June 16, 2019

Best Playoff Atmosphere ever for Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center; Nets played with urgency, but lack of experience got in the Way of Nets Advancement

Just like the Philadelphia 76ers last season was a young and inexperienced team and couldn’t advance as far as they would have liked in the NBA Playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets are finding themselves in a similar predicament. The Nets took Game 1 of this first-round NBA Playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers and lost Games 2, 3, and 4. This is not uncharacteristic for a young NBA team. They made a ton of mistakes like other young teams primarily because of lack of experience. Yesterday, the lack of experience was glaring. The Nets played 3.5 quarters in stellar fashion and looked like they were on the brink of tying the series by winning Game 4. We should be going to Philadelphia with a 2-2 series. However, between 4:11 and 2:09 of the fourth quarter, the Nets turned the ball over four times and the Sixers took advantage of those mistakes, just like the Boston Celtics took advantage of the Philadelphia 76er’s mistakes last season.

Similarly, if the Nets can’t win Game 5 in Philadelphia, it will be a wrap for them this season, but not a lost season. In the last two seasons, the Nets only managed to win 20 and 27 games. This season, the Nets won 42 games and made it to the playoffs and for all tense and purposes did not get swept. The Brooklyn Nets were able to accomplish this feat because the new management under Sean Marks is focused on player development and culture, and to a man, the team is all in. And, Sean Marks has been able to do this with no top draft picks and a first-time coach in Kenny Atkinson. The Nets have taken in guys who many considered to be castaways and because of the culture surrounding the Nets, they have managed to shine quickly.

Last season, Spencer Dinwiddie was selected to participate in the NBA All-Star Skills Challenge. This season, Joe Harris beat out Stephen Curry and won the NBA All-Star 3-Point Shooting Contest, and D’Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft was cast out of the Los Angeles Lakers by Magic Johnson in 2017. This season, Russell participated in the NBA All-Star Game 2019 and lately is the talk of the “NBA Town” and looked upon by some as the leader of the Nets team. As the regular NBA season was winding down and Russell was tearing up the scoreboard, the “Brooklyn Brigade/Block” consistently chanted, “Thank You, Magic.”

At the end of the day, the Nets should not feel ashamed about this season. It’s their lack of experience, not heart, that is putting them behind the eight ball.

At the end of yesterday’s playoff game against Philadelphia, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson summed up the outcome: “I think a little bit of our experience, (a) little bit of their length and activity. I think it’s one of their strengths and I thought we got a little out of sorts, had a few turnovers that we didn’t need. We also had a bunch of good looks. I thought we had a bunch of good looks, and they didn’t go down.”

So, what did yesterday’s box score tell us about the Brooklyn Nets top scorers?

Caris LeVert, who was among the Nets starting five in Game 4, scored a team-high 25 points with five rebounds, a team-high-tying six assists and a steal in 42 minutes. D’Angelo Russell posted 21 points, seven rebounds, a team-high-tying six assists, two steals and a block in 37 minutes. Jarrett Allen also recorded 21 points and added a team-high eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 32 minutes to his point total. A good game for Allen by the numbers; he recorded his fifth-career game of 20+ points and his first in the postseason. He also turns 21 today. Spencer Dinwiddie totaled 18 points (7-of-12 FG) with four rebounds and a steal in 27 minutes off the bench. Joe Harris, who is usually the Nets best 3-point shooter was 0-for-6 from the 3-point line but chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, and two steals.

How are Nets players feeling about last night’s game, going back to Philadelphia for Game 5, and down 3-1?

“There’s a disappointment losing any game – whether it be home or on the road – especially, when you’re up, five minutes left to go in the game,” Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert responded. “That’s disappointing in itself. But obviously, with the great crowd, we had tonight, we like to protect our home court. So, it was frustrating. But we’ve got another game.”

D’Angelo Russell sounding a bit more optimistic is looking forward to Game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“You see two teams out there hungry, trying to compete,’ Russell said. “They sure as hell don’t want to lose to the Brooklyn Nets, and I think we’ve got a chance to beat the Sixers, so it’s just a high-intensity game and that’s what it’s going to look like. It’s going to be hard for all. Bodies are going to be flying. Give each other what we want.”

And, Russell has a game plan, particularly adjusting to Joel Embiid down low clogging the lane.

“I think that’s part of the game plan,” Russell continued. “When these big guys are clogging the lane like that, we’re able to throw over the top and get in and kick it out. When there’s three guys in there, it works in our favor. Like I said, we’ll look at the film, see where the help’s coming from, see where their scouting help is coming from and we capitalize on that. Simple as that.”

