June 01, 2020

Spencer Dinwiddie leads all scorers and cements Nets’ lead over the Bulls with two late free-throws, Caris LeVert and Joe Harris each score more than 20 points

The Brooklyn Nets have entered a new era.

In case you missed it, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and Brooklyn Nets general manager, Sean Marks, mutually agreed that Atkinson would move on. Assistant Coach, Jacque Vaughn, has been elevated to interim head coach. Under Coach Vaughn’s leadership, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Chicago Bulls 110-107, and now Vaughn’s record is 1-0. With the win, the Nets’ win-loss record improved to 29-34, while the Bulls fell to 21-43 on the season with the loss to the Nets.

By The Numbers

Brooklyn shot .500 (32-of-64) from the field on Sunday and improved to 8-1 this season when shooting .500 or better from the field in a game. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls shot 42.4 percent (39-of-42)

From behind-the-arc, the Chicago Bulls edged the Brooklyn Nets on three-pointers; the Bulls made 12-of-34 vs. Brooklyn’s 11-of-30.

In the land of the free, Brooklyn shot .854 (35-of-41), which was a season-high number of free-throws for the Nets. They have now shot .850 or better from the free-throw line in 10 games this season. Chicago’s free-throw production of 17-of-25 (68 percent), was less than half of Brooklyn’s free-throw production (35-of-41).

Brooklyn outrebounded Chicago 50-31 (+19) on Sunday. Entering yesterday’s game, the Nets’ 48.5 rebounds per game ranked second in the league.

Considering the 28 turnovers made by the Brooklyn Nets versus the seven (7) made by the Chicago Bulls, luck was on the side of the Nets.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn

Coach Vaughn was probably sweating a bit on the bench when in the closing seconds the Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr. made it a one-point game particularly with the 28 turnovers made by the Nets.

And, the number of turnovers made by the Nets was a question put before its new coach.

“Not completely sure – we even ended up changing the basketball throughout the course of the game, which doesn’t happen too often,” responded Nets interim head coach, Jacque Vaughn. “We complained that it was a little bit too slippery, and Chicago did too, and they (the referees) changed the ball. I think that was the first seven (turnovers). The other 21, we’ll have to look at tomorrow. But overall, they’re an aggressive team and they’ve always forced you to not be casual – and I think we were casual at times with the basketball. (A) good test for us, especially going out West.”

Despite the number of turnovers, the Nets won the first game under their new coach.

So, what was Coach Vaughn’s message to his team about the last 24 hours and pulling off a win against Chicago?

“Just glad for the guys that were able to get back on the floor, get back to what they enjoy doing, love doing – compete and playing the game of basketball,” said Coach Vaughn. “At the end of the day, that was the best part of getting together and competing today.”

“We have a road trip coming up,” Coach Vaughn continued. “Chicago gave us a little dose of aggressive teams and our ability to take care of the basketball on the road, take care of each other put us in a position to get some wins on the road.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

The Brooklyn Nets had five scoring leaders yesterday, players with scores of more than 10 points. Spencer Dinwiddie led all players with 24 points and six assists (both team highs), while shooting 4-of-9 from the field, 2-of-5 from 3-point range, and 14-of-15 from the free-throw line in 37 minutes. Dinwiddie’s 14 made free-throws matched a season-high, which was also done against Chicago on November 16, 2019. Caris LeVert scored 23 points and added six rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes; Joe Harris also scored 23 points (8-of-12 FG, 3-of-7 3FG, 4-of-4 FT) in 31 minutes versus the Bulls; DeAndre Jordan, with his fifth start of the season, tallied 11 points, a game-high 15 rebounds, four assists, and a game-high three blocks in 29 minutes, and; Jarrett Allen added 11 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench for Brooklyn.

This was the first time three Brooklyn Nets players scored more than 20 points in the same game since January 29, 2020, which was against the Detroit Pistons. They were: Spencer Dinwiddie, Kyrie Irving, and Taurean Prince.

Chicago Bulls Scoring Leaders

The Chicago Bulls had four scoring leaders and three of the four came off the bench: Otto Porter, Jr., Coby White, and Thaddeus Young.

Otto Porter, Jr. led all Bulls scorers with 23 points, four steals, and three rebounds in 25 minutes; Coby White recorded 23 points, eight assists, and three rebounds in 35 minutes; Thaddeus Young (a former Brooklyn Nets player) registered 17 points and five rebounds, and; Lauri Markkanen, a member of the starting five, chipped in 16 points and four assists in 26 minutes.

