March 22, 2018

Nets get a red-hot burst of 24 points from D’Angelo Russell in the first quarter, but could not overcome Raptors’ energy force in second-half

For Brooklyn Nets fans, Tuesday night started off with a D’Angelo Russell show. Russell, with a little help from his teammates, scored 24 points in the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors, on 7-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line. Russell was on fire!

And, of course, postgame, D’Angelo Russell’s assessment of his first quarter performance was what inquiring minds wanted to know

“My teammates, they got me open,” Russell told the media postgame in the Nets locker room. “Transition – they found me, they made the extra pass to me. Give a lot of credit to them.”

Shout out to Spencer Dinwiddie, as three of his five assists went to Russell during the first quarter.

Brooklyn made nine threes in the first quarter, which marked a new franchise-record for 3-pointers made in a quarter. The Nets ended the first quarter up by eight points 40-32, and Brooklyn closed out the first-half up by 10 with a score of 67-57. The 67 points marked the most points scored by the Nets in a first half this season and the most points the Nets have ever scored in a first half against the Raptors.

But, then came the third quarter when the Raptors added 30 points to its ledger and the Nets only added 18 points, putting Toronto in the lead by two, 87-85. A two-point deficit at the end of the third stanza for the Nets, that’s not so bad. But then the Nets had few answers in the final quarter, and the Raptors just ran away with the game, gaining their ninth straight win, 116-102.

So, what did Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson have to say about the Raptor’s turnaround in the second-half?

“I thought (Fred) VanVleet came in and changed the game,” Atkinson responded. “I just think his pressure, his aggressiveness, his grit, he really changed the game. I think behind him, they have two big-time rim protectors in (Serge) Ibaka and (Jonas) Valanciunas, which allows them to be aggressive on the perimeter and that’s why they are a heck of a defensive team. I think a sign of a great team is a team that can beat you in different ways. I thought we did a good job on (Kyle) Lowry and (DeMar) DeRozan considering the great players they are, and Valanciunas had a great game. I thought CJ Miles – those three threes. We foul him once, give three free throws and then he hits two threes. That got the separation there.”

Kenny Atkinson's Assessment of the Nets' Performance against the Toronto Raptors

“I thought our guys, I thought we were aggressive,” Atkinson continued. “I thought we competed, I thought we were in it and it just slipped away at the end. We missed some shots, some bunnies, some shots I thought we had a good shot at making and they come down and they made their shots. That’s how the separation – I’m a little disappointed the score says what it says because I thought the game was closer than that. I thought we were in it pretty much the whole game and then, bang, that’s how explosive they are.”

Indeed, the Raptors were explosive. They had no other choice, as they are trying to hold on to their first-place standing in the NBA Eastern Conference.

For Toronto Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey, the second-half defensive adjustments were critical and necessary, and he didn’t mince any words

“It’s something called hard play,” Casey told reporters postgame about his team’s second-half adjustments. “It’s amazing how those two words impact the game. That’s the thing we need to start the game with. Our disposition to start the game was not good. We just talked about it in there, our starters need to come out with a better disposition, a hungrier mentality and understand they are going to get the other team’s best shots. Those shots that D’Angelo Russell made at the start of the game, we can’t let somebody come in and get hot like that. It starts from the first play. We can’t play our way into the game and put taxing minutes on our bodies trying to come back. We have to do better.”

And, Russell agrees that Toronto made those necessary adjustments after the break to contain him and the Nets.

“They trapped me, forced me to pass it,” Russell said explaining the Raptors’ defensive adjustments in the second-half. “We just missed shots down the stretch. I think if we make those shots it might be a different game.”

Russell scored a game-high 32 points (10-of-22 FG, 7-of-12 3FG, 5-of-5 FT) with a team-high-tying seven rebounds, one steal, and two blocks in 35 minutes against the Raptors on Tuesday. This was Russell’s third game of 30-plus points this season, and his 32 points on Tuesday against the Raptors marked the second-most points he has scored in a game this season. He scored a season-high 33 points on Halloween 2017 against the Phoenix Suns.

