February 19, 2020

Brooklyn Nets defeated the Toronto Raptors 101-91, Caris LeVert recorded a team-high 20 points

Last night at the Barclays Center was a momentous occasion. The Brooklyn Nets ended the Toronto Raptors 15-game win streak for this season by defeating the Raptors 101-91. With the win, the Nets are inching their way back to surpass the .500 mark. Currently, the Nets are now 25-28 on the season with their victory last night, while the Raptors fell to 40-15 for the season following this loss against the Nets.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won By The Numbers

Brooklyn outrebounded Toronto 55-42 (+13), including a 12-6 edge on the offensive glass

The Nets clipped the Raptors 27-21 in assists.

The Nets outscored the Raptors 50-38 in points in the paint.

Overall, both teams shooting percentages weren’t anything to write home about. The Nets field goal percentage was 40.9 percent (36-of-88), while the Raptors field goal percentage was 37.8 (34-of-90). The Nets also shot 25.7 percent (9-of-35) from three-point land versus the Raptors’ 30.2 percent (13-of-43), and; in the land of free, Brooklyn made 80 percent (20-of-25) of its free-throws, while Toronto hit 76.9 percent (10-of-13) of its buckets from the stripe.

At the end of the first quarter, Brooklyn had a four-point lead over Toronto, 23-19, which marked the fourth time this season that Brooklyn held its opponent under 20 points in an opening quarter. The Nets led the Raptors 52-40 at halftime. Toronto’s 40 points marked the second-fewest Brooklyn has allowed in a first half this season. The team that Brooklyn held to the lowest points at halftime, which was 35 points, was the New Orleans Pelicans with no Zion Williamson, which was on December 17, 2019, at New Orleans.

Going into the fourth quarter, Brooklyn led Toronto 75-65. In previous meetings against Toronto this season, the Nets trailed through three quarters in each of their three previous meetings by a total of 22 points. This is another testament that on any given night, even the elite NBA teams can be beaten by teams who have not reached elite status.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on the intangibles that helped his team defeat the Toronto Raptors

“I think I said it before the game, our compete level, our intensity level has to be three levels higher than them to have an opportunity to win the game, said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought our physicality, the things we were missing in the last two games against them, I thought we just raised that. We wanted it bad. The execution wasn’t perfect, but our will to win was at a super-high level. That’s why we came out with the W.”

“I think the process has been right,” Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris said to the media about the team’s defensive effort against the Toronto Raptors. “Sometimes you get a little fortunate, teams are off. I thought tonight and especially against Indiana we just did a better job contesting every shot. We did a good job scrambling around. A lot of times defense gets broken down, but it’s about the second effort, closing out still getting contests. You know, we just talked about trying to be the more aggressive and assertive team on both ends. Especially when you play against quality teams. That’s usually what dictates the game, who is able to establish as the aggressor early on.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert recorded a team-high 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and a season-high four steals in 36 minutes against the Toronto Raptors last night. Joe Harris scored 19 points (7-of-12 FG), six rebounds, and two assists in 35 minutes against the Raptors last night; Spencer Dinwiddie posted 17 points, six boards, and a team-high nine assists in 34 minutes; Jarrett Allen hit a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while adding three assists to his points and rebounds total in 20 minutes, and; Garrett Temple also scored in double figures for Brooklyn last night against the Toronto Raptors with 10 points in 25 minutes off the bench.

Toronto Raptors Scoring Leaders

For the Toronto Raptors, Serge Ibaka led all scorers with 28 points, nine rebounds, and two blocked shots in 35 minutes; Fred VanVleet posted 22 points in 39 minutes; Pascal Siakam registered 16 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in 37 minutes, and; Kyle Lowery contributed 12 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes.

Coach Speak: Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse on what’s ahead for the Raptors going into the NBA All-Star Break

“I think when you look at it in totality, sitting where we are right now, I think we’re extremely pleased to get to this point,” Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said about his team’s status. “The good news is I think we’ll (have) Marc Gasol back after the break. Norman Powell is pretty close as well. Obviously, that’s what is most important, is to get our team back as a whole. I think our team really battled well with a couple of key guys missing. I think we’ve had a healthy team for two games this season, so we’ve done a nice job of plugging in and picking up. In the big scheme of things, you look at the overall of where you’re sitting, and we have to be pleased with that.”