Coach Speak: Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen

“I thought we battled the whole game,” said Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen. “We were fighting uphill, but I thought our spirit was really good. I thought we had opportunities that were really good opportunities. I thought we left some money on the table in transition, but we kept playing, kept competing. Coby White, I thought, was terrific – 21 points, eight assists, and I think six rebounds. He was good. I thought Lauri Markkanen was active and moving around. Thaddeus Young kind of held it together for us there in the third quarter. A lot of good things. We made some big shots down the stretch too, to make it a one-possession game. We gave ourselves a chance but didn’t make enough plays at the end of the day.”

Up Next for the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets

So, what’s next for the Chicago Bulls?

The Chicago Bulls will return home to Chicago to host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. CT.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets have a four-game West Coast road trip:

• Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at 10:30 p.m. ET
• Golden State Warriors on Thursday, March 12, 2020, at 10:30 p.m. ET
• Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, March 13, 2020, at 10:30 p.m. ET
• Sacramento Kings on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at 9:00 p.m. ET

The Brooklyn Nets will then return home to play the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Hopefully, the spread of the COVID-19 virus will have abated by then.

TIP-INS:

Spencer Dinwiddie has now scored 20-plus points in a single-season career-high 37 games this season in 63 games played for the Brooklyn Nets. He scored 20-plus points 18 times last season (in 68 games).

Since re-entering the Brooklyn Nets starting lineup on February 3, 2020, vs. Phoenix, Caris LeVert has averaged 24.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 32.8 minutes per contest for the Brooklyn Nets.

DeAndre Jordan recorded his 13th double-double of the season on Sunday and pulled down his eighth game of 15-plus rebounds this season.

 

Caris LeVert led all scorers with 23 points; D’Angelo Russell’s return to the Barclays Center celebrated with an in-arena video tribute

Last night at the Barclays Center, thousands of fans were excited to see the Golden State Warriors on the court. Not to get a Stephen Curry sighting, but to see and welcome back, former Brooklyn Nets player, D’Angelo Russell, who helped to lead the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs last season. The Nets organization also gave thanks to former Brooklyn Nets point guard, D’Angelo Russell, via an in-arena video tribute for his contributions to helping lead the team to the NBA Playoffs last season.

So, what was it like for former teammates to play against one of its former leading scorers?

“Honestly, it was a little weird,” said Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert about competing against his former teammate for the first time since Russell was traded to the Golden State Warriors. “I’ve never played against him before. In my first year, I was injured with my foot, and, obviously, the second year he came here. So, it was a little different, but it was good competing against him for sure.”

As one might assume, preparing for D’Angelo Russell was also part of the coaching strategy.

“Yeah, I do think it helps knowing him, definitely, and knowing how good he is”, said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Obviously, we made a concerted effort to limit his touches. He was 5-for-8 from mid-range in the first half, just so everybody understands that the analytics doesn’t always work out. I don’t know what he was from mid-range in the second half, I would be curious to see, but (a) heck of a player – glad we slowed him down a little. But definitely an advantage when you know a guy.”

Other Factors That Helped the Brooklyn Nets

With no Stephen Curry, the Brooklyn Nets were fired up and ready to take advantage of that particular Golden State weakness. Then the mood of the Golden State Warriors team went south when they learned how the Warriors’ were affected by the looming NBA trade deadline. The Warriors’ management held out Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks as trade chips. Consequently, the respected veteran players did not dress for last night’s game, which affected the Warriors’ game plan and psyche.

Coach Speak: Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on his team’s mood after learning about the looming trade deal

“It was a tough night to go out and play,” Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told the media postgame. “Two of our leaders, elder statesmen, guys who are really beloved in the locker room – for the team to find out that those two guys are most likely going to be traded was pretty tough. We all just found out prior to the game. There’s not a really good way to prepare for a game when something like that happens, and I think it showed. Brooklyn played great, and I give them a lot of credit. I thought they were fantastic. We were definitely affected by the circumstances, and we took it on the chin.”

With the 129-88 wire-to-wire victory over the Golden State Warriors last night, the Brooklyn Nets improved to 23-27 on the season, while the Warriors fell to 12-40 with the loss.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won By The Numbers:

So, how did the Brooklyn Nets defeat the Golden State Warriors by the numbers?

The Brooklyn Nets led by as many as 44 points last night, which marked the Nets’ largest lead in any game this season.

The Nets held the Warriors to .128 (5-of-39) from 3-point range last night, which marked the lowest 3-point field goal percentage for a Nets opponent in a game.

The Brooklyn Nets shot 51 percent (51-of-100) from the field versus the Golden State Warriors’ 36.5 percent (35-of-96)

The Nets outscored the Warriors 68-38 (+30) in points in the paint.