Other leading scorers for the Nets on Tuesday night against the Raptors were Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, and Dante Cunningham. Hollis-Jefferson totaled 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 27 minutes off the bench. LeVert recorded 11 points, three rebounds, a team-high seven assists, and three steals in 29 minutes off the bench tonight. Cunningham tallied 10 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes. He scored in double figures for the third time in his 12th game for the Nets. This was also Cunningham’s first start for the Brooklyn Nets.

For the Raptors, three of its five starters scored in double digits: Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan, and Kyle Lowry. Valanciunas had a team-high 26 points and 14 rebounds; DeRozan tallied 15 points and seven rebounds, and; Lowry recorded 11 points and 11 assists. From the Raptors second-unit, VanVleet had 15 points, four assists, and two steals; Miles contributed 12 points and three rebounds, and; Delon Wright chipped in 10 points, three rebounds, and four assists.

Next up for the Toronto Raptors, as they try to hold onto the No. 1 seed position in the Eastern Conference, are the No. 3 seed Indiana Pacers on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at Indiana.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets have another date with the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia on Friday, March 16, 2018.

Nets D’Angelo Russell leads all scorers with 26 points, but couldn’t pull his team anywhere near a W against Philadelphia

Sunday night was a sad day for Brooklyn Nets fans at the Barclays Center. The Nets were up against the Philadelphia 76ers and it was a far cry from when the Nets defeated the Sixers 116-108 on January 31, 2018. Fast forward six weeks and one can see that this Philadelphia 76ers team is clearly on a mission, and the Brooklyn Nets were just collateral damage as they fell to the Sixers 120-97.

Currently, Philadelphia is in the sixth seed in the NBA Eastern Conference and it could move up, as positions three through eight are so close in the standings that positioning could change on any given day. Barring injury, the way the 76ers played on Sunday, it could move up a notch or two. Who would have thought at the beginning of this season, that the Philadelphia 76ers would be 1.5 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. I am concerned that the Cavaliers may not rep the Eastern Conference this season, but that’s a story for another day. Clearly, this Philly team bought into the philosophy of trusting the process. And, with 8 of the 11 Philadelphia 76ers team members scoring in double digits against the Nets, this team is making a statement. On Sunday, the 76ers said, “we belong in the conversation of top NBA teams.”

So, considering that the Nets beat the 76ers just six weeks ago and on Sunday, even though the Nets are healthy, they received a shellacking; are the Sixers really just that good?

“Yeah, they’re a great team,” Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell stated. “They’ve got a lot of great players over there. They’re well-coached, but I feel like we could have given ourselves a better chance by being better prepared coming into the game from the players’ perspective, the players’ standpoint, so we’ve just got to lock in as a group and do that for these last few games.”

“I mean they came out, just from the jump, ready to play,” Russell continued. “You’ve got to give them credit. We didn’t (come out and play). For 48 minutes they just kept making that happen, being aggressive. Aggressive won.”

Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric, who were among the starting five, were the top three leading scorers for Philadelphia. Embiid scored 21 points, eight rebounds, and three assists; Covington had 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists; while Saric tallied 18 points, six rebounds, and three assists. JJ Redick and Ben Simmons also started and contributed in their own way; Redick added 12 points and Simmons chipped in 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

It should be noted that three of the 76ers’ bench players scored in double-digits. Marco Belinelli totaled 13 points, Ersan Ilyasova put up 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds; while T.J. McConnell chipped in 10 points, four rebounds, six assists, and four steals.

On the other hand, comparatively speaking, other than D’Angelo Russell, the Nets played like they were captured by witchcraft or something similar. Russell led all scorers with 26 points, six assists, and three rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie, a winner of the NBA All-Star Taco Bell Challenge, scored 13 points, six assists, and three rebounds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert did not start on Sunday, and as part of the Nets second unit, Hollis-Jefferson scored 12 points and six rebounds, while LeVert tallied 10 points and five assists.

