June 16, 2019

On Wednesday night, the Brooklyn Nets held a 23-point lead against the Oklahoma City Thunder late (4:21) in the third quarter. And, things quickly began to unravel. Paul George became a one-man wrecking crew in the fourth quarter busting holes in the Nets sizeable lead to help the Thunder win 114-112. In the loss, the Nets fell to 8-18 overall and 3-10 at Barclays Center, while the Thunder improved to 16-7 overall and 6-4 on the road with the win.

Prior to being outscored 39-19 by the Thunder in last night’s fourth quarter, Brooklyn seemed to be clicking on all cylinders.

Allen Crabbe led the Nets 22 points (7-of-13 3FG) alongside four rebounds, two assists and one steal in 37 minutes tonight. Joe Harris, who returned to the starting lineup for this game, after missing the last three games due to left adductor tightness, tallied 19 points (6-of-12 FG, 3-of-4 3FG, 4-of-5 FT), a season-high seven rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes. D’Angelo Russell, also one of the Nets starters, scored 17 points and four assists; and Jarrett Allen, the Nets second-year center, registered 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Not to be outdone, the Nets’ bench outscored the Thunder’s bench 37-18 tonight, led by Spencer Dinwiddie with 17 points, and; DeMarre Carroll with 12 points.

Paul George led the Oklahoma City Thunder scoring leaders with 47 points, 15 rebound, and four assists. George scored 25 points in the fourth quarter alone. Russell Westbrook grabbed a triple-double with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and 17 assists; Steven Adams registered 15 points and eight rebounds, and; Dennis Schroder scored 12 points off the bench.

“Paul George really got going,” stated Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought their offensive rebounding hurt us. Obviously, Paul was fantastic. We had some defensive breakdowns, not picking them up in transition before Paul really got going.”

“..You can’t let a big shot like Paul George deflate you in the offensive end and allow you to discourage you from executing offensively,” Nets forward Joe Harris said about needing to be mentally tough. “You’ve got to still be able to come down, be mentally tough enough, execute whatever plays Kenny’s drawn up or whatever plays D-Lo (D’Angelo Russell) calls. That’s just a hurdle that mentally we need to mature in that regard and get better, and I think that’s ultimately what it is. That’s why we’ve been limited in closing out tough games.”

Next up for the Oklahoma City Thunder will be the Chicago Bulls on Friday, December 7, 2018, in Chicago at 7:00 p.m. CT.

The Nets will host the Toronto Raptors tomorrow, Friday, December 7, 2018, at home at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

Spencer Dinwiddie says no excuses… “we have to make plays”; rookie Jarrett Allen scores a career-high 12 points

A mid-afternoon NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center on Saturday featuring the first of a home and home game between the Brooklyn Nets (8-13) and the Atlantic Hawks (4-17) on paper looked promising for the Nets. The Nets were riding high from a two out of three-game road win against Western conference teams. Brooklyn also had twice as many wins as the Hawks, and Atlanta was without three players. However, to the Hawks good fortune, they met up with a lethargic Nets team allowing Atlanta to leave the building with a 114-102 victory.

“I thought they dominated us in every area, they were the more aggressive team,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media during a postgame presser. “I thought they were the quicker team, they were outstanding. I really have to give them a lot of credit. Coach Bud and his staff; we could never really guard them. We could not keep them in front of us. I don’t know how many paint points they had and that was really the story of the game. Couldn’t guard them, couldn’t keep them in front.”

“You have to give credit to the Atlanta Hawks,” Nets forward DeMarre Carroll said in a locker room postgame presser. “They came out and basically kicked our butt. We didn’t have any energy. We came out lackadaisical and we knew coming off of a three-game road trip, this tends to happen and we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”

A follow-up question was asked if the lack of confidence or fatigue could have factored into the loss. It could not have been lack of confidence, as Atlanta came into the Barclays Center with a 4-17 record vs. the Nets’ 8-13 record. But let “DC” explain it.

“No, I think it was a little bit more of coming back home, sleeping in your own bed, trying to get that rhythm and I feel that we just couldn’t get it,” Carroll explained. “No matter who we put out there, we just couldn’t get it. But the beauty of it, we play them again and hopefully, we can get them on the road.”

“There’s no blaming on the road trip,” Spencer Dinwiddie responded with a no excuses attitude. “Being what we aspire to be, which is a good team, we have to make plays, whether it’s a road trip, home game, away game or whatever it is. We have to come out and bring the juice and get a win.”

Dinwiddie scored a team-high 15 points with six rebounds, a game-high nine assists, and a career-high three blocks for the Brooklyn Nets. Joe Harris added 13 points, and Allen Crabbe, Sean Kilpatrick, and Jarrett Allen each contributed 12 points. The rookie Allen’s 12 points is a career-high to go along with his six rebounds and one block in 17 minutes off the bench today. It marked Allen’s first career double-digit scoring game.