The Nets also shot 41.2 percent (14-of-34) from 3-point range against the Warriors’ 12.8 percent (5-of-39).

The Nets bested the Warriors at the stripe, hitting 13 of 15 (86.7 percent) of their free throws compared to the Warriors’ 13 of 18 (72.2 percent).

Brooklyn edged Golden State 65-34 on rebounding and 29-20 in assists.

Brooklyn led Golden State 40-25 at the end of the first quarter, the most Brooklyn has tallied in a first quarter this season; 68-47 at halftime, and going into the fourth quarter, the Nets led the Warriors 95-64.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on his team’s defensive strategy

“Obviously we knew taking D’Lo (D’Angelo Russell), try to bring his percentages down, that was the game plan – first part of the game plan – and limiting Draymond’s (Green) effect on the game with his passing. And mission accomplished. I like how our young guys finished it, you know, finished the game. They showed real progress. All around good defensive effort.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Against the Golden State Warriors last night, Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert led all scorers; LeVert scored 23 points, a season-high eight assists, along with four rebounds in 27 minutes. Joe Harris totaled 17 points and a season-high-tying nine rebounds in 22 minutes; Garrett Temple recorded 16 points (7-of-11 FG) with two rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes off the bench, and; both Taurean Prince and Rodions Kurucs each scored 12 points. In his 20 minutes on the floor, Prince added six rebounds to his scoring total, and Kurucs in his 27 minutes of play off the bench, added five rebounds to his total points. Meanwhile, DeAndre Jordan, also part of the second unit last night, posted 10 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.

“I think everybody was locked in in terms of what the game plan was, knowing the personnel, knowing who we were shifting off of, knowing who we were staying attached to, trying to take away,” said Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris about using last night’s performance as a blueprint for defensive efforts going forward. “I thought we did a good job just contesting everything too, even if we were in rotations or scrambling, it seems like guys were always getting in to contest. They didn’t have a lot of just clean, open looks. But then a little bit of that I think can be attributed to what I just mentioned, the fact that they are kind of going through sort of an unfortunate time.”

Golden State Warriors Scoring Leaders

For the Golden State Warriors, guard D’Angelo Russell had the hot hand. Russell scored 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 33 minutes; guard Jordan Poole, came off the bench and contributed 16 points, four assists, and three steals in 27 minutes; Eric Paschall posted 15 points and five rebounds; and Kevon Looney registered 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists off the bench in 18 minutes.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on upcoming games against elite teams

“Golden State, I thought, played really well the last three games and this game really worried me, so taking care of business was important,” said Coach Atkinson. “Now we look forward to playing two elite teams in the next three games, and it will be a good test to see where we are. But we know we are going to need our physicality and athleticism to play against those two teams. So, good test coming up for us.”

What’s Next for the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Toronto to play the Toronto Raptors this Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Then the Nets will travel to Indiana to play the Indiana Pacers on Monday, February 10, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. ET, and then will travel home to meet up with the Toronto Raptors again on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Golden State Warriors also have a tough road ahead, they return home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. PT.

TIP-INS:

o Caris LeVert has recorded 20+ points in each of his last two games (both starts), doing so in consecutive games for the first time since November 2, 2018, through November 6, 2018 (three straight games). LeVert has averaged 26.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in 29.4 minutes per game in his last two while shooting .450 (18-of-40) from the field and .556 (5-of-9) from 3-point range.

o In his last three games, Joe Harris is averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 26.7 minutes per game while shooting .537 (22-of-41) from the field and .500 (10-of-20) from distance.

o Last night’s win snapped Brooklyn’s eight-game losing streak against Golden State, which had marked the Nets’ longest active losing streak against any opponent. Prior to last night’s victory, the Nets’ last win against the Warriors came on March 2, 2015, at the Barclays Center.

 
 

Caris LeVert hits a career-high-tying 29 points and Suns have no answer

The sun and the moon set on Phoenix last night as the Brooklyn Nets dimmed the lights 119-97. With the win, the Nets improved to 22-27, while the Suns fell to 20-30 on the season with the loss. Additionally, the Nets improved to 5-1 this season in games in which they hold their opponent under 100 points this season.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won by the Numbers:

The Brooklyn Nets shot 48.3 percent (43-of-89) from the field versus the Phoenix Suns’ 43.3 percent (39-of-90) and the Nets outscored the Suns 54-42 (+12) in points in the paint.

The Nets also shot 44.1 percent (15-of-34) from 3-point range against the Suns’ 35.3 percent (6-of-17).