Nets forward DeMarre Carroll leads all scorers with 22 points; Dirk Nowitzki on “retirement tour”, receives a warm welcome from NBA fans at Barclays Center

Oh, what a night! The Brooklyn Nets took advantage of the Dallas Mavericks vulnerabilities at the Barclays Center on Monday night and came up with a 127-88 win for the home crowd. The Nets improved to 33-33 overall and 19-16 at Barclays Center with tonight’s win, while the Mavericks fell to 27-36 overall and 6-25 on the road with the loss.

So, what did it take to get the Brooklyn Nets back on track?

“It was really about the two things we emphasized before the game, defense and rebounding,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson responded. “I thought we defended much better tonight and we secured rebounds. We held them to one possession, and on the other side, we made shots. We were struggling to make shots before tonight, and it was nice to see the ball go through the basket. This helped our spirit. Good team win.”

“We drove the ball more tonight than in previous games, but I still think we can take it to another level,” Coach Atkinson continued. “We are still a little timid getting to the rim. I would love to see more rim attacks and free throw attempts. It was better tonight.”

The Nets snatched a win from the Mavericks right on time to stop a three-game losing streak in preparation for one more home game tomorrow against the Cleveland Cavaliers before hitting the road to play the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Hopefully, Brooklyn can get two more wins under its belt before the team plays the Detroit Pistons on Monday at the Barclays Center and before hits the road to play six Western Conference teams and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Nets need these wins against the Cavaliers and the Hawks because they need the wins and a win against these two non-playoff bound teams will help with the Nets standing in the Eastern Conference as things get tight in the coming weeks. They also need to have a recent memory of what it feels like to win and because the upcoming stretch starting with the Detroit Pistons on Monday is going to be a dogfight. After Detroit, the Brooklyn Nets face OKC Thunder, Jazz, Clippers, Kings, Lakers, Trail Blazers, and the 76ers.

Right now, the Nets are neck and neck in the Eastern Conference standings with the Pistons. The win against the Mavericks was good because a win is a win. But let’s face it, the game looked like a pro team playing against amateurs save a few players. And, Dirk Nowitzki really looked old. He was struggling to keep up and his numbers prove it, four points, four rebounds, and two assists. The conversation all season has been this may be Nowitzki's last season and no disrespect to Dirk, but by his performance last night, it should be. Dirk really looked old and the Nets took advantage, as they should.

“It was ugly from start to finish,” Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle bemoaned. “When you lose every quarter of an NBA game, you certainly haven’t done what you needed to do. It’s a very disappointing night.”

“I thought Brooklyn’s effort was phenomenally great and I know ours wasn’t up to it,” Carlisle continued. “The effort can’t be good if you lose by this number of points. We just simply have to do better.”

Doing better might start with limiting Nowitzki’s minutes. And, this is not to beat up on Nowitzki, as he has nobly put in 20 years in the NBA. He was a force to reckon with. However, this season, Nowitzki is averaging 5.5 points per game, while over the course of his career, Nowitzki averaged 20 PPG.

“…I was just fighting out there,” Nowitzki said. “I was just trying to get one down and get one in. In the first half, I had some great looks there – the trailing three and another one, a wide-open three from the corner. Frustrating night for me, but I kept on playing.”

In last night’s game, the Mavericks only had three scoring leaders. Dwight Powell led the Mavericks with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and six assists; Luka Doncic scored 16 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots, and; Jalen Brown chipped in 10 points and three rebounds.

For the Nets, DeMarre Carroll came off the bench to lead all scorers with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Rodions Kurucs registered 19 points and six rebounds; Caris LeVert accumulated 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists off the bench; Spencer Dinwiddie, also came off the bench and scored 16 points and five assists; D’Angelo Russell posted 13 points and 11 assists; Joe Harris chipped in 11 points, and; Ed Davis, who is not a prolific scorer, brought the heat around the rim with 10 rebounds.

And, with this win, D’Angelo Russell agrees that the Nets may have stumbled upon a winning formula.

“…With that second unit, you’ve got five starters coming off the bench. That team could start and be their own team and compete in this league, so I think that’s where we can get advantages. A lot of teams don’t have the personnel to do that so, it was a great move by coach,” Russell opined.

Nets center Jarrett Allen now in the NBA history books simply by blocking a LeBron James Dunk

Oh, how sweet it is, to coin a phrase from Jackie Gleason, an early 20th Century comedian from Brooklyn. Right now the Brooklyn Nets and their fans are savoring the sweet because the Nets won their sixth straight game last night against the Los Angeles Lakers 115-110.

