for the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets?

The New York Knicks head to Washington to take on the Washington Wizards on Saturday, December 28, 2019, at 8 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets begin a three-game road trip at Houston, also on tomorrow, Saturday, December 28, 2019, at 8 p.m. ET, then it’s on to Minnesota to play the Timberwolves on Monday, December 30, 2019, at 8:00 ET; Thursday, January 2, 2020, they travel to Dallas to meet up with the Dallas Mavericks at 8:30 p.m., before facing the reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, at the Barclays Center on Saturday, January 4, 2020.

Hold the eggnog!

 
 

Spencer Dinwiddie led all scorers with 23 points, and Joe Harris and Dzanan Musa come alive

Last night, was a good night for the Brooklyn Nets; they defeated the Sacramento Kings 116-97 and held the lead wire-to-wire, the first time this season. This is also the second time this season the Nets have won consecutive games having beaten the Charlotte Hornets 101-91 on Wednesday and the Kings last night and both times holding their opponent to under 100 points. With the win against the Kings, the Nets are now just one game below .500 improving to 7-8, while the Kings fell to 6-8 with the loss.

How The Nets Beat The Kings By The Numbers:

Rebounding

Brooklyn outrebounded the Kings 48-33 (+15). And, if you think this was a fluke, the Nets also had a +15-rebounding differential earlier this season on November 1, against the Houston Rockets, when the Nets outrebounded the Rockets 55-40. The Nets also defeated the Houston Rockets 123-116.

Points Along The Way

Brooklyn led Sacramento 56-49 at halftime and then led the Kings 86-70 at the end of the third stanza. This 16-point lead marked Brooklyn's biggest through three quarters this season. The game that came close to this point differential at the end of the third was against the James Harden and Russell Westbrook-led Houston Rockets again on November 1, 2019, when the Nets led by 12 points.

Three-Pointers

Additionally, the Nets were 8-of-23 (.348) from 3-point range in the first half, while holding the Kings to 1-of-11 (.091) from distance.

Without Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert being available because of injury, the Brooklyn Nets appear to be developing a much-needed comradery and Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has taken notice.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on the Game and his players

“I do see that,” Coach Atkinson said about his current rotation’s level of confidence, continuity, and chemistry. “I see (the) chemistry between Garrett Temple and Spencer (Dinwiddie). I can see them connecting. I thought Garrett was fantastic tonight on both sides. Limiting Buddy’s (Hield) points, which is always a huge task, touches in general. And then he obviously made shots. I thought he drove the ball, Garrett was excellent. Getting Joe (Harris) going again is huge. Obviously, making shots really, really helps our cause. But yes, I do see some real chemistry starting to form out there with that group.”

Speaking of Joe Harris, who has been scoring less than 10 points during the prior two games, last night matched his season-high with 22 points while shooting 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range in 28 minutes. He also recorded four rebounds and a career-high-tying two blocks in 28 minutes.

Harris explained what it feels like when he is in the zone: “I think you get a lot of confidence when you see the first one go in – actually I missed my first one, but in terms of just guys looking for you, finding you, makes the game flow a lot easier. It’s sort of an effortless approach, but a lot of it is, you hit one, hit another, guys are starting to look for you, screen for you and you find your way to open shots.”

Brooklyn Nets Leading Scorers

Spencer Dinwiddie led all scorers posting a game-high 23 points (8-of-15 FG, 7-of-7 FT) with seven assists and two steals in 28 minutes. Dinwiddie is taking his career to new levels. He has now posted 20-plus points in four consecutive games, doing so for the first time in his career. In his last four games (all starts), Dinwiddie has averaged 23.8 points, 6.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and, 1.5 steals in 32.0 minutes. As mentioned, Joe Harris contributed 22 points; Garrett Temple registered a season-high 18 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 35 minutes; Jarrett Allen posted 11 points, and; Dzanan Musa chipped in 10 points. DeAndre Jordan didn’t score points in double digits, but he posted his eighth game of double-digit rebounds this season with a game-high 10 boards.

