January 19, 2019

The Nets season-high win streak now stands at four; Wizards-Suns postgame trade announcement creates confusion

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets picked up their fourth straight win with its 125-118 victory over the Washington Wizards. With the win, the Nets improved to 12-18 overall and 5-10 at home, while the Wizards fell to 11-18 overall and 4-12 on the road with the loss.

Looking at how the Nets defeated the Wizards by the numbers, starting with teamwork, Brooklyn recorded a season-high 34 assists, edging the Wizards 34-30. The Nets recorded 19 of those assists in the first half, which marked Brooklyn’s most assists in a half this season. The Nets also shot .524 (44-of-84) from the field tonight, which marked their second-best field goal percentage in a game this season (behind a season-high .568 vs. Philadelphia on 11/25). The Nets also out-rebounded the Wizards 46-25 (+21). Washington’s 25 boards marked the fewest rebounds recorded by a Nets opponent this season, and the Nets’ +21 rebounding differential marked their best differential on the glass in a game this season. The previous high: 19 on two separate occasions.

The Nets led the Wizards 101-85 through three quarters, which marked the second time the Nets broke 100 points through three quarters this season. The Nets also led the Wizards 70-59 at halftime tonight, with their 70 points marking Brooklyn’s most points in a first half this season. Brooklyn also recorded 43 points in the second quarter tonight, marking the team’s highest-scoring quarter of the season.

“Good job closing it out,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said as he began to explained to the media the keys to the Nets win against the Washington Wizards. “I thought our execution at the end of the game was good on both ends. Not giving up threes, up nine up 10, and being disciplined. Not fouling. And then our offense, I thought we executed at the end. We had a couple of beautiful, we call them play with the pass highlights, where guys had a good shot and they threw it one more and had great shots.”

Spencer Dinwiddie scored a team-high 27 points (8-of-15 FG, 9-of-11 FT) with four rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes off the bench. In his last three games, he’s averaged 30.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 30.5 minutes per contest. Dinwiddie entered tonight's game as the league's leading scorer off the bench (17.3 ppg). Joe Harris tallied 19 points with a season-high six assists, two rebounds, one steal and one block in 31 minutes. Rodions Kurucs posted a career-high 15 points with a career-high-tying six rebounds in 30 minutes in his first career start tonight. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also recorded 15 points tonight, along with nine rebounds, a season-high-tying six assists and one steal in 32 minutes. Both DeMarre Carroll and Jarrett Allen scored 12 points.

The Nets are beginning to show their ability to close out games and Coach Atkinson explained how his team began to make the shift.

“I think going through those struggles, number one, helps you,” Atkinson explained. “When we went through those struggles, we had the player film session, and then after coaches just really focusing on the fourth quarter execution and the game execution, so I think that helps. I think not turning the ball over is huge, taking care of the ball. And quite honestly, we made some shots. We made the extra pass and made some shots. But our defensive execution, the silly mistakes we were making, the fouling the shooter, not running the guy off the three-point line, there are so many examples it’s hard to give. I’m giving you 10 instead of one, but that’s really the story of our failures in the fourth quarter. It was a multitude of things. We just collectively, across the board, did a better job in those situations.”

“Players only, baby – players-only film session,” is how Dinwiddie explained the Nets win streak. “JD (Jared Dudley) did a wonderful job in our film session of just helping us. It also spurred some communication. Now we’re kind of rolling a little bit. Let’s keep it going. Let’s never get too high or too low.”

Although the Wizards lost, it too, also had six players scoring in double digits. Bradley Beal led all scorers with 31 points and nine assists.

“He’s an All-Star player,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said in praise of Bradley Beal. “He brings it. He spreads his offense all the way around. He’s not a selfish player. He looks for his team. That’s one of his biggest improvements, of making his teammates get easy buckets. He had nine assists. Brad is good. We just have to get stops. The team seems to give up 40-point quarters. It’s hard to generate enough points if you don’t make shots at a high level. You have to somehow get stops.”

Wizard starters John Wall registered 17 points and 13 assists, and; Jeff Green tallied 12 points. The Wizards’ second unit scoring leaders were Markieff Morris with 15 points and three rebounds; Austin Rivers contributed 14 points, three rebounds and three assists, and; Kelly Oubre Jr., chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.

The Wizards and the Nets appear to be evenly matched, so what prevented the Wizards from winning according to Coach Brooks?

“We could not get any stops, especially in that second quarter when Brooklyn busted out and scored 43 points,” said Coach Brooks. “In that second half, we couldn’t keep them off of that free-throw line. We couldn’t stay in front of the basketball. When you have those issues, you’re going to have trouble winning a game, whether it’s on the road or at home. You have to man up and get in front of the basketball and stay in front of it and not always have help. We put them on the free-throw line when we couldn’t stay in front of them.”

