December 12, 2018
Ruth J Morrison

Ruth J Morrison

The Nets came within two points of the Golden State Warriors with less than two minutes on the clock, but could not pull through

Oh, the complicated Nets we weave! The Brooklyn Nets that is. It’s Sunday and the Nets faced off against the NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors in their first and only meeting at the Barclays Center this season. The Nets started off strong in the first quarter with x lead changes and ended the first quarter on the heels of the Warriors at 32-29. And, then losing their grip on the Warriors in the second quarter, ending the first-half 63-49. Then came the proverbial third quarter when the Nets dug themselves into a 93-78 hole. Trying to dig themselves out in the fourth stanza, the Nets edged the Warriors 37-27 in tonight’s fourth quarter and came within 2 points, at the 1:55 mark on a driving layup by D’Angelo Russell. But the talent of the Golden State Warriors came shining through and when the horn sounded to signal the end of the game, the Warriors walked off as victors 120-114. Meanwhile, the Nets fell to 2-4 this season and 1-1 at Barclays Center with tonight’s loss, while the Warriors improved to 6-1 overall and 3-1 on the road with the win.

“I felt like we did get stronger as the game went on,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding the Nets’ fourth-quarter rally. “I thought that the guys really made a second push. I thought it was a good effort in the second half. Listen, I don’t think the crowd was pleased with our first half, the coach wasn’t pleased, the players weren’t pleased, so we were – at halftime, it wasn’t pleasant in there because I don’t think we played up to our capabilities. So, just to see us play Nets basketball in the second half that gives us some encouragement going into tomorrow night’s game.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Brooklyn Nets head coach, Kenny Atkinson

“I felt like the effort – the defensive effort – especially on the boards,” Atkinson explained about what changed in the second half. “This team you can’t give multiple shots. I know they didn’t have a ton of offensive rebounds but I thought they had three or four that they just outhustled us and you’re just not going to have a chance – you’re going to be down 20 – against a talented team like that. I thought we did a much better job on the 50-50 balls. Our rebounding – it was just a much better effort and that’s why we’re in the game and had a chance.”

“The Nets battled the whole way,” Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “We had them on the ropes several times. We were up 19 late in the third quarter, Brooklyn hit a big 3-pointer to end the third and two to start the fourth quarter got them right back into the game. That was really the story. We were able to hold them off but they made 20 3-pointers.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Golden State Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr

“…In this league you compete and bring it to give yourself a chance at the end of the game,” D’Angelo Russell said responding to a reporter in the locker room after the game about the effort the Nets showed late in the game. “That’s all we can really ask for. Our competitive nature wasn’t there in the first half, so in the second half we turned it up.”

Russell led the Nets with a season-high 25 points (9-of-14 FG, 5-of-8 3FG, 2-of-3 FT), six rebounds, six assists and one block in 30 minutes tonight vs. the Warriors. Caris LeVert scored 23 points, seven assists, and three rebounds for the Nets. Allen Crabbe contributed 14 points, five rebounds, and two assists 28 minutes off the bench tonight. Spencer Dinwiddie added 12 points (4-of-9 FG, 4-of-7 3FG) in 24 minutes off the bench, while Jarrett Allen chipped in 11 points, four assists, and three rebounds.

Ed Davis led the Nets in rebounding with a total of seven, of which six were defensive rebounds.

For the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry led all scorers with 35 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Kevin Durant tallied 34 points, eight rebounds, and six assists; while Klay Thompson recorded 18 points and five rebounds.

“I don't think we’re ever satisfied,” Kevin Durant said about the Warriors’ performance tonight. “I think we had some good spurts. Obviously, we wanted to play a great game, but we know that we are still learning and getting better. I like how we kind of controlled the game up until the fourth, then they made threes. I think the 3-pointer kept them in the game, kept the crowd in the game as well. Some of them were contested; a couple of them were open. I think the 3-pointer got them back in the game and then we had to play a little bit and execute down the stretch. It was a solid outing for us.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Kevin Durant

Stephen Curry commented on why the team is more focused this year than last year, “Because we went through what we went through last year, and it’s kind of fresh in your memory in terms of how terrible a feeling it was night in night out, nothing clicking, not having any energy, or juice or just making things harder than they should be. We’ve talked about it. We’ve been open about it as a team. We kind of set mini goals to start off the season better. Obviously, you’re not going to blow people out every night. It’s going to be tough. It’s the NBA. There’s talent everywhere. I think looking at the eye test, just how we feel walking up the court, we’re playing with a lot more focus and more discipline and better than we did last year starting off the year. That’s a good kinda vibe to have as you go through the 82.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Stephen Curry

Tomorrow, the Golden State Warriors travel to Chicago to take on the Chicago Bulls.

