December 13, 2018

D’Angelo Russell leads Nets with 26 points; but two thrilling overtimes, missed shots, unfavorable calls, and Nets get handed fifth consecutive loss

Wow, wow, wow, what a ride the Brooklyn Nets took its fans on when it played the Memphis Grizzlies last night at the Barclays Center. It took two thrilling overtimes to complete the game, but unfortunately, the Nets came out on the losing end with a score of 135-131. The Nets had their biggest lead of 10 points at 3:52 in the fourth quarter on a Spencer Dinwiddie three-point 25-foot jump shot and then the Grizzlies started to chip away during the waning minutes to end the fourth tied at 111-111.

Then there was the first overtime session, which ended with a score of 117-117 and the second and final session of the game, which led to the 135-131 final score.

“Tough; tough league, tough way to end,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson about how tough of a loss this was for the Nets. “I thought we played a good game and listen – up seven with 33 seconds, the kid makes a heck of a shot, two great shots. I regret we fouled him on that three. Can’t foul him, can’t suck in off the 3-point shooter. We had a guy suck in and then Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) goes to make a contest. You just can’t foul him there and then, hell of a job, he makes a hell of a shot against Jarrett Allen, contested three. That’s on us, but you gotta give them a lot of credit. Give that kid a lot of credit.”

Dinwiddie gave a different perspective of the game as he sees common threads to the Nets’ losses.

“…in a lot of ways it kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Dinwiddie stated. “So, if in the minds for some of the people out there…You know what I mean, like, this one’s going a certain way or whatever, and they have the ability to control that, then it’s going to go that way. (Are) You feeling me? So, there you go.”

In the loss, D’Angelo Russell led Brooklyn with 26 points, eight assists, and three steals; DeMarre Carroll tallied a season-high 21 points and a season-high 12 rebounds in 39 minutes tonight. Ironically, Carroll’s 21 points off the benchmarked the most points he's scored off the bench in a game in his career. Carroll’s previous high was 19 points off the bench with Utah vs. Charlotte on March 1, 2013. Shabazz Napier scored a season-high 18 points, a season-high-tying six rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes. Three Nets players scored 15 points. Jarrett Allen recorded his team-high ninth double-double of the season with 15 points (5-of-5 FG, 5-of-6 FT) and a team-high-tying 12 rebounds in a career-high 39 minutes. He also recorded a season-high-tying five assists. Additionally, Allen shot 100 percent from the field for the third time in his career. In his first start of the season, Dinwiddie also posted 15 points, five assists, and two rebounds in 43 minutes. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, in his seventh game since returning from injury, tallied 15 points with three rebounds in 38 minutes.

Scoring leaders for the Grizzlies were Mike Conley with 37 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds; Jaren Jackson, Jr., registered 36 points and eight rebounds; Marc Gasol scored 15 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and two steals; Garrett Temple tallied 13 points and three steals, and; JaMychal Green chipped in 11 points and four rebounds.

After the work of a two-overtime game, the Grizzlies do have a minute to breathe, as they meet their next opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.

The Nets, on the other hand, only have a few hours to get ready for their next opponent. Next up for the Nets, are the Washington Wizards in DC tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET.

So, will the Nets bounce back?

“We’ve got to bounce back,” Coach Atkinson said. “We’ve got a resilient group. It’s the good thing about having a young group. They’ll bounce back.”

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.

Expectations for the Nets are heightened with the addition of new players chief among them, defensive players, Ed Davis, and Kenneth Faried

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

KEISHA: Welcome back to What's The 411Sports. We're in a New York state of mind with our “New York Sports Report” and we are going to talk about our Brooklyn Nets. It was media day across the NBA and the Brooklyn Nets had their own, and there were a good number of (Nets) players who really think that they have enough pieces to do significantly better this year than last, playoffs even.

While there is some that are a little more cautious and just believing that they'll get more wins without going so far as to say that they would make the playoffs. Mike, are the players right to be cautiously optimistic, or should they be more aggressive in their thinking and their beliefs on how they're going to do this season?

