March 22, 2018
Ruth J Morrison

Ruth J Morrison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brooklyn’s bench outscored Minnesota 38-18.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brooklyn Nets Defeat Orlando Magic 98-95, on the second night of a back-to-back; Caris LeVert comes up big with 15 hustle points, 8 Assists, five rebounds

Tonight the Brooklyn Nets met up with the Orlando Magic for the third time this season and for their second meeting at the Barclays Center this season. With a team effort, the Nets did not disappoint the hometown fans. Starting the New Year on a good note, the Nets held Orlando to under 100 points and came up victorious 98-95.

What is significant about this win is that it is the second night of a back-to-back, something that this team hasn’t had much success with and tonight’s accomplishment wasn’t lost on Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“It was a good, great way to come back from last night,” Atkinson said. “We played Boston tough and this is a talented team, especially with Aaron Gordon back, so great job by our guys. Great resiliency, we weren’t great offensively but we did it with our defense. I thought we got some real big 50-50 balls and rebounds. Allen Crabbe gets the block at the end of the game, so a lot of guys contributed. Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson), I thought was really good, made some big plays and free throws. A really good team win.”

Crabbe’s block at the end of the game and his career-high total of three blocks for tonight didn’t go unnoticed by the media. When asked about tonight’s block stat, Crabbe told the media, "I'm low key tired of hearing people trying to question my defense.”

Okay, we hear you.

In addition to showing off his defensive chops with three blocks, Crabbe also scored 15 points and eight rebounds.

Brooklyn Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen is blossoming right before our eyes. He led the Nets in scoring tonight with a career-high 16 points. He also added eight rebounds and two blocks.

Caris LeVert scored 15 points, eight assists, and five rebounds for the Nets. LeVert has also registered seven or more assists in each of his last four games, becoming just the second Net since the 1983-84 season to record seven or more assists in four straight games off the bench.

LeVert and Allen are emerging as a dynamic duo. When they are both on the floor, LeVert will find Allen because he knows that unlike a lot of big men, Allen keeps his eye on the ball. To his credit, with just two months of NBA playing time, Allen is being recognized as a “catching and going” type of big man. And, LeVert is not too shabby either as he’s tough to defend with his great on-the-court decision-making.

Regarding his chemistry with LeVert, Allen said, “I don’t know where it came from, but it’s just been there since we started playing together. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

DeMarre Carroll scored a double-double adding 14 points and 10 rebounds, this is Carroll’s fourth double-double of the season, and; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds for the Nets.

Orlando had five players in double digits. Aaron Gordon led all players with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Elfrid Payton added 17 points and seven assists. Bismack Biyombo scored a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds. Also scoring 13 points for Orlando was Evan Fournier, and; Jonathan Simmons chipped in 10 points and five rebounds.

Next up, the Brooklyn Nets meet the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m. According to Atkinson, Nets recent addition from the Philadelphia 76ers, Jahlil Okafor, could make his debut at home for the Nets on Wednesday.

“He’s close. I’d expect to see him against Minnesota,” Atkinson told the media. “I think we’ll start to get him some minutes. He’s been doing a phenomenal job getting ready physically with our assistant coaches learning what we’re doing. Collectively we feel like he’s ready to get some minutes.”

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.

Allen Crabbe finds his rhythm, but Nets lose its third consecutive loss against the Pacers

Prior to any game in any sport, there’s no way to know the outcome. So, you look at the recent history of the teams or athletes about to square off. The Indiana Pacers came into Brooklyn just finishing up a six-game homestand 4-2. Meanwhile, the Nets were coming off a loss to the Toronto Raptors two days prior and finished its last six games (3-3), with only one win at home. So the stats were on the side of the Pacers, and unfortunately for Nets’ fans, tonight’s outcome wasn’t a good one, they fell to the Pacers 109-97. And, it gets uglier, the Nets are now 11-18 for the season and 5-8 at the Barclays Center, while the Pacers improved to 17-13 overall and are 7-7 on the road with the win.

Brooklyn ended the first quarter with the slimmest of leads, one point, at 29-28. By the end of the first half, Indiana was up by 11 points, at 59-48. Suffice it to say the Nets struggled during the second-half allowing the Pacers to pull ahead and stay ahead.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson knows that there is something brewing with his team as evidenced by recent games.