Anyone can have a so-so day and not perform as expected, and this night was Joe Harris’ turn. The Nets’ sharp-three-point shooter only finished with five points on 1-for-5 shooting.

Although the Brooklyn Nets started off slowly, by the end of the first half, the Nets were only down by 10 points (70-60). So, how did the Nets fall into this position?

“We’ve just got to stop people,” Dinwiddie responded. “And some of that was them (Sixers) hitting tough shots, so you have to give them credit on some of them. But we also had mental errors where we gave up 10, 12 points in the game. Can’t do that, obviously changes the whole flow of the game. Just a completely different psychology to the game.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson echoed his players.

“They dominated us in every fashion,” Atkinson said responding to a reporter’s question. “I don’t think there is an aspect of the game tonight where they didn’t dominate and I just have to give them a lot of credit. I thought they were the more aggressive team. They really, really got after us defensively and then offensively, we couldn’t stop them, obviously. So, these are the tough ones for a coach because you’re trying to get something positive out of it and for some reason, and that’s on me, we didn’t have it tonight. We just didn’t have it and I think they dominated us at every position. At the coach position also. I just think it was a great job by the Sixers. They played a great game.”

“At the coach position also.” I am not surprised that Atkinson admitted that 76ers dominated the Nets’ coaching staff as well because sometimes Atkinson is just too forthcoming. However, during his pregame press conference, Atkinson alluded to trouble ahead when he said that this Philadelphia team is a different team from the team the Nets played in January.

AUDIO: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s Philadelphia 76ers’ pregame press conference

Comparatively speaking, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown, during his pregame press conference was by no means “smash mouth” in his expectations for his team’s outcome. Nevertheless, Brown clearly was expecting his team to get a “W”.

VIDEO: Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown gives media insight into his decision-making prior to facing off with the Brooklyn Nets

Postgame, Brown gave his assessment of the Sixers performance against the Nets.

“We came out at halftime at the start of the third period and were just sort of trading baskets,” Brown stated. “We tried to call timeout and regroup our guys. This team (Brooklyn) is a very dangerous team and I thought we responded. I thought from that point on we played defense to hold that team to 37 second-half point, 14 in the fourth period. Brooklyn is hard to guard, they are really hard to guard. I think that’s what excites me the most was our second half defense.”

“We’re just trying to improve on the things that will matter if we’re fortunate enough to play in the postseason,” Brown continued. “Turnovers are always on our mind. We played with the fourth fastest pace. We have a young rookie point guard.”

Perhaps because the Philadelphia 76ers are bigger and more talented than the Brooklyn Nets, they were destined to beat the Nets on Sunday. However, I contend that if your mind is focused on your strengths and positive outcomes, you just might win or, if not, the blow may be a little softer.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts.


Next up for the Brooklyn Nets (21-46) are the Toronto Raptors (49-17) on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Yeah, I know, it’s probably going to be brutal.

For Philadelphia, check out the 76ers (36-29) as they battle it out with the Indiana Pacers (39-28).

Lakers head coach Luke Walton talks to the media postgame about Brandon Ingram’s return to the lineup

In this portion of Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Luke Walton’s, post-game press conference at the Brooklyn Nets today, Walton talked to the media about Brandon Ingram’s return to the lineup.

Walton explained that he wanted Ingram to be more aggressive, to be more engaged and to put more pressure on the other team’s defense.

“I thought the difference between this time and before when we played him at point, he pushed the ball trying to be more of a traditional point guard and calling plays,” Walton told the media. “Tonight it was more just give me the ball, I’mma fly up the court, let’s play basketball…Not predetermined if he’s going to shoot, not predetermined if he’s going to pass, just see what the defense is doing and make reads.”

VIDEO: Hornacek reflects on the state of the NY Knicks and the opportunity that a road trip could bring for the team before and after the NBA All-Star break

The New York Knicks came across the Bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, looking for a win after losing to Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans 123-118 just 24 hours ago. As a side note, the Brooklyn Nets also go into this game with a recent loss. The Nets lost to the Washington Wizards on Saturday also in overtime, 119-113.