MIKE: No, I think that they're right to be cautious here because yeah, I think the over-under is something like 31 or maybe even thirty-two wins for the Nets for the wins for the upcoming season. They won 27 or 28 games last year. So, and I know that doesn't seem like much improvement, but I think that there's no question in my mind that this team will wind up winning more games than they did last season. They know that people can look at that and say well, you know, it's not much of an improvement. But when your win column is really that depleted and you don't have much it's good to pick up on something.

I think Kenny (Atkinson), he's gotten comfortable here. Now. I saw him in an interview on the Yes Network about a week or two ago. And the guy just seems like he's very upbeat. I like his energy. I think that the big focus for this team, of course, is going to be defense right? Because they know that without a doubt that that's one of the things that really hurt them over the last couple of seasons.

That first quarter, like sometimes the first five, ten minutes of the game they’re in it and then all of a sudden everything just seems to fall apart and then by the end of the first quarter, they're down by 15 points. And, I think that those collapses are something that they're really going to try to look to avoid.

You can't knock this team's heart. I can't tell you how many Net games we've seen over the last several years, a couple of years, and they're in it, right even back when Lionel Hollins was coaching. Yeah, they were not winning many games but there were times where they'd be playing tight games against the Cleveland Cavaliers or even when the Knicks were somewhat competitive and they would keep games close.

You mentioned off air I know you might want to speak about it. But Ed Davis, I think is really someone that people are going to want to keep an eye on this year. This guy's tough-minded, no question about it. And I think the rebounding is something that he's going to lead a big focus on for them.

KEISHA: Yeah and Kenneth Faried, I actually like him too. I think he's going to be a really nice piece for the Brooklyn Nets and I think that you know, I think that aiming for more wins than last year is attainable. So, I'm, just quick, I have decided that for the remaining quarter of this year. I'm going to set goals for myself.

I've never done it really in a formalized, formalized manner and I'm going to do it because that is one of the keys for highly successful people and if it works for them why not try it. So you set smart goals and S.M.A.R.T is an acronym and the "A" stands for attainable, and I think that saying that you're going to win more games than last year is attainable.

So I looked at last year's playoff standings and the Wizards had the eighth spot. They were the last team to make the playoffs and they won 43 games. Last year, the Nets won 28. So that's a differential of 15 games. Now, the Nets had an increase of eight games from the year prior to last year. So in order to kind of ...I guess if they can make the playoff that means they have to make, they have to double. Now, it may not be impossible, but because it's like, all right, you won eight games last year why not win eight more. But you've got a lot of new pieces coming in. So I think it might be a little too aggressive to say that you can win 16 games with new pieces. But I definitely, I definitely see more wins for the team. I say about, I'll say 38.

MIKE: All right, okay.

Kris Humphries' start and season-high scoring for Brooklyn Nets become a footnote with the Boston Marathon Bombing in the backdrop 

With the events still emerging from the bombing in Boston during the marathon, it was hard to think that a basketball game which meant nothing to either team still had to be played. With at least three people dead and many more injured, the NBA moved swiftly in canceling the game Tuesday night between the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers. Security concerns reached as far as the Barclays Center, as lines entering were longer than usual with everyone being frisked and bags were checked. There were more than the usual number of bomb-sniffing dogs both inside and outside of the arena. If the horrible news was not on the forefront of the players and fans, the news that the Brooklyn Nets actually started Kris Humphries would have been.

After the Nets held a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon, with their playoff spot already established and only one more game left in the regular season (Wednesday home against Detroit), Brooklyn took a page out of the San Antonio Spurs book by sitting their five regular starters against a Washington Wizards team with a record of 29-51. The Wizards took advantage right from the start jumping out to a 17-point lead (30-13) after Brooklyn got within six (13-7). Cartier Martin leading the Wizards with nine first period points. Someone forgot to tell the Nets second string to play defense as they allowed Washington to shoot an eye-opening 70% from the floor including 75% from 3-point land.

