March 26, 2019

Washington Wizards down early, but used its wizardry to tie it up and wrap it up with 125-116 victory; D’Angelo Russell scored 23 points in the first half

This was a game where the final score really doesn’t tell the whole story. From the last third of the first quarter, it was tough sledding, but the Nets managed to close the gap in its 125-116 loss to the Washington Wizards.

At the outset, it took the Wizards more than three minutes to get points on the board. At 8:56 in the first, the Nets were leading 10-0, but with some wizardry, Washington scored its first two points. At the 4:08 mark in the first quarter, the score was tied 18-18. By the end of the quarter, the Washington Wizards finished on top 34-28. The remaining three quarters were more of the same. In the second stanza the Nets stayed close, tying twice, but ultimately, ending the quarter on the losing end 68-60. The third quarter was when things really went south, the Nets were down by as much as 28 points at 2:14, ultimately ending the third, 101-79, a deficit of 22 points. In a word, UGLY. Now, to their credit, towards the end of the third quarter and into the fourth, you could physically see the Nets hustling. But prior to the fourth period, everything that could go wrong went terribly wrong, it was as if they were under a spell. But, ultimately, the Nets managed to dig themselves out of the double-digit hole, ending the game down by nine, 125-116.

“I was concerned before the game about this team (Wizards),” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said responding to a question about the Nets lack of defense. “They’re a very good, talented offensive team. We didn’t stop them. Credit to them, I thought they played really well. Obviously, we didn’t have that it. Whatever it is, we didn’t have it across the board – players, coaches. It just wasn’t there. Just not nearly good enough to beat them tonight.”

Atkinson went on to say that he addressed the Wizards’ numerous fast-breaks during the team’s meeting at halftime.

“Yeah, we told them,” Atkinson continued. “Even without John Wall, they played faster than they did before. That was key, number one. We had poor transition defense. It doesn’t help when you’re missing shots – 5-for-23 for three in the first half, missing lay-ups and etcetera, etcetera. I think we can throw it in one bucket, it was across the board. I just thought we just weren’t very good, and they were very good. Really, it was nine points, but it’s really a 20, 25-point loss, the way it feels.”

THE THIRD QUARTER BREAKDOWN

“We were locked in, we defended,” Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said about the third quarter. “We did a great job of defending the basketball. Brooklyn is a hard team to guard. They have a lot of players that play fast. They can make a lot of threes. We did a good job of guarding the 3-point line. That was a point of emphasis that we wanted to accomplish tonight, and we did. It’s just one game, we played solid on the defensive end. We made too many mistakes down the stretch with the eight turnovers in that fourth quarter. Other than that, I thought we played solid throughout the game.”

“I think it just all happened after the 10-point lead,” Nets center Jarrett Allen said responding to a question about the Nets’ third-quarter breakdown. “We just came out unprepared, just mentally unfocused. You could tell that our energy wasn’t there, and our minds weren’t there either.”

In addition to beating the Nets 33-19 on points in the third quarter, the Wizards also took over on the boards. On the defensive end, Washington outrebounded Brooklyn 10-7 and offensively 4-1.

“I think we got a little dejected,” Nets forward Joe Harris said about his team’s performance in the third. “The energy felt down when they started to make a run in the third quarter. It seemed the harder that we tried, the worse that it got. We made a little run at it and then they started making some plays, they took advantage of our low energy. Tough to dig yourself out of it. But I thought the guys that went in at the end of the game did a good job of competing all the way through. Seeing Tahjere (McCall) go out there and compete, get a few buckets was awesome. Shabazz (Napier) played well. But, collectively, it was not a good enough effort on everybody’s part tonight.”

SCORING LEADERS

D’Angelo Russell led all Brooklyn Nets scorer with 28 points (9-of-16 FG), seven assists and three rebounds; Shabazz Napier came off the bench and scored 22 points, and Jarrett Allen accumulated 12 points and six rebounds.

Tahjere McCall, who the Brooklyn Nets signed to his first 10-day contract, made his NBA debut and registered four points and one rebound in under eight minutes after stepping on the court for the first time in the fourth quarter at the 7:58 mark. McCall scored his first two points on a driving layup at 5:16.

