October 23, 2018

Caris LeVert leads Brooklyn Nets to victory over the New York Knicks with 28 points, six rebounds, and five assists

There’s no party like a Brooklyn Nets party when the Brooklyn Nets party doesn’t stop! Now that’s a take on the saying about an old-school party. In this case, on Friday night, the party was at the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets didn’t stop even against adversity and kept it going until the end. It was a close call, but at the end of the night, the Brooklyn Nets dropped their crosstown rival, the New York Knicks, 107-105, improving their record to 1-1 and 1-0 at home.

Now, this was no walk in the park for the Nets, as they saw a comfortable 12-point lead rapidly diminish to seven in the second quarter ending the first-half 50-57. Overall, the lead changed 13 times and nine times the score was tied. The moral of this story, don’t lose faith when your lead evaporates, keep grinding until the end.

From 5:57 minutes in the third quarter until the end, the Nets found themselves in the hole seven times. Here’s where you can visualize everyone on their feet, at 15.9 seconds left in regulation, Knicks center Eric Kanter hits a free throw to tie the game at 105-105. The Nets call a timeout. The game resumes and Nets guard Caris LeVert hits a driving layup over Knicks forward Lance Thomas, which put the Nets up 107-105 with one-second left in regulation. The Knicks call a timeout and when the play is resumed, Knicks guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. hurls a 31-foot three-point jump shot with .4 seconds left on the clock, the ball bounces off the rim. The Knicks rebound with .1 seconds left. The horn blows before any action could be taken. The Brooklyn Nets eke out a win and Nets fans have a 107-105 home victory to celebrate.

Statistically speaking, to show the significance of the Nets’ start tonight, Brooklyn shot .700 (14-of-20) in tonight’s first quarter, leading the Knicks 33-24. The Nets’ .700 first-quarter field goal percentage was higher than any of their first quarter field goal percentages all of last season and marked Brooklyn's highest field goal percentage in an opening period since April 4, 2017, at Philadelphia (.714).

Additionally, the Nets edged out the Knicks 22-14 in assists.

The Nets also out-rebounded the Knicks 55-36 in tonight’s win led by double-digit rebound performances from center Jarrett Allen, who is a sophomore in the NBA and center Ed Davis. Allen posted 11 rebounds; while Ed Davis, who the Nets acquired from Portland over the summer, is known as an efficient rebounder and is already paying dividends. Davis came off the bench crashing the boards with 10 rebounds and five points in 14 minutes. Since entering the league (2010-11), no player has recorded more rebounds off the bench than Davis (2,949).

The Nets’ improved rebounding did not go unnoticed by Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“Huge, I thought we did a really good job,” Atkinson stated in a way that Nets reporters don’t get to hear too often. “They had that one stretch in the fourth quarter where they grabbed five or six in a row, but besides that, guys were really helping us there. Jarrett Allen had 11 rebounds. That’s what we asked of him. We asked him to improve. I think against Detroit he had 10, so he’s heavy into 10, 11, 12, 13 rebounds to make another step as a defensive player.”

In contrast to the Knicks, the Nets had four starters scoring in double digits and two off the bench. Caris LeVert, whom most believe will have a transcendent season, barring injury, led the Nets with a career-high 28 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

Coach Atkinson could not have been more pleased about LeVert’s performance tonight.

“Heck of a job,” Atkinson stated in a way that reporters covering the Nets don’t get to hear too often. “Heck of a battle on both ends of the floor. I’ll tell you what, I thought he made, especially at the end, made (Tim) Hardaway (Jr.) work for his shots. He was our leader tonight, and he said after the game ‘Coach I owe you one from the Detroit game.’ So, great game, but that was a heck of a finish at the end.”

VIDEO: In His Own Words: Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson

 

As one could imagine, with seconds left on the clock and a win or lose play outcome on the line, LeVert was singularly focused on the victory when he saw Atkinson had drawn up the play for him.

“I just wanted to get the shot that I wanted,” LeVert told the media postgame in the locker room. “I wanted to get the last shot. Unfortunately, I think there was a second left, but I wanted to get the last shot. I wanted to get the shot that I wanted to get.”

VIDEO: In His Own Words: Brooklyn Nets Guard, Caris LeVert

LeVert’s tag-team partner, center Jarret Allen, contributed 15 points and four blocks in addition to his 11 rebounds. Allen’s four blocks tonight followed his four blocks in the season opener in Detroit on Wednesday, making him the first player in franchise history to record four blocks in each of the first two games of a season. He also became the first player since Tim Duncan (2003-04 season) to register a double-double and four blocks in each of the first two games of an NBA season. The last three NBA players to do so prior to Duncan were: Dikembe Mutombo (1999-00), David Robinson (1994-95) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1992-93). Can you say Hall of Fame greatness in the making!

Additionally, for the Nets, D’Angelo Russell scored 15 points and piled on six assists and five boards. Two players scoring 11 points each were Joe Harris and rookie Rodions Kurucs of the secondary unit. Kurucs also added five rebounds, while Harris added four boards. Spencer Dinwiddie, who was rumored to be a trade option for Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler, chipped in 10 points, six assists, and three rebounds off the bench.