At the free-throw line, the Nets bested the Suns at the stripe, hitting 18 of 21 free throws compared to the Suns’ 13 of 18.

Brooklyn led Phoenix 35-31 at the end of the first quarter, 55-52 at halftime, and going into the fourth quarter, the Nets led the Suns 90-73.

Brooklyn edged Phoenix 44-43 on rebounding and 28-23 in assists.

The Brooklyn Nets’ Leading Scorers

With no Kyrie Irving in the lineup, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson inserted Caris LeVert into the starting lineup who led all scorers with a career-high-tying 29 points with three rebounds, a season-high seven assists, and two steals in 32 minutes. Joe Harris recorded 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 28 minutes against the Suns; Taurean Prince scored 15 points (5-of-10 FG, 3-of-6 3FG, 2-of-2 FT) with six rebounds in 30 minutes; Spencer Dinwiddie posted 14 points, four assists, and three rebounds in 31 minutes, and; Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot came off the bench and scored in double figures for Brooklyn for the sixth time this season posting a season-high 13 points (4-of-7 FG, 3-of-4 3FG) and three rebounds in 25 minutes.

DeAndre Jordan didn’t hit double figures in scoring or rebounds, but he led the Nets in rebounding posting a team-high nine rebounds to go along with his eight points and five assists in 22 minutes off the bench.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on his team’s resilience after losing on Saturday to the Washington Wizards

“Like I’ve said, we have to start getting back some wins we left along the way, so this is a good start,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “It’s an important week for us, so I think the guys felt that. They felt the sense of urgency. I have a lot of respect for Phoenix. I know they’re banged up a little, but they really play good basketball, so it was one of our better wins of the year just on both sides of the ball. I thought we were good defensively and really shared it offensively.”

Coach Atkinson was thrilled about Caris LeVert’s performance against the Suns.

“Great timing,” said Coach Atkinson. “We needed it, especially with Ky (Kyrie Irving) going out. We needed it. He did it on both ends. The Devin Booker defense was excellent and of course, offensively really, really carried us. So great timing there.”

"It's one of those things where there's so many nights in the NBA where guys might go through four, five, six-game stretches where you're not playing your best basketball, but you can always turn it around and get it going for yourself,” Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris said about Caris LeVert’s performance. “And it's not something that's out of the ordinary for Caris. Everything stays consistent with him. Even if he's not making shots, he still does all the intangible stuff. He does all the hustle plays, activity. He stays locked in with the game plan. And tonight, he just made shots. He finished around the rim. He finished on the line. It's great to see that, great to see him get his confidence going. We need him to play that way in order for us to win here without Kyrie (Irving)."

Phoenix Suns’ Leading Scorers

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton led his team with 25 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots; Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 21 points and five rebounds in 39 minutes; Mikal Bridges posted 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists, and Devin Booker chipped in 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Coach Speak: Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams assessing his team's loss

“We just lost a bit of our poise tonight,” said Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams. “It was a three-point game at the half, and we didn’t make shots in the third quarter. I think our shot quality was decent. Brooklyn (Nets) packed the paint and dared us to shoot the ball and we couldn’t make shots. When you miss that many shots in a game it’s going to be tough. We gave up 13 threes when I took the guys out of the game. We had a 21-point third quarter and Brooklyn had 35 points. So, I thought that (the) third quarter did us in. Again, it was a moment like last night in Milwaukee in the third quarter. The competitive edge was there. I thought we let the officials get to us a little bit. Our competitive edge wanted it to be right and fair all of the time and sometimes it’s not that way, so we just have to keep battling.”

Were the 3-pointers the Nets hit defensive breakdowns or just hot shooting?

“We’re in the NBA with great NBA players,” said Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre. “They have a lot of great guards on their team who find ways to get buckets. They got hot at one point in the game and you can’t do anything but go to the next possession and keep playing the right way. They punched first in the second half and they just continued to punch, so, it happens.”

What’s Next for the Phoenix Suns and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Phoenix Suns will travel to Detroit to face the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will remain at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 
 

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired forward Kevin Durant, along with a protected 2020 first round draft pick, from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for guards D’Angelo Russell and Shabazz Napier and forward Treveon Graham.

“Kevin is a champion, perennial All-Star and one of the great players of this, or any, generation,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “Adding a player of Kevin’s caliber to our organization elevates our ability to compete with the elite teams in this league. His tremendous abilities and dedication to his craft have made him as talented an offensive player our game has ever seen and we, as well as all of Brooklyn, are thrilled to welcome Kevin and his family to the Nets.