Coach Speak: Luke Walton on the game and his team

“Tough night for us,” said Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton. “If you’re a 3-point shooting team and you shoot 15 percent, you’re not going to win a lot of games. Where we have to be better at are things that we can control. We know that with 82 games you’re going to have games where you just don’t make shots. A big key and theme for us the last couple of games was defending without fouling. We gave up 31 free throws tonight, and Brooklyn beat us up on the glass. Rebounding we’ve actually done a much better job at and the free throws we have to continue to focus on that and do a better job.”

Sacramento Kings Leading Scorers

The Sacramento Kings scoring leaders were Harrison Barnes who scored 18 points and five rebounds; Buddy Hield registered 16 points and five assists; Justin James came off the bench and posted 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists; Nemanja Bjelica contributed 13 points and seven rebounds, and; Richaun Holmes chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds.

“They played small ball,” Kings guard Buddy Hield said about the Brooklyn Nets style of play. “But I think Jarrett Allen does a good job in rolling. I think Spencer Dinwiddie does a good job playing with him. It was tough to guard for us tonight. We should’ve done a better job with defensive schemes, trying to guard them. Joe Harris opened the game up too – he made like four or five in the first half and that killed us, and that’s when they opened…they game up. The lead was always back-and-forth from 10 (points), nine (points), and then after that, we couldn’t get ahead. That really opened the game up for sure – Joe opened it up.”

What’s Next for the Kings and the Nets?

The Sacramento Kings will travel to Washington to play the Wizards on Sunday, November 24, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will head across the East River to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, November 24, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

 
 

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.

 
 
 

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.

 

D’Angelo Russell scores 34 points to help the Nets defeat the Celtics; the victory also snaps the Nets’ 10-game losing streak against the Celtics

Is it too early to cue up the music, “Movin’ on Up,” the theme song from the 1970s – 1980s sitcom, The Jeffersons? Perhaps, but to Brooklyn Nets fans, it sure does feel good to be one game away from reaching the .500 mark and to still be in contention for an NBA playoff spot.

NBA Playoff Watch: The Brooklyn Nets are now in the seventh spot in the NBA Eastern Conference (The Boston Celtics are currently in the fifth spot).

“We don’t really talk about it as a team,” Jarrett Allen said about the Nets currently in an NBA Playoff spot. “It’s obviously something on all of our minds that we want to make it, but it’s never that ‘oh, let’s make it.’ It’s never spoken out loud, but we all know what we have to do.”

We hear you, Jarrett Allen, but people who follow the Nets, are talking about it and not necessarily in hush tones because the upward trajectory of the Nets so far this season has taken many by surprise.

Last night, the Nets defeated the Boston Celtics 109-102 at home at the Barclays Center and in so doing, the Nets improved to 22-23 overall and 12-11 at Barclays Center, while the Celtics fell to 25-18 overall and 10-13 on the road with this loss. The Nets have also won five straight home games, which is a big deal for the Nets since it is the first time since the 2014-15 season (March 27 – April 6, 2015) that the Nets have won five consecutive games at home more evidence that the Nets are turning a corner.

This victory also snapped the Nets’ 10-game losing streak against the Celtics, which had marked the team’s longest active losing streak against any opponent. The last time Nets won a game against the Celtics it was three years ago on January 2, 2016, in Boston, for those of you who may be keeping score.

Last night’s win was not without some bumps in the road. The Nets ended the third quarter with a 24-point lead (90-66) and that wasn’t the largest lead of the night. The Nets had a 27-point advantage over the Celtics at 9:33 in the fourth quarter on a Spencer Dinwiddie 26' 3-point pull-up shot, but over the course of the last stanza, the Nets lead started slipping eventually getting to only seven points at 1:28 on a Jaylen Brown driving finger roll layup. Over the course of the closing seconds, the Nets were up by nine, up by seven, up by nine, and eventually ending the game at 109-102.

Of course, the media wanted to get Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s take on the Nets defensive breakdown in the fourth quarter.

