December 12, 2018

Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris lead Nets; as Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose shows flashes of brilliance leading all scorers with 25 points

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the Brooklyn Nets are back home after playing back-to-back games against the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks on the road; getting a 104-92 win over the Heat and a 119-113 loss against the Mavericks. As fans piled into the Barclays Center, of course they were hoping that the home team would prevail against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but unfortunately, the Nets fell to the ‘Wolves 112-102.

With the loss to the Timberwolves, the Nets fell to 8-12 overall and 3-5 at Barclays Center, while the Timberwolves improved to 8-11 overall and 1-8 on the road with the win.

At the end of the first quarter, there was a glimmer of hope that the energetic-looking Nets just might pull off a win, as the Nets outscored the Timberwolves 26-22 in the first quarter. Although the Timberwolves took the lead in the second stanza, the differential was small enough at 54-49, that there was no real need to hit the panic button. In the third quarter where the Nets often struggle, there was cause for alarm as the T-Wolves continued to outpace Brooklyn, ending the third with a score of 89-72.

“I think we were searching for energy but we kind of just didn’t have the juice,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about the damage caused in the third quarter. “I don’t know how many turnovers we had in the third. I thought the turnovers hurt us overall. Thirty-one points off our turnovers I believe, that’s a huge number. That’s tough. We’ve done a fantastic job of taking care of it. Tonight we didn’t take care of it. I see (Karl-Anthony) Towns hurt us in the post there in the third quarter. We tried different things, tried different guys on him, we tried fronting him. We just couldn’t get the stops we needed. ”

The Nets did come roaring back in the fourth just enough to make it interesting, outscoring Minnesota 30-23, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the gap that was built up in the third quarter.

“First of all, I like that group that had the energy to come back and make it a heck of a game,” Atkinson said regarding the Nets’ effort in the fourth quarter. “I thought we missed a couple open shots that could have really cut the lead. But like you said, we couldn’t get over the hump. Again, I think our turnovers were a big part of our inefficiencies tonight. ”

Those inefficiencies allowed Minnesota to score 31 points off of Brooklyn’s turnovers.

“That was big,” Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau told the media following the game. “And we then we didn’t turn it over either. I thought that was a big part of the game. I thought with Karl-Anthony Towns in foul trouble I thought our bench came in and did a really solid job. And then down the stretch, we made plays.”

This win for the Timberwolves was especially sweet, as it was the team’s first road win this season.

“It’s a start,” Thibodeau added. “We have a long way to go. It’s challenging to play a noon game and then turn right around and be ready to play again tomorrow night on a back-to-back. We have to play well at home.”

The Nets scorers in double digits this afternoon were Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris, each scoring 18 points. Harris added six rebounds and four assists, while Dinwiddie, who came off the bench, supplemented his 18 points with eight assists, and three rebounds. DeMarre Carroll, scored 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Shabazz Napier, another member of the second unit tallied 12 points and six rebounds; Jarrett Allen, now in his second year with the NBA, registered 12 points and four rebounds, and; Allen Crabbe chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.

The Timberwolves leading scorer was also from the second unit. Derrick Rose, the only Minnesota player to come off the bench and score in double digits, also led all scorers with 25 points and three assists leaving some media people to believe that we are witnessing the resurgence of NBA All-Star Derrick Rose.

However, Coach Thibodeau believes the qualities of Rose as an NBA All-Star didn’t vanish.

“I say this all of the time,” Thibodeau responded. “I’ve watched most of his games. I watched him the year he was in New York. The only time he hasn’t played well is when he was injured, so I’m not surprised.”

Other Minnesota leading scorers were Karl-Anthony Towns who attained 21 points and nine rebounds; Taj Gibson registered 16 points, 11 rebounds, and three steals, while; Jeff Teague chipped in 15 points and nine assists.