Brooklyn made a game of it in the second period closing the gap to six points, as both of their units came to life. After not scoring a single point off the bench in the first period, the Nets bench contributed 13 points while the Washington starters scored only 4. Humphries, who has become the forgotten Net, led all scorers with 11 first-half points as Brooklyn closed the halftime deficit to 56-50.

Behind Andray Blatche and Humphries (season high) scoring 20 points each, the Nets came from behind to defeat the Wizards 106-101 as seven Brooklynites scored in double figures. Rarely used rookies Tornike Shengelia finished with career highs in points (11), rebounds (11), and minutes (25:25) along with Tyshawn Taylor chipping in 14.

Given the events of the day and with the United States having to deal with what appeared to be the first terrorist attack since 9/11/01, the results of the basketball game was pretty much inconsequential. Even if Kris Humphries was in the starting line-up.

Deron Williams "hot like fish grease" scores 11 three-pointers propelling Nets over the Wizards

Fans expected a casual match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Washington Wizards Friday night. What they did not expect was the show Deron Williams put on which led his team to a 95-78 victory, and it may be all thanks to his new sneakers.

Williams looked healthy on the court in his new white high-top sneakers, even breaking them in by practicing jump shots before the game.

The sneakers, which made its debut, helped the point guard set a new NBA record with nine 3-pointers in the first half of the game.

"He should wear them [high-top sneakers] all the time," a fan shouted.

The Barclays center went crazy as the point guard started the game going 6 of 6 from 3-point range in the first 4:45. He had a franchise-record seven 3-pointers in the opening 12 minutes and hit his first eight 3s before missing with 5:50 left in the second quarter.

At times, fans were disappointed when he passed the ball or drove to the hoop.

In the first quarter, the Nets managed to outscore the Wizards with a score of 38-14, with Williams owning 23 points.

Williams tied the Wizards with 33 points in the half. The Nets led 59-33 at the break.

"Eight 3-pointers? What he been eating?" a fan shouted from the stands.

A number of players have hit eight 3-pointers in a half, including Kobe Bryant, who shares the record of 12 3s in a game with Donyell Marshall.

Another highlight of the night was Reggie Evans who finished with 11 points and 24 rebounds.

After missing back-to-back free-throws with the crowd chanting "Reggie, Reggie," in the fourth quarter, he regained composure and made his final free-throws of the night. In total, he landed 5 of 16 free-throws for the Nets, earning a standing ovation for his efforts when he exited the game.

When asked about William's performance, Evans said after the game, "He was hot like fish grease."

Williams who has said he's been feeling healthier thanks to the healing of his ankles, was one three-pointer short of the single-game NBA record, finishing the game with 11 3-pointers.

Williams scored a game-high 42 points. The Nets will travel to Atlanta to play the Hawks on Saturday.

Coming off a tough four-point loss to the surprisingly consistent and dangerous Detroit Pistons at the Palace in Auburn Hills on Friday, Dec. 13th, the more erratic Philadelphia 76ers, seemed just the right answer for the Nets to get back on track and continue to build on the momentum of Deron Williams' return to the starting lineup.

Having lost their previous game in a rout 139-105 to the most-improved Portland Trailblazers, the Sixers appeared listless and the Nets took advantage right from the jump ball, getting out to a quick 7-0 start and Deron Williams with great distribution to all starters, racking up 5 assists in the first 12 minutes to give the Nets a ten point (32-22) lead after one. Joe Johnson was leading all scorers with eight points and while you could tell his stroke was looking good and could have a great game, no one saw the third quarter coming.

While Philly was able to maintain its 10-point deficit (58-48) going into the half, mainly through points off turnovers and staying within striking distance, the third quarter would see the Nets blow the game wide open behind Joe Johnson's blazing hot hand.

After not scoring since the first quarter, an under-the-weather Johnson shot an unbelievable 13 for 20 (65%) overall and a mesmerizing 10 of 14 or 71% from beyond the arc totaling 29 points in the third quarter alone and 37 points for the game. By the end of 48 minutes of play, the Nets were up by 27, 100-73.