“We would also like to thank D’Angelo for all he has done for the Nets over the past two seasons. He was an integral part of the team’s growth and served as a tremendous representative of the Nets and Brooklyn. We wish him, Shabazz, and Treveon nothing but the best in the years ahead.”

“Along with the rest of the league, our coaching staff has long admired Kevin’s incredible skill, resilience, and tenacity,” said Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson. “He has already established himself as a champion and one of the best players of all-time, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome him into our program in Brooklyn.”

A nine-time All-NBA selection (six First Team, three Second Team), Durant (6’9, 240) joins the Nets after spending the previous three seasons with the Golden State Warriors. During that time, Durant won two NBA championships (2017, 2018) and was named NBA Finals MVP twice, becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to win the award in consecutive years. As a Warrior, he helped lead Golden State to a regular season record of 182-64 (.740). Durant has been named an All-Star in each of the last 10 seasons (2010-19) and earned the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2014 with Oklahoma City after averaging a single-season career-high 32.0 points (50.3 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from 3-point range, 87.3 percent from the free-throw line), 7.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 38.5 minutes per game. In 849 career games (all starts), Durant has registered averages of 27.0 points (49.3 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from 3-point range, 88.3 percent from the free-throw line), 7.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in 36.9 minutes per contest. He has also appeared in 139 career playoff games (all starts) over nine postseason appearances with Oklahoma City (six) and Golden State (three), posting playoff averages of 29.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks in 40.3 minutes per game. In addition to two titles and three NBA Finals appearances in Durant’s three seasons in Golden State, the 30-year-old forward has led his team to at least the Western Conference Finals in seven of his last nine seasons.

Durant ranks third among active players in points (22,940) and has averaged at least 25.0 points per game in each of the last 11 seasons, garnering four NBA scoring titles (2009-12, 2013-14). He also ranks 10th all-time on the NBA’s career playoff points list (4,043) and is second in the category among active players. The Washington, D.C., native has represented the United States twice at the Olympics, earning gold medals in 2012 in London and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. Durant has also been honored for his off-the-court endeavors and received the 2017-18 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his outstanding efforts in the community and his ongoing philanthropic and charitable work. Originally selected with the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, Durant earned Rookie of the Year honors after averaging 20.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and, 1.0 steals in 34.6 minutes per game in 80 games during the 2007-08 campaign. Prior to beginning his NBA career, he spent one year at the University of Texas, averaging 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game en route to the unanimous national player of the year honors.

Russell was originally acquired by the Nets in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers on June 22, 2017. He became a first-time All-Star in 2018-19, averaging 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists and, 1.2 steals in 30.2 minutes per contest through 81 games (all starts). In 129 games (116 starts) over two seasons (2017-19) in Brooklyn, Russell recorded averages of 19.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists and,1.1 steals in 28.5 minutes per game. Through four NBA seasons split between the Nets and Lakers (2015-17), Russell has averaged 16.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.2 steals in 28.5 minutes per game in 272 games (224 starts).

Napier originally signed as a free agent with the Nets on July 17, 2018. He appeared in 56 games during the 2018-19 season, registering averages of 9.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 17.6 minutes per contest. In 289 career games with Miami (2014-15), Orlando (2015-16), Portland (2016-18) and Brooklyn, Napier has posted averages of 6.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 16.1 minutes per game.

Graham originally signed as a free agent with the Nets on July 30, 2018. He appeared in 35 games (21 starts) during the 2018-19 campaign, recording averages of 5.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and, 1.0 assists in 20.4 minutes per game. In 125 career games with Charlotte (2016-18) and Brooklyn (2018-19), Graham has posted averages of 4.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per contest.

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.”

The Nets came within two points of the Golden State Warriors with less than two minutes on the clock, but could not pull through

Oh, the complicated Nets we weave! The Brooklyn Nets that is. It’s Sunday and the Nets faced off against the NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors in their first and only meeting at the Barclays Center this season. The Nets started off strong in the first quarter with x lead changes and ended the first quarter on the heels of the Warriors at 32-29. And, then losing their grip on the Warriors in the second quarter, ending the first-half 63-49. Then came the proverbial third quarter when the Nets dug themselves into a 93-78 hole. Trying to dig themselves out in the fourth stanza, the Nets edged the Warriors 37-27 in tonight’s fourth quarter and came within 2 points, at the 1:55 mark on a driving layup by D’Angelo Russell. But the talent of the Golden State Warriors came shining through and when the horn sounded to signal the end of the game, the Warriors walked off as victors 120-114. Meanwhile, the Nets fell to 2-4 this season and 1-1 at Barclays Center with tonight’s loss, while the Warriors improved to 6-1 overall and 3-1 on the road with the win.