Kawhi Leonard, who last season, helped lead the Toronto Raptors to win its first-ever NBA Championship, is now with the Los Angeles Clippers. Although a follow-up question was asked of Coach Nurse about the makeup of his team this year without Kawhi Leonard, reading between the lines, the real question continues to be, can the Raptors represent the Eastern Conference and win a consecutive NBA championship?

“Well, I think that we’re hoping that some of these guys have taken some steps forward,” responded Coach Nurse. Obviously Kawhi (Leonard) is a late-game closer on both ends of the floor. Pascal Siakam has to assume that role. Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol have kind of stepped forward to assume the secondary role to Pascal Siakam. Fred VanVleet continues to get better. Norman Powell, before he got hurt, was getting better. So probably it’ll be a little more by committee on both ends and trying to figure out matchups. Again, our team has played pretty well. We’ve got some growth to do and we need to do for sure if we want to make a run at it again.”

What’s Next for the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets?

Last night was the last game for both teams before the 2020 NBA All-Star break. The NBA All-Star activities end with the 2020 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16, 2020. The Toronto Raptors will host the Phoenix Suns on Friday, February 21, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET, their first game following the NBA All-Star festivities.

Following the NBA All-Star break, the Brooklyn Nets will play two games on the road before they play at home. The Nets will travel to Philadelphia to play the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, February 20, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET, and then on to Charlotte to play the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 7:00 ET. Next, the Brooklyn Nets will travel home to Brooklyn to take on the Orlando Magic on Monday, February 24, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center.

TIP-INS:

Joe Harris, the 2019 NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest champion, and Spencer Dinwiddie, the 2018 NBA All-Star Skills Contest champion, will represent the Brooklyn Nets during State Farm’s All-Star Saturday night this year. The event will be held on February 15, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET at United Center in Chicago, Illinois and will be broadcast on TNT and ESPN Radio.

 

Caris LeVert led all scorers with 23 points; D’Angelo Russell’s return to the Barclays Center celebrated with an in-arena video tribute

Last night at the Barclays Center, thousands of fans were excited to see the Golden State Warriors on the court. Not to get a Stephen Curry sighting, but to see and welcome back, former Brooklyn Nets player, D’Angelo Russell, who helped to lead the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs last season. The Nets organization also gave thanks to former Brooklyn Nets point guard, D’Angelo Russell, via an in-arena video tribute for his contributions to helping lead the team to the NBA Playoffs last season.

So, what was it like for former teammates to play against one of its former leading scorers?

“Honestly, it was a little weird,” said Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert about competing against his former teammate for the first time since Russell was traded to the Golden State Warriors. “I’ve never played against him before. In my first year, I was injured with my foot, and, obviously, the second year he came here. So, it was a little different, but it was good competing against him for sure.”

As one might assume, preparing for D’Angelo Russell was also part of the coaching strategy.

“Yeah, I do think it helps knowing him, definitely, and knowing how good he is”, said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Obviously, we made a concerted effort to limit his touches. He was 5-for-8 from mid-range in the first half, just so everybody understands that the analytics doesn’t always work out. I don’t know what he was from mid-range in the second half, I would be curious to see, but (a) heck of a player – glad we slowed him down a little. But definitely an advantage when you know a guy.”

Other Factors That Helped the Brooklyn Nets

With no Stephen Curry, the Brooklyn Nets were fired up and ready to take advantage of that particular Golden State weakness. Then the mood of the Golden State Warriors team went south when they learned how the Warriors’ were affected by the looming NBA trade deadline. The Warriors’ management held out Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks as trade chips. Consequently, the respected veteran players did not dress for last night’s game, which affected the Warriors’ game plan and psyche.

Coach Speak: Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on his team’s mood after learning about the looming trade deal

“It was a tough night to go out and play,” Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told the media postgame. “Two of our leaders, elder statesmen, guys who are really beloved in the locker room – for the team to find out that those two guys are most likely going to be traded was pretty tough. We all just found out prior to the game. There’s not a really good way to prepare for a game when something like that happens, and I think it showed. Brooklyn played great, and I give them a lot of credit. I thought they were fantastic. We were definitely affected by the circumstances, and we took it on the chin.”