NEXT UP

The Washington Wizards will face the Los Angeles Lakers at home in Washington, DC on December 16, 2018. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will face the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, December 16, 2018, at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

TIP-INS:

During the postgame press session, a news report stated that a deal was in place to send Trevor Ariza to the Wizards, Kelly Oubre to the Grizzlies, and Austin Rivers, Wayne Selden, and a person with the last name Brooks to the Suns. Which "Brooks" was a mystery. There was confusion whether it was to be Dillon or MarShon Brooks included in the deal. The Wizards players named in the deal were in shock and obviously not too happy.

 

Joe Harris and D’Angelo Russell each scored 16 points, but all Clippers’ starters scored in double digits

Monday night was not a good night for the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. Team black-and-white could not make any inroads against the Los Angeles Clippers and its 114-101 loss brings the Nets’ losing streak to six consecutive games. Right now, sitting on a 19-39 win-loss record for this season, the Nets need to hustle to bypass its 20-62 win-loss record from last season in order to show that it is an improved team. It hasn’t helped to have several injured players this season. D’Angelo Russell just returned after he was sidelined for six weeks, now both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are out with injuries. And, the Nets are really missing Hollis-Jefferson’s defensive presence.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters at his postgame presser that “defensively” is where the Nets struggled the most tonight.

“We couldn’t stop them,” Atkinson said regarding the Nets’ defensive abilities. “We never found any solution to stop them. They really got downhill on us. Their pick-and-roll game, their guards were in the paint and they were laying it up or shooting floaters or throwing the lob. We held them to 16 three’s but, again, did way too many paint drives. We knew we had to keep them out of the paint and we never did it. That was the story of the game, couldn’t stop them.”

The picture is not totally bleak, as there were some bright spots for Brooklyn. In this game against the Clippers, the Nets registered 10 steals led by three steals from Quincy Acy and two steals from Allen Crabbe. Brooklyn’s assist game was tight showing that the team played as a team, edging the Clippers 27-19 in assists. The Nets have averaged 30.0 assists per game in their last three games, compared to an average of 20.7 assists per game for their last three opponents.

The Nets weren’t exactly doormats. Joe Harris and D’Angelo Russell each had 16 points for the Nets, with Russell adding five assists, two rebounds, and one steal. Allen Crabbe totaled 15 points, six rebounds, two assists and a season-high-tying two steals in 33 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie also scored in double figures for Brooklyn, tallying 13 points, eight assists, two rebounds and one steal in 36 minutes. DeMarre Carroll recorded his eighth double-double of the season tonight with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 35 minutes.

“Brooklyn shoots a lot of three’s and when they get it going it’s tough,” Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said regarding the Clippers’ need to step up its defense. “For the most part, I was pretty happy. We’ve had some bad losses here. The last two years we’ve had some big leads and it looked like it was going to happen again but we caught ourselves. Give Brooklyn credit. All year they come back. That’s how they play and we warned our guys about that when they started coming back. When they put them away at the end it was nice.”

For the Clippers, all of its starters scored in double digits, along with two from its second unit. Lou Williams came off the bench and led all scorers with 20 points. Austin Rivers scored 17 points. Both Danilo Gallinari and DeAndre Jordan scored 16 points. Jordan added 17 rebounds to his tally and Gallinari scored five boards. Montrezl Harrell tallied 15 points off the bench. Avery Bradley tallied 11 points, and Tobias Harris chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Next up, the Clippers will face the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. Also on Wednesday, the Nets will face the Indiana Pacers at home at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: NBA Free Agency 2017 took NBA fans on a wild ride with expected and unexpected changes

Yes, NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. There were changes that most of us expected and some that very few people saw coming. Let’s talk about the winners and those who didn't win too much.

Winners

Houston Rockets landing Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers, which seemed to come out of nowhere. But rumor has it that the relationship between Chris Paul and Doc Rivers had soured somewhat because of perceived favoritism towards Austin Rivers who is Doc Rivers’ son. The challenge will be how Chris Paul and James Harden will be able to play together.

Other winners include the Boston Celtics landing Gordon Hayward; OKC obtaining the services of Paul George; Minnesota for adding Jimmy Butler to its roster, the Golden State Warriors because Kevin Durant took a pay cut in order to keep the team intact, and the NBA for continuing to make headlines in mid-July.

Biggest Losers

The Chicago Bulls with the trade of Jimmy Butler to Minnesota Timberwolves by many accounts is the biggest loser in the 2017 NBA Free Agency. 

Also, the Indiana Pacers losing Paul George to OKC, and the Utah Jazz losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics. Indiana and Utah are both small market teams who are losing their draw and possibly revenue.

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