For the Washington Wizards, five players scored in double digits. Bradley Beal led all scorers with 31 points and four assists; Trevor Ariza registered 23 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists; Thomas Bryant accumulated 18 points, five rebounds, and three assists off the bench; Jeff Green scored 15 points and five rebounds, and; Bobby Portis chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds.

UP NEXT

The Washington Wizards will travel to Boston to play the Boston Celtics tomorrow, Friday, March 1, 2019. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets remain at home to play the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, March 1, 2019, at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

The Nets season-high win streak now stands at four; Wizards-Suns postgame trade announcement creates confusion

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets picked up their fourth straight win with its 125-118 victory over the Washington Wizards. With the win, the Nets improved to 12-18 overall and 5-10 at home, while the Wizards fell to 11-18 overall and 4-12 on the road with the loss.

Looking at how the Nets defeated the Wizards by the numbers, starting with teamwork, Brooklyn recorded a season-high 34 assists, edging the Wizards 34-30. The Nets recorded 19 of those assists in the first half, which marked Brooklyn’s most assists in a half this season. The Nets also shot .524 (44-of-84) from the field tonight, which marked their second-best field goal percentage in a game this season (behind a season-high .568 vs. Philadelphia on 11/25). The Nets also out-rebounded the Wizards 46-25 (+21). Washington’s 25 boards marked the fewest rebounds recorded by a Nets opponent this season, and the Nets’ +21 rebounding differential marked their best differential on the glass in a game this season. The previous high: 19 on two separate occasions.

The Nets led the Wizards 101-85 through three quarters, which marked the second time the Nets broke 100 points through three quarters this season. The Nets also led the Wizards 70-59 at halftime tonight, with their 70 points marking Brooklyn’s most points in a first half this season. Brooklyn also recorded 43 points in the second quarter tonight, marking the team’s highest-scoring quarter of the season.

“Good job closing it out,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said as he began to explained to the media the keys to the Nets win against the Washington Wizards. “I thought our execution at the end of the game was good on both ends. Not giving up threes, up nine up 10, and being disciplined. Not fouling. And then our offense, I thought we executed at the end. We had a couple of beautiful, we call them play with the pass highlights, where guys had a good shot and they threw it one more and had great shots.”

Spencer Dinwiddie scored a team-high 27 points (8-of-15 FG, 9-of-11 FT) with four rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes off the bench. In his last three games, he’s averaged 30.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 30.5 minutes per contest. Dinwiddie entered tonight's game as the league's leading scorer off the bench (17.3 ppg). Joe Harris tallied 19 points with a season-high six assists, two rebounds, one steal and one block in 31 minutes. Rodions Kurucs posted a career-high 15 points with a career-high-tying six rebounds in 30 minutes in his first career start tonight. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also recorded 15 points tonight, along with nine rebounds, a season-high-tying six assists and one steal in 32 minutes. Both DeMarre Carroll and Jarrett Allen scored 12 points.

The Nets are beginning to show their ability to close out games and Coach Atkinson explained how his team began to make the shift.

“I think going through those struggles, number one, helps you,” Atkinson explained. “When we went through those struggles, we had the player film session, and then after coaches just really focusing on the fourth quarter execution and the game execution, so I think that helps. I think not turning the ball over is huge, taking care of the ball. And quite honestly, we made some shots. We made the extra pass and made some shots. But our defensive execution, the silly mistakes we were making, the fouling the shooter, not running the guy off the three-point line, there are so many examples it’s hard to give. I’m giving you 10 instead of one, but that’s really the story of our failures in the fourth quarter. It was a multitude of things. We just collectively, across the board, did a better job in those situations.”

“Players only, baby – players-only film session,” is how Dinwiddie explained the Nets win streak. “JD (Jared Dudley) did a wonderful job in our film session of just helping us. It also spurred some communication. Now we’re kind of rolling a little bit. Let’s keep it going. Let’s never get too high or too low.”