Kevin Knox, a rookie that the Knicks selected in the 2018 NBA Draft, whom Knicks Nation is watching like a hawk, showed flashes of brilliance again in his second NBA game. Knox was one of three Knicks players that scored in double digits, scoring 17 points and six rebounds off the bench. The other two Knicks scoring leaders were starters Enes Kanter, as expected, with 29 points and 10 rebounds, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. also with 29 points. It’s important to note that Hardaway Jr. had no assists.

And, if you’re keeping Nets vs. Knicks overall scoring records, the Knicks only have four wins over the Nets at 98-94.

Nets fans revel in this victory because your team will be on the road tomorrow for Game Three of this NBA season and the first of its 14 back-to-back games for the 2018-19 Season. The Nets will take on the Indiana Pacers, a team that many prognosticators believe, based on last season’s performance, will be an NBA Eastern Conference playoff contender.

See you at the Barclays Center on Sunday, October 28, 2018, at 5:00 p.m., the next time the Nets play at home when they take on the NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.

VIDEO: Coach Kenny Atkinson summarizes his thoughts about the Nets performance during their first preseason game playing the New York Knicks

REPORTER 1: Obviously, you guys put a lot of emphasis in getting shooting out on the floor. But when you see those, when you see those numbers what jumps out at you? Is it shooting or, is it something else?

COACH ATKINSON: I think it's, yes it’s the shooting Brian, that we missed a lot of open shots. But still, I thought we took some contested shots especially the contested ones off the dribble. You know the contested threes off the dribble is a tough shot. I felt like we took too many of those. But I do think our offense has a long way to go. We struggled to execute. You know give, give the Knicks credit that they pressured, put pressure on our guards, did a good job of getting into the ball and we struggled, struggled executing.

REPORTER 2: You know that (Enes) Kanter had his way with you on the inside again deep you 22 points 20 rebounds. What do you think the problem was there? It's the undersized or just poor defense?

COACH ATKINSON: First of all, he’s a very good player and he's a load. So when we play in the first game of the regular season, we’re going to need to do a better job. I thought he caught the ball too easily in the post, so a guy like that so good with the ball post, you better keep it from him or push him off the blocks. He caught it too deep. You know that we let him get to the middle too much I thought. And then, in offensive rebounding, we just we can't box him out with one guy, you know. We need two guys. We need three guys and I’m going to say this all year, we need five guys, five guys coming back to rebound. So that's kind of his strength, but we have to do a much better job. You're correct on that.

REPORTER 2: Caris (LeVert) kind of showed us I think what you might have been seeing in all this preseason and training camp. How would you evaluate his performance?

COACH ATKINSON: I thought he was up and down, you know, I thought he did some good things and obviously he gets to the rim well. I thought some of those contested threes were on his plate. He needs to clean up his shot selection a little. I would say it was up and down, some good things mixed in and like I said, shot selection was one, one of the things that concerned me a little bit.

REPORTER 1: With Caris(LeVert) specifically, is one of those things defense on (Allonzo) Trier who obviously had a heck of a night? And I guess, you know somewhat to a lesser extent, you know, you talked about how if you had everybody healthy you would be able to go big and be able to use a lot of different lineups and take a look at a lot of different things. Did the fact you had so many forwards that were out they kind of prevent you from experimenting you can see how those people are?

COACH ATKINSON: Yeah, and yeah, I think, I think we were obviously we had a few guys out and so that too. You know the first game Brian, we’re really, you know focused on understanding the minutes where guys gotta play, so it’s tough to mix and match a little bit at that first preseason game because you know guys were on a set number of minutes and that’s, that's on me. So didn’t maybe have a chance playing Ed (Davis) and Jarrett (Allen) together like I said we might. But yes, I thought Allonzo Trier he drove the heck out of the ball and especially in the first half, we couldn’t keep him in front of us and that was, that was collectively, everybody got beat by him and credit to him he was very aggressive driving the ball.

REPORTER 3: Kenny, Rodi (Rodions Kurucs) had some good numbers and good moments in the fourth, what did you see there?

COACH ATKINSON: Yeah, I was very pleased with Rodi, I loved was his energy. I think he, he's a talented guy and he’s got nice length. I like how he drove it. You know, he showed some good things defensively. Listen, I think at training camp, he's been, talk about Caris and the other guys, but I thought he's been a little bit of a surprise, you know. He's a multi-position player. I think his speed is better than I thought. I was, I was really pleased with how well he played, love his energy he came out with.

REPORTER 3: Did you kind of go into it thinking you really want to give an opportunity to look at?

ATKINSON: Yeah, no doubt. We had him right up there. We want to see these guys play right off the bat. And then secondly, he's earned it. He earned it in training camp. You know every time he stepped on the floor when we scrimmaged, or in our breakdowns, he's been, he's been, he's been impressive and confirmed tonight that he's a talented, talented player.