The next time the Nets will have an opportunity to redeem themselves against the Golden State Warriors will be in Oakland on November 11, 2018. In the meantime, next up for the Brooklyn Nets are the New York Knicks tomorrow at Madison Square Garden and then the Detroit Pistons at the Barclays Center on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

Caris LeVert leads Brooklyn Nets to victory over the New York Knicks with 28 points, six rebounds, and five assists

There’s no party like a Brooklyn Nets party when the Brooklyn Nets party doesn’t stop! Now that’s a take on the saying about an old-school party. In this case, on Friday night, the party was at the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets didn’t stop even against adversity and kept it going until the end. It was a close call, but at the end of the night, the Brooklyn Nets dropped their crosstown rival, the New York Knicks, 107-105, improving their record to 1-1 and 1-0 at home.

Now, this was no walk in the park for the Nets, as they saw a comfortable 12-point lead rapidly diminish to seven in the second quarter ending the first-half 50-57. Overall, the lead changed 13 times and nine times the score was tied. The moral of this story, don’t lose faith when your lead evaporates, keep grinding until the end.

From 5:57 minutes in the third quarter until the end, the Nets found themselves in the hole seven times. Here’s where you can visualize everyone on their feet, at 15.9 seconds left in regulation, Knicks center Eric Kanter hits a free throw to tie the game at 105-105. The Nets call a timeout. The game resumes and Nets guard Caris LeVert hits a driving layup over Knicks forward Lance Thomas, which put the Nets up 107-105 with one-second left in regulation. The Knicks call a timeout and when the play is resumed, Knicks guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. hurls a 31-foot three-point jump shot with .4 seconds left on the clock, the ball bounces off the rim. The Knicks rebound with .1 seconds left. The horn blows before any action could be taken. The Brooklyn Nets eke out a win and Nets fans have a 107-105 home victory to celebrate.

Statistically speaking, to show the significance of the Nets’ start tonight, Brooklyn shot .700 (14-of-20) in tonight’s first quarter, leading the Knicks 33-24. The Nets’ .700 first-quarter field goal percentage was higher than any of their first quarter field goal percentages all of last season and marked Brooklyn's highest field goal percentage in an opening period since April 4, 2017, at Philadelphia (.714).

Additionally, the Nets edged out the Knicks 22-14 in assists.

The Nets also out-rebounded the Knicks 55-36 in tonight’s win led by double-digit rebound performances from center Jarrett Allen, who is a sophomore in the NBA and center Ed Davis. Allen posted 11 rebounds; while Ed Davis, who the Nets acquired from Portland over the summer, is known as an efficient rebounder and is already paying dividends. Davis came off the bench crashing the boards with 10 rebounds and five points in 14 minutes. Since entering the league (2010-11), no player has recorded more rebounds off the bench than Davis (2,949).

The Nets’ improved rebounding did not go unnoticed by Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“Huge, I thought we did a really good job,” Atkinson stated in a way that Nets reporters don’t get to hear too often. “They had that one stretch in the fourth quarter where they grabbed five or six in a row, but besides that, guys were really helping us there. Jarrett Allen had 11 rebounds. That’s what we asked of him. We asked him to improve. I think against Detroit he had 10, so he’s heavy into 10, 11, 12, 13 rebounds to make another step as a defensive player.”

In contrast to the Knicks, the Nets had four starters scoring in double digits and two off the bench. Caris LeVert, whom most believe will have a transcendent season, barring injury, led the Nets with a career-high 28 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

Coach Atkinson could not have been more pleased about LeVert’s performance tonight.

“Heck of a job,” Atkinson stated in a way that reporters covering the Nets don’t get to hear too often. “Heck of a battle on both ends of the floor. I’ll tell you what, I thought he made, especially at the end, made (Tim) Hardaway (Jr.) work for his shots. He was our leader tonight, and he said after the game ‘Coach I owe you one from the Detroit game.’ So, great game, but that was a heck of a finish at the end.”

VIDEO: In His Own Words: Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson

 

As one could imagine, with seconds left on the clock and a win or lose play outcome on the line, LeVert was singularly focused on the victory when he saw Atkinson had drawn up the play for him.

“I just wanted to get the shot that I wanted,” LeVert told the media postgame in the locker room. “I wanted to get the last shot. Unfortunately, I think there was a second left, but I wanted to get the last shot. I wanted to get the shot that I wanted to get.”

LeVert's performance didn't go unnoticed by Knicks head coach David Fizdale.

"He's a good player," Fizdale stated. "He's an explosive athlete. He can really put the ball on the floor. His three-ball has improved tremendously. He's competitor. I know that he and Timmy (Tim Hardaway, Jr.), that old Michigan connection, that gets them going. That kid can play and I think he's going to have a breakout year this year."

