December 13, 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.

Miami Heat defeats Oklahoma City Thunder 86-85; Kevin Durant misses a last-minute shot that could have tied the game

Like the unpredictability of the stock market on a daily basis, trying to pick the winner of this year's NBA Championship on a game-by-game basis has been just as difficult. Game 1 saw the Miami Heat jump out to an early lead, only to have the Oklahoma City Thunder storm back (no pun intended) and steal the victory.

The Heat got off to an even bigger lead in Game 2 but the Thunder, after a furious comeback saw their star Kevin Durant miss a last-second shot that would have tied the game. With the series tied at one game apiece, the scene shifted to Miami for the next 3 games.
Oklahoma, playing in one of the loudest arenas in all of basketball, did not allow Miami to get off to a fast start as they did in the first two games although the Heat never trailed in the first period. LeBron James scored 10 points and Chris Bosh, starting his second straight game, chipped in six. Prior to the game, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks was asked if Bosh is all the way back from the injury that kept him out for all but one game in the Indiana series and all of the games against the Celtics.

"I think he's fine," Brooks opined. "I think anytime you step on the court, you are 100 percent."

Miami extended their lead to eight points in the second (30-22) after a Mike Miller block of a Kevin Durant shot led to a James lay-up. The Thunder responded by outscoring the Heat 24-17 the rest of the way to trail by 1 at the half. Durant and Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma with 13 each while James added six more. OKC's defense stifled Miami as they just shot 41% from the floor missing 7 of 9 three-point attempts. The Thunder took that momentum and carried it over to start the third.

Trailing by three (49-46), the Thunder takes the biggest lead of the game 64-54 after crafty veteran Derek Fisher nails a 3-pointer, getting fouled by James Harden. He calmly sinks the free-throw making him only the 12th player to accomplish such a feat. It must have awakened the Heat, as they went on to outscore Oklahoma 15-3 the rest of the way to take a 2 point lead (69-67) entering the final period. Dwyane Wade scored 6 of those points with James hitting a 3-pointer to give them the lead. It set up yet again a final period to what has been a stomach-turning series for both teams and their fans.

For more than 8 minutes, neither team could extend the lead to more than 4 points. Then James follows a dunk with a free-throw putting the Heat up by 7 (84-77) with 3:47 to go. Trailing by seven again, the Thunder clawed back to within one (86-85) with 6 straight points. That's as close as they would get as Miami hit five of their last six free-throw attempts. The Thunder did not help its own cause melting down by turning the ball over as Westbrook inexplicably threw the ball in the wrong direction after missing a three-point attempt.
Miami escaped with the win and a two-game to one lead in the series despite shooting only 37.8% from the floor and a skinny 30.8% from 3-point land. When your team converts 31 of 35 free throws, while the other team misses 9 (15 of 24) it makes a big difference in the outcome.

"I think what we focus on is every game is a different challenge," Heat's head coach Erik Spoelstra said afterward. "You have to find ways to put yourself in the position to win."

Brooks didn't come across as deflated noting that as in the other two games, this game was just as intense.

"I thought we did some good things, he said. Give them credit. They're a very physical team. I thought both teams played as hard as they can play."

Will Kevin Durant find peace if he leaves the Golden State Warriors?

In some corners, Kevin Durant is becoming a laughing stock, and others are just downright concerned about the NBA star.

Durant is the second best player in the league and he doesn’t seem to be comfortable in his own skin or with his personal decisions, as in the decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The NBA MVP has been caught with fake social media accounts to go after people who may mock him. Or, in the case of Clint Capela, Durant felt a need to go after him using a burner account.  All Capela was doing was expressing confidence that his team, the Houston Rockets, could beat the Golden State Warriors, telling ESPN’s Tim McMahon:

"We're confident because we know if we're doing what we're supposed to do, we're going to beat them.

But today, we were ready. I think that if we're doing what we're supposed to do on defense -- all the switches, the weak side -- and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them.

We are better than them."

Yes, Durant, the nine-time NBA All-Star, felt a need to hide behind a fake account to respond to Capela.

Seriously!?

Even Dirk Nowitzki has expressed concern about Durant's sensitivity.

Kevin Durant, if you're not the put your name to it kind of guy, then let it go. You really don't have to respond, after all, you are the one with the ring.

With a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, Isaiah Thomas is ecstatic; St. John’s Red Storm has people talking, and; Le’Veon Bell wants SZA to be his Valentine

In this episode of What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are talking about the moves the Cleveland Cavaliers made at the NBA trade deadline; Damian Lillard hitting 50 points in 29 minutes, and should he sit or continue to play until the end of the game; the Top 5 prospects for NBA MVP consideration; Isaiah Thomas says he got his powers back; Paul Pierce celebrated in Boston; the state of the Brooklyn Nets and NY Knicks; Tim Tebow is back with the NY Mets; the New York Yankees acquire Russell Wilson; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell wants R&B singer, SZA, to be his Valentine; and will the XFL get off the ground?