REPORTER 2: And, you talked about him (Rodions Kurucs) the other day, as a stretch five. Even though it was garbage time and it was scrubs against scrubs.
Did you like the instincts he showed, as far as, being in the right place you know kind of showing a basketball IQ, showing passing ability, good hands?

ATKINSON: Yes, I loved, though, I liked all that. I think he showed good instincts passing the ball. And again, maybe the thing I liked about him, he doesn't have any fear that keeps, you know, he's going to, he's barreling in there and he's hitting guys.

And you know, I just like how aggressive he was, that his overall energy, it was like just a real bright spot, really. I thought it really helped that third unit, you know play pretty well.

 

 

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Expectations are higher this season for the Brooklyn Nets than the New York Knicks, but neither will make the NBA playoffs this season

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Outlook for Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks for NBA Season 2018-19

KEISHA: Welcome back to What's The 411Sports! We’re in a New York state of mind with our New York Sports Report. Now, Mike, the NBA regular season is upon us. So why don't we just take a quick look at the preseason for both the Nets and the Knicks and give our impressions.

MIKE: Sure. I think the Knicks are certain. We'll start with the Knicks, they have their work cut out for them. Right? Because (Kristaps) Porzingis is not going to be healthy and that's really going to hurt them and I think one of the things that Knicks fans…you're going to start to see as they get 15 to 20 games into the season and they're going to struggle. Then, we are going to hear the word tank, absolutely; you're going to hear it a lot because that's what the Knick fans are going to be leaning towards. I think from what the Knicks have put together, this group, and this roster, it's not necessarily…it's something you know team that's going to be able to compete for the playoffs and it was a tough year that they had last season as well. You got a first-year head coach. You know, you have a couple pieces that you can work with. But, I think, for the most part, it's going to be a difficult, difficult season for the New York Knicks. You're going to see regression not progression and I really do believe that.

MIKE: Now as far as the Brooklyn Nets, I think that there will be some progress. I'm not sure how much, but I think that this is a team that, remember two to three years ago, was at the bottom of the barrel in the NBA, worst team in the NBA. And, then you get no reward by being the worst team because they weren't even getting draft picks. I think what they've been able to do with Sean Marks, okay and Kenny Atkinson. I think that they've put a good culture in place for this team. I think that they will compete. Making the playoffs is going to be very difficult. We've discussed this several times over the course of the last month or so how you know what the expectations will be for the Brooklyn Nets. But I think this is a team that despite these dismal records that they put out the last couple of seasons, there have been some games that they've competed in and I don't mean just against like some of the other poor teams in the NBA even against some of the good teams. So I think that the expectations for the Nets should be a little bit more optimistic than it is across the river for the Knicks.

KEISHA: Well, we're going to see a lot from the Knicks in terms of this is going to be Coach David Fizdale’s inaugural season as the New York Knicks head coach. And, we're going to see how well he handles the bright lights of the big city because they're going to shine bright. And, the New York City media is harsh, they can be harsh. So I mean it's going to be a rebuilding, it's going to be…they already know that they have a lot of young talent and they're really going to build their team through the draft and so they're going to see these young people develop and grow. And, it's up to them to nurture that growth and we're going to see what is going to become of Kevin Knox. You remember, he was booed mercilessly during the draft, a la Kristaps Porzingis and we saw what how Kristaps handled it and what he was able to do during his rookie season. So maybe you know, maybe history will repeat itself and Kevin Knox can be the shining, the shiny star on the New York Knicks.

KEISHA: And then, also with the Brooklyn Nets, you know, you hit it on the head. This is a team that's rebuilding and they’re getting better. Each season’s going to be incremental. We're not going to really talk playoffs because I just don't think that's realistic. But, they're definitely in position to win more games this coming season than last. They have a lot of depth on the team, a lot of ball handlers, a lot of shooters. And, Kenny Atkinson is really harping on defense. And, it is believed that D'Angelo Russell will have a breakout season, like this will be the year for him.

MIKE: Brooklyn hopes so.

What will be the aftermath following the Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor fight?

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS: POPPIN – PART 1

• The Jimmy Butler saga continues. At last count, the Miami Heat and the L.A Clippers were vying for Jimmy Butler’s services. What’s complicating Butler’s trade is that Gorgui Dieng must be part of the deal.

Q. Will the Minnesota Timberwolves deal Jimmy Butler before the start of the NBA season?

Kyrie Irving is the man! First, Jimmy Butler, now it’s Anthony Davis that says he wants to play with Kyrie Irving in Boston. According to league sources, Davis will probably end up with the Celtics or the Los Angeles Lakers.

Q. Let’s dream a bit, can you imagine a Boston team with Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Anthony Davis? If not Boston, where would you rather see Anthony Davis?

• Billed as one of the most significant fights in UFC history. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor had their very anticipated showdown and Khabib won.

Q. What was not expected was the fight’s aftermath. Should the fight organizers have been more prepared for a potential melee?

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS: QUICK BITES

LeBron James was considering joining the Toronto Raptors before he finalized his move to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, it seems both sides were interested in reaching an agreement.

