December 12, 2018

Nets continue to struggle to close out games; D’Angelo Russell scores 30 points in Nets loss

Seven is often looked upon as a lucky number in many quarters but when it comes to the Brooklyn Nets, the team isn’t wearing that number very well. Seven is the number of consecutive losses the Nets have racked up with its loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. Yes, the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers. The Nets lost to the Cavaliers 99-97.

With the loss, the Nets fell to 8-17 overall and 3-9 at Barclays Center, meanwhile, the Cavaliers improved to 5-18 overall and 2-10 on the road with the win. Of the last seven losses, only the 102-88 loss to the Washington Wizards was more than 10 points. The other six games were winnable. The Wizards game was the second of a back-to-back to which the team had to travel to Washington to play. Now, back-to-back games are not unique to the Nets; every team has back-to-back games on their schedule but watching the Nets play the Wizards on Saturday, you could see a certain kind of exhaustion. The Nets looked downright tired.

Fast-forward to Monday, team standouts D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie are still showing up even though Dinwiddie, who took and missed the last shot with three seconds left on the clock that could have given the Nets a win. Russell scored a game-high 30 points, his third-most points in a game this season. He also tallied eight rebounds, a game-high six assists, and two steals in 33 minutes.

When Russell was asked, where he was able to expose the Cavs and get hot, his response was very telling.

“I feel like I get what I want but it’s not really about the offense, Russell answered. “I would say for us it's defensively. We’ve got a few guys over here who can really get it going but, it’s defensive. At the end of the game, we need that stop. We always need that rebound and unfortunately, we don’t get it, so, the results are like this.”

Dinwiddie registered 18 points, four assists, and three rebounds in 32 minutes. Nets rookie, Rodions Kurucs, recorded a season-high-tying 12 points with four rebounds and one steal in 14 minutes off the bench. Kurucs shot 6-of-10 from the field last night, with his six field goals made and 10 field goals attempted both marking season highs.

Kurucs’ effort did not go unnoticed by Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“He just plays hard,” Atkinson commented about Kurucs' energy off the bench. “He’s got extreme energy, but he turned the game for us and got us back in it. His energy was contagious. He gets in there, so it’s good news for the Nets. Disappointing loss, but, to have a young player like that contribute at this level this early is good news.”

Kurucs, who is mainly hanging out with the Nets G-League team, has now scored in double figures in three games with the Nets this season. He previously scored in double figures in the second and third games of the season.

Could Kurucs be playing himself into the rotation?

“He’s in the conversation, you can’t deny it,” Atkinson responded. We’ll have to look at it. We’ll have to consider getting him minutes. I think he’s shown that he can do it. Now, it’s a competitive environment in the NBA. Minutes are out there, and guys have to compete for minutes, but he’s definitely earning some playing time.”

Shabazz Napier also scored in double figures for Brooklyn, posting 10 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 18 minutes off the bench. Napier has scored in double figures in four of his last six games, recording averages of 10.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game in those six contests.

Ed Davis, not a prolific scorer, made his expected contribution to Nets, pulling down 10 rebounds in 16 minutes.

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points off the bench, along with 11 rebounds and four assists. Tristan Thompson registered 19 points and 14 rebounds; Collin Sexton tallied 15 points, and Alec Burks chipped 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Next up for Cleveland will be the Golden State Warriors at home in Cleveland on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, at 7 p.m. ET.

The Brooklyn Nets will remain home to host Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Barclays Center on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are also talking about NY baseball, NY Knicks, Nets, the Athlete of the Week, and more!

 

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POPPIN PART 1

NBA Playoffs

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Q. Was the run-up to the playoffs anything that you could have predicted?

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QUICK BITES

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• Former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins told TMZ that he believes that Rob Gronkowski is frustrated with Patriots because he’s not being paid what he’s worth.

• University of Alabama guard Collin Sexton announced that he was “officially declaring” for the 2018 NBA Draft! Sexton is the first player to attend Alabama for one season before leaving for the NBA since the league added the “one and done” rule before the 2006 draft.
• Red Sox minor league prospect Michael Chavis just lost 80 games’ worth of his player development (and salary) thanks to testing positive for DHCMT a banned substance.
• Congrats to Villanova Wildcats on winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.

Quick Question: Augusta National Golf Club officials don’t like the phrase, “Dilly Dilly” and threatened to throw out anyone who uttered the words, Dilly Dilly in an effort to crack down on unruly fans.

Q. Is this silly, silly?

Poppin Part 2

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. Professional golfer Tiger Woods made a comeback appearance at the Masters in Augusta this past Weekend.

Q. What’s the verdict?

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard, Russell Westbrook, praised Houston Rockets guard James Harden’s accomplishments for this NBA season but stopped short of an MVP endorsement.

Q. Was this a back-handed compliment or, is Westbrook not counting himself out?

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Brooklyn Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen blocking a shot at the rim by Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker. The Nets defeated the Bucks 119-111.

NEW YORK SPORTS REPORT

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. It’s time for our NY Sports Report.

Let’s have a little fun with baseball.

Q. Right now, looking at both New York baseball teams, who has a better chance of playing in the World Series?

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A billboard went up near Madison Square Garden attempting to recruit LeBron James to the Knicks. Dwyane Wade says good luck with that one.

Q. Do you think LeBron James would ever consider the NY Knicks?

End of the NBA Regular Season and Nets with no playoff opportunity still playing hard

The Brooklyn Nets threw a wrinkle in the Milwaukee Bucks game plan. The Bucks were looking for a win over the struggling Nets to move up in the NBA Eastern Conference playoff standings, but the Nets beat the Bucks 119-111.

Q. In light of the Nets win over the Bucks, there’s a question floating, why do teams who are out of the playoff picture have to play so hard?

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK:

Our Athlete of the Week spotlight goes to Elgin Baylor. The legendary Los Angeles Lakers’ player recently received a great honor. The Lakers unveiled a statue of Elgin Baylor outside the Staples Center becoming the 10th person to be honored with a statue.

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