This wasn’t just any ole Los Angeles Lakers. This Lakers team features LeBron James, the best all-around player in the NBA and one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. The Lakers also have rising stars Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, and an NBA standout Lance Stephenson from Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School. Even with this firepower and James leading all scorers with 36 points, the Lakers were no match for the Brooklyn Nets.

Within two minutes, the Nets put their stake in the ground when Nets center Jarrett Allen blocked a dunk by LeBron James, leading to shockwaves around the NBA. Allen, only in his second year in the NBA, is now the eighth player to block James, a four-time NBA MVP. James has 1,850 dunk attempts and has only nine denials. Let that sink in for a minute.

So what was going through Jarrett Allen’s mind when he attempted to block LeBron James’ dunk?

“He came down the lane and it was just going up to contest the shot,” Allen said matter-of-factly. “It’s LeBron (James), so I had to go up with some extra emphasis, and then I ended up getting it.”

So, let’s get inside the head of a 20-year-old going up to contest LeBron James.

“I’m going to say my quote growing up: ‘Either way, you’re going to be on the highlight.’ If you go up and you block it, you’re going to be on the highlight. You get dunked on, you’re going to be on the highlight. So just go up and protect the rim,” Allen added.

Talk about fearless! This kid is greatness in the making. Allen recorded eight rebounds along with two steals and two blocked shots.

D’Angelo Russell is another young man coming into his own. This was the first opportunity that Russell was available to play against the Lakers since they traded him to Brooklyn. And, of course, the general consensus is that a player in this situation is always ready to turn up.

When asked the question, Russell responded: “No. Honestly, the crowd was electric in there. You could feel it. The Lakers were in town, so we wanted to give them a run.”

“He hurt us,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton, said about D’Angelo Russell. “He’s a talented player, and we know that. When we forced him right and we were up shocking the ball I thought we did a pretty good job on him. When we let him dance and get to his left, he hurt us. Give him credit. He had a big-time game tonight. That’s why this team (Brooklyn) has won six games in a row. They have a lot of different guys that can hurt you.”

Russell led all Nets players with 22 points, 13 assists, and four rebounds. If you still think Russell wanted to prove something to the Lakers, then you might as well spread that thought over the entire Nets team, as six of the nine players in the rotation scored in double digits. Starters Joe Harris, aka “Joey Buckets,” tallied 19 points and four rebounds; and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson registered 17 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the Nets’ second unit, recorded 18 points and six assists; Jared Dudley and DeMarre Carroll each chipped in 13 points with five and three rebounds respectively.

When Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson looks at this win against the Lakers he sees a “Team victory”.

“Everybody that came in contributed. I thought Jared Dudley was huge making smart plays at the end of the game. DeMarre (Carroll) was good. I thought everybody that came in – that’s the only way you have a chance to beat this team, is if everybody plays well, and I thought they did.”

Looking at the two other Lakers’ scoring leaders, Lonzo Ball, who was sort of a laughing stock in his rookie season mainly because of his father LaVar Ball, and the way he shot the ball, contributed 23 points, six rebounds and, three assists. Kyle Kuzma tallied 22 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists.

Next stop for the Lakers is New Orleans, as they will go against the Pelicans on Friday, December 21, 2018.

For the Nets, they have a back-to-back; they face the Chicago Bulls tonight in Chicago at 8:00 p.m. The Nets are also at home on Friday, December 21, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. to play the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

LeBron James makes his teammates better;…but…They don't want to have that scrutiny

KEISHA: Welcome back to What's The 411Sports? I'm going to start off this segment by just asking a simple question. Why don't people want to play with LeBron James?

Mike.

MIKE: Well, I think there's a few reasons. I mean, you know. One reason is that LeBron James has made the NBA finals every season since 2011 and I feel like when you're on a team where it's NBA finals or bust, it almost takes some of the fun out of playing, right, because you have this high-pressure mentality. So there's no question that the, you know, the pressure is always on when you're playing with LeBron James.

The other thing is that LeBron James has never been one to shy away from throwing his teammates and coaches under the bus, right? He's had a history of doing this throughout his whole career and the evidence is it's proven. But I think that it's easy to say people don't necessarily like playing with LeBron James, but what about like you go ask a guy like Mike Miller who really resurrected his career by playing with the Miami Heat where they won those two championships. I guarantee you that if you were to ask him. Did you enjoy playing with LeBron James? Of course, the big thing with LeBron James is he makes his teammates better? I think that's the number one reason why he's the top player in the NBA, is because the other four guys that are on the court with him automatically become better players because LeBron can hit them when they're open. LeBron plays such good defense that he's going to find the open man when he makes a steal. He's very good on the fast break despite the fact that he's getting up there in years.