• The family of NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau has settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL. Seau died from suicide at the age of 43; his death followed a long battle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head.

Drew Brees passes Peyton Manning as NFL's all-time passing leader: New Orleans Saint quarterback Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning's record of 71,940 career passing yards with a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith in the second quarter of a game against Washington. New Orleans defeated Washington 43-19, ouch!!!

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS: POPPIN – PART 2

• Former Louisville men’s basketball head coach, Rick Pitino, has been promoting his new book, entitled Pitino: My Story. He says he never wants to coach basketball again.

Q. Do you believe Pitino?

• Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul has taken offense to the criticisms of fellow teammate, Carmelo Anthony, calling the criticism of Melo disrespectful.

Q. Do you think Chris Paul is right that the media may have gone too far with their assessment of Carmelo Anthony?

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

What’s The 411’s Photo of the Week is a photo of Saquon Barkley making a touchdown during the New York Giants game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium.

NY SPORTS REPORT

• We have a preseason look at the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.

• New York Yankees Update: The Yankees made it into the ALDS and will play the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 tonight.

• Discord has visited upon the NY Giants.

Q. Are the New York Giants on the brink of falling apart?

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS OFF TOPIC:

Summer vacation is officially over, and Khloe Kardashian was headed back to Cleveland to be with baby True’s father, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and decided to stay in Los Angeles.

Nets rookie Rodions Kurucs playing in his first NBA game showed true grit scoring 13 points in 12 minutes, all in the fourth quarter

Granted it's a preseason game, in a new season, but the Brooklyn Nets still look like the team of last season. The first competitive game for the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018-19 NBA season was held at the Barclays Center tonight against its East River rival, the New York Knicks. The one thing that was different from the very start was that a Brooklyn Brigade fan group showed up in full force and cheered the Nets from start to finish shutting down any Knicks’ fans in the audience. Believe me, this is a first. At one Knicks game last season, when I checked in on Facebook, the app thought I was at Madison Square Garden and would not allow me to put in the Barclays Center.

Tonight the Nets got off to a good start, which isn’t unusual, leading by as much as 15 points with 1:04 left in the first quarter. But in the closing minute of the first quarter, New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina put up a three-pointer at the 50-second mark. Nets guard Joe Harris missed a 3-point jumper with 35 seconds left, and Knicks guard Allonzo Trier added another three points at the buzzer, ending the first quarter with a score of Nets 26 and the Knicks 17.

During the second stanza, with just under eight minutes left to play in the half, the Nets had a 15-point lead (38-23). However, the New York Knicks found cracks in the armor and little by little chipped away to end the first-half 50-46. The reverse of fortunes continued into the third, when the Knicks went up 10, ending the third quarter with a score of 81-71. The Nets tried to claw their way back in the fourth quarter and came within one point (99-98) at the 2:26 mark, however, turnovers and defensive pressure on the part of the Knicks at the end of the day is what contributed to the Nets demise in Preseason Game 1, ending with a hurtful 107-102.

“I thought that we missed a lot of open ones,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media during his postgame interview. “But still I thought that we took some contested ones, especially the contested ones off the dribble. You know the contested threes off the dribble – it’s a tough shot, I felt like too many of those. But, I do think our offense has a long way to go. We struggled to execute, give the Knicks credit. I thought they pressured our guards and did a good job of getting into the ball and we struggled executing.”

“There were a lot of positives,” an assessment that Nets guard D’Angelo Russell gave the media in his locker room postgame presser. “I think we came out and competed, played hard. We focused on what coach was expecting of us. Things we can work on as well. But it’s something that we can watch film, build on it.”

In adversity, there is generally a silver lining somewhere, and Net rookie Rodions Kurucs was it. During the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, Kurucs got his first opportunity to play in an NBA game and he was pushing for a real comeback. Kurucs scored 13 points in 12 minutes.

Russell was not surprised by Kurucs’ deliverables.

Asked what he sees in practice from Kurucs that translated into tonight’s game, and Russell responded, “Same thing, same thing. He’s active, he’s athletic, he plays hard, he knows his role. He knows what he’s capable of. He never steps outside the box. He’s the guy that plays hard and brings that energy.”

“It was really emotional for me because I didn’t play last year,” Kurucs said about getting his chance to play for the first time ever in the NBA. “It was a really good moment for me. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed every minute.”

Kurucs was drafted by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018 NBA Draft in the second round (40th overall).

“I think I bring energy on defense,” Kurucs continued. “I’m just working on all the stuff, what coach told me. I’ll help my team out. I’ll do all my best. I’ll give my all.”

And, from tonight’s performance, he’s definitely one to watch this season.

The Nets had six players to score in double digits. Caris LeVert led the Nets with 15 points and four steals. Both Spencer Dinwiddie and Kurucs scored 13 points. Dinwiddie added six assists, while Kurucs added four rebounds and four steals. Russell and Treveon Graham each tallied 11 points. Russell added three rebounds and three assists, while, Graham secured eight rebounds and three assists. Joe Harris chipped in 10 points and three rebounds.

