December 13, 2018

Allen Crabbe’s “match made in heaven” could become the roadblock in the Brooklyn Nets' rebuilding plan, if he doesn't find his Brooklyn Grit

Last night was a sad night at the Barclays Center. The Brooklyn Nets rising star, guard Caris LeVert, was not in the lineup as he is recuperating from a subtalar dislocation of his right foot, an injury he sustained on Monday while playing the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The good news is that at this point, he does not need surgery and hopefully, he will return before the season ends. Another Nets rising star, Jarrett Allen, was also out because of an illness. So with two of the Nets best players out, the Nets lost to the 5-8 Miami Heat, 120-107 and dropped to 6-9 overall and 3-3 at the Barclays Center, while Heat’s record improves to 6-8.

Not sure why Brooklyn Nets head coach, Kenny Atkinson, gave guard Allen Crabbe his first start of the season in LeVert’s place instead of guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Comparing the two players prior to the game, Dinwiddie was averaging 13.9 points per game compared to Crabbe’s 6.5 ppg. There’s not much difference between Dinwiddie and Crabbe’s rebounds per game 2.4 vs. 3.3, but Dinwiddie leads Crabbe in the assist column, 4.1 vs. 1.2, as well as in the grit column.

At game’s end, Dinwiddie, who came off the bench, led all Nets scorers with 18 points (6-of-12 FG), three rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes. Looking at Dinwiddie’s numbers for the season, he has scored in double figures in 14 games, which marks the most games scored in double figures for a Nets reserve in the team's first 15 games of a season in franchise history (previously: 12 games for Armen Gilliam in the 1993-94 season). Dinwiddie also leads the NBA in double-digit scoring games off the bench this season (ahead of JJ Redick, Lou Williams, and Jordan Clarkson, who have all come off the bench in 13 games in the 2018-19 campaign).

Against the Miami Heat last night, Crabbe scored a measly six points and one rebound in 26 minutes of play. He also had six fouls, so you know what that means.

So, why did Coach Atkinson shuffle the deck to insert Crabbe in the starting lineup, which may have affected the team’s rhythm particularly when Crabbe doesn’t have the best track record?

“It’s just part of the NBA, it’s part of the deal,” Atkinson told the media postgame. “You are going to have injuries. We have to have guys that step up. I think that a lot of those units that we threw out there tonight hadn’t played a lot together, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. We know each other, we’ve been to training camp, but again I thought Miami was simply the better team. Sure it was the first quarter, but throughout the game, they were the better team.”

The fact that the Nets players and the coaching staff know each other and have watched players over the last 14 games of the season is enough reason to know that Crabbe should not have started to disrupt the team’s rhythm.

Nets forward Joe Harris in responding to reporters’ questions about whether there’s an issue finding a rhythm with the different lineups being thrown out there, particularly with LeVert unable to play, in effect makes the point.

“Yeah, I think it is definitely an issue, but that’s not an excuse for not playing good defense or making the effort plays, the hustle plays,” Harris responded. “A lot of that first quarter was just mental mistakes, lack of effort, and you can’t have that. We should still be able to have some continuity on the defensive end. Everyone’s familiar with what the philosophy is, what Kenny (Atkinson) expects out of us, what the coaching staff expects out of us. Obviously, we missed Caris (LeVert) a lot, and I think that’s reflective in the way that we played offensively tonight. But the defense has got to stay constant and that’s kind of where we lost our way.”

Missing Caris LeVert is natural, but in these situations, it needs to be not just the next man up, but the best next man up.

And, Jared Dudley, a veteran player the Nets acquired over the summer for a veteran voice in the locker room, makes my point on who needs to step up to the starting position after the loss of LeVert.