But I think also, you know LeBron has never one to shy away from controversy. So there's always some drama that surrounds him. But I think it's easy to jump on him and say people don't like LeBron people don't want to necessarily play with LeBron but that isn't the case.

Remember how excited the Cleveland Cavs were specifically Kevin Love when he found out that he was going to be teaming up with LeBron James and I know that kind of played out a little bit differently. They did wind up winning a championship together, but I think it's a mixed bag. I think that there are some players that would not want to play with LeBron.

They don't want to have that scrutiny, but then I think that there are guys that would definitely salivate at the idea of teaming up with one of the greatest players of all time.

KEISHA: LeBron is such a presence. I mean, he just, just because of who he is. He's just otherworldly talented and he is a superstar and uber superstar. If you just want to put it even higher and in a League that is driven by stars, what he wants he's going to get, people are going to cater to him. Even Magic Johnson and company at the Lakers they're going to make sure that LeBron James is happy. When they were courting him, Magic Johnson showed up I mean, at least I think an hour earlier, or so before he was going to meet LeBron James because he knew it was that important that he didn't miss that opportunity to meet with him and talk to him and convince him to join the Lakers.

Now. I think that if you are a star and a superstar in your own right, it becomes difficult to play with LeBron because it's not going to be your team. And, you know, there's ego involved. There's machismo, like I'm just as good as you, in theory. Why can't I get this? Why can't this be my team? Why am I automatically pushed aside? So I think that's why you have people like Kyrie Irving and maybe Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, stars and superstars in their own right who don't want to be part of the LeBron James Show.

MIKE: Right.

KEISHA: Because they're going to be the supporting cast. When I was reading some articles the one thing that somebody said was that in order to play with LeBron James you have to specialize in something. You have to suppress some parts of your game to fit in with him and what that does for you long-term, who knows, you know, if you don't use it, you lose it I guess.

Would the Lakers trade Brandon Ingram? Will LeBron James wear a Lakers uniform next season?

Rumor has it that the Los Angeles Lakers would be willing to trade some players including some of its young core for the right offer.

Let’s play GM, what would your Lakers trade look like?

Will Sixers release Bryan Colangelo; Lakers Possible Off-Season Moves; JJ Watt our Athlete of the week; Tristan Thompson among most useless Cavaliers, and more

In this episode of What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, are talking about the NBA FINALS featuring the three-time NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers; Bryan Colangelo's current employment woes with the Philadelphia 76ers; how the eyes of NBA world are on the Los Angeles Lakers’ upcoming offseason moves; JJ Watt, our Athlete of the Week; Brooklyn Nets player, Jeremy Lin, initiates a clap-back at ESPN’s Jalen Rose; the Most Useless Cavaliers, is Tristan Thompson on the list? and more. 

 

What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are also talking about a controversy at OKC Thunder; Kaepernick Update; Derek Jeter stays home, and more!

WHAT’S POPPIN’ PART 1:

The NBA PLAYOFFS are finally here

Q. Let’s talk about what we’ve seen so far and any predictions?

Cowboys cut Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys released Dez Bryant and Bryant took to social media to express his frustrations and love for the Cowboys’ fans. Bryant also expressed his desire to stay in the NFC East.

Q. What are your thoughts on this Dez Bryant situation and do you think he could land in NFC East?

Will Colin Kaepernick get a meeting with the Seattle Seahawks?

The Seattle Seahawks invited NFL free agent quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, in for a workout and upon learning that Kaepernick may not have given up on kneeling for the National Anthem, reportedly Kaepernick’s workout has been postponed.

Q. Let’s dissect this.

QUICK BITES:

Russell Westbrook clinched a triple-double average for the second consecutive season.
• If his team gets past the San Antonio Spurs, Stephen Curry is reportedly targeting a return for the second round of the NBA playoffs.
• Free agent Mark Sanchez has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
• Washington Wizards' veteran guard Jodie Meeks suspended for playoffs for a reported drug policy violation
Sister Jean’s 15 minutes of fame is going into overtime. The Chicago Bulls looked into having Sister Jean rep the Bulls at the NBA Draft!

Quick Question: Adidas wants to sign Colin Kaepernick to an endorsement deal but has held off because the former 49ers quarterback isn’t on an NFL roster.

Q. Do you think this is just talk or could Adidas be sincere?

Poppin’ Part 2

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. The Oklahoma City Thunder suspended play-by-play announcer Brian Davis for one game for his offensive on-air comment about Russell Westbrook. During the second quarter of OKC’s last game of the season, Davis blurted out about Westbrook, Is he out of his cotton-picking mind?