Although the Wizards lost, it too, also had six players scoring in double digits. Bradley Beal led all scorers with 31 points and nine assists.

“He’s an All-Star player,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said in praise of Bradley Beal. “He brings it. He spreads his offense all the way around. He’s not a selfish player. He looks for his team. That’s one of his biggest improvements, of making his teammates get easy buckets. He had nine assists. Brad is good. We just have to get stops. The team seems to give up 40-point quarters. It’s hard to generate enough points if you don’t make shots at a high level. You have to somehow get stops.”

Wizard starters John Wall registered 17 points and 13 assists, and; Jeff Green tallied 12 points. The Wizards’ second unit scoring leaders were Markieff Morris with 15 points and three rebounds; Austin Rivers contributed 14 points, three rebounds and three assists, and; Kelly Oubre Jr., chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.

The Wizards and the Nets appear to be evenly matched, so what prevented the Wizards from winning according to Coach Brooks?

“We could not get any stops, especially in that second quarter when Brooklyn busted out and scored 43 points,” said Coach Brooks. “In that second half, we couldn’t keep them off of that free-throw line. We couldn’t stay in front of the basketball. When you have those issues, you’re going to have trouble winning a game, whether it’s on the road or at home. You have to man up and get in front of the basketball and stay in front of it and not always have help. We put them on the free-throw line when we couldn’t stay in front of them.”

NEXT UP

The Washington Wizards will face the Los Angeles Lakers at home in Washington, DC on December 16, 2018. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will face the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, December 16, 2018, at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

TIP-INS:

During the postgame press session, a news report stated that a deal was in place to send Trevor Ariza to the Wizards, Kelly Oubre to the Grizzlies, and Austin Rivers, Wayne Selden, and a person with the last name Brooks to the Suns. Which "Brooks" was a mystery. There was confusion whether it was to be Dillon or MarShon Brooks included in the deal. The Wizards players named in the deal were in shock and obviously not too happy.

 

The Brooklyn Nets back from “home games” in Mexico City send the Wizards home with a loss despite Bradley Beal leading all scorers with 28 points

The Brooklyn Nets (10-15) were back in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night to play the Washington Wizards (14-12) and eked out a 103-98 win. Surprising, not because the Wizards are sixth in the Eastern Conference standings and the Nets are in the 11th spot, but because the Nets just returned from a two-game set of “home games” in Mexico City, where the altitude can wreak havoc on your body.

“I was pleasantly surprised at our energy,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson during a postgame presser. “I thought we had great energy. Definitely worried about the trip and the travel but the guys did a great job. Great job by our performance team. They get these guys ready, they do all the cold tub and massage and they do a fantastic job taking care of these guys. I think that was the key. We had great energy.”

At the half, the Nets had the slimmest of leads, one point, at 52-51. Team black and white went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter, racking up a 14-point lead. It didn’t last long as Washington went on a 14-2 run cutting the difference to one point.

In the final stanza, both teams went back and forth each playing with a one-point lead. And then with 44 seconds left in the game, it was suddenly hold onto the edge of your seats as holy cow Allen Crabbe hit a game-saving 3-pointer to put Brooklyn up 100-98.

Folks were a little nervous because up until Crabbe hit that three, Crabbe had been struggling with his three-point shot.

When asked about making that three at such a crucial point in the game, Crabbe responded, "I think it was just that I don't care attitude. If you miss, you miss."

“I trusted him,” Atkinson told the media. “He’s a 40 percent 3-point shooter, second-best 3-point shooter in the league. I still have confidence in him and great pass by Spencer (Dinwiddie). Spencer had a choice of getting to the rim or Allen (Crabbe) sets a back screen and pops. So he had the choice and Spencer did a really good job finding him and trusting it.”

Next, the Wizard’s Bradley Beal missed a potential game-tying pull-up jumper and Dinwiddie was then fouled, making one of two free throws to increase the lead to 101-98. With seven seconds left, Washington’s Kelly Oubre Jr. was fouled sending Caris LeVert to the line. LeVert made both of his free throws putting the Nets up 103-98 over the Wizards. At the one-second mark, Beal missed a three-pointer which enabled the Nets to pull off a 103-98 win.