“I think Spencer (Dinwiddie) has to step up in a bigger role,” Dudley said. “I think you got to be more mentally locked in when it comes to attacking the basket when it comes to not settling, to getting guys involved. I think that’s where we need to take it from here. I think Allen Crabbe is someone who’s very more capable of coming in and boosting up his point scoring, so I think it’s by committee. Definitely, Spencer (Dinwiddie) should take up that role and that challenge of someone who is easily capable of upping his scoring five to six points and getting more shot attempts.

Nets scorers in double digits behind Dinwiddie were Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who posted 14 points, nine rebounds, and two steals in 23 minutes off the bench. Hollis-Jefferson’s nine rebounds marked a season high for him. Shabazz Napier totaled 13 points (his third-most points in a game this season) with two rebounds, two assists, and two steals in 26 minutes off the bench. Starters D’Angelo Russell added 12 points; Harris registered 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 25 minutes, and; Dudley chipped in 10 points, five rebounds, one steal, and one blocked shot.

The Miami Heat’s leading scorers were Tyler Johnson, who came off the bench to score 24 points and five rebounds. Goran Dragic put up 21 points, four assists, and three rebounds; Josh Richardson registered 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists; Hassan Whiteside tallied 14 points, 10 rebounds, and two steals; Bam Adebayo, part of Miami’s second unit, accumulated 12 points and three rebounds, and; Rodney McGruder chipped in 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

Next up for the Miami Heat are the Indiana Pacers on Friday, November 16, 2018.

The Brooklyn Nets will play the first of a back-to-back against the Washington Wizards in the nation’s capital also on Friday, November 16, 2018. They will return home to play the Los Angeles Clippers at the Barclays Center on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.

Hopefully, Allen Crabbe will find his heart in Washington, DC.

DeMarre Carroll scores 26 points to lift the Brooklyn Nets over the Miami Heat

In front of a sold-out crowd of 17,732 people, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Miami Heat 101-95 and improved to 11-1 when holding their opponents under 100 points this season. Friday night’s win snapped Brooklyn’s five-game losing streak at the Barclays Center and the team’s three-game losing streak overall.

In the win, DeMarre Carroll scored a career-high-tying 26 points with six rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block in 31 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie, who has scored 15 or more points five times in his last nine games, tallied 15 points, six rebounds and, three assists in 29 minutes tonight against the Heat. Joe Harris and Caris LeVert each scored 12 points with LeVert adding five assists and four rebounds to his score.

LeVert, and Quincy Acy’s energy, which is not displayed in totality in the stat sheet, were instrumental in knocking Miami off its rhythm during the second-half, enabling the Nets to erase a 16-point deficit, which ultimately led to a Nets victory.

“I thought Caris (LeVert) and Quincy (Acy) came in the game and changed the energy,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Caris had a big hand in it, obviously Quincy shooting opened up the floor for us. Lastly, our offense definitely wasn’t pretty by any means but a really good defensive performance.”

“I think defensively is what got us going,” LeVert said describing the spark that got the Nets going in the second half. “D’Angelo (Russell) was real vocal when he came in like in the third quarter, when he came in I think that is when the run started. He was just telling us stop by stop, just get a stop. Easy baskets. And that kind of sparked the run.”

D’Angelo Russell, who missed 32 games and has not played since November 11, 2017, played 14 minutes off the bench on Friday. Russell, although he only scored one point in his 14 minutes of play, was a critical catalyst for the Nets in the second half.

“I think the third quarter was really when that switched,” LeVert pointing out when the Nets defense clicked into high gear. “Like I said, when D’Angelo checked in he was real vocal and that was the main point. Just get stops on defense and that will spark the offense. We held them to 95 points and that was the game right there.”

Hassan Whiteside led the Miami Heat with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Other Miami scoring leaders were: Goran Dragic, who scored 17 points; Josh Richardson added 12 points and seven assists; Kelly Olynyk recorded 12 points and five rebounds, and; Wayne Ellington chipped in 10 points.

