January 23, 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.

 

On Wednesday night, the Brooklyn Nets held a 23-point lead against the Oklahoma City Thunder late (4:21) in the third quarter. And, things quickly began to unravel. Paul George became a one-man wrecking crew in the fourth quarter busting holes in the Nets sizeable lead to help the Thunder win 114-112. In the loss, the Nets fell to 8-18 overall and 3-10 at Barclays Center, while the Thunder improved to 16-7 overall and 6-4 on the road with the win.

Prior to being outscored 39-19 by the Thunder in last night’s fourth quarter, Brooklyn seemed to be clicking on all cylinders.

Allen Crabbe led the Nets 22 points (7-of-13 3FG) alongside four rebounds, two assists and one steal in 37 minutes tonight. Joe Harris, who returned to the starting lineup for this game, after missing the last three games due to left adductor tightness, tallied 19 points (6-of-12 FG, 3-of-4 3FG, 4-of-5 FT), a season-high seven rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes. D’Angelo Russell, also one of the Nets starters, scored 17 points and four assists; and Jarrett Allen, the Nets second-year center, registered 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Not to be outdone, the Nets’ bench outscored the Thunder’s bench 37-18 tonight, led by Spencer Dinwiddie with 17 points, and; DeMarre Carroll with 12 points.

Paul George led the Oklahoma City Thunder scoring leaders with 47 points, 15 rebound, and four assists. George scored 25 points in the fourth quarter alone. Russell Westbrook grabbed a triple-double with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and 17 assists; Steven Adams registered 15 points and eight rebounds, and; Dennis Schroder scored 12 points off the bench.

“Paul George really got going,” stated Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought their offensive rebounding hurt us. Obviously, Paul was fantastic. We had some defensive breakdowns, not picking them up in transition before Paul really got going.”

“..You can’t let a big shot like Paul George deflate you in the offensive end and allow you to discourage you from executing offensively,” Nets forward Joe Harris said about needing to be mentally tough. “You’ve got to still be able to come down, be mentally tough enough, execute whatever plays Kenny’s drawn up or whatever plays D-Lo (D’Angelo Russell) calls. That’s just a hurdle that mentally we need to mature in that regard and get better, and I think that’s ultimately what it is. That’s why we’ve been limited in closing out tough games.”

Next up for the Oklahoma City Thunder will be the Chicago Bulls on Friday, December 7, 2018, in Chicago at 7:00 p.m. CT.

The Nets will host the Toronto Raptors tomorrow, Friday, December 7, 2018, at home at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

"Maybe it’s a coincidence, but that’s the way we need to play every night. I guess we need to play every night like we’re playing OKC.” --- Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez

Winter superstorm Jonas arrived in NYC this weekend and blessed us with up to 18 inches of snow. Due to the storms results, the Brooklyn Nets pushed its late afternoon game against the Oklahoma City Thunder to the evening. Perhaps, just maybe, it had something to do with why the Nets decided to show up.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 31 points and 10 rebounds, his 18th double-double of the season, to upset the Thunder and their star-studded cast, 116-106.

“He was making shots,” Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant simply stated regarding Brook’s big night.

With the win, the Nets ended their five-game losing streak while stopping the Thunder’s seven-game winning streak.

Before this game, which was delayed by four hours, it was viewed as a sure loss by just about everybody and on Sunday night, the Nets defied the odds. They never trailed and other than the 3rd quarter where the Nets mirrored the Thunder in points scored with 25, Brooklyn outscored OKC in every other quarter. Whenever OKC got close, the Nets found a way to answer and score consistently, which is something the Nets have struggled with all season long.

Brooklyn Nets Scores when it counts

When OKC’s Kyle Singler drained a three, set up by Kevin Durant in the 2nd quarter with a little over five minutes left, bringing OKC to within one down 45-46, Bojan Bogdanovic and Andrea Bargnani answered with a three and jumper respectively, putting the Nets back up by six, 51-45. In the 4th with a little over six minutes remaining, Dion Waiters brought OKC to within five 93-98 after his two-point shot.

Shortly after, the Nets would spend the next three minutes sealing their 12th win of the season. Thaddeus Young scored twice en route to another solid performance, scoring 14 points with 14 boards and Lopez added two.

“We went out and executed, we ran our stuff all the way through,” Young said post-game.

Yes, the Nets finally won a game but the biggest winner of all was the fans.

Brooklyn’s faithful braved the aftermath of Jonas, got to witness a victory and also got to witness two of the league's greatest players in Durant and Russell Westbrook. KD and Westbrook both produced double-doubles of their own in 32 and 10 rebounds and 27 and 11 rebounds, respectively and after the game Durant praised Lopez and Young for their efforts.

“They were tough,” Durant said. “They kicked our ass all night, you know, rebounding the ball, scoring in the paint. They did what they wanted to.”

And that’s coming from a credible opponent, actually referencing the Nets. And Durant is talking about the Nets edging OKC on the boards 49 to 46, including 18 offensive rebounds, which led to extra possessions for Brooklyn. Steven Adams, OKC’s muscle in the post and starting center was missing in action which has a lot to do with the success Lopez, Young and the Nets enjoyed on the glass and scoring inside and to their credit, they took advantage.

It’s also worth noting that after the beat-down the Utah Jazz laid on the Nets on Friday night, the Nets were able to bounce back and that started with the team’s best player. Against the Jazz, Lopez was limited to eight points having to deal with Rudy Gobert’s block party all night long. Against OKC, guarded mostly by Enes Kanter, Lopez got his mojo back, which seems to happen more often than not when playing the Thunder. Brook is averaging 28.5 ppg vs. OKC this year.

“I don’t know,” Lopez said regarding his play against OKC this season. “Maybe it’s a coincidence, but that’s the way we need to play every night. I guess we need to play every night like we’re playing OKC.”

So basically, the Nets have to figure out how they can alter what’s left of their regular season schedule to take on the Thunder until season’s end. Or maybe the Nets finally got the message of what head coach Tony Brown has been emphasizing in sharing the ball recording 24 assists on OKC.

“I thought our guys heed the message, shared the ball, moving, moving bodies, and the floor opened up for us,” Brown expressed post-game. “The options will present themselves, if we don’t force it.”

Until Tuesday’s game hosting the Miami Heat, the Nets will have the chance to do something they haven’t done in a while: smile.

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