For Atlanta, Dennis Schroder scored 24 points and Luke Babbitt scored 20 points off the bench.

The Nets get an opportunity to redeem themselves against the Hawks on Monday in Atlanta. Brooklyn also has two “home games” in Mexico City before returning to the Barclays Center; they play OKC on December 7 and the Miami Heat on December 9, and then return to the Barclays Center to play the Wizards on Tuesday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin set the tone from the start to spoil Paul Millsap’s return to the Atlanta Hawks lineup

On January 10, 2017, the last time the Brooklyn Nets played the Atlanta Hawks at the Barclays Center, the Hawks ate their lunch beating the Nets 117-97. Tonight, it was a different story, the tables were reversed. In fact, the Brooklyn Nets looked like it was the team headed for the playoffs instead of the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks, as the Nets grounded the Hawks, 91-82.

What plagued Atlanta this time around? Several things according to Atlanta Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer, but especially the Nets’ three-point shooting and the versatility of Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez.

“He’s become such a great 3-point shooter,” Budenholzer said about trying to contain Lopez. “We tried to stay connected to him at the 3-point line more. And Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, I think he’s shooting 20 percent on the year at the 3-point line, he had two that helped them. Trevor Booker had one and that helped them.”

Lopez scored 18 points in the first quarter and 29 points overall (12-of-21 FG) with five rebounds, five assists and five blocks in 30:32 minutes of playing time. In so doing, Lopez became the second Net in franchise history to record 25+ points, five+ rebounds, five+ assists and five+ blocks in the same game. The last person to do that was Darnell Hillman almost 40 years ago vs. Chicago on November 11, 1977. Hillman now works for the Indiana Pacers.

With Lopez scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Budenholzer saw a need to change Atlanta’s strategy.

“I think we felt like we could keep Dwight Howard around the rim, around the paint,” Budenholzer said about his center. “Brooklyn is driving the ball a lot, and really our defense is not our problem – 91 points. So of course Brook Lopez had a really good game. Generally speaking, I don’t think our defense was the issue. I think we need to look closer at our offense and how we can score more, score better.”

But, seriously, it just wasn’t Atlanta’s night.

“We were just trying to be aggressive and we got hot,” said Nets point guard Jeremy Lin. “I feel like on the back end of a back-to-back that’s kind of just setting that tone, and establishing that just felt like we were in control of the game throughout, and even though we were the ones scoring points, that our whole starting five defensively came out and did a great job.”

“When you replay the game really quickly and you feel like there were some good chances we didn’t make – everybody, lots of different guys. And at times we were a little sloppy. It’d probably be great to get to the free-throw line a little bit more. I think it was just a combination of a lot of things and we just weren’t very good offensively,” Budenholzer added.

Yes, because sometimes playoff-bound teams sleep on teams that are not headed to the playoffs. They tend to think that it may be a cakewalk when they encounter a team like the Nets (17-59) that is in the last place in the NBA standings. However, in Brooklyn’s case, they are better than their win-loss record shows.

“They denied us, they gave us a little pressure,” Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap stated. “Something we could have done a better job of was countering off of their aggressiveness.”

Atlanta’s center Dwight Howard was more pointed in his remarks, “We have to play team basketball; we can’t do it by ourselves. One person isn’t going to win us a game.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, known for his young player development abilities, has been drilling that mantra into his young team all season, that basketball is team ball. The Nets’ young players led by Lin and Lopez set Atkinson’s tone early in the game.

“That’s kind of why they’re your two best players,” Atkinson said about Lin and Lopez. “There’s just a mentality, I was saying that about Brook. Brook after a bad game or a not good shooting game like Detroit, he’s going to come back and bring it the next game. They set the tone; I thought Jeremy and Brook really set the tone. Look at Brook and we’re talking about his offense; five blocks, I thought he was monstrous defensively, helping off Dwight and just kind of controlling the paint basically. No doubt about it, they set the tone.”

“Coach always stresses, just be resilient,” said Nets shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick, who added 11 boards towards the Nets total of 51 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. “Make sure that you’re doing everything for the team and I think that’s something that everyone is doing on a normal basis. Down to recovery and down to the fact that everyone’s getting their work in early and making sure that we’re playing for one another.”

Brooklyn Nets players scoring in double digits in addition to Lopez were Lin with 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists; and Hollis-Jefferson with 11 points, five rebounds, and three steals.

In the loss, four of the five Hawks’ starters scored in double digits. Dennis Schroder had 16 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. Tim Hardaway Jr., who is probably grateful that the NY Knicks set him free, scored 14 points and six rebounds; Taurean Prince added 13 points and five rebounds and; Howard chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Nets take on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

NOTE:

Kilpatrick’s 11 boards marked his second-most rebounds in a game in his career (high: 14 in double OT on 11/29 against the Clippers).