Ahead of the New York Knicks matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, Knicks head coach, Jeff Hornacek, briefed the media on the current state of his team.

“No Tim Hardaway Jr., tonight,” Hornacek said straightaway.

Hardaway, who is just back from an injury, is on a minutes restriction. Last night’s game against the Pelicans went into overtime and Hardaway played more minutes than he should have.

“We’re going to make him inactive today,” Hornacek said responding to a reporter’s question. “No setback or anything like that, the plan was to gradually build him up. Unfortunately, the game went into overtime and we ended up playing him a few extra minutes, so we’re going to hold back today.”

Hornacek also commented on Kristaps Porzingis’ remark to a reporter after the team’s loss to the Pelicans last night. Porzingis is coming to the revelation that he might want to concentrate more on defense and shoot less.

“Well, we still want to use him and I like that attitude,” Hornacek said. “I think that’s all of our guys. When you get the ball and we call a play for you, it’s not necessarily for you to shoot the ball; it’s for you to make a play. So if you have the shot, great, if not, you’ll make a play to kick it out to somebody; that’s what we have to do to do a better job of coming out of these plays and that could help KP more if he could pass it out. He did it a couple of times last night; he made a pass to Enes (Kanter) late in the game for a dunk. That keeps teams a little more honest, so that’s throughout our team, we need a little more of that.”

Technically, today’s game against the Nets is the start of a seven-game road trip for the Knicks. However, coming across the bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn isn’t a typical NBA road trip. Nevertheless, Coach Hornacek is looking forward to playing the Nets today because it’s a chance for the Knicks to start its seven-game road trip on good footing.

“I think we look at these seven games as an opportunity for us to play better on the road. The last five games, we’ve only won two of them, but we were right there. We’re going to play some tough teams, but if we play well, we’ll have a chance to win that’s what I think. It’s an opportunity for these guys to get out on a little roll,” Hornacek said.

Hornacek went on to talk about Knicks center and team leader, Porzingis, as a big guy will need more time for his body to catch up to his role; there may not be too much change to the second-half strategy with Tim Hardaway being out today; understanding that Jahlil Okafor brings an inside game for the Nets, so that will be something that the Knicks will have to keep an eye on, and; the fans do get a little extra amped when the Knicks and Nets play each other.

VIDEO: Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy: team needs more defense; speaks highly of Tobias Harris and Dwight Buycks at Brooklyn Nets pregame presser

 The Detroit Pistons pulled into the Barclays Center to play the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, and prior to the game, Pistons head coach, Stan Van Gundy, briefed the media on the current state of his team.

Overall, according to Van Gundy, as of late, the Pistons have been struggling with putting the ball on the floor and attacking the basket. It’s not that the Pistons don’t have this particular skill set, it’s just that the team’s defensive execution has been lacking and therefore, letting games get away early. According to Van Gundy, Brooklyn will be a test to see if they are making progress towards stopping their opponents’ drives and keeping the ball out of the paint.

Van Gundy believes the Pistons could use some help so he and his team will be meeting to evaluate the team including players in the G-League.

In answering one reporter’s question about Dwight Buycks’ progress, Van Gundy responded, “He (Dwight Buycks), has been hurt for most of the year, but he’s playing very, very well. He attacks and plays aggressively.”

Not wanting to get boxed into who is going to play beyond the starting five, Van Gundy responded “Trying to play the guys on any given night that gives us the best chance to win.”

Pressing on to Tobias Harris, who is known to be an aggressive player with a deadly 3-point shot, another reporter wanted Van Gundy’s assessment of how Harris has been able to adapt to the changing style of play in today’s NBA.

“He just shot the three more and better that’s been the big thing,” Van Gundy said. “Tobias is the guy that is always trying to find a way to get better and he put a lot of time in on that this summer.”

Van Gundy added, “I have tremendous confidence in Tobias period.”