Not lost in the shooting exhibition, all Brooklyn Nets starters were in double figures with the team shooting 57 Percent. Andray Blatche, who continued to play outstandingly well, came up big with another 20-point game. He was asked, what do you do when Joe's having a big night like tonight.

"Keep feeding Joe, gotta keep feeding him the ball cause it gave us energy, gave the bench energy, it gave the crowd energy and it's probably the most exciting thing we've seen this season," Blatche responded.

You couldn't get Joe to come out for the 4th.

"Nah, he's a little sick and we wanted him for practice tomorrow," Blatche added.
In the locker room, Johnson was asked how he was feeling and what the shooting tonight felt like?

"I feel great and it was important for us to get a win," Johnson said. "It felt great and I was in the right spot a lot of the times at the right time so my teammates were just finding me and you catch the ball with the seams just right and every time it comes out your hand you feel like it's going in."

Deron Williams echoed those sentiments, "you gotta find the hot hand and when he (Johnson) gets cooking like that, you gotta get it to him. He went nuts, he had 29 in the quarter, oh my God! Anytime you get a win, you feel better and hopefully, we can keep it up, we knew this was a big week for us starting tonight against this team and we took care of business like we needed to and we got a tough Wizards team coming in and that's gonna be a totally different game. They went into the Knicks' house and beat them so they're a good team."

Once again, another positive result with Paul Pierce coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

The Nets take on the Wizards on Wednesday and close out the week against the Sixers on Friday in Philly.

What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are also talking about a controversy at OKC Thunder; Kaepernick Update; Derek Jeter stays home, and more!

WHAT’S POPPIN’ PART 1:

The NBA PLAYOFFS are finally here

Q. Let’s talk about what we’ve seen so far and any predictions?

Cowboys cut Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys released Dez Bryant and Bryant took to social media to express his frustrations and love for the Cowboys’ fans. Bryant also expressed his desire to stay in the NFC East.

Q. What are your thoughts on this Dez Bryant situation and do you think he could land in NFC East?

Will Colin Kaepernick get a meeting with the Seattle Seahawks?

The Seattle Seahawks invited NFL free agent quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, in for a workout and upon learning that Kaepernick may not have given up on kneeling for the National Anthem, reportedly Kaepernick’s workout has been postponed.

Q. Let’s dissect this.

QUICK BITES:

Russell Westbrook clinched a triple-double average for the second consecutive season.
• If his team gets past the San Antonio Spurs, Stephen Curry is reportedly targeting a return for the second round of the NBA playoffs.
• Free agent Mark Sanchez has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
• Washington Wizards' veteran guard Jodie Meeks suspended for playoffs for a reported drug policy violation
Sister Jean’s 15 minutes of fame is going into overtime. The Chicago Bulls looked into having Sister Jean rep the Bulls at the NBA Draft!

Quick Question: Adidas wants to sign Colin Kaepernick to an endorsement deal but has held off because the former 49ers quarterback isn’t on an NFL roster.

Q. Do you think this is just talk or could Adidas be sincere?

Poppin’ Part 2

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. The Oklahoma City Thunder suspended play-by-play announcer Brian Davis for one game for his offensive on-air comment about Russell Westbrook. During the second quarter of OKC’s last game of the season, Davis blurted out about Westbrook, Is he out of his cotton-picking mind?

Q. Did the Thunder do the right thing in suspending Davis for one game?

Andre Ingram's NBA Dream Comes True

After toiling 10 years in the NBA G-League, Andre Ingram’s number was called to play for the Los Angeles Lakers’ against the Houston Rockets. It was the second to last game of the season and Ingram scored 19 points and three blocks. Postgame, Lakers head coach Luke Walton, presented Ingram with the game ball.