With the 129-88 wire-to-wire victory over the Golden State Warriors last night, the Brooklyn Nets improved to 23-27 on the season, while the Warriors fell to 12-40 with the loss.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won By The Numbers:

So, how did the Brooklyn Nets defeat the Golden State Warriors by the numbers?

The Brooklyn Nets led by as many as 44 points last night, which marked the Nets’ largest lead in any game this season.

The Nets held the Warriors to .128 (5-of-39) from 3-point range last night, which marked the lowest 3-point field goal percentage for a Nets opponent in a game.

The Brooklyn Nets shot 51 percent (51-of-100) from the field versus the Golden State Warriors’ 36.5 percent (35-of-96)

The Nets outscored the Warriors 68-38 (+30) in points in the paint.

The Nets also shot 41.2 percent (14-of-34) from 3-point range against the Warriors’ 12.8 percent (5-of-39).

The Nets bested the Warriors at the stripe, hitting 13 of 15 (86.7 percent) of their free throws compared to the Warriors’ 13 of 18 (72.2 percent).

Brooklyn edged Golden State 65-34 on rebounding and 29-20 in assists.

Brooklyn led Golden State 40-25 at the end of the first quarter, the most Brooklyn has tallied in a first quarter this season; 68-47 at halftime, and going into the fourth quarter, the Nets led the Warriors 95-64.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on his team’s defensive strategy

“Obviously we knew taking D’Lo (D’Angelo Russell), try to bring his percentages down, that was the game plan – first part of the game plan – and limiting Draymond’s (Green) effect on the game with his passing. And mission accomplished. I like how our young guys finished it, you know, finished the game. They showed real progress. All around good defensive effort.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Against the Golden State Warriors last night, Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert led all scorers; LeVert scored 23 points, a season-high eight assists, along with four rebounds in 27 minutes. Joe Harris totaled 17 points and a season-high-tying nine rebounds in 22 minutes; Garrett Temple recorded 16 points (7-of-11 FG) with two rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes off the bench, and; both Taurean Prince and Rodions Kurucs each scored 12 points. In his 20 minutes on the floor, Prince added six rebounds to his scoring total, and Kurucs in his 27 minutes of play off the bench, added five rebounds to his total points. Meanwhile, DeAndre Jordan, also part of the second unit last night, posted 10 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.

“I think everybody was locked in in terms of what the game plan was, knowing the personnel, knowing who we were shifting off of, knowing who we were staying attached to, trying to take away,” said Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris about using last night’s performance as a blueprint for defensive efforts going forward. “I thought we did a good job just contesting everything too, even if we were in rotations or scrambling, it seems like guys were always getting in to contest. They didn’t have a lot of just clean, open looks. But then a little bit of that I think can be attributed to what I just mentioned, the fact that they are kind of going through sort of an unfortunate time.”

Golden State Warriors Scoring Leaders

For the Golden State Warriors, guard D’Angelo Russell had the hot hand. Russell scored 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 33 minutes; guard Jordan Poole, came off the bench and contributed 16 points, four assists, and three steals in 27 minutes; Eric Paschall posted 15 points and five rebounds; and Kevon Looney registered 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists off the bench in 18 minutes.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on upcoming games against elite teams

“Golden State, I thought, played really well the last three games and this game really worried me, so taking care of business was important,” said Coach Atkinson. “Now we look forward to playing two elite teams in the next three games, and it will be a good test to see where we are. But we know we are going to need our physicality and athleticism to play against those two teams. So, good test coming up for us.”

What’s Next for the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Toronto to play the Toronto Raptors this Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Then the Nets will travel to Indiana to play the Indiana Pacers on Monday, February 10, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. ET, and then will travel home to meet up with the Toronto Raptors again on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Golden State Warriors also have a tough road ahead, they return home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. PT.

TIP-INS:

o Caris LeVert has recorded 20+ points in each of his last two games (both starts), doing so in consecutive games for the first time since November 2, 2018, through November 6, 2018 (three straight games). LeVert has averaged 26.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in 29.4 minutes per game in his last two while shooting .450 (18-of-40) from the field and .556 (5-of-9) from 3-point range.

o In his last three games, Joe Harris is averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 26.7 minutes per game while shooting .537 (22-of-41) from the field and .500 (10-of-20) from distance.

o Last night’s win snapped Brooklyn’s eight-game losing streak against Golden State, which had marked the Nets’ longest active losing streak against any opponent. Prior to last night’s victory, the Nets’ last win against the Warriors came on March 2, 2015, at the Barclays Center.