VIDEO: In His Own Words: Brooklyn Nets Guard, Caris LeVert

LeVert’s tag-team partner, center Jarret Allen, contributed 15 points and four blocks in addition to his 11 rebounds. Allen’s four blocks tonight followed his four blocks in the season opener in Detroit on Wednesday, making him the first player in franchise history to record four blocks in each of the first two games of a season. He also became the first player since Tim Duncan (2003-04 season) to register a double-double and four blocks in each of the first two games of an NBA season. The last three NBA players to do so prior to Duncan were: Dikembe Mutombo (1999-00), David Robinson (1994-95) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1992-93). Can you say Hall of Fame greatness in the making!

Additionally, for the Nets, D’Angelo Russell scored 15 points and piled on six assists and five boards. Two players scoring 11 points each were Joe Harris and rookie Rodions Kurucs of the secondary unit. Kurucs also added five rebounds, while Harris added four boards. Spencer Dinwiddie, who was rumored to be a trade option for Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler, chipped in 10 points, six assists, and three rebounds off the bench.

Kevin Knox, a rookie that the Knicks selected in the 2018 NBA Draft, whom Knicks Nation is watching like a hawk, showed flashes of brilliance again in his second NBA game. Knox was one of three Knicks players that scored in double digits, scoring 17 points and six rebounds off the bench. The other two Knicks scoring leaders were starters Enes Kanter, as expected, with 29 points and 10 rebounds, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. also with 29 points. It’s important to note that Hardaway Jr. had no assists.

And, if you’re keeping Nets vs. Knicks overall scoring records, the Knicks only have four wins over the Nets at 98-94.

Nets fans revel in this victory because your team will be on the road tomorrow for Game Three of this NBA season and the first of its 14 back-to-back games for the 2018-19 Season. The Nets will take on the Indiana Pacers, a team that many prognosticators believe, based on last season’s performance, will be an NBA Eastern Conference playoff contender.

See you at the Barclays Center on Sunday, October 28, 2018, at 5:00 p.m., the next time the Nets play at home when they take on the NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.

VIDEO: Brooklyn Nets rookie player, Rodions Kurucs, gives the media his feeling about getting his first opportunity to play in an NBA game.

In this video, Brooklyn Nets rookie, Rodions Kurucs from Latvia, spoke to the media about his performance for the first time as an NBA player.

It was the Brooklyn Nets first preseason game of the 2018-19 NBA season and Kurucs was fearless scoring 13 points in 12 minutes in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter against the NY Knicks.

Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Nets lost 107-102.

VIDEO: Coach Kenny Atkinson summarizes his thoughts about the Nets performance during their first preseason game playing the New York Knicks

REPORTER 1: Obviously, you guys put a lot of emphasis in getting shooting out on the floor. But when you see those, when you see those numbers what jumps out at you? Is it shooting or, is it something else?

COACH ATKINSON: I think it's, yes it’s the shooting Brian, that we missed a lot of open shots. But still, I thought we took some contested shots especially the contested ones off the dribble. You know the contested threes off the dribble is a tough shot. I felt like we took too many of those. But I do think our offense has a long way to go. We struggled to execute. You know give, give the Knicks credit that they pressured, put pressure on our guards, did a good job of getting into the ball and we struggled, struggled executing.

REPORTER 2: You know that (Enes) Kanter had his way with you on the inside again deep you 22 points 20 rebounds. What do you think the problem was there? It's the undersized or just poor defense?

COACH ATKINSON: First of all, he’s a very good player and he's a load. So when we play in the first game of the regular season, we’re going to need to do a better job. I thought he caught the ball too easily in the post, so a guy like that so good with the ball post, you better keep it from him or push him off the blocks. He caught it too deep. You know that we let him get to the middle too much I thought. And then, in offensive rebounding, we just we can't box him out with one guy, you know. We need two guys. We need three guys and I’m going to say this all year, we need five guys, five guys coming back to rebound. So that's kind of his strength, but we have to do a much better job. You're correct on that.

REPORTER 2: Caris (LeVert) kind of showed us I think what you might have been seeing in all this preseason and training camp. How would you evaluate his performance?

COACH ATKINSON: I thought he was up and down, you know, I thought he did some good things and obviously he gets to the rim well. I thought some of those contested threes were on his plate. He needs to clean up his shot selection a little. I would say it was up and down, some good things mixed in and like I said, shot selection was one, one of the things that concerned me a little bit.

REPORTER 1: With Caris(LeVert) specifically, is one of those things defense on (Allonzo) Trier who obviously had a heck of a night? And I guess, you know somewhat to a lesser extent, you know, you talked about how if you had everybody healthy you would be able to go big and be able to use a lot of different lineups and take a look at a lot of different things. Did the fact you had so many forwards that were out they kind of prevent you from experimenting you can see how those people are?