Overall, Van Gundy, believes in the Pistons, as the team has had some outstanding defensive efforts against some very good teams. The test for Detroit is to not let teams get away at the beginning of games, apply a good defensive effort by shrinking the floor, and getting into the gaps.

“The Nets are a perfect example. I think they are 3rd in the league in drives, 50 a game, and third in the league in three-point attempts,” Van Gundy remarked. “You have to cover a lot of ground.”

Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers head coach, spoke with reporters at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn prior to the Clippers’ game with the Brooklyn Nets

During the press conference Rivers spoke about:

• Adjustments new guys and teams face when they add new players
• A critique of Clippers’ recent game against the Philadelphia 76er’s
• Sixers guard/forward Ben Simmons’ maturity and all-around skill level
• Praise for Nets’ guards Allen Crabbe and Joe Harris. Crabbe for his shooting ability and Harris for his “unshakeable confidence”
• His last opportunity to sit in the stands and watch an NBA game as a spectator

VIDEO: Sean Marks explains to media the reasoning behind trading Tyler Zeller, picking up Dante Cunningham and Jeremy Lin update

Prior to the Nets’ home game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Sean Marks, the Brooklyn Nets general manager spoke to the media about recent player moves specifically: 1) moving Tyler Zeller to the Milwaukee Bucks, 2) acquiring Dante Cunningham from the New Orleans Pelicans, and 3) Jeremy Lin exercising his player option. Marks also provided insight into the Brooklyn Nets' process for acquiring players.

Tyler Zeller

Tyler Zeller came to the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent in September 2017 after playing with the Boston Celtics (2014-17) and has played in 42 games with averages of 7.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per contest. On February 5, 2018, the Brooklyn Nets traded Tyler Zeller to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Rashad Vaughn and a 2018 second round pick from Milwaukee provided that the pick falls between No. 31-47. If the pick is not conveyed in 2018, it will become an unprotected 2020 second round pick.

"It's always difficult to see a guy move, especially a guy like Tyler who did everything we asked him to do," said Marks. "Worked hard, developed himself. All the old clichés of first guy in the gym, last guy to leave sort of thing, he was that. But this is a great opportunity for him. He gets to go to a playoff team. Milwaukee wanted him, wanted him badly, and that sort of reflected in what they had to give up to get him."

Dante Cunningham

On the heels of picking up Rashad Vaughn for Tyler Zeller, the Nets acquired forward Dante Cunningham from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Rashad Vaughn.

Cunningham (6’8”, 230), currently in his ninth NBA season, has played in 51 games (24 starts) for the Pelicans this season, posting averages of 5.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game. Selected out of Villanova University by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 33rd overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Cunningham holds career NBA averages of 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per contest in 629 games with Portland, Charlotte, Memphis, Minnesota and New Orleans.

Vaughn appeared in one game for Brooklyn after being acquired on February 5th from Milwaukee.

“Dante Cunningham is somebody I'm familiar with and I think our whole group is familiar with," said Marks. "With Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) being out right now and losing Tyler as well, Dante gives us a positional need, fills that little bit of a void there. But he also brings us toughness, grit. He's a veteran. He's been on multiple teams. He's been on playoff teams. He's been in big moments. And I think what he'll add to our group will be important."

Jeremy Lin

And then there was a question about Jeremy Lin, who has been sidelined since October 18, 2017. Lin underwent surgery after injuring his patellar tendon in his right knee during a game against the Indiana Pacers, which was the Nets’ first game of the 2017-18 NBA season. As expected and his righto assert, Lin declared this week that he was opting into the final year of his three-year contract with its $12.5 million salary.

Marks said, "It's certainly something we expected. We talked about it for quite some time now with his representatives. That was definitely no surprise."