Next up, the Nets have five road games including an opportunity to avenge its 114-80 loss to Detroit when it plays the Pistons on Sunday. The next Brooklyn Nets home game is on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

The Nets continue to lead early, but is still having troubling closing the deal

On January 25, 2017, the Miami Heat overcame an 18-point deficit to begin the fourth quarter and used a 15-2 run in final 4:35 to beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-106. Last night, the Heat came back to Brooklyn and the Nets pulled out the same playbook, led early and then gave up the lead in the end.  In so doing, the Heat overcame an 11-point, third-quarter deficit to capture a 108-99 victory.

"I don't what it is against [Brooklyn] but they always take the lead against us," said Miami guard Goran Dragic who scored 21 points and five assists. "I'm proud of our guys, how we responded and came back."

“Sometimes you just have to dig really deep and Brooklyn forced us to have to do that,” Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the game. “It’s whatever it takes. The habit we’ve been taking all season long is that we’re a team that it takes a village. There’s not necessarily going to be one guy every single night to defend. We have to do it five-man basketball. Offensively, it’s different guys making different contributions on different nights.”

The Heat scorched the Nets in the second half, outscoring Brooklyn, 34-27, in the fourth. Again, turnovers worked against the Nets. Brooklyn had 22 turnovers to Miami’s 14.

“You felt it,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson regarding the Nets turnovers and pressure from the Heat. “They made every catch tough. Bringing the ball up was a task, sideline out-of-bounds was a task. We had trouble getting open, so we’ll have to go back to the drawing board now and try to help our guys when the pressure is turned up like that, but credit to them. Again, I thought that small lineup really hurt us.”

“They hit us at a certain point and their physicality definitely had an effect,” Brook Lopez told reporters about the Heat’s defensive pressure. “I think we responded well but that initial bout, you know we definitely turned the ball over and they made a run but again I think we responded and we definitely went right back at them.”

In the loss, Lopez had a game-high 30 points and eight rebounds. Randy Foye scored 15 points (5-of-9 FG, 1-of-2 3FG, 4-of-4 FT) in 26 minutes tonight vs. the Heat. Foye’s 15 points last night mark his second-highest scoring output this season (behind a season-high 16 points on January 27th at Cleveland). Bojan Bogdanovic totaled 10 points with six rebounds in 29 minutes vs. Miami. Spencer Dinwiddie recorded a season-high-tying eight assists in 19 minutes tonight (he previously recorded eight assists on January 15th vs. Houston).

With this loss, the Nets fell to 9-45 overall and 7-22 at home. The Nets will host the Memphis Grizzlies next on Monday, February 13, at 7:30 p.m. EST at Barclays Center.

Lack of execution, turnovers, and iso-ball give Nets its third straight loss

Dion Waiters is having a very productive week. On Monday, Waiters danced on Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson with 2.4 seconds left in the fourth and drained the go-ahead three-pointer to beat the western conference power 105-102. On Wednesday night, Waiters would send the Nets to the same fate.

The Miami Heat overcame an 18-point deficit to begin the fourth quarter and used a 15-2 run in final 4:35, setting up Waiters dagger trey, to lead the Heat to an exhilarating 109-106 victory. With 30 seconds remaining in the final period, Randy Foye found Trevor Booker in the paint for a layup that gave the Nets an opportunity for the win, down one, 104-103. And then it happened.

Wayne Ellington inbounded the ball to Waiters who streaked towards the ball behind the three-point line. He dribbled once defended by Foye, pulled up without hesitation and fired a high-arching, 27-footer, giving the Heat a 107-103 lead with 6.8 seconds left to play.

“I love those type of moments,” Waiters said post-game. “Coach just drew up a play, and I looked at (Ellington) and said, ‘give it to me, I want it.”

It was a play that capped off the Heat’s big fourth quarter in which they outscored the Nets 38-17. And it also highlights the stellar defense they played down the stretch, especially on Brook Lopez, who after torching the Heat for 26 first half points, was limited to a two-point fourth quarter.