COACH ATKINSON: Yeah, and yeah, I think, I think we were obviously we had a few guys out and so that too. You know the first game Brian, we’re really, you know focused on understanding the minutes where guys gotta play, so it’s tough to mix and match a little bit at that first preseason game because you know guys were on a set number of minutes and that’s, that's on me. So didn’t maybe have a chance playing Ed (Davis) and Jarrett (Allen) together like I said we might. But yes, I thought Allonzo Trier he drove the heck out of the ball and especially in the first half, we couldn’t keep him in front of us and that was, that was collectively, everybody got beat by him and credit to him he was very aggressive driving the ball.

REPORTER 3: Kenny, Rodi (Rodions Kurucs) had some good numbers and good moments in the fourth, what did you see there?

COACH ATKINSON: Yeah, I was very pleased with Rodi, I loved was his energy. I think he, he's a talented guy and he’s got nice length. I like how he drove it. You know, he showed some good things defensively. Listen, I think at training camp, he's been, talk about Caris and the other guys, but I thought he's been a little bit of a surprise, you know. He's a multi-position player. I think his speed is better than I thought. I was, I was really pleased with how well he played, love his energy he came out with.

REPORTER 3: Did you kind of go into it thinking you really want to give an opportunity to look at?

ATKINSON: Yeah, no doubt. We had him right up there. We want to see these guys play right off the bat. And then secondly, he's earned it. He earned it in training camp. You know every time he stepped on the floor when we scrimmaged, or in our breakdowns, he's been, he's been, he's been impressive and confirmed tonight that he's a talented, talented player.

REPORTER 2: And, you talked about him (Rodions Kurucs) the other day, as a stretch five. Even though it was garbage time and it was scrubs against scrubs.
Did you like the instincts he showed, as far as, being in the right place you know kind of showing a basketball IQ, showing passing ability, good hands?

ATKINSON: Yes, I loved, though, I liked all that. I think he showed good instincts passing the ball. And again, maybe the thing I liked about him, he doesn't have any fear that keeps, you know, he's going to, he's barreling in there and he's hitting guys.

And you know, I just like how aggressive he was, that his overall energy, it was like just a real bright spot, really. I thought it really helped that third unit, you know play pretty well.

 

 

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Expectations are higher this season for the Brooklyn Nets than the New York Knicks, but neither will make the NBA playoffs this season

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Outlook for Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks for NBA Season 2018-19

KEISHA: Welcome back to What's The 411Sports! We’re in a New York state of mind with our New York Sports Report. Now, Mike, the NBA regular season is upon us. So why don't we just take a quick look at the preseason for both the Nets and the Knicks and give our impressions.

MIKE: Sure. I think the Knicks are certain. We'll start with the Knicks, they have their work cut out for them. Right? Because (Kristaps) Porzingis is not going to be healthy and that's really going to hurt them and I think one of the things that Knicks fans…you're going to start to see as they get 15 to 20 games into the season and they're going to struggle. Then, we are going to hear the word tank, absolutely; you're going to hear it a lot because that's what the Knick fans are going to be leaning towards. I think from what the Knicks have put together, this group, and this roster, it's not necessarily…it's something you know team that's going to be able to compete for the playoffs and it was a tough year that they had last season as well. You got a first-year head coach. You know, you have a couple pieces that you can work with. But, I think, for the most part, it's going to be a difficult, difficult season for the New York Knicks. You're going to see regression not progression and I really do believe that.

MIKE: Now as far as the Brooklyn Nets, I think that there will be some progress. I'm not sure how much, but I think that this is a team that, remember two to three years ago, was at the bottom of the barrel in the NBA, worst team in the NBA. And, then you get no reward by being the worst team because they weren't even getting draft picks. I think what they've been able to do with Sean Marks, okay and Kenny Atkinson. I think that they've put a good culture in place for this team. I think that they will compete. Making the playoffs is going to be very difficult. We've discussed this several times over the course of the last month or so how you know what the expectations will be for the Brooklyn Nets. But I think this is a team that despite these dismal records that they put out the last couple of seasons, there have been some games that they've competed in and I don't mean just against like some of the other poor teams in the NBA even against some of the good teams. So I think that the expectations for the Nets should be a little bit more optimistic than it is across the river for the Knicks.

KEISHA: Well, we're going to see a lot from the Knicks in terms of this is going to be Coach David Fizdale’s inaugural season as the New York Knicks head coach. And, we're going to see how well he handles the bright lights of the big city because they're going to shine bright. And, the New York City media is harsh, they can be harsh. So I mean it's going to be a rebuilding, it's going to be…they already know that they have a lot of young talent and they're really going to build their team through the draft and so they're going to see these young people develop and grow. And, it's up to them to nurture that growth and we're going to see what is going to become of Kevin Knox. You remember, he was booed mercilessly during the draft, a la Kristaps Porzingis and we saw what how Kristaps handled it and what he was able to do during his rookie season. So maybe you know, maybe history will repeat itself and Kevin Knox can be the shining, the shiny star on the New York Knicks.

