March 26, 2019

D’Angelo Russell leads Nets scorers with 22 points; Nets Sitting Right Outside 8th Seed in NBA Eastern Conference

It's January 2nd and it's supposed to be cold, but it's not. Today, the Brooklyn Nets fought off the New Orleans Pelicans, with one of the best players in the league in the name of Anthony Davis and sent them home in defeat to the Nets 126-121.

The Nets playing with poise and skill improved to 18-21 overall and 10-11 at the Barclays Center, while the Pelicans fell to 17-22 overall and 4-16 on the road with the loss.

D’Angelo Russell led all Nets scorers and starters with a team-high 22 points, a career-high-tying (and Nets season-high-tying) 13 assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Other Nets starting players scoring in double-digits were Joe Harris who scored 21 points (9-of-16 FG, 3-of-4 3FG) with two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 29 minutes; Rodions Kurucs and Jarrett Allen each scored 10 points, while Allen added 11 rebounds.

DeMarre Carroll led the Nets bench with 19 points, six rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie added 18 points, and four assists, and; Shabbazz Napier chipped in 12 points and four assists.

Ed Davis, not a prolific scorer, led all Nets rebounders with 12 rebounds.

When asked about the effort from the Nets’ bench, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson responded: “It’s a heck of a win against a very good team, so great job all around. I thought everybody contributed – big play from all the guys. I thought we were very balanced, and the bench was great.”

Brooklyn’s bench is legendary; it outscored New Orleans’ reserves 55-5, yep 55-5. Entering tonight’s game, the Nets bench ranked second in the NBA with 46.3 points per game.

As good as the Nets scoring leaders were, Pelicans’ Anthony Davis led all scorers with 34 points and 26 rebounds. In fact, all of the New Orleans Pelicans scored in double digits. Elfrid Payton had 25 points and seven assists; Julius Randle registered 21 points, four rebounds, and two blocked shots; Jrue Holiday posted 20 points and four assists, and; E'Twaun Moore chipped in 16 points and two steals.

Even with the firepower from the Pelicans starters, it just wasn’t enough.

“Brooklyn started out shooting the ball extremely well,” New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry told the media postgame. “We got behind and you’re playing uphill. We know the story. We’ve seen the story before. We’re playing uphill – it’s extremely hard against a team with that talent level that has the ability to score. Once again, you’re talking about a perfect storm to get back and we almost got there but we just didn’t. You can’t start the game and get that type of separation and think that against a team with that kind of firepower that you’re going to be able to get all the way back.”

“We weren’t playing good defense,” Pelicans forward Anthony Davis echoed. “The whole first half they did what they wanted. They didn’t feel us on the defensive end. We weren’t physical. We weren’t talking. They had a lot of layups, a lot of open threes. They shot the ball well in the first half.”

Each team will have another opportunity to gain a win this weekend. The Nets will travel to Memphis to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, January 4, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Pelicans will be in Cleveland to face off against the Cavaliers on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie posts game-high 23 points and rookie center Jarrett Allen scored a career-high 20 points with five rebounds in the loss

The Barclays Center was a sea of Purple and Gold when the Los Angeles Lakers came to town for its match-up with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night. The crowd was boisterous but respectful as they over-powered Nets fans in cheering the Lakers on to a 102-99 victory. Although the Nets lost, all was not lost for Nets fans as they got to see former stalwart Nets center Brook Lopez for the first time since he was traded to the Lakers. Lopez was the Nets’ rock, the solid foundation that helped keep the team together during the lowest points of the rebuilding years. On Friday night, the Nets management showed its respect for and gratitude to Brook Lopez with a video tribute.

So, on this night, Lopez belonged to both Nets and Lakers’ fans, and he was appreciative.

“It was great,” Lopez said about being embraced by the Lakers and Nets fans. “It was such an awesome moment. That’s the kind of stuff you dream about as a kid and to see that kind of support from both Laker and Nets fans it’s really awe-inspiring. It’s such a fantastic moment. I can’t thank them enough for the continued support.”

It’s easy for an organization to celebrate a solid player like Lopez, particularly when he can take it up a notch to help pull his team over the finish line.

“Brook (Lopez) was great, Lakers head coach Luke Walton told reporters about how Lopez impacted the outcome of the game. “He had a huge block down the stretch. Jarrett Allen was killing us tonight on his rolling. Brook recognized, he got there late and had a big block. He hit those big three’s obviously. When Brooklyn is out there and they have Quincy Acy playing at the center and four shooters running around, it’s challenging to not change your lineup as well. Brook was great tonight. He did a good job. We don’t win that game without him, obviously. He hits some big buckets for us, and like I said he had that big block for us.”

“The second unit did a great job of setting the tone in that fourth quarter,” Walton continued. “Our two biggest keys coming into tonight’s game were taking pride in our individual defense and rebounding. In the first half, our individual defense was awful, which is why Brooklyn had so many points. Second half we started to turn that up a little bit (individual defense). Our rebounding was pretty darn good all night. In the third quarter, we started playing some better defense and to start the fourth quarter our second unit was really engaged and communicating and being aggressive on that end of the court. It set the tone for being able to keep Brooklyn to a low scoring quarter.”

“Credit to Luke and his group, I thought they played a heck of a game,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media. “I thought we competed. I thought it was a great basketball game for the fans, for everybody to see and unfortunately we came out on the losing end.”

“I thought they made some shots,” Atkinson continued, as he explained the turning point in the game. “I think our offense got stagnant, really in that fourth. You love the pick-and-roll and I love it and Spencer’s (Dinwiddie) good at it and D’Angelo (Russell), but there are times we’ve got to get off it and move it a little more. So I thought our shot selection was iffy at best, I thought that hurt us and bad shots lead to what they do best, is transition, and they were coming at us in waves. But again, I think they played a heck of a game. ”

“I think they did a great job on the glass and we didn’t match their physicality in the rebounding game,” Dinwiddie said postgame. “They got extra shots and also limited us to one possession a lot of the time.”

To drive Dinwiddie’s point home, the Lakers out-rebounded the Nets 56 – 38.

Although, the Nets bench outscored the Lakers bench 41 – 30, it was Los Angeles’ starters that out-worked the Nets’ starters. Four of the five Lakers starters scored more than 15 points while only two Nets starters scored in double digits. For the Lakers, both Lopez and Julius Randle scored 19 points, while Randle added 12 rebounds to his tally. Brandon Ingram had a triple-double with 16 points, eight boards, and 10 assists; Josh Hart added 15 points and 14 rebounds, while Jordan Clarkson chipped in 11 points off the bench.

For the Nets, Dinwiddie posted a game-high 23 points, a team-high-tying seven rebounds, and a team-high nine assists in 32 minutes. Russell recorded 15 points, four rebounds and, three assists in 24 minutes off the bench. Joe Harris posted 11 points and a team-high-tying seven rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. Harris has now scored in double figures in 25 games off the bench this season.

Nets rookie Jarrett Allen started and scored a career-high 20 points with five rebounds and a career-high-tying two steals in 24 minutes.

“It’s good to see that I’m progressing at a good level but it’s sad to see us lose,” Allen said regarding his career-high scoring accomplishment.

When asked about battling with former Nets center Brook Lopez, Allen said, “face of the franchise, now I’m here trying to become the face, too, so just going back and forth. It was a good challenge.”

Allen made some inroads, as he outscored and outrebounded Lopez, but time will tell if he will become the face of the Nets franchise.

We’re rooting for you, Jarrett Allen, we’re rooting for you.

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