“It speaks to how good they are,” coach Atkinson said regarding the Boston Celtics’ surge in the fourth. “We know it is coming. You’re not beating that team by 30 – you could but considering we haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here. I also think we played eight guys and that’s part of it. I think there was some fatigue. Sure, there’s things we can get better at. I’m going to talk to our 22-year-old point guard about being a little more secure with the ball. But overall, we hung on and closed it out.”

The Nets’ 22-year-old point guard, D’Angelo Russell, posted a game-high-tying 34 points (13-of-26 FG, 7-of-13 3FG, 1-of-2 FT) with five rebounds, a game-high seven assists, one steal and one block in 37 minutes. Russell scored 18 of his 34 points in the third quarter.

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had his eye on Russell.

“…The (Celtics) third-quarter defense was awful,” Stevens said. “Obviously, Brooklyn scored 44 in the quarter and D’Angelo Russell got going. We didn’t get a stop or a rebound for the first four minutes of the quarter. You’re not going to win games when you start the quarter like that in what was a back-and-forth, tougher, more physical game that we just couldn’t make a shot in the first half. But for whatever reason, our third quarter defense was not there. We (Celtics) went on a drought and Brooklyn just blew us out of the water…”

Still feeling good about his accomplishment in last night’s game against the Celtics, Russell told the media what it took for him to go on his scoring roll in the third quarter.

In a word, “Confidence,” Russell said. “I mean, I trust my craft. My teammates like I said they put me in the position to do that. They’re finding me when we have the hot hand, but once again I trust my craft and I know what I’m capable of.”

So, those of you who doubted D’Angelo Russell’s abilities and belief in himself, take note.

Looking at other Nets starters who were scoring leaders last night, Rodions Kurucs, a Nets rookie who has surprised everyone with his skills, totaled 19 points, four rebounds, and two steals in 33 minutes. Jarrett Allen also recorded 19 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks in 33 minutes. Joe Harris tallied 13 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in 35 minutes.

Coming off the bench for the Nets, DeMarre Carroll posted his second double-double of the season with 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in 33 minutes.

For the Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum had a game-high-tying 34 points, five rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots, and one steal. Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, six rebounds, and two steals. Brad Wanamaker, who came off the bench for Boston, chipped in 13 points, four assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

Both teams are really going to have to put on their big boy pants tomorrow as they both face formidable teams. The Celtics square off against the Toronto Raptors at home at the Boston Garden. The Brooklyn Nets travel to Houston to play the Rockets, also tomorrow, and then on to Orlando to play the Magic on Friday, January 18, 2019. The Nets will then return home to play the Sacramento Kings on Monday, January 21, 2019, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 3:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Caris LeVert scores a career-high 29 points for the Nets, and don’t sleep on Carmelo Anthony, Rockets forward scored 28 points off the bench against the Nets

What started off as a winnable game for the Brooklyn Nets turned into a nightmare. 

The Nets were up by as much as 10 points in the first quarter at the 2:15 mark and up by as much as 14 points in the second at 3:11 before ending the first half with a five-point spread 61-56. As per the case with the Nets, the third quarter brought a reversal of fortunes, as the Rockets came on with a burst of energy leading the Nets by as much as eight points before ending the third with just five points over the Nets at 91-86. Early in the fourth quarter, the Rockets led by as much as eight points; the Nets tried to make it interesting by getting within one point twice with two three-pointers from guard Caris LeVert at 7:12 (Rockets 100 – Nets 99) and then again at 6:45 (Rockets 106 – Nets 102). But with missed shots and fouling, the Nets allowed the Rockets to close out the fourth 119-111.

With this loss, the Nets fell to 3-6 this season and 2-2 at Barclays. The Nets loss also allowed the Rockets to improve their overall record to 2-5 and 2-1 on the road.

“Third quarter was where they got their break,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media after the game. “We’ve had some issues there (in the third quarter) before and felt like they came out more aggressive and thought we missed some shots. They picked up their defense. I felt that. I definitely felt that. Listen, I think you’ve got to give them credit they were the better team tonight. Obviously, the third quarter was where they got their break.”