With 4:35 remaining in the fourth, the Nets were in good shape. They were up by 10, 99-89 after two made free-throws by Lopez and had the opportunity to put the nail in the coffin and eliminate any chance of a Heat comeback, but they didn’t. They folded.

And while Lopez misfired on two consecutive trips on offense, the Heat, led by Goran Dragic and Waiters, spearheaded a 10-0 run capped off by Ellington’s three, that tied the game at 99-all with 2:16 remaining in the quarter.

A couple possessions later, with the Heat down one, 101-99 on two made free-throws by Nets rookie guard Caris LeVert, Miami rookie forward Okaro White buried a three, assisted by Waiters 102-101, which gave the Heat the lead for good.

“You know (Waiters) drew two at the end and I was wide open in that corner and he had that trust and the faith in me that I’ll knock it down and kicked it right to me,” White said post-game. “I went up into the shot and it was good so it’s nothing but God.”

At the end of the day, the Heat made shots when it counted and the Nets didn’t. The Nets also relied heavily on Lopez to create down the stretch and settled for “iso-ball”. It also doesn’t help that after Waiters’ layup cut the Nets lead to three 99-96 with 2:54 left to play, LeVert turned the ball over coming out of a timeout on the next possession.

After White’s three put the Heat up one, 102-101, the Nets left it up to Spencer Dinwiddie who missed a big three that could have put the Nets up two, with 43 seconds left. Late game execution has plagued the Nets all season long and on Wednesday night, it cost them another contest, this time against the Heat.

“I think we didn’t execute,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said post-game. “We started playing iso-ball and they turned us over a few times. We were missing shots, and then on the defensive end, we couldn’t get stops. You can’t give up 38 points in the fourth quarter, that’s way too many.”

Atkinson also said that he has to do a better job coaching, in finding the right balance between getting Lopez the ball and when to run plays and move the ball effectively for good shots. On too many occasions in the fourth, Atkinson said that Lopez wasn’t getting the ball in good positions to score and in doing so felt that it was up to him to save the day.

Despite his shortcomings, the Nets should’ve won this game and Lopez, who said post-game, that he has to do a better job of keeping the Nets offense going, knows that the Nets let one get away in large part to one single quarter.

“We really gave ourselves a chance for 40 minutes tonight, but obviously, it’s a full 48-minute game,” Lopez said post-game.

He led all scorers with a game-high 33 points. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points and LeVert, who broke Ellington’s ankles in the third quarter on a vicious crossover step-back three, recorded 12 points.

The hero of the game, Waiters scored a team-high 24 points and dished out eight assists while his backcourt mate, Dragic nearly clinched a double-double with 17 points and nine dimes. Ellington, who hit several big shots in this game and seemed eager to face his former team, handed the Nets 22 painful points off the bench and Willie Reed, another former Net scored 14 points.

This is a young team and you have to think that late game execution and defending for 48 minutes will be issues the Nets will tackle going forward. Like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Nets need to “Trust The Process,” and continue to learn from their mistakes to become a better team in the future.

The Nets will have Thursday off and then face the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers and with Lebron James voicing his disappointment in his team’s play as of late and the inability of his front-office to find a playmaker for their bench, this is the absolute worst time for the Nets to face the Cavaliers.

Following the Cavaliers, the Nets will still be on the road and will face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday and the Miami Heat in Miami on Monday. The Nets will be home on Wednesday, February 1 to play the other struggling New York team, the New York Knicks.

Heat Takes Control of the Second Half and Dwyane Wade Closes

Tonight’s game hosting the Miami Heat wasn’t Monday night’s blowout loss to the Orlando Magic. The Brooklyn Nets were in it to win it for the majority of Wednesday’s contest but towards the end of regulation, a particular star showed up and he wasn’t sporting a Brooklyn jersey. Dwyane Wade scored six of his team-high 28 points in the final six minutes of the 4th quarter propelling the Heat to a narrow 104-98 win against the struggling Nets.