KEISHA: And then, also with the Brooklyn Nets, you know, you hit it on the head. This is a team that's rebuilding and they’re getting better. Each season’s going to be incremental. We're not going to really talk playoffs because I just don't think that's realistic. But, they're definitely in position to win more games this coming season than last. They have a lot of depth on the team, a lot of ball handlers, a lot of shooters. And, Kenny Atkinson is really harping on defense. And, it is believed that D'Angelo Russell will have a breakout season, like this will be the year for him.

MIKE: Brooklyn hopes so.

What will be the aftermath following the Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor fight?

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS: POPPIN – PART 1

• The Jimmy Butler saga continues. At last count, the Miami Heat and the L.A Clippers were vying for Jimmy Butler’s services. What’s complicating Butler’s trade is that Gorgui Dieng must be part of the deal.

Q. Will the Minnesota Timberwolves deal Jimmy Butler before the start of the NBA season?

Kyrie Irving is the man! First, Jimmy Butler, now it’s Anthony Davis that says he wants to play with Kyrie Irving in Boston. According to league sources, Davis will probably end up with the Celtics or the Los Angeles Lakers.

Q. Let’s dream a bit, can you imagine a Boston team with Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Anthony Davis? If not Boston, where would you rather see Anthony Davis?

• Billed as one of the most significant fights in UFC history. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor had their very anticipated showdown and Khabib won.

Q. What was not expected was the fight’s aftermath. Should the fight organizers have been more prepared for a potential melee?

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS: QUICK BITES

LeBron James was considering joining the Toronto Raptors before he finalized his move to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, it seems both sides were interested in reaching an agreement.

• The family of NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau has settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL. Seau died from suicide at the age of 43; his death followed a long battle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head.

Drew Brees passes Peyton Manning as NFL's all-time passing leader: New Orleans Saint quarterback Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning's record of 71,940 career passing yards with a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith in the second quarter of a game against Washington. New Orleans defeated Washington 43-19, ouch!!!

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS: POPPIN – PART 2

• Former Louisville men’s basketball head coach, Rick Pitino, has been promoting his new book, entitled Pitino: My Story. He says he never wants to coach basketball again.

Q. Do you believe Pitino?

• Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul has taken offense to the criticisms of fellow teammate, Carmelo Anthony, calling the criticism of Melo disrespectful.

Q. Do you think Chris Paul is right that the media may have gone too far with their assessment of Carmelo Anthony?

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

What’s The 411’s Photo of the Week is a photo of Saquon Barkley making a touchdown during the New York Giants game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium.

NY SPORTS REPORT

• We have a preseason look at the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.

• New York Yankees Update: The Yankees made it into the ALDS and will play the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 tonight.

• Discord has visited upon the NY Giants.

Q. Are the New York Giants on the brink of falling apart?

WHAT'S THE 411SPORTS OFF TOPIC:

Summer vacation is officially over, and Khloe Kardashian was headed back to Cleveland to be with baby True’s father, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and decided to stay in Los Angeles.

Nets rookie Rodions Kurucs playing in his first NBA game showed true grit scoring 13 points in 12 minutes, all in the fourth quarter

Granted it's a preseason game, in a new season, but the Brooklyn Nets still look like the team of last season. The first competitive game for the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018-19 NBA season was held at the Barclays Center tonight against its East River rival, the New York Knicks. The one thing that was different from the very start was that a Brooklyn Brigade fan group showed up in full force and cheered the Nets from start to finish shutting down any Knicks’ fans in the audience. Believe me, this is a first. At one Knicks game last season, when I checked in on Facebook, the app thought I was at Madison Square Garden and would not allow me to put in the Barclays Center.

Tonight the Nets got off to a good start, which isn’t unusual, leading by as much as 15 points with 1:04 left in the first quarter. But in the closing minute of the first quarter, New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina put up a three-pointer at the 50-second mark. Nets guard Joe Harris missed a 3-point jumper with 35 seconds left, and Knicks guard Allonzo Trier added another three points at the buzzer, ending the first quarter with a score of Nets 26 and the Knicks 17.

During the second stanza, with just under eight minutes left to play in the half, the Nets had a 15-point lead (38-23). However, the New York Knicks found cracks in the armor and little by little chipped away to end the first-half 50-46. The reverse of fortunes continued into the third, when the Knicks went up 10, ending the third quarter with a score of 81-71. The Nets tried to claw their way back in the fourth quarter and came within one point (99-98) at the 2:26 mark, however, turnovers and defensive pressure on the part of the Knicks at the end of the day is what contributed to the Nets demise in Preseason Game 1, ending with a hurtful 107-102.