Q. Should the Los Angeles Lakers keep Ingram on its roster? If not, do you think he might get picked up by another team?

NY SPORTS REPORT

New York Yankees

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. Former New York Yankees shortstop, and now an owner of the Florida Marlins, Derek Jeter, decided to skip the trip to New York City when the Marlins played the Yankees.

Q. Did Derek Jeter make the right decision?

Jeff Hornacek Gets Fired from New York Knicks

As predicted, the New York Knicks fired head coach Jeff Hornacek and assistant coach, Kurt Rambis.

Q. Lots of names are being floated, who do you think has the best chance?

Brooklyn Nets Get the Sale

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has completed the sale of a 49% interest in the Brooklyn Nets to Joe Tsai. Mr. Tsai is executive vice chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group, a global internet company with businesses in e-commerce, cloud computing, and digital entertainment.

OFF TOPIC:

Now, we’re going off-topic. Cleveland Cavaliers PF/center Tristan Thompson was caught cheating on Khloe Kardashian, who gave birth to their first child on April 11th. According to various reports, the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan was enraged — including Kanye West! In fact, Radar Online is reporting that Kanye was prepared to give Thompson a beat down.

VIDEO: Hornacek reflects on the state of the NY Knicks and the opportunity that a road trip could bring for the team before and after the NBA All-Star break

The New York Knicks came across the Bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, looking for a win after losing to Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans 123-118 just 24 hours ago. As a side note, the Brooklyn Nets also go into this game with a recent loss. The Nets lost to the Washington Wizards on Saturday also in overtime, 119-113.

Ahead of the New York Knicks matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, Knicks head coach, Jeff Hornacek, briefed the media on the current state of his team.

“No Tim Hardaway Jr., tonight,” Hornacek said straightaway.

Hardaway, who is just back from an injury, is on a minutes restriction. Last night’s game against the Pelicans went into overtime and Hardaway played more minutes than he should have.

“We’re going to make him inactive today,” Hornacek said responding to a reporter’s question. “No setback or anything like that, the plan was to gradually build him up. Unfortunately, the game went into overtime and we ended up playing him a few extra minutes, so we’re going to hold back today.”

Hornacek also commented on Kristaps Porzingis’ remark to a reporter after the team’s loss to the Pelicans last night. Porzingis is coming to the revelation that he might want to concentrate more on defense and shoot less.

“Well, we still want to use him and I like that attitude,” Hornacek said. “I think that’s all of our guys. When you get the ball and we call a play for you, it’s not necessarily for you to shoot the ball; it’s for you to make a play. So if you have the shot, great, if not, you’ll make a play to kick it out to somebody; that’s what we have to do to do a better job of coming out of these plays and that could help KP more if he could pass it out. He did it a couple of times last night; he made a pass to Enes (Kanter) late in the game for a dunk. That keeps teams a little more honest, so that’s throughout our team, we need a little more of that.”

Technically, today’s game against the Nets is the start of a seven-game road trip for the Knicks. However, coming across the bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn isn’t a typical NBA road trip. Nevertheless, Coach Hornacek is looking forward to playing the Nets today because it’s a chance for the Knicks to start its seven-game road trip on good footing.

“I think we look at these seven games as an opportunity for us to play better on the road. The last five games, we’ve only won two of them, but we were right there. We’re going to play some tough teams, but if we play well, we’ll have a chance to win that’s what I think. It’s an opportunity for these guys to get out on a little roll,” Hornacek said.

Hornacek went on to talk about Knicks center and team leader, Porzingis, as a big guy will need more time for his body to catch up to his role; there may not be too much change to the second-half strategy with Tim Hardaway being out today; understanding that Jahlil Okafor brings an inside game for the Nets, so that will be something that the Knicks will have to keep an eye on, and; the fans do get a little extra amped when the Knicks and Nets play each other.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson leads Nets with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and a career-high-tying six assists in win over Wizards; only two Wizards in double digits

At last…yes, at last, the Brooklyn Nets played a good team in a manner that displays their real talents, and in so doing, defeated the Washington Wizards on Friday night at the Barclays Center 119-84.