The Heat improved to (15-9), their third straight win while the Nets continue to look for answers, falling to (7-18). Late in the 4th, the Nets had several opportunities to get in the win column and end their two-game losing streak, but Wade would have no part of it. He did what superstars do.

He closed.

When Thaddeus Young scored to get the Nets to within two points, down 87-89 with 5:58 left in the 4th, Wade drained a 12-foot jumper putting the Heat up by four, 91-87 at the 5:11 mark. Moments later, the Nets would turn the ball over and Wade took advantage, putting the Heat up by six, 93-87 just under five min left until the end of regulation. Wade would hit two more jumpers putting the Heat up by eight and 10 points respectively, and it just seemed like when he scored late, it hurt more than any of his fellow teammates prior.

“This is what he’s built his career on,” Heat head coach, Erick Spoelstra said post-game. “To be able to attack, to read defenses, to be able to make shots.”

Even Nets head coach, Lionel Hollins acknowledged that there was nothing they could do to cool him off.

“Well, you could decide to go double him and hopefully he passes it, but even when he did that, (Justise) Winslow hit a three, the other kid (Goran) Dragic hit a three earlier before he got to the end and that puts a little bit of caution in trying to go down there and just double-team him and taking the ball out,” Hollins said during his post-game press conference.

“He’s a great player,” Hollins added.

Chris Bosh, who scored seven, gets a front-row seat to the Wade show every night.

“He did pull a couple of things out of the bag and it was great,” Bosh said in the visitor’s locker-room.

Fortunately for the Nets, Brook Lopez validated why he’s great player also. After a disappointing outing against the Magic and Nikola Vucevic, Lopez scored 16 of his team-high 25 points in the first half, against Hassan Whiteside, who averages four blocks a game.

“It was huge for him confidence-wise to come out and play well,” Hollins said. “We need him to continue to play well offensively, but I thought he did some other stuff as well, but scoring wise he did real good.”

And Lopez’s start spearheaded the Nets 1st half surge. The Nets got off to a great start, finishing the 1st quarter with an eight-point lead, up 30-22. Every starter not named Joe Johnson contributed.

In the second, more of the same ensued. The Nets showed some fight. Even Wayne Ellington got into the act, scoring eight of his 12 in the second alone, including three straight baskets which kept the Nets ahead of the Heat. It didn’t take long until the Heat, who lead the Southeast division woke up. With 2:34 left until halftime, Goran Dragic and co. would score points leading a 9-4 run to put the Heat up by five, 55-50 going into the second half, which capped off a 33-point 2nd to regain control of the game.

And that run to end the 1st half, would carry the Heat into the second half, as they coasted, for the most part, exploiting the Nets with good ball movement. When it counted the most, Heat players turned to Wade and he delivered, which was nothing new. Other than Lopez, Jarrett Jack added a double-double (22 points and 10 assists) and Andrea Bargnani had some moments, chipping in with 10. You know what could’ve helped? Johnson producing more than five points in 33 min of play. You know what also could’ve helped? The Nets fouling after Wade put the Heat up by five, 103-98 with 43.5 secs left in the 4th.

“I told them that we needed to foul, I mean, come on,” Hollins said. “You got to foul. I got caught looking at something else, and when I looked over everybody is looking at me, but that kind of stuff happens.”

For the Nets sake, it doesn’t need to happen.

The Nets will get a day off today and on Friday will face another star. The Nets will visit Paul George and the 3rd seeded Indiana Pacers which presents another challenge. Every night seems like an uphill climb for the Nets. It is up to them whether or not that will continue and looking at their upcoming schedule beyond the Pacers, (Timberwolves on Sunday, Bulls on Monday, Mavericks on Wednesday), it just might.

 

© 1993 - 2018 What's The 411 Networks, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.