“I thought that we missed a lot of open ones,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media during his postgame interview. “But still I thought that we took some contested ones, especially the contested ones off the dribble. You know the contested threes off the dribble – it’s a tough shot, I felt like too many of those. But, I do think our offense has a long way to go. We struggled to execute, give the Knicks credit. I thought they pressured our guards and did a good job of getting into the ball and we struggled executing.”

“There were a lot of positives,” an assessment that Nets guard D’Angelo Russell gave the media in his locker room postgame presser. “I think we came out and competed, played hard. We focused on what coach was expecting of us. Things we can work on as well. But it’s something that we can watch film, build on it.”

In adversity, there is generally a silver lining somewhere, and Net rookie Rodions Kurucs was it. During the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, Kurucs got his first opportunity to play in an NBA game and he was pushing for a real comeback. Kurucs scored 13 points in 12 minutes.

Russell was not surprised by Kurucs’ deliverables.

Asked what he sees in practice from Kurucs that translated into tonight’s game, and Russell responded, “Same thing, same thing. He’s active, he’s athletic, he plays hard, he knows his role. He knows what he’s capable of. He never steps outside the box. He’s the guy that plays hard and brings that energy.”

“It was really emotional for me because I didn’t play last year,” Kurucs said about getting his chance to play for the first time ever in the NBA. “It was a really good moment for me. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed every minute.”

Kurucs was drafted by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018 NBA Draft in the second round (40th overall).

“I think I bring energy on defense,” Kurucs continued. “I’m just working on all the stuff, what coach told me. I’ll help my team out. I’ll do all my best. I’ll give my all.”

And, from tonight’s performance, he’s definitely one to watch this season.

The Nets had six players to score in double digits. Caris LeVert led the Nets with 15 points and four steals. Both Spencer Dinwiddie and Kurucs scored 13 points. Dinwiddie added six assists, while Kurucs added four rebounds and four steals. Russell and Treveon Graham each tallied 11 points. Russell added three rebounds and three assists, while, Graham secured eight rebounds and three assists. Joe Harris chipped in 10 points and three rebounds.

For the Knicks, Allonzo Trier led all scorers with 25 points and four rebounds; his teammate, Enes Kanter contributed 22 points and 20 rebounds.

Next up, for the Knicks, are the New Orleans Pelicans at home at Madison Square Garden on Friday, October 5, 2018.

The Nets travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Monday, October 8, 2018. The Nets first regular season game at home will be against the New York Knicks on Friday, October 19, 2018. 

In His Own Words: Rodions Kurucs:

LeBron James makes his teammates better;…but…They don't want to have that scrutiny

KEISHA: Welcome back to What's The 411Sports? I'm going to start off this segment by just asking a simple question. Why don't people want to play with LeBron James?

Mike.

MIKE: Well, I think there's a few reasons. I mean, you know. One reason is that LeBron James has made the NBA finals every season since 2011 and I feel like when you're on a team where it's NBA finals or bust, it almost takes some of the fun out of playing, right, because you have this high-pressure mentality. So there's no question that the, you know, the pressure is always on when you're playing with LeBron James.

The other thing is that LeBron James has never been one to shy away from throwing his teammates and coaches under the bus, right? He's had a history of doing this throughout his whole career and the evidence is it's proven. But I think that it's easy to say people don't necessarily like playing with LeBron James, but what about like you go ask a guy like Mike Miller who really resurrected his career by playing with the Miami Heat where they won those two championships. I guarantee you that if you were to ask him. Did you enjoy playing with LeBron James? Of course, the big thing with LeBron James is he makes his teammates better? I think that's the number one reason why he's the top player in the NBA, is because the other four guys that are on the court with him automatically become better players because LeBron can hit them when they're open. LeBron plays such good defense that he's going to find the open man when he makes a steal. He's very good on the fast break despite the fact that he's getting up there in years.

But I think also, you know LeBron has never one to shy away from controversy. So there's always some drama that surrounds him. But I think it's easy to jump on him and say people don't like LeBron people don't want to necessarily play with LeBron but that isn't the case.

Remember how excited the Cleveland Cavs were specifically Kevin Love when he found out that he was going to be teaming up with LeBron James and I know that kind of played out a little bit differently. They did wind up winning a championship together, but I think it's a mixed bag. I think that there are some players that would not want to play with LeBron.

They don't want to have that scrutiny, but then I think that there are guys that would definitely salivate at the idea of teaming up with one of the greatest players of all time.