What’s The 411Sports’ Photo of the Week

The What’s The 411Sports Photo of the Week is a photo of Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie shaking hands with his former teammate Trevor Booker who was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Spencer Dinwiddie shaking hands with former teammate Trevor Booker 750x469

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Can the Cleveland Cavaliers regain its luster and make it to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals

In the video recorded on January 23, 2018, Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are talking about the Cleveland Cavaliers and their devastating 148-124 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Currently, the Cavs are third in the Eastern Conference and one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA this season. To make matters worse, there is a good deal of finger pointing going on in the locker room.

Spencer Dinwiddie says no excuses… “we have to make plays”; rookie Jarrett Allen scores a career-high 12 points

A mid-afternoon NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center on Saturday featuring the first of a home and home game between the Brooklyn Nets (8-13) and the Atlantic Hawks (4-17) on paper looked promising for the Nets. The Nets were riding high from a two out of three-game road win against Western conference teams. Brooklyn also had twice as many wins as the Hawks, and Atlanta was without three players. However, to the Hawks good fortune, they met up with a lethargic Nets team allowing Atlanta to leave the building with a 114-102 victory.

“I thought they dominated us in every area, they were the more aggressive team,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media during a postgame presser. “I thought they were the quicker team, they were outstanding. I really have to give them a lot of credit. Coach Bud and his staff; we could never really guard them. We could not keep them in front of us. I don’t know how many paint points they had and that was really the story of the game. Couldn’t guard them, couldn’t keep them in front.”

“You have to give credit to the Atlanta Hawks,” Nets forward DeMarre Carroll said in a locker room postgame presser. “They came out and basically kicked our butt. We didn’t have any energy. We came out lackadaisical and we knew coming off of a three-game road trip, this tends to happen and we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”

A follow-up question was asked if the lack of confidence or fatigue could have factored into the loss. It could not have been lack of confidence, as Atlanta came into the Barclays Center with a 4-17 record vs. the Nets’ 8-13 record. But let “DC” explain it.

“No, I think it was a little bit more of coming back home, sleeping in your own bed, trying to get that rhythm and I feel that we just couldn’t get it,” Carroll explained. “No matter who we put out there, we just couldn’t get it. But the beauty of it, we play them again and hopefully, we can get them on the road.”

“There’s no blaming on the road trip,” Spencer Dinwiddie responded with a no excuses attitude. “Being what we aspire to be, which is a good team, we have to make plays, whether it’s a road trip, home game, away game or whatever it is. We have to come out and bring the juice and get a win.”

Dinwiddie scored a team-high 15 points with six rebounds, a game-high nine assists, and a career-high three blocks for the Brooklyn Nets. Joe Harris added 13 points, and Allen Crabbe, Sean Kilpatrick, and Jarrett Allen each contributed 12 points. The rookie Allen’s 12 points is a career-high to go along with his six rebounds and one block in 17 minutes off the bench today. It marked Allen’s first career double-digit scoring game.

For Atlanta, Dennis Schroder scored 24 points and Luke Babbitt scored 20 points off the bench.

The Nets get an opportunity to redeem themselves against the Hawks on Monday in Atlanta. Brooklyn also has two “home games” in Mexico City before returning to the Barclays Center; they play OKC on December 7 and the Miami Heat on December 9, and then return to the Barclays Center to play the Wizards on Tuesday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Lonzo Ball shows he has skills; Boucek joins Hammon in NBA ranks; Katie Smith has Liberty; Brooklyn Nets lose Lin for season; and; Knicks not winning yet

POPPIN'

Colin Kaepernick Files Grievance Against NFL

As we know, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL citing that NFL owners colluded to keep him out of the NFL for kneeling during the National Anthem.

However, some are saying that this case could be bigger than people realized. Various sources seem to think that not only could he end up getting his job back, but he could end up terminating the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement ahead of its scheduled 2021 expiration date:

Article 69, Section 2 of the CBA allows for the agreement to be terminated prematurely in the event of proof of collusion.

Under Article 17, Section 16(c) of the CBA, termination can arise from only one incident of collusion involving only one player if there is clear and convincing evidence of a violation.

Jerry Jones Didn’t Stand for National Anthem

It turns out Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not stand for the National Anthem during his first Cowboys game as an owner. Jones sat during the anthem with Liz Taylor, which prompted a fan to write this note:

“JEERS: To Jerry Jones and Liz Taylor, who were the only two people at last Sunday’s Cowboys-Redskins game not standing when the national anthem was played.

Riding out in a cart just before the anthem began was bad enough, but sitting while it was played was more than many of us could handle.

Jerry, please note that in Texas, we stand for the national anthem.

P.S.: Tom [Landry] always took off his hat.”

Lonzo Ball Gives Better Show with Game 2

Lonzo Ball had a terrible regular season NBA debut against the L.A. Clippers, but he redeemed himself in his second regular-season NBA game against the Phoenix Suns.

Ball flirted with a triple-double, scoring 29 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out nine assists while drilling four or more 3-pointers in the process.

