June 17, 2019

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.

The Nets put up a valiant effort, but in the end, they lost to the Warriors 117-101

The Brooklyn Nets danced with the stars, but blew a 16-point halftime lead, losing to the Golden State Warriors 117-101 on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.

Minutes before tip-off, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters that he wanted the story to be that his team fought and played hard, hoping that the fans would see Brooklyn at their best and that they did everything to win.

“Give them a lot of credit. I thought they turned up their intensity,” Atkinson said. “They turned up their energy. They were really aggressive on the defensive end, and we have to do a better job of protecting the ball. Obviously, that was kind of the story there, and again I like to give them credit.”

Walking into Thursday’s night, Atkinson had high hopes for Brooklyn, but reality had already set in before the closure of the game.

The Nets held their own for a while: they kept up with the 2015 NBA Champions and looked as if they had a chance to contest. Brooklyn’s energy was on 100, and many wondered if they could keep the momentum up.

Brooklyn tried hard and performed a great first half as always: they soared 65-49 over the Warriors. Brook Lopez scored 23 points in just the first half, marking a Nets season-high for points in a first half. ESPN even noted that Lopez is the first player this season to score that many points against the Warriors in the first half.

But Lopez’s single-player prominent stat only went but so far. The Nets committed 18 of 26 turnovers in the third quarter. Lopez and Jeremy Lin combined for 11 overall turnovers together. Brooklyn choked under defensive pressure and blew their double-digit lead in the early minutes of the second-half.

“It is a young team,” Lopez said. “We did a good job trying to stick with it. But we became less aggressive, and they got a lot of easy stuff out of the turnovers.”

Lin finished 10 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds. Lin, who has returned to the Nets’ active roster from a hamstring injury has struggled to find his rhythm.

“They doubled Brook in the post and blitzed Jeremy in the pick-and-roll,” Atkinson said. “Those guys have to do a better job of kicking it out. It’s a work in progress, but we need to find more solutions.”

Atkinson and the Nets did not find a solution quick enough, as Brooklyn lost to the 2016 NBA Champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the very next day, 119-99. However, to Brooklyn's credit, it did pull off a 120-118 win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

Good and bittersweet in Cali: Warriors tie the Chicago Bulls 1995-96 most wins in a season and Kobe Bryant is set to take his last dribble as an NBA player

In this episode of What's The 411Sports recorded on April 12, 2016, What's The 411Sports hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are talking about the:

Outcome of the Augusta National Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia;

Adam Schefter's interview with Greg Hardy;

Johnny Manziel;

Golden State Warriors;

Kobe Bryant;

The New York sports report;

The Golden State Warriors tied the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls winning season record at 72 games;

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant NBA playing days coming to an end;

NY Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired

NY Yankees

NY Mets

Brooklyn Nets

NY Knicks; and

Louisiana Tech women’s head coach Tyler Summit resigns, as he should, and is now on the What’s The 411Sports bench

Events coming up in the What’s The 411Sports pipeline are:

• The NY Mets will play in Cleveland on April 15-17.
• The Boston Marathon is on Monday, April 18.
• The NY Yankees will meet up with former teammate Robinson Cano when the Yankees play the Seattle Mariners on April 19 – 21 at Yankees Stadium.
• The Kentucky Derby, the first leg of a potential triple crown in horse racing is on Saturday, May 7.

US Women’s Soccer Filed Suit Against US Soccer Federation; Warriors Lose to Celtics But Still Want 73 Wins, 2016 Basketball Hall of Fame Class Named

In this episode, the What’s The 411Sports team of Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are talking about and asking lots of question about recent sports news and events.

Congratulations to the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016:  Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, Sheryl Swoopes, John McClendon, Darell Garretson, Tom Izzo, Zelmo Beaty, Yao Ming, Jerry Reinsdorf, and Cumberland Posey.

Five members of the US women’s national soccer team including notable names like Hope Solo and Alex Morgan have filed a wage discrimination action against the US Soccer Federation. The action was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming that while the women’s team generated approximately $20 million more in revenue than the men’s team, the women were paid about 25% less than their male counterparts.

San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick met with John Elway, executive vice president of football operations and general manager of the Denver Broncos, signaling that Kaepernick could be headed to Denver. Would this be a good move for Colin Kaepernick?

After a 54-regular-home-game win streak, the bubble burst and Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors lost at home to the Boston Celtics 109-106 on Friday, April 1 (no April Fools joke).

NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament definitely put the “madness” in March Madness; at the buzzer, Villanova beat UNC 77-74.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin returns to lineup as the Clippers face the Washington Wizards at the Staples Center. It will be the first time that Griffin will play since Christmas after a tearing his quadriceps. His absence was further extended after a hand injury due to an altercation with the team’s assistant equipment manager which garnered a four-game suspension. And, Griffin’s quadriceps isn’t completely healed. Is this a good move for Griffin to play before complete healing?

Who on the current Brooklyn Nets team will be back next season? Both Keisha and Mike would like to see the return of Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. However, Keisha would also like to see newcomer Sean Kilpatrick in a Brooklyn Nets uniform next season.

The YES Network and Comcast are at war.

Can the New York Mets get back to the World Series, and do the New York Yankees have a chance to win the AL East?

New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey is on the bench for his childish behavior towards the New York sports media following the New York daily newspapers' reports on his urinary tract issues.

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