Kilpatrick became just the third Nets guard to record 11 or more rebounds off the bench in a game since 1983-84, joining Markel Brown (4/10/16 at Indiana) and Stephen Jackson (12/10/00 vs. Dallas).

Brook Lopez leads all scorers with 20 points; With loss against the Hawks, the Nets fell to 8-29 overall and 7-12 at Barclays Center

“I think they’re playing excellent basketball, I think (they’re) an elite program in this league and this is one game where I’m looking at the opponent saying they’re pretty darn good.”

Those were the words of Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson at the post-game presser following a torching of the Brooklyn Nets by his former team, the Atlanta Hawks.

With the 117-97 loss to the Hawks, the Nets just lost its seventh straight game on Tuesday night at the Barclays Center. It must have been surreal for Atkinson, who last season, was an assistant coach with this up-and-coming Hawks team to now be the head coach of a team that is in the NBA basement.

“I wish we were a little more competitive, but again, I know I have an intimate knowledge of how they play and the players they have,” Atkinson said regarding playing his former team. “Again, we’re going to look at the tape and watch it to see if we can pick up some things. They set the bar high and we can look at it and say someday we’d like to strive to be a similar program, but we have a lot of work to do.”

Yes, the Nets do have a lot of work to do. The closest team Black and White came to the Hawks was in the first two minutes of the first quarter when twice the Nets were within one point. The Hawks held the lead throughout. The first stanza ended with a six-point spread, Hawks 35 Nets 29; and the Nets ended the first half with an 18-point deficit (61-43). In the Nets defense, they did try to turn things around, as they began the third quarter on a 15-7 run and pulled to 68-58 on Kilpatrick's bucket with 6:28 left. However, when the third quarter was over, the fruits from that run disappeared. The Nets ended the third down 16 points (86-70).

“They had more energy I think, especially the first half,” said a disappointed Nets center, Brook Lopez. “They just outworked us. The numbers clearly showed.”

“….we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball and have to rebound better,” Atkinson added. “I did think in the third quarter we came out with a little more aggressiveness. We were more aggressive on the ball, I thought that helped us. We came out with more energy, so that was a positive considering we’ve struggled in the third quarter, so I’ll take that. And overall in the second half, better. But we have a lot of things to work on.”

Perhaps, muscle memory will kick in soon.

In the loss, Lopez scored a game-high 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting with two blocks in 32 minutes against the Hawks. Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 points and six rebounds, Sean Kilpatrick had 14 points and five rebounds, Caris LeVert chipped in 11 points, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

For the Hawks, Dennis Schroder scored a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists. Dwight Howard contributed 14 points and 16 rebounds, and Paul Millsap had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Up next for the Nets is the New Orleans Pelicans at the Barclays Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

 

Jarrett Jack’s defensive moves with nearly 30 seconds left in regulation panicked Atlanta’s Schroder

The Brooklyn Nets have been off to a rough start for the 2015-15 NBA Season. However, last night offered a glimpse of hope. The Nets toughed it out and survived a nail-biting, 90-88 win over the Atlanta Hawks, one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. And they did it all on the defensive end of the court when it counted the most.

After Jarrett Jack drained a jumper, tying the game at 88-all with 33.3 seconds until the end of regulation, Jack nearly forced a turnover from Hawks, Dennis Schroder on the ensuing possession. With the Hawks shot-clock expiring, Jack's defense compelled Schroder to dribble into no man's land, using the baseline as an extra defender. A panicking Schroder almost lost the ball and had to resort to a rushed floater, which was rebounded by Paul Millsap, who was blocked by Brook Lopez, on his attempt to tie the game.

The Nets defense, when it was needed the most, got a stop, giving the team an opportunity to win the game, which was executed by Thaddeus Young, who sank two free-throws after being fouled on the fastbreak. And that particular sequence involving Schroder mirrored the entire game. Atlanta's, Spurs-like makeup of a team scored 10-less points than they are used to, averaging 101.6 points per game, the 11th best in the league, according to ESPN.com.

Mike Budenholzer's team committed 20 turnovers, the most they've committed this year in a single game.

"I give Brooklyn credit," said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. "They played well. They forced the turnovers. We didn't take care of the ball. So we're going to have to clean that up."

The win, which improved the Nets record to (2-9), exhibited the solution to their season, which has been disastrous to say the least and it all derives from the defensive side of the ball.

As a team, the Nets racked up 14 steals and seven blocks which are the type of production that will help the Nets remain in games against teams with superior talent. Although their defense was the star of the game, five players scored in double figures, led by Lopez's double-double, 24-10. Shane Larkin, in his first season with the Nets, had another great game, posting 14 points and Joe Johnson nearly reached a triple-double in 13 points, 9 assists, and seven rebounds.

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