KEISHA: LeBron is such a presence. I mean, he just, just because of who he is. He's just otherworldly talented and he is a superstar and uber superstar. If you just want to put it even higher and in a League that is driven by stars, what he wants he's going to get, people are going to cater to him. Even Magic Johnson and company at the Lakers they're going to make sure that LeBron James is happy. When they were courting him, Magic Johnson showed up I mean, at least I think an hour earlier, or so before he was going to meet LeBron James because he knew it was that important that he didn't miss that opportunity to meet with him and talk to him and convince him to join the Lakers.

Now. I think that if you are a star and a superstar in your own right, it becomes difficult to play with LeBron because it's not going to be your team. And, you know, there's ego involved. There's machismo, like I'm just as good as you, in theory. Why can't I get this? Why can't this be my team? Why am I automatically pushed aside? So I think that's why you have people like Kyrie Irving and maybe Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, stars and superstars in their own right who don't want to be part of the LeBron James Show.

MIKE: Right.

KEISHA: Because they're going to be the supporting cast. When I was reading some articles the one thing that somebody said was that in order to play with LeBron James you have to specialize in something. You have to suppress some parts of your game to fit in with him and what that does for you long-term, who knows, you know, if you don't use it, you lose it I guess.

Mark Cuban gets to keep his NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, despite rampant team sexual harassment findings; Cuban donates $10 million

MIKE: The NBA decided not to ban Mark Cuban despite multiple sexual harassment charges that have arisen within the Mavericks organization. Keisha, did the NBA do the right thing here?

KEISHA: Well, there were two factors that Adam Silver the commissioner of the NBA pointed to as to why he chose this punishment for Mark Cuban. One, it was determined that Cuban wasn't involved directly in the harassment and two, Cuban was very transparent during the investigation process. And then after the report was issued or maybe while the report was being compiled that Cuban and the Mavericks instituted sweeping changes rather quickly to prevent this from happening again. But you know, I was really surprised and I found the punishment to be a little lenient especially given the extent of the allegations and the duration of this institutionalized behavior. And, I find it hard to believe that over the course of two decades that Mark Cuban didn't know anything, not even a whisper.

I just don't know how it could be this rampant. We're not talking about one or two cases where maybe it was kind of easy maybe to push it under the rug or there wouldn't be a chatter. But you know, you're talking about 15 women and maybe even more that had issues and you know, Mark, I'm sorry Adam Silver mentioned, Cuban's absenteeism which I found a little interesting because if my memory serves me correctly Mark Cuban was thought of to be one of the most hands-on owners in the NBA.

So I don't know how you can be hands-on but then not know that this is happening to you and you know in the era of this "me too" movement, I just thought that you know, we've seen actors and executives lose their jobs based on allegations alone, and then moving it to back to sports, you have the NCAA coaches have lost their jobs over the actions of their players and I'm not saying that Mark Cuban deserved to be banned or lost his team. But to me, writing a check for a billionaire is nothing. Ten million dollars to him it's not a lot. I mean it's gonna go to worthy causes and that they could use the money but I just don't feel as though the punishment fits the crime and just you know to sum it up, there's really not any amount of money that will ever equate to what these women experienced.

I mean, I've experienced it firsthand myself and there's not, it's not, it's one of the worst feelings that you can have as a woman and probably as a human being to be the target of sexual harassment and you know, I just hope that in addition to the fines that you know, Adam Silver did speak to I think the Board of Governors or he did send out a memo and in that memo he used language urging not mandating but strongly recommending that other teams look at their houses and make sure that they have their ducks in a row and that they have safeguards against.

MIKE: It's just a $10 million dollar slap on the wrist is the way that I see it. I think there certainly could have been a harsher penalty. Now, I'm not saying that they should have made Mark Cuban necessarily give up ownership of the team or I'm not sure what type of suspension or whether you can take away draft picks in a situation like this, but for him to go out and getting up granted he's giving this money to some good causes and it is 10 million dollars, but at the same time, I think that there could have definitely been a harsher penalty again. I don't know specifically what but I think that he certainly not only from our, but the Mavericks got off easy here. I think what's interesting with Mark Cuban is, remember, this is now someone who's become sort of this Golden Boy owner, right? Here's a guy that bought this team. He's the tech guy that became a multi-millionaire became a billionaire was able to buy the Dallas Mavericks.

And ironically if you look back, back in the early mid-thousands, mid-2000s, he was always in the doghouse with the NBA front office and he sort of changed that whole dynamic in the way that his relationship is with the owners and with other owners, and of course with the commissioner as well. I'm not saying that that's what necessarily contributed to this sort of easy slap on the wrist that he got but there's no question that some changes could have been made. And the final thing that I'll say is, you know Sports Illustrated came out with this article talking about these allegations, but think back in February of this year in the report that they have.