According to NBA stats, tonight’s 35-point win marked Brooklyn’s largest victory of the season. It is also the third-most lopsided win in Barclays Center history behind a 37-point victory, 117-80, over Washington on April 10, 2015, and; a 36-point victory, 130-94, over Philadelphia on December 16, 2013.

Yeah, this is the same Brooklyn Nets team that just two days prior allowed the Sacramento Kings on the second night of its back-to-back to come into Barclays Center and deny the Nets a win, defeating Brooklyn 104-99. It begs the question, how did this turnaround happen so quickly and it turns out that the Nets weren’t short on answers.

“We talked about it this morning, about how important this game was for us,” Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris said. “Washington is a great team, especially now with John Wall back. So for us to come out and play the way we did, full four quarters, we are happy about it and we want to build off of it and get one tomorrow in Indiana and go into the holiday on the right note.”

“I don’t think the guys, I don’t think any of us were too comfortable after that Sacramento loss, it hurt,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media. “It was a bad loss. No disrespect to Sacramento, but they were on a back-to-back and I think we all felt frustrated that we didn’t show the right mentality for where we are. It was nice to get back on track a little bit tonight…”

“I thought our mindset from the tipoff was good,” Atkinson added. “I thought that first group really decided to get some stops and brought the energy and brought the defense. Then after that it was kind of everybody got on the train, got on board and a lot of guys played well.”

Currently, the Washington Wizards are an Eastern Conference playoff contender, albeit sitting at the eighth position, while the Nets are still sitting in the 11th spot in the East. So, were the Wizards complacent with no sense of urgency?

“I don’t think so,” Wizards guard John Wall responded, who scored 10 points in just under 17 minutes. “We came out missing easy shots, didn’t take care of the ball. Then when they got out in transition they scored some baskets. They just played with more energy and I think we lost both games because they played with more energy than we played with.”

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, who was a little more direct, summed up the loss this way, “we got our butts kicked, we all did, myself included. Give Brooklyn credit, they played a good basketball game. We couldn’t stay in front of the basketball tonight. We just seemed like a step slow all the way around. We’ve got to play better. We have to show more physicality and we have to show more toughness. We’ve got to show more resolve and we didn’t do that tonight.”

“In order to win in this league, it doesn’t matter who you play, no matter what the record the team has, you still have to go out there and compete in order to win,” Brooks added. “And we didn’t give ourselves a chance to do that tonight.”

Only two Wizards players scored 10 or more points; Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 13 points and Wall added 10 points. The Wizards’ bench added 48 points compared to 53 points from the Nets’ bench.

Six Nets players led the night in double digits. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored his team-leading fifth double-double of the season with 21 points, 11 rebounds, a career-high-tying six assists (which he has achieved twice previously) and one block in just under 24 minutes. Caris LeVert recorded 17 points (7-of-9 FG, 2-of-2 3FG, 1-of-1 FT) with six rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie, DeMarre Carroll, and Nik Stauskas each scored 15 points, and Carroll added six rebounds. Nets rookie Jarrett Allen chipped in 10 points and six rebounds off the bench.

While Tyler Zeller, Allen Crabbe, and Quincy Acy did not score in double digits, their rebounding was critical to the Nets success tonight, scoring nine, eight and seven rebounds respectively.

Brooklyn also out-rebounded the Wizards, as a whole, 60-35.

Joe Harris led the Nets in assists with seven.

Overall, the Nets’ win had a number of redeeming qualities.

“…Now the question is, can we do it again another night, go to Indiana and see if we can compete the same way defensively,” stated Atkinson.

The Nets play the Indiana Pacers on Saturday in Indiana at 7:00 p.m.

Tip in:

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie scored all of his 15 points in the third quarter in eight minutes. Dinwiddie is the second Nets player to accomplish this feat this season. DeMarre Carroll, who scored 15 points and six rebounds tonight is the other Nets Player that scored 15 points in a quarter. Carroll accomplished this feat on November 29, 2017, against the Dallas Mavericks at Dallas, also in the third quarter.