For the Knicks, Allonzo Trier led all scorers with 25 points and four rebounds; his teammate, Enes Kanter contributed 22 points and 20 rebounds.

Next up, for the Knicks, are the New Orleans Pelicans at home at Madison Square Garden on Friday, October 5, 2018.

The Nets travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Monday, October 8, 2018. The Nets first regular season game at home will be against the New York Knicks on Friday, October 19, 2018. 

In His Own Words: Rodions Kurucs:

Expectations for the Nets are heightened with the addition of new players chief among them, defensive players, Ed Davis, and Kenneth Faried

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

KEISHA: Welcome back to What's The 411Sports. We're in a New York state of mind with our “New York Sports Report” and we are going to talk about our Brooklyn Nets. It was media day across the NBA and the Brooklyn Nets had their own, and there were a good number of (Nets) players who really think that they have enough pieces to do significantly better this year than last, playoffs even.

While there is some that are a little more cautious and just believing that they'll get more wins without going so far as to say that they would make the playoffs. Mike, are the players right to be cautiously optimistic, or should they be more aggressive in their thinking and their beliefs on how they're going to do this season?

MIKE: No, I think that they're right to be cautious here because yeah, I think the over-under is something like 31 or maybe even thirty-two wins for the Nets for the wins for the upcoming season. They won 27 or 28 games last year. So, and I know that doesn't seem like much improvement, but I think that there's no question in my mind that this team will wind up winning more games than they did last season. They know that people can look at that and say well, you know, it's not much of an improvement. But when your win column is really that depleted and you don't have much it's good to pick up on something.

I think Kenny (Atkinson), he's gotten comfortable here. Now. I saw him in an interview on the Yes Network about a week or two ago. And the guy just seems like he's very upbeat. I like his energy. I think that the big focus for this team, of course, is going to be defense right? Because they know that without a doubt that that's one of the things that really hurt them over the last couple of seasons.

That first quarter, like sometimes the first five, ten minutes of the game they’re in it and then all of a sudden everything just seems to fall apart and then by the end of the first quarter, they're down by 15 points. And, I think that those collapses are something that they're really going to try to look to avoid.

You can't knock this team's heart. I can't tell you how many Net games we've seen over the last several years, a couple of years, and they're in it, right even back when Lionel Hollins was coaching. Yeah, they were not winning many games but there were times where they'd be playing tight games against the Cleveland Cavaliers or even when the Knicks were somewhat competitive and they would keep games close.

You mentioned off air I know you might want to speak about it. But Ed Davis, I think is really someone that people are going to want to keep an eye on this year. This guy's tough-minded, no question about it. And I think the rebounding is something that he's going to lead a big focus on for them.

KEISHA: Yeah and Kenneth Faried, I actually like him too. I think he's going to be a really nice piece for the Brooklyn Nets and I think that you know, I think that aiming for more wins than last year is attainable. So, I'm, just quick, I have decided that for the remaining quarter of this year. I'm going to set goals for myself.

I've never done it really in a formalized, formalized manner and I'm going to do it because that is one of the keys for highly successful people and if it works for them why not try it. So you set smart goals and S.M.A.R.T is an acronym and the "A" stands for attainable, and I think that saying that you're going to win more games than last year is attainable.

So I looked at last year's playoff standings and the Wizards had the eighth spot. They were the last team to make the playoffs and they won 43 games. Last year, the Nets won 28. So that's a differential of 15 games. Now, the Nets had an increase of eight games from the year prior to last year. So in order to kind of ...I guess if they can make the playoff that means they have to make, they have to double. Now, it may not be impossible, but because it's like, all right, you won eight games last year why not win eight more. But you've got a lot of new pieces coming in. So I think it might be a little too aggressive to say that you can win 16 games with new pieces. But I definitely, I definitely see more wins for the team. I say about, I'll say 38.

MIKE: All right, okay.

Crabbe leads all scorers with a game-high 41 points and; Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen makes the NBA record books

Oh, what a difference a season makes for the Brooklyn Nets! Last night, the Nets played their last home game of the season against the Chicago Bulls and to the delight of the fans and the team itself, the appreciation and excitement were palpable. As the clock ticked off its final seconds, a good number of Nets’ fans stood and applauded, as the Nets with aplomb etched a “W” with a score of 114-105 against the Bulls, bringing the Nets season to 28-53, and no longer in the NBA basement.

Nets players gave the jerseys that they were wearing right off their backs to fans as a show of appreciation for sticking with the team. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson in his postgame press conference with the media underscored his appreciation for the Brooklyn Nets’ fans.

“I thought the fans have been great all year and really want to thank them for their support,” Coach Atkinson started. “We’ve had some tough games, some good games, some not so good games, but they’ve been there. I think this is the unique thing about being in New York, no insult to other markets and all that, but we have true basketball fans here. You see it, you feel it. When you talk to them after the games or when you’re walking around Brooklyn, they really know the game and they appreciate the effort our guys put in and we appreciate their patience, their understanding, and their enthusiasm. I just think it’s awesome. I’m really hopeful down the line we can really reward them with something special, give them a gift.”