All of Brooklyn’s starters scored in double digits. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the Nets’ starters with 16 points and 12 rebounds, DeMarre Carroll had 15 points and 8 rebounds, Crabbe scored 13 points and five rebounds, Tyler Zeller chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds, and Dinwiddie also put up a double-double with 11 points and 12 assists.

The second unit double-digit scorers were LeVert who scored 16 points and 8 assists, and rookie Jarrett Allen who added 11 points.

For Washington, Beal led all scorers with 28 points, Oubre had 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Otto Porter Jr. scored 11 points and five rebounds.

The Wizards will face Memphis on Wednesday, which is the opener of a four-game homestand.

The Nets face the New York Knicks at home at the Barclays Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Nets Bojan Bogdanovic forces overtime, but Wizards pull off 114-110 win in OT

Another close game resulted in yet another loss for the Brooklyn Nets, as they fell short 114-110 in overtime to the Washington Wizards. In front of a packed crowd of 15,529 at the Barclays center, fans watched as their Nets failed to hold it together in the final minutes of the game.

The Wizards, led by John Wall (25 points) and Bradley Beal (18 points) handed the Nets their 11th straight loss.

The Nets played a decent first half, leading the Wizards 66-51 at halftime. They shot 56.5 from the field and only turned the ball over seven times before entering the third quarter.

But like the Nets’ normal routine, they struggled to maintain momentum, blowing a 15-point lead. The Wizards were able to snap a 28-8 run in the third quarter.

“Their aggressiveness got to us and we started playing a different game,” said Brook Lopez, who finished with 25 points. “Obviously between that run and the turnovers down the line, it hurt us. We were playing well, doing our thing. But obviously, the second half was inversely just as rough.”

By the fourth quarter, Brooklyn trailed by 12 points, while the Wizards gained an 84-72 lead. The Nets didn’t go down without a fight and tied the game up at 89 with 6:21 left in the game. Things got messy when Lopez fouled out the game with 1:20 left in the fourth. With 41.9 seconds left in the game, Bojan Bogdanovic kept hope alive for Brooklyn with a backboard shot to force the game into overtime at 100 points even.

The Nets tried. They fought again, but it wasn’t enough, losing in overtime.

After the game, Lopez reflected on the call that took him out of the game.

“To make that call at that juncture, I don’t agree with it,” said Lopez.

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson praised his guys for fighting until the end.

“We made some really unselfish defensive plays at the end — guys flying around, guys taking charges — so there were a lot of positives,” Atkinson said during a postgame presser.

The Nets are now 9-44 and are the worst team in the NBA. They are the only team in the league who has won less than 10 games. With 29 games left of the 2016-2017 season, they can now put their focus on how they can rebuild their team for next year.

Brook Lopez’s Hot Shooting Gave the Nets a Comfortable Lead Early

According to SBNation.com's Bullets Forever, Washington Wizards guard John Wall will sit out tonight vs. the Nets recording his second straight DNP in their last trip to NYC for this 2014-15 NBA regular season.

From the report, the main reason for Wall sitting out is to rest, something the team as a whole agrees with and also it being most of Wall's decision.

Translation: the Nets get a break tonight.

The Wizards can still hold their own, but fortunately for the Nets, they don't have to deal with the speed demon that is Wall, one of the better point guards in the NBA.

And it showed, especially early.

Wall's presence from the Wizards lineup was obvious and the Nets took advantage, fairly handling the capital’s team in a 117-80 win in front of a sellout crowd.

The Nets improved to 37-42 on the season while the Wizards, locked in as the 5th seed, had their four-game winning streak snapped, now 45-34.

With three-games left on the season, it’s important that the Nets are playing well heading towards the postseason, continuing to win especially nursing a one game lead over the Indiana Pacers, who are in pursuit of the 8th and final spot.

And tonight, they put forth an effort that can only benefit them in the immediate future.