Q. Did the Thunder do the right thing in suspending Davis for one game?

Andre Ingram's NBA Dream Comes True

After toiling 10 years in the NBA G-League, Andre Ingram’s number was called to play for the Los Angeles Lakers’ against the Houston Rockets. It was the second to last game of the season and Ingram scored 19 points and three blocks. Postgame, Lakers head coach Luke Walton, presented Ingram with the game ball.

Q. Should the Los Angeles Lakers keep Ingram on its roster? If not, do you think he might get picked up by another team?

NY SPORTS REPORT

New York Yankees

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. Former New York Yankees shortstop, and now an owner of the Florida Marlins, Derek Jeter, decided to skip the trip to New York City when the Marlins played the Yankees.

Q. Did Derek Jeter make the right decision?

Jeff Hornacek Gets Fired from New York Knicks

As predicted, the New York Knicks fired head coach Jeff Hornacek and assistant coach, Kurt Rambis.

Q. Lots of names are being floated, who do you think has the best chance?

Brooklyn Nets Get the Sale

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has completed the sale of a 49% interest in the Brooklyn Nets to Joe Tsai. Mr. Tsai is executive vice chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group, a global internet company with businesses in e-commerce, cloud computing, and digital entertainment.

OFF TOPIC:

Now, we’re going off-topic. Cleveland Cavaliers PF/center Tristan Thompson was caught cheating on Khloe Kardashian, who gave birth to their first child on April 11th. According to various reports, the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan was enraged — including Kanye West! In fact, Radar Online is reporting that Kanye was prepared to give Thompson a beat down.

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.”

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.

Spencer Dinwiddie scores 27 points to help lift the Nets over the 76ers; D’Angelo Russell making great strides since his return from injury

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets (18-33) had a date with the Philadelphia 76ers (24-23) at the Barclays Center. No one I spoke with before the game put the odds in favor of the Nets to win, but win they did. The Nets snapped a four-game losing streak to defeat the striving Philadelphia 76ers featuring Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, who was just selected to play in the NBA All-Star game, 116-108.

“We’ve got guys with a lot of pride and I think they always seem to bounce back after a tough loss or a poor performance quite honestly,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding keys to victory against Philadelphia. “Tonight I thought all the things we talked about pregame, you know we were more competitive, more together, did a good job sharing the ball. I thought the defense in the second half was really the difference. I think we held them to 23 and 20. We put them on the free throw line 20 times in the first half so we limited that. It was really the defense, the story of the game in the second half. And obviously we shot the ball well, that helps.”

Regarding a reason Philadelphia may have struggled against the Nets and other non-playoff-bound teams, Embiid said, “…Maybe we’re too cocky, going into the game thinking that it’s going to be easy. Got to give them a lot of credit, they play hard, they make a lot of threes, they shoot a lot of threes and we didn’t guard them well today. But we gotta do a better job next time.”

The Nets shot .506 (39-of-77) from the field, .406 (13-of-32) from 3-point range and .893 (25-of-28) from the free-throw line. Brooklyn posted nine blocks in tonight’s game (led by two blocks apiece from Jarrett Allen and Quincy Acy), which marked the team’s third-most blocks in a game this season.

In the win, Spencer Dinwiddie had a team-high 27 points, his second-highest scoring game of his career (behind a career-high 31 points on January 8, 2018, vs. Toronto). D’Angelo Russell, who recently returned to the lineup after a six-week injury, scored 22 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. In his second start for the Nets, rookie Jarrett Allen put up a career-high-tying 16 points and 12 rebounds; DeMarre Carroll added 15 points and five assists; and Allen Crabbe chipped in 14 points and five rebounds.

Jahlil Okafor, who was recently traded from Philadelphia to the Nets, added eight points and three rebounds in 14 minutes. This was his first time playing against his old teammates.
“It was a lot of fun, just to see all those guys,” Okafor told the media postgame. “You get really used to being with them every day and I haven’t seen them in a month and a half to two months so it was good to see them and obviously we came out with a W so that felt great.”

Like the Nets, four of the five Philadelphia starters scored in double digits with Embiid leading all scorers with 29 points and 14 rebounds; Simmons tallied 24 points and seven assists; JJ Redick scored 20 points, and; Dario Saric added 12 points and six rebounds.

Next up, Philadelphia will face the Miami Heat on Friday, February 2, 2018, while the Brooklyn Nets will meet up with the Los Angeles Lakers at home at the Barclays Center, also on Friday, at 7:30 p.m.

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