“I just felt like the whole game – well, really the past two games – whatever the ‘it’ is in terms of energy and physicality, it hasn’t been there,” Atkinson told the media in his postgame presser. “Then tonight was another case. I thought they (Indiana) were the more physical team, the more energetic team, credit to them. I thought they took us out of our stuff, pressured us, ran us off our cuts, bumped us off screens, so really heck of a game by the Pacers.”

This eerie common thread breaking through with the Nets over the last few games does appear to be keeping Atkinson up at nights.

“On both sides of the ball, not the requisite sharpness, energy,” Atkinson added. “Somehow in these next two days, we have to find a way to get that back. It is a little disappointing because our guys are high-level competitors and we are just not getting over the hump. Like I said, that ‘it’ – whatever that ‘it’ is – we are missing that physicality, that energy. We got to find it and we have to help them get it back.”

So given the lack of energy on the part of Nets players, why didn’t Jahlil Okafor, a new acquisition from the Philadelphia 76ers, get any action against the Pacers? In Okafor’s first appearance for the Nets, which was a loss to the Raptors, Okafor went 5-of-11 from the field for 10 points.

“I talked to Jahlil,” Atkinson responded. “I had a great conversation with him. I think the plan going forward is a couple things. We need to help him get in better condition that is first off. We need to integrate him more into the system. I think it is going to take some time. I’m not going to give you a date, but it is a strategic plan, just like we have done with all our guys, integrating guys into the team. It is going to take some time.”

Philadelphia dealt Nik Stauskas with Okafor. Atkinson did take a chance on Stauskas tonight, perhaps, because Stauskas scored a team-best 22 points in his debut, making five 3-pointers against the Raptors. However, tonight he was 0-5 on field goals and 0-2 from behind the arc in 15 minutes of play.

Allen Crabbe, who had been struggling as of late, was out front tonight, leading Nets players with 17 points in 29 minutes. Quincy Acy, Joe Harris, and Caris LeVert each scored 14 points, and Tyler Zeller added 13 points. Spencer Dinwiddie, who had been leading the Nets in scoring in recent games, only scored five points but added nine assists with no turnovers.

Indiana shot 44.4 percent from behind the arc and defended the 3-point line holding the Nets 3-point percentage to 36.4. The Pacers also out-dueled the Nets on field goal shooting 56.6 vs. 42.0 percent.

Victor Oladipo helped to put Indiana over the line, leading all scorers with 26 points and seven rebounds. Other Indiana scoring leaders were Myles Turner with 16 points and six rebounds; Corey Joseph had 15 points and six rebounds, and Darren Collision added 14 points and seven assists.

Next up, the Pacers fly home to play the Boston Celtics tomorrow; while the Nets play the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday at home at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson score career-highs, Caris LeVert leads Nets 2nd Unit, but team could not capitalize on Porzingas absence

For this reporter, being at the Barclays Center last night watching the Brooklyn Nets get routed by the New York Knicks was a bit surreal. It wasn’t that the Knicks defeated the Nets 111-104, but the atmosphere didn’t feel like a Nets home game. The home crowd was overrun by Knicks fans. The Nets entertainment team was hard-pressed to get a response from Nets fans to engage in its usual t-shirt toss and other activities. Who turns down a free t-shirt? Even if the Nets isn’t your team, it’s the holidays, give it away to a Nets fan. Next, as I was checking in on Facebook, every business came up as if I was at Madison Square Garden. Seriously, Facebook; I’m in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.

Now back to the Nets game against the Knicks. Although the Nets seemed to be off-kilter, there were flashes of brilliance. Both Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson put in strong performances for the Nets scoring career-highs of 26 and 25 points, and seven rebounds respectively.

“I was just fortunate to hit shots,” Dinwiddie said about his performance against the Knicks on Thursday. “Last game, I couldn’t hit the side of a barn so today they went in and looked like a better game. That’s really it.”

Other Nets scoring leaders were Caris LeVert, who added 15 points, 5 rebounds, and five assists; and DeMarre Carroll chipped in 13 points. Tyler Zeller didn’t cross the double-digit line in points for the Nets, but he led the Nets in rebounds with eight.