Next up, Minnesota will return home to host the Chicago Bulls tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. CT

Meanwhile, the Nets will host the Philadelphia 76ers at the Barclays Center on Sunday, November 25, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. ET

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In this video, Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, hosts of What's The 411Sports are talking about Dez Bryant and Jerry Jones; Jimmy Butler; Le'Veon Bell; Larry Nance on LeBron James; the Seattle Storm; Serena Williams; Josh Gordon; Spencer Dinwiddie; and the Phoenix Suns.

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Spencer Dinwiddie recorded a team-high 20 points with three rebounds and three assists; and despite the loss, everyone’s talking about Dinwiddie

After winning two consecutive games and outlasting the Minnesota Timberwolves with Karl-Anthony Towns and scoring-machine Jimmy Butler, the Nets, as they readied themselves to go up against the Boston Celtics, were ready to show and prove that they can play with anybody. The Brooklyn Nets players were amped up and so were the fans.

Then, down the stretch, fans, reporters, analysts, and even the coaching staffs could see that the Nets were not getting legitimate calls in their favor by the officials. Towards the end of the matchup, it was the conversation heard by those entertaining the viewers watching on television, in the corridors at the Barclays Center, and in the locker room. It’s okay for fans and reporters to talk about NBA officials, but for players and coaches, absolutely not, or risk the hammer coming down from the NBA.

However, one player, who is in his fourth year in the league and who spent some of his time in NBA Developmental League, out of frustration, spoke up.

“It's funny you mention it being physical and not a lot of calls,” Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said in responding to a reporter’s question. “It's a tough loss for us. It makes us 0-3 against the Celtics. Obviously, we wanted to be there and these are games we feel we should have won. It's become a trend this year. As a leader of the team, I can express our frustrations. We’re losing guys to whatever random contact, people are driving to the basket and getting knocked down- things of that nature. To see the same type of respect not reciprocated is very frustrating for us.”

“The other thing that is very frustrating as well,” Dinwiddie continued, “is we have these meetings right, as teams, or with PA about respect and so we want to treat everybody with respect because everybody is doing their jobs and they're trying their best including us. We turned the ball over calls are missed whatever it is. But when you approach somebody and they shush you or they wave you off like you're not a man or something of that nature that's also very frustrating. To already be in the position of feeling like you're not getting the same respect whether true or false it is an opinion at the end of the day. It’s very subjective. That is an opinion. But to have that and not just in one case but time after time, and like I said to be shushed [as] if you're not a man, those are the things that are really frustrating for guys on this team for sure. Especially games that are so hard-fought that come down to the last second.”

As thrilling as last night’s Brooklyn Nets game against the Boston Celtics was, it is a wake-up call, a clear sign that it is time for the NBA to clean up its officiating house.

I know, the common response is, just play and don’t look for the refs to bail you out. But if the calls were evenly distributed on the merits, perhaps, the officiating in the NBA wouldn’t be an issue. Imagine if this game was an early game during the Olympics and USA Basketball was playing the Russian team. During the game, you notice the Russian team is getting preferential treatment because the officials feel they need to help the Russians because USA Basketball is better. Or, if this was any game during the NBA Finals, the favored team gets all the favorable calls. No one would be silent.

So, Dinwiddie started the conversation this season, now it is time for anyone that cares about NBA Basketball, to speak up for the integrity of the game. Do away with the preferential calls because a player is a superstar, or it’s the home team, or the team is the best in its conference, etc. At the end of the day, preference distorts stats for players and teams.

The #NBA needs to do better and clean up its officiating act for the integrity of the game.

#DinwiddieIsAbsolutelyRight!

Spencer Dinwiddie leads Nets with 26 points and nine assists in the win; Jimmy Butler misses jumper at the buzzer; Okafor gets first play at home

It was the calm before the “Bomb Cyclone” hit New York City. Bomb Cyclone, a new ride coming to Coney Island? No, it’s winds gusting as high as 60 mph and a bone-chilling blast of Arctic air and, in this case, on top of all that, a prediction of six to nine inches of snow. Some even joked that it’s the Minnesota Timberwolves coming to Brooklyn to beat up on the Brooklyn Nets.

