August 06, 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 Nets players with 23 points in the loss; Caris LeVert returns to action for the first time since November 10 thumb injury

Squander is the word.

Squander is what the Brooklyn Nets did last night against the Toronto Raptors. Up by 16 points (52-36) at 3:38 in the second quarter, the Nets quickly allowed that cushion to disappear ending the second quarter up by four, 52-48. Brooklyn ended the third stanza underwater by three, 83-80, still within an opportunity to regain its footing to win, but the Nets had no answer for the Raptors’ sudden surge and never came above water ending the game down by 19 points, 121-102. With the loss, the Nets are now below .500 with a win-loss record of 16-18, meanwhile, the Raptors improved to 24-12.

The lone seemingly bright spot for the Brooklyn Nets was that the team blocked a season-high 11 shots and edged the Raptors 11-4 in blocks. It would have been a more meaningful metric if those blocks could have converted into points. The Nets’ .478 field goal percentage (32-of-67 FG) was higher than the Raptors’ .454 (44 of 97), but the Raptors shot more and completed more.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on if he notices a reoccurring theme in the second half of the last few games

“Fourth quarter, last four out of five games, we were right there, or led, or (were) close,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson responded. “That’s a theme. That’s a big theme right now. We have to figure out why. Fourth quarters have really been a thorn in our sides. It was again tonight. We competed for three-quarters of the game, a little bit more than three quarters. I think when we subbed the starters back in the game, it was a six- or seven-point game and then they kind of went on a run and I’ve kind of seen that film before recently, so we have to figure it out. We have to figure out why we’re running out of gas. Is it physical? Is it execution? It’s probably a combination of all of those things.”

Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris agrees.

“I think just looking at it, defensively, we’ve given up a lot of points in these fourth-quarter stretches – where it may be a lack of execution on one end or the other,” stated Joe Harris. “Tonight, was sort of cumulative; it kind of built up there in the third, where we gave up 35 points. In the fourth, we gave up 38, which is way too many. You’re not going to win a lot of games, especially finishing out games like that.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets with 23 points (6-of-12 FG, 9-of-12 FT), seven assists, three rebounds, and a block in 31 minutes. And, in case you haven’t been following Dinwiddie this season, his performance last night was not an anomaly. Dinwiddie has shown demonstrable improvement since last season. Dinwiddie has scored 20+ points in 19 of his last 23 games and has scored 20+ points a single-season career-high 23 times (in 34 games). He scored 20+ points 18 times all last season (68 games). Joe Harris scored 18 points with three rebounds, and five assists in 31 minutes, Harris has now scored in double figures 27 times this season; Caris LeVert returned to action from a thumb injury last night and recorded 13 points (5-of-7 FG, 2-of-2 3FG) in 16 minutes off the bench; Garrett Temple totaled 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 30 minutes, and; Taurean Prince chipped in 10 points and six boards in 28 minutes.

LeVert, who is on a minutes restriction, is clearly someone Nets’ fans can’t wait to see get more playing time, but patience is necessary, as even LeVert doesn’t know when his minutes' restriction will end.

“I’m not sure – I’m just out here to play – that’s for coach and the performance staff,” LeVert said in response to a question regarding the next step in overcoming his minute restrictions. “Whatever minutes I’m given, I’m just going to try to go out there and do what I can.”

Toronto Raptors Scoring Leaders

For Toronto, Fred VanVleet, who went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft and was later signed by Toronto, led all scorers with 29 points, 11 assists, and four rebounds. Kyle Lowry, the oldest player on the floor and 13 years full years in the NBA, scored 26 points, five assists, and four rebounds; Serge Ibaka recorded 21 points and 12 rebounds, and; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a former member of the Brooklyn Nets, chipped in 10 points, five rebounds, and four steals.

Coach Speak: Nick Nurse on Toronto Raptors’ defense after the first quarter

“I think from the four-minute mark of the second quarter onward we really got down to a plan,” said Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “We were into the ball. We were making catches tough. Everything was pretty tough. When Brooklyn did take it to the rim, which they can do very well, we were better. We were better protecting. We were better cracking in on the “bigs” so there wasn’t that little dump off there as much. Just much more energy and toughness.”