Obviously, as a team, a cohesive unit, the Nets gave the fans a gift, but on a night that capped off his birthday, Allen Crabbe gave and received the best birthday gift of all. Crabbe dropped 41 points on the Chicago Bulls, count ‘em, 41 points. Crabbe scored 20 points in the first quarter, which included five 3-pointers, a field goal and three points from the stripe and became just the second player in Nets’ franchise history to make five or more 3-pointers in three straight games. And, in case you’re wondering, Vince Carter was the first Nets player to make five or more 3-pointers in three straight games in the 2008-09 season.

But wait, there’s more! Crabbe went on to score 29 points in the first-half, which marked the most points he’s scored in any half in his career and the most points tallied by a Net in any half this season. For the night, Crabbe tallied 12-of-15 FG, 8-of-11 3FG, and 9-of-9 FT in 34 minutes. He also posted five rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block.

“The ball’s going in the hoop for me,” Crabbe modestly told reporters postgame about his hot shooting streak. “Like I’ve said from the jump, I’ve been capable of doing this all season. Just in the beginning I was missing shots, getting the same shots I was shooting earlier in the season but I just wasn’t making them. So I mean it’s starting to come around for me. I’m starting to find my rhythm, and you know just getting more comfortable within the flow of the offense. Tonight was just a night where, I’m glad I had a night on my birthday, and we got the win. It just puts the cherry on top.”

But Crabbe didn’t make it all about him; he gave plenty of credit to his teammates.

“They trapped the pick-and-roll, and then we played great team basketball,” Crabbe added. “The roll man finds us, or D’Angelo [Russell] found us, Spencer [Dinwiddie] found us, Rondae [Hollis-Jefferson] found me. I got everybody a couple assists tonight, so I think just our ball movement when the ball’s moving like that and everybody’s for it, it’s contagious. Everybody’s having a good time, so I think that was the key for us tonight, and it was a good night.”

The Allen Crabbe mutual admiration society was in full effect.

“I shook his hand after the game and it was still hot, still cooking,” Nets coach Atkinson said about Crabbe’s accomplishment. “I thought his overall game was good, obviously started out hot and kept it going… He’s really finishing the season the way we’re asking the team to finish, on a strong note. These games are important to us so the fact that he kept working on his game, kept improving, it’s really good for us.”

“Big time,” D’Angelo Russell said underscoring Crabbe’s performance. “Could easily come out, B.S. the game. For him, the player that he is to come out and put a performance like that on against anybody is big time.”

Other Brooklyn Nets leading point scorers were Russell with 21 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and two steals in 36 minutes. This makes Russell’s fifth double-double of the season after recording three in his first two NBA seasons combined. Spencer Dinwiddie totaled 20 points, seven assists, and three rebounds in 35 minutes. This was Dinwiddie’s 16th 20-point game of the season, matching Crabbe for the team lead in 20-point games this season.

Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen didn’t hit the double-digit points-scored mark, but he posted eight points, five rebounds and four blocks in 28 minutes. Allen is now in the record books becoming the fifth NBA rookie in the last 20 years (since 1997-98) to block four or more shots in three straight games. Jarrett Allen joins Yao Ming (2002-03), Kenyon Martin (2000-01), Lamar Odom (1999-00) and Tim Duncan (1997-98).

Nets rookie Milton Doyle, who shares his time between the Nets G-League team and the Nets on a two-way contract, showed a glimmer of who could be next. Doyle, a four-year student from Loyola University Chicago, bested the Nets second-unit players in points in the least amount of time by scoring a career-high eight points and one blocked shot in 16 minutes.

In their loss, seven of the Chicago Bulls’ players scored 10 or more points. Former Nets player, Sean Kilpatrick came off the bench for the Bulls and scored 16 points, three rebounds, one assist, and two steals. Bobby Portis, also part of the Bulls’ second unit, tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, and two assists; and Cameron Payne, led the Bulls’ starting five with 15 points, three rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

“I thought we really went out and competed at a really high level,” Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said postgame. “I thought we reversed that from the last game that we played the other night against Brooklyn. It was really good effort for 48 minutes. I thought we moved the ball much better as well. We had a really good film session this morning. We’re still learning. We’re still teaching. I thought our guys responded by going out and playing with great effort tonight. That’s what it’s about. I thought each and every guy that stepped on the court tonight competed at a very high level. That’s what it’s all about for our group right now.”

The Bulls will play their last game of the 2017-18 season, on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, at home against the Detroit Pistons.

The Nets will play their last game of the 2017-18 season on the road in Boston against the Boston Celtics also on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

Tip in: The Chicago Bulls lost to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, April 7, 2018, 124-96

Nets could not stop Pistons drive; Jarrett Allen, a scoring leader for Nets, and; Andre Drummond and Quincy Acy ejected from the game

Let’s just say the Brooklyn Nets didn’t have it last night, as they lost 108-96 to the Detroit Pistons at the Barclays Center. Or, perhaps, it was fatigue since the Nets were coming off of a 110-109 overtime win over the Miami Heat the night before. No matter how the Nets tried, they simply could not slow down Detroit Pistons led by guard Reggie Jackson, who topped all scorers with 29 points.

And, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson as much as he hated to admit his team lost its mojo had no other choice but to face the fact that slowing down Detroit just wasn’t in the cards.

“We didn’t,” Atkinson told reporters regarding the Nets inability to slow down the Pistons. “I’ll just make it general. I thought we didn’t have it tonight. Whatever that it is, that energy, that juice, it wasn’t there. They were at a higher level than us in terms of their again, call it juice. Reggie Jackson, heck of a player and he played really well, made some tough shots.”

“Disappointed we gave him 13 free throws,” Atkinson continued. “That facilitates a 29-point game and that’s a point of emphasis for us, not putting teams on the free throw line. They won the free throw battle, 32 free throws to 15, that’s too much. That’s a big disparity. “

Atkinson did have love for his bench.

“I thought our bench group did a great job. You know Caris (LeVert), Nik Stauskas, Q (Quincy Acy), as long as he was in there. I thought those guys fought and our starters, like I said, I don’t think they had the necessary juice tonight. We’ve got to get in late, back-to-back, all that stuff. We have to be more resilient to get through a game like that.”

Not sure what Atkinson is referring to regarding his starters vs. the second unit. Four of the five starters scored in double digits, while only two players scored in double digits off the bench. Stauskas only scored three points, and Acy who only played five minutes before being ejected for fighting scored zero.

Meanwhile, Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen, one of the starting five, scored 15 points, six rebounds, and three blocked shots. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tallied 14 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. D’Angelo Russell put up 13 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and one blocked shot, and DeMarre Carroll recorded 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists. On the other hand, bench scoring leaders Joe Harris added 15 points and five rebounds, and Caris LeVert chipped in 10 points and seven assists.

The fact of the matter is, this was another game where the Nets dug themselves into a 20-point hole and didn’t have whatever it would have taken to dig themselves out of it.

“We never stopped the bleeding,” Russell explained underscoring the team’s powerlessness to overcome a 20-point deficit in the third quarter. “I feel like we didn’t make that shot or get that stop that we needed to stop the bleeding or that 50/50 play however you want to put it.”

“The defense was good,” Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said describing his team’s effort to keep the Nets from coming back in the fourth quarter. “Both teams were on fumes going down the stretch. We were just walking the ball up the floor. We had no pace, nothing. But we just grinded it out, so it was a good win.”

In addition to Jackson, Pistons' scoring leaders included starting forward Stanley Johnson who scored 17 points and four assists. Ish Smith came off the bench for the Pistons and scored 17 points, while other starters Andre Drummond added 13 points and 14 rebounds before being ejected for starting a fight with Nets’ Quincy Acy and Anthony Tolliver chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Next up for the Pistons, is a game on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in Philadelphia against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Nets will take on Philadelphia the night before on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, also in Philadelphia. The next home game for the Brooklyn Nets is also its last home game for the season, which will be held on Monday, April 9, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center.

Joe Harris scores a career-high 30 points in the loss

When the Cleveland Cavaliers come into your building, the operations change and it is unlike when any other team in the NBA arrives at your doorstep. The same can almost be said for in-arena activity.

At the end of 48 minutes, the Cavaliers had left its imprint on the Barclays Center defeating the Brooklyn Nets by only seven points, 121-114.

In the loss for the Nets, Joe Harris had a great night, scoring a career-high 30 points (11-of-14 FG, 6-of-7 3FG) with seven rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes off the bench. His previous career high was 21 points back on December 29, 2017, at Miami.
Harris’ 30 points also marked the most points scored by a Net off the bench this season.

“I think he’s good because he cuts off the ball, so against their switches, I think that messed with them,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about Joe Harris’ performance. “He’s a good cutter. Obviously came off some good screens. I thought our bigs set some really good screens for us. He gets out in transition. You know Joe’s had a darn good year. I think he’s struggled a little lately so it was nice to see him break out, have a really good game especially against his former team, so great for Joe, just stinks we couldn’t get the W for him.”

“I just got in the rhythm early,” Harris told the media about his performance today. “We were moving the ball well and I was able to get room and rhythm looks right off the get-go, knocked down my first couple. It just felt good after that and I was a little bit more aggressive, hunting into shots. I guess towards the end, especially I took a couple more chances on taking contested looks when we needed the three’s. But it started at the beginning of the game just us moving the ball, and me getting room and rhythm looks.”

“He’s been solid throughout the season,” Nets guard D’Angelo Russell said about his Harris’s performance. “He knows his job. He knows his role. He embraces it. He and a few others, they have that job to shoot the ball and space the floor and they embrace that. He does a great job at that as well.”