At the outset, the “Tims” came into the Barclays Center having won seven of its last eight games and Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler with a record of practically scoring at will. Butler did lead all scorers racking up 30 points when it was all said and done. Meanwhile, it has been a struggle for the Nets to win two consecutive games all season. So with a win against the Orlando Magic on Monday night, many predicted the Timberwolves would blow the Nets out of the Barclays Center.

But not so fast! Brooklyn pulled out that old-fashioned defense keeping the ‘Wolves to under 100 points, and the Nets led by 12 points at 9:43 in the third quarter. The biggest lead for Minnesota was five, and with seven lead changes, the Nets were leading by one point in the closing seconds. Although Butler took a pull-up jumper for the win at the one-second mark, he missed (hey, I didn’t say he was perfect) and time ran out on a Minnesota rebound with the score Nets 98 and Timberwolves 97.

Nets fans jumped with excitement, but the Timberwolves and their fans wondered how could Butler miss a shot that he could probably do with his eyes closed?

“Get a rhythm, rise up, shoot it like I always shoot it,” Butler explained his last shot. “Just didn’t make it. I shoot that shot a lot of times. When it leaves my hand I always think that it’s going in, this time it just didn’t. ”

“There were three options on the play and he (Butler) got it,” Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s got open floor, get to his spot, rise up and shoot. That’s what he saw and I thought he got a good look at it and didn’t make it. I’ve seen him make that pull up a million times. I trust him in those situations. He’s a big shot maker, he’s got good balance. The play before he back cut and got fouled on that one. You’ve got to trust that he’ll make the right decision. That’s what he saw and I was good with the shot.”

“It’s like coach said, we got the ball in the man’s hand that we wanted, got him the ball,” Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns said backing up his coach. “You know he made a play (Butler), not every day you’re going to hit that shot but you know what, we got it to the man we wanted, we got the shot we wanted, it didn’t fall. It just happens like that some days but it wasn’t Jimmy, it was all of us collectively, especially me in the first half. We just didn’t play with the energy like I told you. And that urgency that made us so great the last two wins.”

“We really just kind of need to get out of these situations honestly,” Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie said after the game. “These do or die situations. I’d rather just win the game by like 10.”

Lately, the Timberwolves have been shutting out teams in the first quarter. Understanding this, the Nets put their preparation into action.

“I think we made them (Nets’ players) aware, like this team is taking teams out here, you know 16-0, 18-0,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I think our guys are conscious enough and understood the importance of getting out to a good start
tonight, so, good job by our first unit. Like I said, they’ve (the Nets)been struggling in the first quarter, I think we addressed it two games ago -- our poor starts. So that was important to hold them at bay.”

Adam Harrington did a great job with the scouting,” Dinwiddie added. “You know the last couple games he told us they’ve started 15-plus to zero and when you spot a team that many points, it’s always hard to come back, so that was something that we really didn’t want to let happen and we didn’t.”

Fortunately, the Nets put that knowledge to work because there have been far too many games where they allowed the opposing team to set the tone of the game from the start.

Oddly enough, only three Nets players scored in double digits. Dinwiddie scored 26 points and nine assists for the Nets. Other Nets players scoring in double digits were Joe Harris with 17 points off the bench, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 10 points and five rebounds.

Four of five Minnesota starters scored in double digits. In addition to Butler, Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Tyus Jones added 11 points, and Jamal Crawford chipped in 10 points.

Brooklyn’s bench outscored Minnesota 38-18.

Jahlil Okafor, who the Nets recently acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers, and is being worked into the Nets system, made his first appearance at the Barclays Center at the start of the second quarter getting a warm reception from the crowd.

“It was exciting just to be playing in front of the home crowd,” Okafor told the media after the game. “It was a lot of fun. It was my first time in a while because when I played with Philly for a long time I was in Toronto, Utah. And then when I played with Brooklyn, I played in Toronto, so to finally play in front of a supportive crowd, it was a good feeling.”