What’s Next for the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Toronto Raptors will return home to Toronto to host the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET.

The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Orlando to play the Orlando Magic on Monday, January 6, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET, and then will hurry home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, 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.”

With the win, the Nets move back into the No. 6 spot in the NBA Eastern Conference; Spencer Dinwiddie leads all scorers with 19 points

For the first time in a good long while, the atmosphere in the Barclays Center was like the NBA playoffs; it was over-the-top electric, as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Detroit Pistons 103-75. Wowza! With the win, the Nets have won four straight games and got back to the sixth position in the NBA Eastern Conference right behind the Boston Celtics. The Nets improved to 36-33 overall and 21-16 at Barclays Center, while the Pistons fell to 34-32 overall and 13-19 on the road with the loss.

By the Numbers

The Nets held the Pistons to .278 shooting (27-of-97) from the field, which marked a season-low for a Nets' opponent field goal percentage and the third-lowest opponent field goal percentage in franchise history. You would have to go all the way back to November 9, 2004, to a Nets vs. Portland Trail Blazers game when the Nets held the Trail Blazers to a .244 field goal percentage, yikes! And, on March 7, 2006, against the Phoenix Suns when the Nets held the Suns to a field goal percentage of .268.

Not only did the Detroit Pistons lose, right now they are a team that holds the dubious distinction of a Nets’ opponent with a season-low 75 points, that has to sting. But that is better than ending the game with 62 points, which is what the Pistons had after three quarters – Nets 88 Pistons 62.

But don’t despair, Detroit, you’re not the only team that the Brooklyn Nets led by 26 after three quarters. Just last week on March 4, the Nets led the Dallas Mavericks by 26 points at the end of the third quarter with a score of 99-73. But wait, there’s more. The Nets held the San Antonio Spurs to the fewest points at the end of the third this season, which was 81-59.

Brooklyn also edged Detroit 54-24 (+30) in points in the paint and 18-5 (+13) in fast break points.

What stuck out most about the Nets for Detroit Pistons head coach Dwyane Casey, was “just the physicality of the game – they came in and whipped us every which way there was. We didn’t fight through screens, we didn’t set screens, any phase of basketball you want to talk about. If we’re serious about making the playoffs, we have to come out and not believe all the hype and all the stuff. We didn’t come out and play. I didn’t coach physical enough or whatever. We didn’t play physical enough. We took a full step back tonight.”

“Everything kind of aligned tonight,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought the game plan was good and the guys executed well, especially defensively. Detroit was coming off a game the night before, and it is late in the season, so we had more juice tonight. I don’t say that to take anything away from our guys.”

“It was another step from all our other games,” Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen explained. “We knew that we had to bring a certain physicality against Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin, so we had to turn it up a little bit.”

So how did Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin fare when it was all said and done?

Andre Drummond scored 13 points, 20 rebounds, and three assists for Detroit, while Blake Griffin added 10 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.

While the Pistons only had two players to score 10 points or more, the Nets had seven.

Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench to lead all scorers with 19 points (5-of-11 FG, 7-of-7 FT), Allen Crabbe scored a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and he added four assists; Rodions Kurucs posted 13 points; both Joe Harris and Caris LeVert tallied 12 points, Harris accumulated four rebounds and three assists to his totals, while LeVert who came off the bench and added five rebounds to his points. Both Jarrett Allen and D’Angelo Russell each scored 11 points, Allen added eight rebounds and two blocked shots to his totals, while Russell added seven assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

What's Next

Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the Brooklyn Nets kick off their seven-game road trip with their first stop in Oklahoma City to play the Thunder and their last game on this road trip is against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 28, 2019, before returning home to play the Boston Celtics on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Pistons will travel to Miami to play the Miami Heat, another team struggling to make the playoffs. This match-up will be on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET.