QUICK HITS

• Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles is donating entire salary to boost racial equality in education
• ESPN sportscaster Jemele Hill is back from suspension and she’s not mad at ESPN.
Kevin Durant admits: “A couple years ago, I didn't really know how to play team defense that well. More and more, I'm learning about team defense and making multiple efforts.”
• In separate incidents, Pelicans’ DeMarcus Cousins and Celtics’ Kyrie Irving were both fined $25,000 for coarse language aimed at a fan
• The Sacramento Kings hired Jenny Boucek as assistant player development coach. Boucek is now the second active female assistant coach in the NBA, along with Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs.
• And, the NY Liberty hired Katie Smith to be its new head coach

Shahid “Shan” Khan Goes off on Donald Trump, Again

Speaking to USA Today, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan doubles down on his recent critique of Donald Trump overall, Trump’s attacks on people of color, and finally the league. Khan said:

“Let’s get real. The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews.

I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive.

Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”

Khan goes on to respond to whether or not he regrets contributing to Trump’s inauguration fund.

“I have no regrets in life. This ugly, toxic side sours the whole experience.”

 NIKE Connect Jerseys Didn’t Hold Up to Rigors of NBA

Nike is in its first year of a jersey deal with the NBA, and on opening night, arguably their biggest endorser — LeBron James — had his Nike jersey split down the middle of his back.

It might be taken as a fluke if it had only happened to LeBron.

However, in a preseason game, half the back of Lakers’ Tyler Ennis’ jersey had come apart.

Photo of the Week

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of LaVar Ball giving his son, Lonzo, some fatherly advice.

NY SPORTS REPORT

Yankees Fans Disappointed In ALCS Outcome

The NY Yankees could not get past the Houston Astros, so no trip to the World Series this season.

The Astros go on to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the MLB World Series. The first game is in Los Angeles tonight.

The New York Mets Get a New Manager

In the wake of Terry Collins exiting as NY Mets manager to work in the front office, the Mets signed Mickey Calloway as its new manager.

Calloway was a pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians and he received a warm welcome from Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

Calloway comes from a family that reveres baseball, he is named after Mickey Mantle and his brother Casey is named after Casey Stengel.

Brooklyn Nets Guard Jeremy Lin Out for Season

The Brooklyn Nets received another wake-up call during Game 1 of the regular NBA season when team leader Jeremy Lin went down with a ruptured tendon in his right knee. Lin had surgery to repair his ruptured patella tendon and will be out for the rest of the season.

 New York Knicks on a Losing Skid

Last week, we talked about how most NY Knicks fans were trying to reconcile in their minds that the Knicks are in rebuild mode and nothing says rebuild more when your team has yet to win a game.

Thus far, Kristaps Porzingas is performing well as the leader of the team, but the true measurement of leadership is how well Kristaps will be able to hold up under pressure from game losses.

With three consecutive losses so far, many Knicks fans are expressing their sorrow that Carmelo Anthony is no longer with the team. Anthony currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

OFF TOPIC

D.L. Hughley Names the Three Most Hated Black Men in America

In a TMZ interview at LAX, comedian D.L. HUGHLEY said:

“The three most hated Black men in America are Barack Obama, Colin Kaepernick, and O.J.

And two of them never were accused of murder.

They hate Colin Kaepernick right now more than they hate O.J.”

LeBron James Give his Children a Lesson in Racism

In an interview with GQ magazine, Lebron James said he told his kids about the n-Word incident on their home in Brentwood, California. He used it as a teachable moment telling them:

“When y’all go out in public and y’all start driving or y’all start moving around, be respectful to cops, as much as you can.

When you get pulled over, call your mom or dad, put it on speakerphone, and put your phone underneath the seat. But be respectful the whole time.”

 

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Lance Thomas was so hurt by Carmelo’s departure that he wrote a heartfelt letter

Former Knicks player, Carmelo Anthony, will not only be missed by many New York fans, but also at least one teammate, Lance Thomas.

When Carmelo was traded to OKC, Thomas was so hurt by Carmelo’s departure that he wrote a heartfelt letter to The Players Tribune thanking Carmelo.

“I was hurt when he left,” Thomas said. “Not only not having him as a teammate but not having him here as one of my best friends.

Are you surprised that Carmelo’s departure has affected players in this manner?

Hit us up in the comments section under this video on YouTube.

Big moves in the NBA, power centers shifted for NBA 2017-18 Season

In this Quick Bites segment:
Derrick Rose says he’s no longer in a “dark place,” he is happy with the Cavaliers.
Russell Westbrook signed a five-year, $205 million extension with the OKC Thunder and the OKC mayor declared everyday Russell Westbrook Day
• With Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony on the same team, NBA analyst Stephen Jackson said that OKC is the scariest team in the NBA.
Carmelo Anthony is happy being in OKC, he told ESPN, "... From an individual standpoint, I feel born again, feel rebirth, a different type of energy within myself, around the guys, around the organization, around the city. You can feel it."
• And, as we all know by now, Dwyane Wade has joined LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Oklahoma City Thunder players Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook posted by fellow teammate, Paul George on his Instagram account and everyone is happy!

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