“Their defense, they locked down,” Atkinson continued. “They had their defensive unit out there. We had a tough time getting shots off. I thought we got a good few opens ones that didn’t go down, something we have to look at. But again, I give a lot of credit to their defense.”

So, now, let’s give some credit to LeVert for keeping the Nets in the game with his offense.

LeVert had another fiery night. Yep, LeVert was on FIYAH! He led the Nets with a career-high 29 points (10-of-17 FG, 4-of-6 3FG, 5-of-7 FT) with four rebounds, two assists, a season-high three steals and one block in 30 minutes. Let me repeat that, Nah, I won’t; you can read it again if you want. Caris LeVert is moving into NBA All-Star territory. LeVert has already matched or set a new career-high three times through nine games this season, scoring 20-plus points five times this season. By comparison, LeVert didn’t record his fifth 20-point game last season until March 8 at Charlotte. Yes, this season is a different story, through nine games, LeVert is averaging a team-high 20.0 points per game with .489 FG%.

As good as his performance was, LeVert knows that it is a team effort and somewhere the Nets defense was not what it could have been.

“We have to watch the tape,” LeVert said regarding what allowed the third quarter comeback by the Rockets. But it looked like Chris Paul hit a lot of tough shots and then they turned up the defensive pressure. They started getting a lot more loose balls and we just have to be better in those situations.”

So, what can the Nets do to prevent the lapses when the momentum shifts dramatically?

“I think just focusing more on defense instead of offense,” LeVert added. “Sometimes you can’t control the offense. If you make shots and things like that. You can always control your defense and your effort. So I think that in those situations, we just have to focus on getting shots.”

AUDIO: IN HIS OWN WORDS: BROOKLYN NETS GUARD, CARIS LEVERT

Nets other high scorers were Joe Harris with 18 points and four assists; D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie (off the bench) each scored 12 points and three assists, and Russell added three rebounds. Shabazz Napier came off the bench and scored 11 points in 16 minutes, while center Jarrett Allen chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes.

The Houston Rockets only had four players scoring in double digits, but that’s all they needed, as they all scored more than 20 points each. Chris Paul led all scorers with 32 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds. Former New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony came off the bench scoring 28 points and four rebounds for his new team; Clint Capela registered 22 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists, while; Eric Gordon added 21 points and three assists.

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni liked what he saw in his guys.

“That was a good Chris Paul right there,” D’Antoni said. “That was as good as it gets. And again, that’s who Chris is. His will, his heart will not let you lose, especially when times are tough. He knew times were tough and he had to find even more within himself and he did it. That’s why he is one of the best. He has such an unbelievable spirit that won’t let you lose.”

VIDEO: IN HIS OWN WORDS: CHRIS PAUL, HOUSTON ROCKETS GUARD

D’Antoni also praised Carmelo Anthony’s production coming off the bench with hopes that there is more to come.

“That’s what we envisioned. Obviously, he can’t shoot that well every night – maybe he can, hope he can. That’s kind of the role we envision, shooting threes and doing what Carmelo does. He’s super good that way.”

The Houston Rockets are on to another road game, as they will play the Chicago Bulls tonight at 7:00 p.m. CT.

On tomorrow, Sunday, November 4, 2018, the Brooklyn Nets will host the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center at 6:00 p.m. ET.

DeMarre Carroll leads Nets players with 21 points in the loss; Caris LeVert leaves game with concussion

In a game where the lead changed six times, the teams tied three times, and during the fourth quarter, the Houston Rockets led the Brooklyn Nets by as much as 16 points, at 1:22 left in regulation the Nets managed to close in on a six-point differential on an Isaiah Whitehead nine-foot floating shot. Unfortunately, Brooklyn couldn’t sustain the momentum to stop the Rockets and bowed to Houston 123-113 on Tuesday night.