Nets forward DeMarre Carroll leads all scorers with 22 points; Dirk Nowitzki on “retirement tour”, receives a warm welcome from NBA fans at Barclays Center

Oh, what a night! The Brooklyn Nets took advantage of the Dallas Mavericks vulnerabilities at the Barclays Center on Monday night and came up with a 127-88 win for the home crowd. The Nets improved to 33-33 overall and 19-16 at Barclays Center with tonight’s win, while the Mavericks fell to 27-36 overall and 6-25 on the road with the loss.

So, what did it take to get the Brooklyn Nets back on track?

“It was really about the two things we emphasized before the game, defense and rebounding,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson responded. “I thought we defended much better tonight and we secured rebounds. We held them to one possession, and on the other side, we made shots. We were struggling to make shots before tonight, and it was nice to see the ball go through the basket. This helped our spirit. Good team win.”

“We drove the ball more tonight than in previous games, but I still think we can take it to another level,” Coach Atkinson continued. “We are still a little timid getting to the rim. I would love to see more rim attacks and free throw attempts. It was better tonight.”

The Nets snatched a win from the Mavericks right on time to stop a three-game losing streak in preparation for one more home game tomorrow against the Cleveland Cavaliers before hitting the road to play the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Hopefully, Brooklyn can get two more wins under its belt before the team plays the Detroit Pistons on Monday at the Barclays Center and before hits the road to play six Western Conference teams and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Nets need these wins against the Cavaliers and the Hawks because they need the wins and a win against these two non-playoff bound teams will help with the Nets standing in the Eastern Conference as things get tight in the coming weeks. They also need to have a recent memory of what it feels like to win and because the upcoming stretch starting with the Detroit Pistons on Monday is going to be a dogfight. After Detroit, the Brooklyn Nets face OKC Thunder, Jazz, Clippers, Kings, Lakers, Trail Blazers, and the 76ers.

Right now, the Nets are neck and neck in the Eastern Conference standings with the Pistons. The win against the Mavericks was good because a win is a win. But let’s face it, the game looked like a pro team playing against amateurs save a few players. And, Dirk Nowitzki really looked old. He was struggling to keep up and his numbers prove it, four points, four rebounds, and two assists. The conversation all season has been this may be Nowitzki's last season and no disrespect to Dirk, but by his performance last night, it should be. Dirk really looked old and the Nets took advantage, as they should.

“It was ugly from start to finish,” Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle bemoaned. “When you lose every quarter of an NBA game, you certainly haven’t done what you needed to do. It’s a very disappointing night.”

“I thought Brooklyn’s effort was phenomenally great and I know ours wasn’t up to it,” Carlisle continued. “The effort can’t be good if you lose by this number of points. We just simply have to do better.”

Doing better might start with limiting Nowitzki’s minutes. And, this is not to beat up on Nowitzki, as he has nobly put in 20 years in the NBA. He was a force to reckon with. However, this season, Nowitzki is averaging 5.5 points per game, while over the course of his career, Nowitzki averaged 20 PPG.

“…I was just fighting out there,” Nowitzki said. “I was just trying to get one down and get one in. In the first half, I had some great looks there – the trailing three and another one, a wide-open three from the corner. Frustrating night for me, but I kept on playing.”

In last night’s game, the Mavericks only had three scoring leaders. Dwight Powell led the Mavericks with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and six assists; Luka Doncic scored 16 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots, and; Jalen Brown chipped in 10 points and three rebounds.

For the Nets, DeMarre Carroll came off the bench to lead all scorers with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Rodions Kurucs registered 19 points and six rebounds; Caris LeVert accumulated 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists off the bench; Spencer Dinwiddie, also came off the bench and scored 16 points and five assists; D’Angelo Russell posted 13 points and 11 assists; Joe Harris chipped in 11 points, and; Ed Davis, who is not a prolific scorer, brought the heat around the rim with 10 rebounds.

And, with this win, D’Angelo Russell agrees that the Nets may have stumbled upon a winning formula.

“…With that second unit, you’ve got five starters coming off the bench. That team could start and be their own team and compete in this league, so I think that’s where we can get advantages. A lot of teams don’t have the personnel to do that so, it was a great move by coach,” Russell opined.

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