In his first play at home for the Nets, Okafor scored 2 points and two rebounds.

“I thought he was solid,” Atkinson said about Okafor getting playing time. “Understood what we’re doing. I just think it’s going to take him time. He really understood our system and was in the right place. Now our guys have got to learn how to play with him. It’s more with the chemistry with the group he’s going to be out there with when to throw him the ball, when not. When does he go pick and roll? So there’s some hesitancy. But executed our pick and roll coverages perfectly. Offensively was in the right spots. I’d say very positive.”

The Nets improved to 15-23 this season and 8-9 at Barclays Center with tonight’s win, while the Wolves fell to 24-15 with the loss. This stat alone shows that last night’s win for the Nets was huge. Additionally, The Nets improved to 10-0 this season when holding their opponent under 100 points and have now held three of their last four opponents to under 100 points.

Next up, the Brooklyn Nets will play the Boston Celtics on Saturday, January 6, 2018, at home at the Barclays Center at 6:00 p.m.

Joe Johnson’s seemingly lack of effort is glaring. The second highest NBA player ends with six points and six rebounds and assists

The 10-16 Minnesota Timberwolves came into the Barclays Center on Sunday afternoon (a rare 1:00 p.m. game) needing a road win after losing eight of their last 10 games; and the 7-19 Brooklyn Nets laid out the welcome mat and said, no problem.

The Nets allowed the athletic ‘Wolves to get off to a great start, as they dominated the first quarter. Although Brooklyn tied Minnesota five times during the first stanza, the Timberwolves overpowered the Nets with 47.6 percent field goal shooting compared to the Nets lethargic 28.6 percent, ending the quarter 26-16. For the Nets, Brook Lopez led the charge. Even though Lopez seemingly attracted Timberwolves players every time he touched the ball, the Nets center managed to score half of the Nets first quarter points with eight.

The Nets battled back in the 2nd quarter, outscoring the ‘Wolves 27-26, but it wasn’t enough; Minnesota ended the half with an overall score 52-43. And, where was Joe Johnson? We’re all still waiting for Johnson to show up. The Nets shooting guard ended the half with zero points on 0 of 2 shooting. But, to his credit (tongue in cheek), Johnson did have two assists and one offensive rebound. And, when it was all said and done, Johnson’s tally was triple sixes: six points, six rebounds, and six assists. Not a good showing for the second highest paid NBA player.

Johnson wasn’t the on Nets starter having a bad day. During the third quarter, the fans were so upset with the Nets performance that when Kevin Garnett, former Nets player and now back with the Timberwolves, stole the ball from Jarrett Jack, they started to “boo,” but Ally Love and the Nets entertainment team promptly interrupted and overpowered the disenchanted fans with sheer volume and a T-shirt toss.

“We didn’t play hard, Jack said after the game. “We didn’t show any resistance. The score is very indicative of that.”

At game’s end, Brooklyn Nets superman, Brook Lopez, had 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and one steal.

“Yeah, we haven’t had a complete game in a while and you can see that,” Lopez said responding to whether the Nets energy and effort is worrisome at this point. “We absolutely have to. It takes every person who steps onto the court to set the attitude and we certainly need the bench to come in and you know, do the same or even pick it up.”

Other Nets starters in double digits were Bojan Bogdanovic with 13 points and Thaddeus Young with 12 points. Nets reserve players scoring in double digits were Andrea Bargnani with 11 and Wayne Ellington with 10.

Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns led all scorers with 24 points and 10 rebounds and Gorgui Dieng put up 20 points and 10 boards off the bench. In fact, Minnesota’s bench consisting of Kevin Martin (16), Zach Levine (10), and Andre Miller (2) contributed nearly 50 percent of the team’s total score with 48 points. Andrew Wiggins, a starting guard for Minnesota, chipped in 16 points.

With the loss against Minnesota, Brooklyn dropped its fifth straight.

Next stop for the Nets; Chicago on Monday night.

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