I think that some of this stuff that's been going on has even happened since that February article that was released in Sports Illustrated. So I think there's certainly some changes that the Mavericks definitely need to make and of course, Mark Cuban certainly made some mistakes here, but I think he's definitely got off a little bit easy.

KEISHA: Yeah. I mean, I definitely. I think and hope that he's learned his lesson because if something like this happens again, I think even the smallest of infraction or even hint of harassment could open another Pandora's Box for him and he won't get off easily. And, there's no way he could and I don't think Adam Commissioner, Adam Commissioner, I mean Commissioner Adam Silver wouldn't allow it.

MIKE: Right.

KEISHA: Adam Silver wouldn't be able to take that public hit on his image.

MIKE: Absolutely.

Odell Beckham, Jr., a game changer, didn’t get enough looks in the Game 2 loss

KEISHA: So we're going to move from the hard courts of the NBA and we're going to go to the Gridiron of the NFL and we are going to talk about one of our favorite teams and one of our favorite players at least mine, and that's Odell Beckham Jr.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., told Kimberly A. Martin of Yahoo Sports that he feels like he can help out much more in the passing game to steer the Giants in the right direction.

Mike, do you think that Odell Beckham is being utilized enough or is it the team's 1 - 2 to start that is causing Beckham to search for answers?

MIKE: Well, the first game he was certainly utilized enough in the game against Jacksonville, no question about it against the toughest defense in the NFL, right now, that certainly he played a very good game and I thought that they gave him enough opportunities throughout that game. And then, of course, Game 2, I didn't think that they gave him, they looked at him enough in that loss where they lost that second game of the season. But, I felt like in Week 3, the offense was really clicking on all cylinders. And, I think a lot of that had to do with the offensive line. If the offensive line is playing well, there's no question that Eli Manning is going to get more and more opportunities to get Odell Beckham, Jr. the ball. The guy is a game changer. There's no question about that and they need him, you know, they certainly need him but Keisha what I'll finish with is it's going to be a tricky road for the next month of the Giants, you know, they face the New Orleans Saints and then they go and they have to play the Carolina Panthers they back that up on a short week against the Philadelphia Eagles and then play the Atlanta Falcons. Now, these are four teams that wound up making the playoffs last season, 3 out of the last four years, I think three of those four teams with the exception of New Orleans has won the NFC.

KEISHA: I think the Saints were out last year right there.

MIKE: Yeah, exactly. They lost to Minnesota (Vikings). I think in that crazy last-second miracle game. But I think for the Giants this is going to be a tough road ahead and it's going to be a tough test for Pat Shurmur and Odell Beckham, but I think that the biggest question mark they have is the offensive line at that offensive line, which really started to come around and that win against Houston if it's starting to play a lot better than Odell Beckham certainly will be happy.

KEISHA: Yeah, definitely. I agree with you. I think that his, Odell's frustrations or his sentiment was based on that Dallas (Cowboys) game Week 2 where he only had four receptions in 51 yards. And I think you know the Giants offense has struggled scoring for the past couple of seasons. I mean the last time they scored 30 points in the game was January 3rd, 2016.

That's a lot of football to happen and you can't score 30 points when you have an Odell Beckham Jr., when you have a Sterling Shepherd. At one point, they had Brandon Marshall, but he was gone within like the first couple of games of the season but when you have an Evan Engram when there's talent that you know, it's one of the best receiving corps in an NFL in if you can't score 30 points, there's an issue. The offensive line really rebounded and played well on the third game against the Houston Texans and there was a shift in the line where Ereck Flowers was sidelined. He was benched and that was a sigh of relief and probably jubilation for most of us who just really are shaking our heads as to why Ereck Flowers has been allowed to start this long. But, the offensive line is key. And you know, I think Odell was probably, maybe if you read between the lines he was talking to Eli because Eli has overthrown him or short-thrown him or haven't seen him wide open.

So it's going to be imperative for Eli to be able to notice and fairly quickly because even with the better play from the offensive line, he's not going to have tons of time to just sit and scan for like 30 seconds, 10 seconds or whatever. So, you know Eli's got to make sure that he sees the field see it quickly and get and delivers the ball to him. And with Odell, it doesn't have to be a pinpoint precise pass just throw it somewhere in his area, he's gonna get it with those big hands he's got. And, then also, you know, it's going to be up to the offensive coordinator Mike Shula to make sure that he is running an offense that's going to get Odell involved. I mean and it doesn't necessarily I don't think you have to force feed it to him. I think because you have Sterling Shepard and you have Evan Engram who presents enough of a threat that you can pass the ball, so you're not forced feeding and showing your hand all the time.

So, you know, if the game against the Houston Texans was any indication that how the season's going to go, Odell is going to be happy, Giants' fans are going to be happy. We're gonna win some games, maybe make a push for the playoffs and all will be right in New York City.

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

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.