“This Brooklyn team has been a really tough team for us to play against all year long, whether we’re at our building or theirs,” said Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Larry Drew. “I’m just proud that we hung in there. We got behind a little bit but we didn’t fold. LeBron (James) was once again spectacular. We got some really good play out of George Hill. Rodney Hood was really good for us as well. I’m just proud of the fact that we didn’t fold. We got behind, we kept grinding. I thought we gave a much better defensive effort in the second half than we did in the first half. ”

DeMarre Carroll posted 18 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 34 minutes today. Spencer Dinwiddie recorded 16 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 25 minutes off the bench today. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson totaled 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in 33 minutes. D’Angelo Russell also scored in double figures for the Nets with 12 points in 26 minutes today.

Entering today’s game, the Nets’ bench ranked as the second-highest scoring bench in the league with 43.5 ppg and Brooklyn’s bench outscored Cleveland’s bench 60-42 today, led by Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie.

For Cleveland, LeBron James led all scorers with 37 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Kevin Love added 20 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists. Jordan Clarkson recorded 18 points, George Hill contributed 17 points, four rebounds, and five assists, and Rodney Hood chipped in 16 points.

Next, the Cleveland Cavaliers will play the Miami Heat in Miami on Tuesday, March 27.

The Nets will fly to Orlando to play the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, March 28, 2017.

Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe were scoring leaders for the Brooklyn Nets, each scoring 22 points

Fresh off a win against the Dallas Mavericks on St. Patrick’s Day, the Brooklyn Nets were home at the Barclays Center tonight to take on the Memphis Grizzlies and came up with another win. Defeating the Grizzlies 118-115, the Nets have now won two consecutive games (tonight and a win against the Dallas Mavericks) for the first time since January 19 vs. Miami and January 21 at Detroit.

Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe both led the Brooklyn Nets in scoring with 22 points. LeVert (7-of-9 FG, 4-of-4 3FG, 4-of-6 FT - tonight) added to his 22 points, three rebounds, two assists and one block. Crabbe (7-of-10 FG, 4-of-7 3FG, 4-of-4 FT - tonight), who is returning tonight after missing the team’s last two games due to illness, with his first made 3-pointer against the Grizzlies, moved into sole possession of second place in Nets single-season history in 3-pointers made. Crabbe has made 166 3FG this season. Next up is Deron Williams’ record of 169 three-pointers made in 2012-13.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was pleased with Crabbe’s performance considering he’s just coming back after recovering from a bug that hitting several players.

“I just think that, especially coming off of a pretty tough illness where he went through well, what we’ve all gone through with the throwing up and the not being able to eat and all that stuff for a couple of days and to come out, I thought that he was a difference maker in terms of shot-making,” Atkinson explained. “His shot-making really put us over the edge and he came back and got a couple of offensive rebounds. He had a big offensive rebound in the fourth quarter I thought when it was a two or four-point game, so that was really good. He was excellent tonight.”

Nets guard D’Angelo Russell co-signs on Crabbe’s return.

“Glad we got him back,” Russell stated. “He came out like he never left, so glad we got him back.”

Russell also likes his team’s back-to-back wins, two months is really a drought.

“It’s a good feeling, Russell said regarding the Nets two consecutive wins. “Like I said, no matter when it comes in the season, the two wins to build off of is a great feeling.”

On the other side of the ledger, Memphis Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff gave his assessment of the game.

“I think there was a stretch in that fourth quarter when we just turned the ball over too much,” Bickerstaff said. “We were penetrating, we were getting where we wanted to go, but then the play that we made when we got there wasn’t the right play. And when you’re in the paint, on that baseline, and you make turnovers going towards Brooklyn’s bucket, with their speed and athleticism it’s hard to catch up. Just us understanding the importance of those moments in crunch time, and valuing the basketball, and valuing every possession. If you get a shot, then you at least get a chance to offensive rebound it, and you get a chance to get back and set your defense.”

In addition to both LeVert and Crabbe, scoring 22 points each, other scoring leaders for the Nets included DeMarre Carroll who posted 18 points (5-of-8 FG, 4-of-7 3FG, 4-of-5 FT) with six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 32 minutes.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson recorded 16 points and 12 rebounds with three assists, one steal, and one block in 37 minutes. D’Angelo Russell tallied 14 points, five rebounds, a team-high seven assists, two steals and a season-high-tying two blocks in 29 minutes. In his last five games, Russell has averaged 20.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.4 apg and 1.0 bpg in 29.5 mpg.

The Grizzlies had seven team members with 10-plus points. Starters who scored in double-digits were Andrew Harrison with 19 points and eight assists; Dillon Brooks scored 15 points; JaMychal Green posted 14 points, 16 rebounds, and three assists. Tops scorers coming off the bench for the Grizzlies were Wayne Selden who scored 17 points, Briante Weber tallied 15 points and four rebounds, Chandler Parsons contributed 13 points, and Ivan Rabb chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.

The Memphis Grizzlies will meet up with the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, March 21st in Philadelphia.

The Brooklyn Nets will take on the Charlotte Hornets at home at the Barclays Center, also on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

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