Nets rally in second half, too little, too late as Kings defeat Nets on the second night of their back-to-back on the road

The Brooklyn Nets loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night was a tough pill to swallow. Sacramento came into the Barclays Center with a 10-20 record compared to the Nets’ 11-18 record, not much of a difference, but it should mean something particularly when you’re at home. To add insult to injury, the Kings had just defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 101-95 the night before, so the Kings were playing the second game of a back-to-back when they played the Nets at the Barclays Center. Instead of showing sign of lethargy, Sacramento took the floor and busted the game wide open. Sacramento closed out the first half by 16 points (64-48); just after doing the same thing in the first quarter. The Nets allowed the Kings to score 36 points in the first quarter, ending the first at 36-20.

“Yeah, giving up 36 points in the first quarter,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson remarked about the Nets’ abysmal first half. “They have good players on the other side and you can’t get in a hole like that. It is [a] disappointment in our defense and our defensive mentality to start the game. Obviously, the second half shows we are capable of doing it and capable of getting stops. But we let our guard down in the first quarter, dug a hole, and too deep of a hole.”

Yes, it was too deep of a hole. The Nets tried to claw their way back by scoring and getting stops in the second half, but it wasn’t enough and the Kings walked away with a 104-99 win over the Nets.

Once again, the Nets let a team force them to play their game. Instead of leading out of the gate, the Kings made the Nets play their game.

“I don’t know what you want to call it,” Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie said regarding the Nets slow start. “Lack of focus, lack of attention to detail, lack of effort, I don’t know what you want to call it. Sixty-four points in the first half is inexcusable, regardless of what team you play…”

“I think they had 30-something points in the first quarter,” Nets guard Caris LeVert said. “We can’t start a game off like that.”

Darn straight, not if you want to win! Why make the game harder than it needs to be, particularly with middling teams. What happens when Houston, Boston, and Cleveland come to town? Fortunately, Atkinson is not adverse to looking at changing the starting lineup, which is a good thing.

“I think four losses in a row, we have to look at everything,” Atkinson told the media. “We have to look at the start, what our lineup looks like to start. I definitely think we have to look at it. We have to analyze it and see if there is something to change up. We will look at that in the next day and see what is going on there.”

The one thing of many that is puzzling to the media is Atkinson’s reticence to putting Jahlil Okafor in the lineup. Looking for answers, one reporter did ask with Trevor Booker traded for Okafor and if Okafor is not playing, does this leave the Nets shorthanded?

“No, we are not shorthanded,” Atkinson responded. “We have Quincy (Acy) and Jarrett (Allen) in there as our back up bigs and Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson)and Tyler (Zeller), so we are not playing shorthanded there. I thought Quincy gave us some decent minutes. You know Jarrett is a young guy trying to learn this league, obviously, that is a physical team – did some good things. I thought he had some big blocks in the second half. We got to get our rhythm in general. We have lost it these last four games. It is a little perplexing this game after I thought we had two good days to get ready for this game. I was hoping we had the juice to compete at a higher level. But again, perplexed with the first quarter and the first half in general.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson

Dinwiddie led all Nets players with 16 points. DeMarre Carroll scored 15 points and seven rebounds; both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Joe Harris scored 14 points and Hollis-Jefferson also added 10 rebounds to his total. LeVert and Allen Crabbe each chipped in 13 and 10 points respectively.

Sacramento’s scoring leaders were also rebounding machines. George Hill led all scorers with 22 points and seven rebounds; Zach Randolph scored 21 points and eight rebounds; former Nets player Bojan Bogdanovic added 14 points; Willie Cauley-Stein had 13 points and nine rebounds, and; Kosta Koufos chipped in 12 points and 8 rebounds.

Next up: Sacramento plays the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, December 23rd, and the Nets will play the Washington Wizards for the second time this month at home at the Barclays Center on Friday, December 22, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.

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