“I felt like we did get stronger as the game went on,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding the Nets’ fourth-quarter rally. “I thought that the guys really made a second push. I thought it was a good effort in the second half. Listen, I don’t think the crowd was pleased with our first half, the coach wasn’t pleased, the players weren’t pleased, so we were – at halftime, it wasn’t pleasant in there because I don’t think we played up to our capabilities. So, just to see us play Nets basketball in the second half that gives us some encouragement going into tomorrow night’s game.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Brooklyn Nets head coach, Kenny Atkinson

“I felt like the effort – the defensive effort – especially on the boards,” Atkinson explained about what changed in the second half. “This team you can’t give multiple shots. I know they didn’t have a ton of offensive rebounds but I thought they had three or four that they just outhustled us and you’re just not going to have a chance – you’re going to be down 20 – against a talented team like that. I thought we did a much better job on the 50-50 balls. Our rebounding – it was just a much better effort and that’s why we’re in the game and had a chance.”

“The Nets battled the whole way,” Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “We had them on the ropes several times. We were up 19 late in the third quarter, Brooklyn hit a big 3-pointer to end the third and two to start the fourth quarter got them right back into the game. That was really the story. We were able to hold them off but they made 20 3-pointers.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Golden State Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr

“…In this league you compete and bring it to give yourself a chance at the end of the game,” D’Angelo Russell said responding to a reporter in the locker room after the game about the effort the Nets showed late in the game. “That’s all we can really ask for. Our competitive nature wasn’t there in the first half, so in the second half we turned it up.”

Russell led the Nets with a season-high 25 points (9-of-14 FG, 5-of-8 3FG, 2-of-3 FT), six rebounds, six assists and one block in 30 minutes tonight vs. the Warriors. Caris LeVert scored 23 points, seven assists, and three rebounds for the Nets. Allen Crabbe contributed 14 points, five rebounds, and two assists 28 minutes off the bench tonight. Spencer Dinwiddie added 12 points (4-of-9 FG, 4-of-7 3FG) in 24 minutes off the bench, while Jarrett Allen chipped in 11 points, four assists, and three rebounds.

Ed Davis led the Nets in rebounding with a total of seven, of which six were defensive rebounds.

For the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry led all scorers with 35 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Kevin Durant tallied 34 points, eight rebounds, and six assists; while Klay Thompson recorded 18 points and five rebounds.

“I don't think we’re ever satisfied,” Kevin Durant said about the Warriors’ performance tonight. “I think we had some good spurts. Obviously, we wanted to play a great game, but we know that we are still learning and getting better. I like how we kind of controlled the game up until the fourth, then they made threes. I think the 3-pointer kept them in the game, kept the crowd in the game as well. Some of them were contested; a couple of them were open. I think the 3-pointer got them back in the game and then we had to play a little bit and execute down the stretch. It was a solid outing for us.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Kevin Durant

Stephen Curry commented on why the team is more focused this year than last year, “Because we went through what we went through last year, and it’s kind of fresh in your memory in terms of how terrible a feeling it was night in night out, nothing clicking, not having any energy, or juice or just making things harder than they should be. We’ve talked about it. We’ve been open about it as a team. We kind of set mini goals to start off the season better. Obviously, you’re not going to blow people out every night. It’s going to be tough. It’s the NBA. There’s talent everywhere. I think looking at the eye test, just how we feel walking up the court, we’re playing with a lot more focus and more discipline and better than we did last year starting off the year. That’s a good kinda vibe to have as you go through the 82.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Stephen Curry

Tomorrow, the Golden State Warriors travel to Chicago to take on the Chicago Bulls.

The next time the Nets will have an opportunity to redeem themselves against the Golden State Warriors will be in Oakland on November 11, 2018. In the meantime, next up for the Brooklyn Nets are the New York Knicks tomorrow at Madison Square Garden and then the Detroit Pistons at the Barclays Center on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

Despite Williams and Lopez Absence Nets Ekes Out a Win

With the face of the franchise, Deron Williams undergoing yet another procedure to help cure his ailing ankles and without leading scorer Brook Lopez out for the rest of the year, the Brooklyn Nets and their modest 3-game winning streak took on the hottest team in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors, coached by ex-NY Knick Mark Jackson came into the Barclays Center on a 10 game winning streak, the last 6 on the road. They were looking to make history by becoming the first team to win 7 consecutive games on the road.