The Nets’ bench is rated second in the NBA, but last night, the second unit just couldn’t find its rhythm, only mustering up 27 points. Meanwhile, the Knicks bench put up 45 points.

“I thought their second unit came in and just really took the game over,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media in his postgame presser. “Similar to the first game [against the Knicks], they turned up their pressure, their physicality really. I thought they were the much more physical team.”

Yes, the Knicks were very physical and proud of it.

Even the Nets three-point shooting was off as a result of the Knicks physicality. Brooklyn hit 12 of its 42 three-point shots partly because the Knicks’ physicality forced the Nets to take bad shots. Joe Harris, the Nets G/F, is a three-point specialist and Harris shot 1 for 7. Allen Crabbe, who has had a rough go of it lately, shot just 1 for 8, including 1 for 7 from behind the arc.

New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingas, who proved nearly unguardable, left the game in the second quarter with an injured knee and the Nets could not take advantage of his absence for a “W” mainly because of the Knicks’ physical play.

For the Knicks, Courtney Lee led all scorers with 27 points. Michael Beasley scored 15 points; both Porzingas and Enes Kanter had 13 points with Kanter putting up nine rebounds, and Kyle O’Quinn was the leading rebounder for the Knicks with 10 rebounds.

Up next, the Knicks will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night, which will be Carmelo Anthony’s first visit to Madison Square Garden since leaving the team this season.

The Nets will visit the Toronto Raptors today and it will mark DeMarre Carroll’s first return to Toronto since leaving the Raptors. The Nets’ next home game is Sunday, December 17, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. against the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center.

The Brooklyn Nets back from “home games” in Mexico City send the Wizards home with a loss despite Bradley Beal leading all scorers with 28 points

The Brooklyn Nets (10-15) were back in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night to play the Washington Wizards (14-12) and eked out a 103-98 win. Surprising, not because the Wizards are sixth in the Eastern Conference standings and the Nets are in the 11th spot, but because the Nets just returned from a two-game set of “home games” in Mexico City, where the altitude can wreak havoc on your body.

“I was pleasantly surprised at our energy,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson during a postgame presser. “I thought we had great energy. Definitely worried about the trip and the travel but the guys did a great job. Great job by our performance team. They get these guys ready, they do all the cold tub and massage and they do a fantastic job taking care of these guys. I think that was the key. We had great energy.”

At the half, the Nets had the slimmest of leads, one point, at 52-51. Team black and white went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter, racking up a 14-point lead. It didn’t last long as Washington went on a 14-2 run cutting the difference to one point.

In the final stanza, both teams went back and forth each playing with a one-point lead. And then with 44 seconds left in the game, it was suddenly hold onto the edge of your seats as holy cow Allen Crabbe hit a game-saving 3-pointer to put Brooklyn up 100-98.

Folks were a little nervous because up until Crabbe hit that three, Crabbe had been struggling with his three-point shot.

When asked about making that three at such a crucial point in the game, Crabbe responded, "I think it was just that I don't care attitude. If you miss, you miss."

“I trusted him,” Atkinson told the media. “He’s a 40 percent 3-point shooter, second-best 3-point shooter in the league. I still have confidence in him and great pass by Spencer (Dinwiddie). Spencer had a choice of getting to the rim or Allen (Crabbe) sets a back screen and pops. So he had the choice and Spencer did a really good job finding him and trusting it.”

Next, the Wizard’s Bradley Beal missed a potential game-tying pull-up jumper and Dinwiddie was then fouled, making one of two free throws to increase the lead to 101-98. With seven seconds left, Washington’s Kelly Oubre Jr. was fouled sending Caris LeVert to the line. LeVert made both of his free throws putting the Nets up 103-98 over the Wizards. At the one-second mark, Beal missed a three-pointer which enabled the Nets to pull off a 103-98 win.

All of Brooklyn’s starters scored in double digits. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the Nets’ starters with 16 points and 12 rebounds, DeMarre Carroll had 15 points and 8 rebounds, Crabbe scored 13 points and five rebounds, Tyler Zeller chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds, and Dinwiddie also put up a double-double with 11 points and 12 assists.