The Nets attacked early and often and due to the hot shooting of Brook Lopez, who scored 14 of his team high 26 points in the 1st quarter, the Nets were able to build a comfortable lead, heading into the second up by 17+ points, 31-14.

Fortunately for the Nets, their hot start would carry them throughout the entire game.

Outside of the first 3 minutes of the game, the Nets never trailed during tonight's contest and actually had the luxury of coasting midway into the 4th quarter.

This is the NBA, and when down by double-digits or any extensive leads, teams will make a run like the Wizards did tonight and what’s impressive about this win, in particular, is the fact that the Nets negated every and any attempt made by the Wizards to compete.
With the Nets up by 16, 54-38, beginning the 3rd quarter, Wizards Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat strung together a couple of shots, consecutively including two treys from Beal which cut the Nets lead to ten, up 56-46 which forced a Nets timeout at the 9:57 mark.

The Nets responded by going on a 10-2 run, in less than two minutes, starring Deron Williams, who finished with a near double-double with nine points and nine assists and Bojan Bodanovic (22 points, final box) who both scored all ten points, shooting back-to-back threes and buckets near the cup, now up 66-48, at the 7:58 mark that resulted in a Wizards timeout.

Bojan Bogdanovic 600x338Brooklyn Nets shooting guard, Bojan Bodanovic

"We knew that they were going to make a run eventually so we just had to keep fighting throughout the game," Lopez said.

But they weren't done.

The Wizards found themselves in position to threaten a Nets home win, cutting that 18-point deficit down to ten later in the quarter, a comeback led by Gortat who scored eight points in the final five minutes of the 3rd quarter, within reaching distance, down 72-62 with two minutes remaining in the quarter.

To which the Nets responded with a 13-0 run to begin the 4th quarter featuring three's by Jarrett Jack, who finished with a solid 14 points and Bogdanovic, collectively scoring 11 total points which contributed to the Nets building a more than comfortable lead, up 26 with nine minutes left till the end of regulation.

Jarrett Jack Brooklyn Nets Media Day 2014 Brooklyn Nets guard, Jarrett Jack

"We had some good shots, but once we got in a hole, it's tough to fight back," said former Net Paul Pierce, post-game.

Paul Pierce Talking to Media 1Washington Wizards forward, Paul Pierce, talking to the media

The Nets dominated their opponent tonight, a Wizards team that looked rather uninterested in this match-up with their fates sealed as the 5th seed and their star player, Wall sitting out.

Even still, the Nets earned this win comfortably.

It gave Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins the ability to play Darius Morris, Jerome Jordan and Earl Clark who might not otherwise get the opportunity to play once the playoffs arrive.

And to his credit, as well as the team, every player available received minutes and scored.

The Nets had 29 assists in this game opposed to the Wizards 23 which was much to the delight to the home team's head coach.

"Obviously it's easier for everybody when we do share the ball, but we're cutting better, we're reading what we're doing better, we're sharing the ball and playing together better-everything is just better," said Hollins, upbeat during his post-game press conference.

You can tell that Hollins and his players are on the same page especially when his players are expressing the same views, just down the hall in the locker-room.

"We got out early, moved the ball well, and played great D," Brook said post-game.

Aside from their offensive explosion, the Nets, like Brook said played great on the defensive end forcing 17 turnovers and excelling with theft, totaling 10 steals.

"I thought, defensively, just allowed everybody to kind of get in a groove and get in a rhythm," Nets guard Jarrett Jack said following the game.

"I think it's easy when we're not allowing teams to shoot a high percentage, it allows us to flow that much better on the offensive end."

The Nets have been making it look easy for a little over a month now.

The team is peaking at the right time, and with the playoffs starting next weekend, the Nets are exactly where they want to be.

The Nets have three games left in the 2014-15 NBA season and as far as their playoff standing which isn't guaranteed, the Nets should aim to end this season 40-42.

"Well, if we don't keep it going, we'll be at home," Hollins said regarding the Nets position.

"If we keep it going, we'll be in the playoffs. We win out, we're in."

It’s that simple.

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