“I think we competed better than we did against Milwaukee,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters in his postgame presser. “We never found a solution to stop them, obviously. They made a lot of tough shots. For them, we limited their 3-point attempts. Instead of shooting 50 – what’d they have, 33? – so that was good. We did a decent job keeping them off the free-throw line, but, it’s pick your poison with them so we never really found a solution to stop them.”

In addition to the game loss, Nets guard Caris LeVert suffered a concussion after running into a hard screen set by Houston center Nene Hilario at the end of the third quarter.

“I think it moved all of us,” Atkinson told the media. “I think we’re all affected, but we’re professionals and guys moved on, it’s just we obviously missed Caris the player. He was playing really well, so that was a big blow.”

LeVert, who was only on the court for 12 minutes, left the game with nine points, three assists, and three rebounds.

Although the outcome of this game against the Rockets didn’t go the Nets way, the team’s competitive spirit was on full display.

“…I think we did a great job as a team and making them work,” Nets guard D’Angelo Russell stated. “They’ve got some All-Star caliber guys over there, so making it as tough as we can is the objective.”

At the end of the night, the Nets shot .457 (16-of-35) from 3-point range and recorded their 10th game with 15-plus made threes this season. The Nets’ assist record bested Houston 24-16, and so did Brooklyn’s free-throw record, which was 88.2 percent versus the Rockets 81 percent.

“Oh, we definitely competed,” Nets center Jahlil Okafor expressed. “I think everybody across the roster played extremely hard. The Rockets are an extremely tough team to beat. Their dynamic was a challenge for us but I do think everybody did compete...”

DeMarre Carroll scored a team-high 21 points (7-of-12 FG, 5-of-8 3FG, 2-of-2 FT) with two boards and two steals in 30 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie tallied 18 points (5-of-7 3FG, 3-of-3 FT) with three rebounds, nine assists, and a career-high-tying three steals in 25 minutes. Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen, recorded 16 points (6-of-11 FG, 4-of-4 FT) with two rebounds and one assist in 23 minutes. With his 16 points on Tuesday night, Allen extended his career-best streak of games scoring in double figures to eight games. Okafor had a good night, he posted 15 points (7-of-9 FG, 1-of-3 FT) and six rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. (D’Angelo) Russell also scored in double figures for Brooklyn, recording 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench.

When asked about Houston putting up so many points against the Nets, “Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni laughed and said, “It’s all coaching out there – you saw that, right?” But in all seriousness, D’Antoni gave credit where credit was due, “Chris Paul and James Harden, when you have those two guys, it’s either one or the other. It’s unbelievable.”

D’Antoni also tipped his hat to Brooklyn’s effort.

“You have to give it to Brooklyn, they wouldn’t let us put it away,” D’Antoni added. “They kept coming back. They kept hitting hard shots. We would go up seven and Brooklyn would hit a hard three. They played well; they played with a lot of energy. Like I told them, Brooklyn isn’t going to beat themselves, we’ll have to beat them. I think at the end we did. They’re well-coached and they do a good job.”

Harden led all scorers with 36 points and five assists with his effort for Houston. (Chris) Paul scored 25 points, seven rebounds, and five assists; and Clint Capela added 18 points and 11 rebounds. Coming off the bench for the Rockets, Gerald Green added 16 points, and Eric Gordon chipped in 13 points.

Hopefully, both teams will have enough energy to go up against their next opponents. Houston plays the Miami Heat on Wednesday in Miami, and Brooklyn goes up against the Detroit Pistons with the newly-acquired Blake Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers also on Wednesday.

The Brooklyn Nets next home game at the Barclays Center is on Saturday, February 10, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Jeremy Lin reflects on his growth since being traded from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets

"That's the sign of our growth as a team," Jeremy Lin said responding to a reporter's question after the Houston Rockets beat the Brooklyn Nets 106-96. "We probably wouldn't have done that earlier in the season. We probably would have folded and fell and given away the game. We regrouped, took their hit, then counter-punched, and we were able to get the win."

Jeremy sees that maturity was a factor in the team's ability to get the win over the Brooklyn Nets tonight.

"We got some stops when we needed to, but we made it tough, we made it tough for them."