The second unit double-digit scorers were LeVert who scored 16 points and 8 assists, and rookie Jarrett Allen who added 11 points.

For Washington, Beal led all scorers with 28 points, Oubre had 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Otto Porter Jr. scored 11 points and five rebounds.

The Wizards will face Memphis on Wednesday, which is the opener of a four-game homestand.

The Nets face the New York Knicks at home at the Barclays Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

VIDEO: Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman also talks about the mindset needed to play defender and corner

What's The 411Sports correspondent Andrew Rosario caught up with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman at Super Bowl Media Day 2014. Of course, Sherman had a lot to talk about. In this video, Sherman gives us his picks for great NFL receivers.

ANDREW ROSARIO: Does it help you at all to have not a dislike, but to have something that you don't like about your opponent to help your game?

RICHARD SHERMAN: I think it does help to have a certain attitude and a certain mindset about your opponent especially to play defender to play corner and to be out there on the island. Kam Chancellor calls it the dark place and he has a really dark place that he goes. I really don't want to go there. Listen there's some fantastic receivers out there Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon, Demaryius (Thomas), Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Dez Bryant. There's a lot of great receivers playing great football out there, 2 great receivers playing in Chicago and Brandon Marshall and those guys do a great job in Green Bay they got receivers. I respect the tremendous amount of receivers because they play the game well and they play the game like they suppose to.

After posting this interview, on YouTube, of Richard Sherman talking about great NFL wide receivers, you can imagine it sparked serious debate.

Do you agree with Richard Sherman? Did Sherman leave off your pick for great wide receivers? Sound off in the comment section under the video on YouTube.

VIDEO: Earl Thomas and none of his Seattle Seahawks teammates have NFL Super Bowl Experience, but player confidence is overflowing

It’s Media Day for NFL Super Bowl XLVIII and everyone is amped up, the media, the players, the coaches, staff, fans, and hanger-ons.

What’s The 411Sports correspondent Andrew Rosario caught up with Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks free safety about his current state of mind, the Seahawks’ lack of NFL Super Bowl experience, and the determining factor for victory. Here’s an abbreviated exchange and you can watch the video for the entire conversation.

“…It really hasn’t hit me yet,” explained Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks. “Everything seems like a blur and I’m enjoying it; maybe after the game, whatever happens, it may hit me.”

“Your team has no players that have Super Bowl experience, have you reached out to players that have played in the game?,” asked Andrew Rosario.

“No, not really,” Thomas responded. “I’m just doing my normal routine that I have been doing all year. And, I’ll never let a game get bigger than what it is…It’s just football at the end of the day for me.”

“What’s going to be the determining factor for you guys to come out on top,” Rosario asked?

“Just us,” said Thomas. “Paying attention to the details, understanding the type of situations we are in…”

VIDEO: Kam Chancellor reveals what he saw the first time he met Russell Wilson and the rest of the unit at training camp OTAs

During media day at NFL Super Bowl XLVIII, Kam Chancellor, strong safety for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League, explained the genesis of the Legion of Boom to What’s The 411Sports correspondent Andrew Rosario.

It became a moniker to describe the brotherhood of the defensive team to stick together, play for each other, and level the boom on their opponents.

“At what point did you realize that you had something special and you knew you could make it to the Super Bowl,” asked Rosario.

“The first time we actually got together as a group and went through training camp OTAs,” Chancellor responded. “That’s the first time I really looked at the unit and looked at every player and was like man, everybody in this group is good. Everybody in this group could be a starter. Everybody prepares like a starter, and it shows when a guy goes down, the next guy steps up and does an amazing job.”

“And when you see Russell Wilson walk on to the field, with his 5’7”, 5’8” frame, are you saying to yourself, is that our quarterback?" Rosario asked.

“No, when I first seen (sic) him, he definitely gave me a different impression,” laughed Chancellor. “I seen (sic) a leader, it was something about him, you see like a leader in him, his poise, he’s always poised, he never looks like he’s pressured or in trouble or duress. You know that’s the one thing I admired about him and he just remains the same way all the time.”

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