July 19, 2019

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired forward Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round draft pick from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for guard/forward Allen Crabbe, the draft rights to Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who was selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and a protected 2020 first-round draft pick.

“We’re excited to welcome Taurean and his family to Brooklyn,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “Taurean is an athletic frontcourt player who brings defensive toughness and versatility to our team, and we believe he’ll be a strong fit in Kenny’s system.

“We would also like to thank Allen for his contributions during his two seasons in Brooklyn, and we wish him the best of luck in Atlanta.”

Prince (6’8, 220) has appeared in 196 career games (139 starts) over three seasons with Atlanta, posting averages of 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 25.5 minutes per contest. As a rookie, he saw action in 59 games (10 starts), registering averages of 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game while shooting 40.0 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from 3-point range. He also appeared in five games with Brooklyn’s NBA G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, pursuant to the league’s flexible assignment rule. Prince then appeared in and started all 82 games in his second NBA season, improving his numbers across the board by posting averages of 14.1 points (42.6 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from 3-point range), 4.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals in 30.0 minutes per contest. He was named to the Team USA roster at the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. In 2018-19, the 25-year-old recorded averages of 13.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.2 minutes per game through 55 games (47 starts) while improving his field goal percentage (44.1 percent) and 3-point field goal percentage (39.0 percent) for the third straight season. Originally selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, Prince was acquired by Atlanta in a three-team trade on July 7, 2016. The Texas native played four collegiate seasons at Baylor, where he earned All-Big 12 First Team honors as a senior and received the Big 12 Sixth Man Award as a junior.

Crabbe was acquired in a trade with Portland on July 25, 2017, and appeared in 118 games (88 starts) over two seasons with the Nets, recording averages of 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 28.2 minutes per contest. In 344 career games (112 starts) over six seasons with Brooklyn and Portland, Crabbe has averaged 9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 24.6 minutes per game.

Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin set the tone from the start to spoil Paul Millsap’s return to the Atlanta Hawks lineup

On January 10, 2017, the last time the Brooklyn Nets played the Atlanta Hawks at the Barclays Center, the Hawks ate their lunch beating the Nets 117-97. Tonight, it was a different story, the tables were reversed. In fact, the Brooklyn Nets looked like it was the team headed for the playoffs instead of the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks, as the Nets grounded the Hawks, 91-82.

What plagued Atlanta this time around? Several things according to Atlanta Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer, but especially the Nets’ three-point shooting and the versatility of Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez.

“He’s become such a great 3-point shooter,” Budenholzer said about trying to contain Lopez. “We tried to stay connected to him at the 3-point line more. And Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, I think he’s shooting 20 percent on the year at the 3-point line, he had two that helped them. Trevor Booker had one and that helped them.”

Lopez scored 18 points in the first quarter and 29 points overall (12-of-21 FG) with five rebounds, five assists and five blocks in 30:32 minutes of playing time. In so doing, Lopez became the second Net in franchise history to record 25+ points, five+ rebounds, five+ assists and five+ blocks in the same game. The last person to do that was Darnell Hillman almost 40 years ago vs. Chicago on November 11, 1977. Hillman now works for the Indiana Pacers.

With Lopez scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Budenholzer saw a need to change Atlanta’s strategy.

“I think we felt like we could keep Dwight Howard around the rim, around the paint,” Budenholzer said about his center. “Brooklyn is driving the ball a lot, and really our defense is not our problem – 91 points. So of course Brook Lopez had a really good game. Generally speaking, I don’t think our defense was the issue. I think we need to look closer at our offense and how we can score more, score better.”

But, seriously, it just wasn’t Atlanta’s night.

“We were just trying to be aggressive and we got hot,” said Nets point guard Jeremy Lin. “I feel like on the back end of a back-to-back that’s kind of just setting that tone, and establishing that just felt like we were in control of the game throughout, and even though we were the ones scoring points, that our whole starting five defensively came out and did a great job.”

“When you replay the game really quickly and you feel like there were some good chances we didn’t make – everybody, lots of different guys. And at times we were a little sloppy. It’d probably be great to get to the free-throw line a little bit more. I think it was just a combination of a lot of things and we just weren’t very good offensively,” Budenholzer added.

Yes, because sometimes playoff-bound teams sleep on teams that are not headed to the playoffs. They tend to think that it may be a cakewalk when they encounter a team like the Nets (17-59) that is in the last place in the NBA standings. However, in Brooklyn’s case, they are better than their win-loss record shows.

“They denied us, they gave us a little pressure,” Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap stated. “Something we could have done a better job of was countering off of their aggressiveness.”

Atlanta’s center Dwight Howard was more pointed in his remarks, “We have to play team basketball; we can’t do it by ourselves. One person isn’t going to win us a game.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, known for his young player development abilities, has been drilling that mantra into his young team all season, that basketball is team ball. The Nets’ young players led by Lin and Lopez set Atkinson’s tone early in the game.

“That’s kind of why they’re your two best players,” Atkinson said about Lin and Lopez. “There’s just a mentality, I was saying that about Brook. Brook after a bad game or a not good shooting game like Detroit, he’s going to come back and bring it the next game. They set the tone; I thought Jeremy and Brook really set the tone. Look at Brook and we’re talking about his offense; five blocks, I thought he was monstrous defensively, helping off Dwight and just kind of controlling the paint basically. No doubt about it, they set the tone.”

“Coach always stresses, just be resilient,” said Nets shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick, who added 11 boards towards the Nets total of 51 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. “Make sure that you’re doing everything for the team and I think that’s something that everyone is doing on a normal basis. Down to recovery and down to the fact that everyone’s getting their work in early and making sure that we’re playing for one another.”

Brooklyn Nets players scoring in double digits in addition to Lopez were Lin with 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists; and Hollis-Jefferson with 11 points, five rebounds, and three steals.

In the loss, four of the five Hawks’ starters scored in double digits. Dennis Schroder had 16 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. Tim Hardaway Jr., who is probably grateful that the NY Knicks set him free, scored 14 points and six rebounds; Taurean Prince added 13 points and five rebounds and; Howard chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Nets take on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

NOTE:

Kilpatrick’s 11 boards marked his second-most rebounds in a game in his career (high: 14 in double OT on 11/29 against the Clippers).

Kilpatrick became just the third Nets guard to record 11 or more rebounds off the bench in a game since 1983-84, joining Markel Brown (4/10/16 at Indiana) and Stephen Jackson (12/10/00 vs. Dallas).

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