The Nets biggest task would come on the defensive end trying to figure out how to contain 3-point sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. It didn't take long for both of them to start showing their shooting prowess. Tied at 6, Curry and Thompson hit 2 three-pointers each.

Said Nets starting guard Shaun Livingston, "they came out guns blazing."

Warriors Andre Iguodala added a 3 of his own and before the fans popcorn was cold, Golden State took a 16 (32-16) point lead. Brooklyn joined the 3-point party to close out the first period with baskets by Mirza Teletovic and Joe Johnson closing the gap to 10 (32-22).

Brooklyn took advantage to begin the second with both Curry and Thompson on the bench outscoring Golden State 11-4 (35-33) to get back in the game. Lee, who scored 11 first-half points, hits 3 straight baskets putting them up by 5 (34-38) before the Nets closed out the half with a flurry.

Kevin Garnett's first attempt and basket gave the Nets their first lead of the second half (47-46) and when Teletovic banked a 3-pointer at the buzzer, Brooklyn took 59-52 lead into the half. The Nets hoping that the Warriors second game in a row would catch up to them in the second half.

The hot shooting for both teams (52% for both) that paced them in the first half, cooled off considerably to begin the third period. At one point, Brooklyn missed 6 straight shots allowing Golden State to stay within 3 at 69-66. Curry then showed why he is an all-around player. Driving to the basket, he puts up a left-handed, floating shot as he gets banged by Teletovic the ball falling through the net getting them within 1 (74-73). Warriors Harrison Barnes 3-pointer gave them a 1-point lead (76-75) going into the final period.

Kevin Garnett Saves the Day

Neither team led by more than 4 (Nets 93-89) as the score was tied on six different occasions with the horrid shooting continuing. At one stretch, the Warriors would go almost 5 minutes without a field goal. The last tie at 93 came after an Andre Blatche (17 points off the bench) fade-away. With the game seemingly in hand, Livingston commits an unforgivable foul sending Curry to the free-throw line after fouling him behind the arc. Curry calmly sinks all three getting them within two points (98-96) and then old man Kevin Garnett saved the day and the streak for Brooklyn.

 

Kevin Garnett MVI 6107 750x422.MOVKevin Garnett speaking with the media. Photo Credit: What's The 411 Networks

 

Aside from hitting on 3 of 4 baskets in the period, he steals a Curry pass attempt then hits 2 free throws to ice the game. Said Nets head coach Jason Kidd of Garnett's performance, "he looks like he's 25. Tonight defensively, he looked like he was 21."

The Brooklyn Nets were led by Joe Johnson and his 27 points while Curry finished with a game-high 34.

Unaware that his team was on the brink of making history, Jackson although disappointed in the loss focused on the bigger picture.

"None of us knew who actually held the record prior to us. The history we're chasing after is bigger than a 7-game road trip."

The Nets, as a team, made a conscious effort to put 2013 in their rearview and focus on 2014. Not a bad start after losing their most important player for the year and hoping their other important player could rebound from ankle problems.

 

Will Kevin Durant find peace if he leaves the Golden State Warriors?

In some corners, Kevin Durant is becoming a laughing stock, and others are just downright concerned about the NBA star.

Durant is the second best player in the league and he doesn’t seem to be comfortable in his own skin or with his personal decisions, as in the decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The NBA MVP has been caught with fake social media accounts to go after people who may mock him. Or, in the case of Clint Capela, Durant felt a need to go after him using a burner account.  All Capela was doing was expressing confidence that his team, the Houston Rockets, could beat the Golden State Warriors, telling ESPN’s Tim McMahon:

"We're confident because we know if we're doing what we're supposed to do, we're going to beat them.

But today, we were ready. I think that if we're doing what we're supposed to do on defense -- all the switches, the weak side -- and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them.

We are better than them."

Yes, Durant, the nine-time NBA All-Star, felt a need to hide behind a fake account to respond to Capela.

Seriously!?

Even Dirk Nowitzki has expressed concern about Durant's sensitivity.

Kevin Durant, if you're not the put your name to it kind of guy, then let it go. You really don't have to respond, after all, you are the one with the ring.

LeBron James carries his team; Game 1: JR Smith in a fog, possible pivotal point in 2018 NBA Finals for Cavs

 

Nets overcome 28–point deficit to move within four points of Warriors, but couldn’t get the lead

Many a professional athlete or team has heard the term “fear no team” or “make them play your game” or “bring the game to them.” Unfortunately, during the first half of the Nets’ game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday at the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn played as though they didn’t get this directive.

The Nets ended the first-half down 22 points with the score 64-42; and slipped to a 28-point deficit (78-50) with 8:34 left in the third stanza.