Jeremy sees that he is blending in and believes that the team is really blending.

"The past couple of weeks, we've shown flashes of in my mind, of being a really, really good team whether it's a game against OKC or Golden State or games like that," he said. "Today was an uglier one. We turned the ball over; we didn't play as well as we normally did, but we were able to get the win so we're thankful for that."

And, it's always good when you can get a win on the road.

"Any win on the road is a great win for us," he responded. "We want to keep pushing and try to build a winning streak; we have a favorable schedule coming up."

What has been Jeremy Lin's biggest adjustment coming from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets?

"I think it's just different, because it's a different system and I'm in a different role; being able play alongside a huge and elite playmaker in James Harden and learning to mesh with him and we're getting there and I'm really happy with where we're at right now and I'm happy with where our team is in terms of how we're playing."

So what does Jeremy Lin miss about New York City?

"I miss the fans, just like how crazy the Garden (Madison Square Garden) would get last year, how loud and awesome the experience was, yeah, that's what I miss most."

Has Jeremy Lin experienced the level of excitement in other NBA arenas like the Linsanity at Madison Square Garden in New York City?

"Here and there, here and there," he said. "Sometimes it will get crazy and stuff. I think our last home game against OKC back home that was insane; we had the Toyota Center rocking, so, it was cool."

So is it less pressure on him being in a smaller market.

"Less pressure, less spotlight, so it usually means less pressure," Jeremy said.

What will be the point of success for this team in making the playoff and going forward?

"I think consistency and I think it's attention to detail on the defensive end," he responded. "I think offensively we're okay. Offensively we'll struggle here and there but, I think we've shown we're an explosive offensive team and I think our biggest improvements can come on the defensive end.

Has Jeremy got over the trades?

"I just hate to see anybody leave, but in terms of the trade in and of itself, it's not for me to really, really comment, it kind of management's job," he responded. "It was tough for me to see my teammates leave, but we have new guys coming in, I just met a few of them, it's definitely time to turn the page and move on."

Trevor Booker high scorer for the Nets; Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin were both inactive; Atkinson left no stone left unturned, but still could not contain the Rockets

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets celebrated Taiwanese Heritage and its most celebrated player, Jeremy Lin, who is Taiwanese, still, could not play because of a left hamstring injury. Also on the Nets inactive list was Brook Lopez, not because he was injured, but to allow Lopez to rest.

Despite the lopsided final score, the Nets were competitive up until the fourth quarter. At the end of the first stanza, the Rockets led by one 37-36. The end of the half, saw the Nets trailing by eight (74-66), and at the close of the third, 104-90. The fourth quarter, the Rocket kicked it into high gear to close out the game 137-112.

“We just could never stop them,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I don’t think we stopped them the whole night. I think we tried a lot of different things, tried changing coverages and couldn’t find a solution. Potent, powerful, offensive team that we couldn’t find the defensive switch.”

With every active Nets player seeing action at some point during the night, Atkinson tried every combination he thought made sense to get a stop, but to no avail.

“We started Justin (Hamilton) at the five, and I think they scored pretty good against that group,” Atkinson stated.

Justin Hamilton, in for Lopez, scored 11 points, three rebounds, and two assists.

“Then we went small to match their (lineup) and switch, do a lot of switching and try to keep them in front of us,” Atkinson continued. “But when you switch they have good one-on-one players, and I felt like when we switch we weren’t containing them off the dribble and they hit some threes. Eric Gordon again came off the bench and really good, he was excellent. Again, they dominated us and there is just no way around it. We can talk all night.”

In the win, Gordon came off the bench for the Rockets and led all scorers with 24 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Trevor Ariza had 23 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. James Harden contributed 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in 31:31 minutes.

Nets forward Trevor Booker led the Nets in scoring with 18 points and five rebounds in 26:28 minutes. The next two high scorers came off the bench: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with 14 points and seven rebounds; and guard Randy Foye contributed 13 points. The entire Nets bench contributed 63 points.

Up next for the Brooklyn Nets is another tough team, the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

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