VIDEO: Golden State Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, tells reporter why the Warriors are a great team

Golden State Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, in a pregame presser, shows his sense of humor and seriousness. Prior to a game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Coach Kerr spoke with reporters about a variety of issues including:

• Assessment of Brooklyn Nets management and coaching staff
• Factors that make the Golden State Warriors a great team
• Omri Casspi’s influence on Golden State Warriors
• ZaZa Pachulia’s influence on Golden State Warriors
• NBA Game Scheduling and Resting Players



Allen Crabbe leads Brooklyn Nets scorers with 21 points, as Nets break eight-game losing streak with 104-87 win over Bulls

Last night, Brooklyn Nets fans came out of the doldrums, as the Nets ended an eight-game losing streak with their 104-87 win over the Chicago Bulls and the fans could not have been happier. As the clock ticked down to the final minute at the Barclays Center, Nets fans showed their approval with spontaneous applause.

And, Monday night’s win against the Chicago Bulls was no ordinary win; it is a significant milestone in the recent development of the Brooklyn Nets. This win against the Bulls is the Nets’ 61st game of the 2017-18 NBA season and marks the 20th win of the season for the Nets and matches their win total from all of last season. Moreover, the Nets didn’t win their 20th game last season until their 80th game, which was a home win over Chicago on April 8, 2017.

This game wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. During the first half, the Nets lead by as much as 10 points at 4:27 in the first quarter and ended the first quarter up by nine points. Taking it into to the second quarter, the Nets were up by as much as nine points, 49-40 at 2:24. But by the closing horn of the second quarter, the Nets had lost its edge allowing the Bulls to depart the court at half-time up two points 51-49 and leaving this reporter with thoughts of which Brooklyn Nets team was going to show up in the second-half. Fortunately, the Nets played the second-half with a “take no prisoners” intensity. Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen, with an assist from Spencer Dinwiddie, using a reverse dunk tied the game 51-51 within the first minute of the third quarter. Starting the fourth stanza up 14 points at 84-70, the Nets stayed in control and ended this session with a 104-87 win over the Chicago Bulls, a victory that the team and Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson could feel good about.

“I thought our defense was really good,” Coach Atkinson said regarding the Nets power moves in the third quarter. “I thought our activity was good. I thought we got into them. Spencer (Dinwiddie) starts the first play of the second half, gets the deflection, DeMarre (Carroll) gets the deny and we just kept getting stops and that’s the real story. I think defensively, really good game by us and then 31 assists on the offensive end. I thought we really shared it, really moved it around.”

And, Atkinson didn’t stop there, heaping a whole bunch of praise on Allen Crabbe, who was the Nets leading scorer with 21 points.

“What I’m most proud of, I just told our staff, he was really good defensively also,” Atkinson said about Crabbe whose confidence level has noticeably increased. “When I watch him now, you’re really not worried about him defensively. He’s fighting through screens, he’s breaking up passes and I think that’s been a while now. I’m just glad he’s starting to realize that he can do it on both ends. Then offensively he’s just ultra-aggressive. I still think he can add some things to his game, I still think he can drive it more to the rim with the shot he has, but excellent all-around game by Allen (Crabbe).”

Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg was disappointed that Bulls did not get a “W,” and in his team’s offensive play.

“We missed some easy ones early and I thought that affected everybody, Hoiberg said. “We weren’t getting out with the same aggressiveness in transition. I was really pleased with how we finished the second quarter. I thought we had a really good stretch of basketball, I think we held them to 32 points in the final 22 minutes of the first half and that’s growth for our team.”

“…End of the first half was great and then we came out so sluggish with no energy and the adversity hit and we got stagnant, Hoiberg continued. “It’s just something that has to be a constant, playing through the good times and the bad. Handling adversity well is what you have to do as a young group. Tonight we handled the adversity in the first half but not the second. You have to keep playing through the tough times and we did not do that well tonight.”

In addition to Crabbe, the Nets’ players leading the offense were DeMarre Carroll and Jarrett Allen who both scored 18 points; Allen added nine rebounds and Carroll posted six. Joe Harris added 15 points and seven rebounds. Although newly acquired player, Dante Cunningham, was not a points scoring leader for the Nets, he chipped in nine rebounds (eight of them defensive rebounds). Dinwiddie, who is the NBA All-Star Game’s Taco Bell Skills Challenge winner, wasn’t a leading points’ scorer for the Nets this time around, but he helped his teammates by tallying nine assists and five rebounds.