No disrespect to the home team because despite serious injuries to its top players D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin, the Nets are showing flashes of brilliance, most recently with its win against the Utah Jazz and the second half of this game against the Warriors.

The cause of the first-half free-fall is bewildering, but Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson says it was, “energy”.

“I would say energy, not being locked in from the start, Hollis-Jefferson offered as an explanation. “We have to put some blame on ourselves. Couple turnovers, missed shots. Just my energy wasn't there like it should be from the start of the game.”

But then suddenly, a switch was turned on and Brooklyn miraculously outscored the Warriors 42-34 in the third quarter. Those 42 points marking the most points the Nets have ever scored in any quarter this season (previous high: 39 points in the first quarter in its last game vs. Utah on Friday). Overall, the Nets outscored the Warriors 69-54 in the second half.

Even Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson couldn’t put his finger on what happened to make this game a tale of two halves?

“Our spirit,” responded Atkinson. “I really can’t explain what happened in the first half – why we came out so spiritless and lack of energy. Granted, great team and respect, I thought we were kind of frozen by the moment. The second half, our spirit was better. We competed much better. I thought we handled their switches a lot better, so a lot of positive things there. I thought Jarrett Allen came in and gave us a guy that could roll to the rim and that opened up a little bit for us.”

Energy and spirit are a bit ethereal, but somehow it translated into physicality in the second half in order for the Nets to claw its way back to within four points with two-and-half minutes left in the game. But, on the real, Atkinson believes it was the Nets’ defensive effort in the second half that helped.

“I thought we did a better job defensively fighting through their screens,” Atkinson continued. “That’s the real (thing). They have their on-ball screens, their pick-and-roll defense and they hit you on those screens and we’ve got to avoid – I thought we did a better job. And their off-ball screens, I thought we did a better job fighting through. But really, our offense was historically poor in that first half and talking about the defense, we just weren’t very good. I thought in the second half we figured out their switches a little better. We didn’t figure it out totally, but that’s what makes them so good. They can switch on you and then they can guard you. They can sit down and guard one through five, and it makes it difficult but we did do a better job of attacking the switches in the second half.”

However, as Atkinson said, in the second half, the Nets started fighting through screens on defense and attacking switches on offense, which ultimately helped the Nets to chip away at their deficit. Seeing the Nets storm back to come within four points of the Warriors with two-and-a-half minutes left to play was a bit worrisome for Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr, but in the end, he breathed a sigh of relief and gave a tip of the hat to the Nets.

“Winning on the road on a back-to-back is a hard thing to do so it’s a great accomplishment to win these last two,” Kerr stated. “It wasn’t a great second half for us, obviously, but Brooklyn brought it and I give them credit. They (Nets) set the tone. We had to withstand their run and luckily we did. It was good execution in the last few minutes when Steph Curry went out.”

“In the second half Brooklyn was putting their heads down and going to the rim,” Kerr added. The aggressors will always get the benefit of doubt. They earned their free throws in the second half. We committed some silly fouls. We committed some that were questionable. It didn’t matter, they were the aggressors. That’s how they got back in the game, at the line.”

Hollis-Jefferson agreed.

“I would just say it was our resiliency, our grit, toughness, you know getting into the ball,” Hollis-Jefferson proffered. “Playing our game and having fun doing it. I feel like that got us over the hump. Enjoying seeing one another succeed was something, we kind of, it felt good to be out there doing that. The outcome wasn't as we expected, but we gotta give ourselves credit for that second half.”

For the Nets, Allen Crabbe scored a season-high-tying 25 points (9-of-19 FG, 6-of-11 3FG, 1-of-2 FT) with seven rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes in the Nets’ loss. Crabbe’s six made 3-pointers marked a season-high and matched the Nets’ season-high set by Spencer Dinwiddie’s six made threes on Friday vs. Utah.

Other Brooklyn Nets scoring leaders were Dinwiddie who posted 21 points with eight assists in 31 minutes. DeMarre Carroll recorded his second double-double of the season with 15 points and a season-high-tying 11 rebounds in 34 minutes. Hollis-Jefferson posted his first double-double of the season. He totaled 16 points, a game-high and season-high 12 rebounds and a season-high five assists. Caris LeVert came off the bench and tallied 13 points with four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 22 minutes.

For the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry was a little more aggressive because of Kevin Durant’s absence. He scored 39 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out of the game. Draymond Green had eight assists for the Warriors.

Up next, the Brooklyn Nets will play the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Wednesday. The Nets next home game will be against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, November 24, 2017, at 12 noon at the Barclays Center.

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