For the Chicago Bulls, Kris Dunn led all scorers with 23 points. Lauri Markkanen totaled 19 points and six rebounds; Bobby Portia scored 12 points and nine rebounds, and; Denzel Valentine chipped in 11 points and 13 rebounds. It should be noted that Noah Vonleh recorded eight rebounds for the Bulls.

Next, the Bulls travel to Charlotte to face the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, while the Nets travel to Cleveland to meet up with the Cleveland Cavaliers, also on Tuesday.

The next home game for the Brooklyn Nets is against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center.

Allen Crabbe led Nets’ scorers with 24 points; Nets defense broke down in the fourth quarter

The Nets had a 79-73 lead heading into the final period. Brooklyn also led 95-93 after Allen Crabbe's 3-pointer with 4:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Nets could not hold on, missing eight shots in the last four minutes. The Nets got within two points with 1:04 to go after Spencer Dinwiddie hit a pair of free throws, but Indiana answered with five straight points, with 26 seconds left. And, at the end of the night, the Nets were on the losing end for the seventh straight game with a final score, 108-103 and a 19-40 win-loss record on the season.

So, what happened down the stretch?

“I think we got the shots we wanted and we missed some,” Crabbe explained to reporters following the loss. “For the most part, we had some costly turnovers too, I mean even me. We were down five so that kind of contributed to us not executing at the end there, coming up with another loss and it’s frustrating. It sucks that we keep putting ourselves in winning situations and we keep coming up short. Like I said, we were definitely looking forward to getting this big win going into the All-Star break. Now, we got like a week before our next game so hopefully, this break gives us some time to really get our minds right and attack this second half of the season.”

For the second consecutive game, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson blames the team’s lack of, or, stunted defensive capabilities as a major contributing factor for the loss against Indiana.

“We couldn’t stop them,” Atkinson stated. “Defense again I think was our Achilles heel. Thirty-five points is just too many. I just felt like they got too many easy baskets, too many easy looks. There were too many breakdowns. Until we fix up our defense it’s going to be tough to get a W. That’s the way it is. We’re going to look at it, we’re going to look at our coverages; we’re going to look at who’s in the game. That’s disappointing to give up that many points in the fourth quarter.”

Allen Crabbe led Nets players who scored in double-digits, with a team-high 24 points (9-of-16 FG, 5-of-11 3FG) and with a career-high-tying eight rebounds. DeMarre Carroll recorded 21 points (6-of-13 FG, 5-of-8 3FG, 4-of-6 FT), 10 rebounds and four assists in 35 minutes tonight. This is Carroll’s seventh game of 20-plus points this season; it matches his single-season career high seven 20-plus point games in the 2014-15 Season with Atlanta. And, there is still time left in this season for Carroll to break his record. D’Angelo Russell posted 18 points and a game-high nine assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Nets rookie Jarrett Allen totaled 10 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes in his ninth career start. Allen has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 12 games.

Although Spencer Dinwiddie did not score in double digits, he tallied seven points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in 33 minutes.

Indiana is the second team this week where all five starters scored in double digits against the Nets. For the Pacers, Victor Oladipo led all scorers with 25 points. Corey Joseph scored 15 points and 11 rebounds; former Nets’ player Bojan Bogdanovic put up 14 points and five rebounds; Thaddeus Young, another former Nets’ player, tallied 13 points and seven rebounds; Al Jefferson came off the bench to score 13 points; and starter Myles Turner posted 11 points and 14 rebounds.

This was the last game for both teams before the NBA All-Star break. Nets point guard Dinwiddie will represent the Nets in the 2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles this Saturday, February 17, at Staples Center at 8 p.m. ET. The event will be televised nationally on TNT.

After the break, the Pacers will meet up with Atlanta on February 23rd, while the Nets will play the Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte on Thursday, February 22nd at 7:00 p.m. EST.

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