 
 

Caris LeVert hits a career-high-tying 29 points and Suns have no answer

The sun and the moon set on Phoenix last night as the Brooklyn Nets dimmed the lights 119-97. With the win, the Nets improved to 22-27, while the Suns fell to 20-30 on the season with the loss. Additionally, the Nets improved to 5-1 this season in games in which they hold their opponent under 100 points this season.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won by the Numbers:

The Brooklyn Nets shot 48.3 percent (43-of-89) from the field versus the Phoenix Suns’ 43.3 percent (39-of-90) and the Nets outscored the Suns 54-42 (+12) in points in the paint.

The Nets also shot 44.1 percent (15-of-34) from 3-point range against the Suns’ 35.3 percent (6-of-17).

At the free-throw line, the Nets bested the Suns at the stripe, hitting 18 of 21 free throws compared to the Suns’ 13 of 18.

Brooklyn led Phoenix 35-31 at the end of the first quarter, 55-52 at halftime, and going into the fourth quarter, the Nets led the Suns 90-73.

Brooklyn edged Phoenix 44-43 on rebounding and 28-23 in assists.

The Brooklyn Nets’ Leading Scorers

With no Kyrie Irving in the lineup, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson inserted Caris LeVert into the starting lineup who led all scorers with a career-high-tying 29 points with three rebounds, a season-high seven assists, and two steals in 32 minutes. Joe Harris recorded 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 28 minutes against the Suns; Taurean Prince scored 15 points (5-of-10 FG, 3-of-6 3FG, 2-of-2 FT) with six rebounds in 30 minutes; Spencer Dinwiddie posted 14 points, four assists, and three rebounds in 31 minutes, and; Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot came off the bench and scored in double figures for Brooklyn for the sixth time this season posting a season-high 13 points (4-of-7 FG, 3-of-4 3FG) and three rebounds in 25 minutes.

DeAndre Jordan didn’t hit double figures in scoring or rebounds, but he led the Nets in rebounding posting a team-high nine rebounds to go along with his eight points and five assists in 22 minutes off the bench.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on his team’s resilience after losing on Saturday to the Washington Wizards

“Like I’ve said, we have to start getting back some wins we left along the way, so this is a good start,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “It’s an important week for us, so I think the guys felt that. They felt the sense of urgency. I have a lot of respect for Phoenix. I know they’re banged up a little, but they really play good basketball, so it was one of our better wins of the year just on both sides of the ball. I thought we were good defensively and really shared it offensively.”

Coach Atkinson was thrilled about Caris LeVert’s performance against the Suns.

“Great timing,” said Coach Atkinson. “We needed it, especially with Ky (Kyrie Irving) going out. We needed it. He did it on both ends. The Devin Booker defense was excellent and of course, offensively really, really carried us. So great timing there.”

"It's one of those things where there's so many nights in the NBA where guys might go through four, five, six-game stretches where you're not playing your best basketball, but you can always turn it around and get it going for yourself,” Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris said about Caris LeVert’s performance. “And it's not something that's out of the ordinary for Caris. Everything stays consistent with him. Even if he's not making shots, he still does all the intangible stuff. He does all the hustle plays, activity. He stays locked in with the game plan. And tonight, he just made shots. He finished around the rim. He finished on the line. It's great to see that, great to see him get his confidence going. We need him to play that way in order for us to win here without Kyrie (Irving)."

Phoenix Suns’ Leading Scorers

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton led his team with 25 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots; Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 21 points and five rebounds in 39 minutes; Mikal Bridges posted 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists, and Devin Booker chipped in 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Coach Speak: Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams assessing his team's loss

“We just lost a bit of our poise tonight,” said Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams. “It was a three-point game at the half, and we didn’t make shots in the third quarter. I think our shot quality was decent. Brooklyn (Nets) packed the paint and dared us to shoot the ball and we couldn’t make shots. When you miss that many shots in a game it’s going to be tough. We gave up 13 threes when I took the guys out of the game. We had a 21-point third quarter and Brooklyn had 35 points. So, I thought that (the) third quarter did us in. Again, it was a moment like last night in Milwaukee in the third quarter. The competitive edge was there. I thought we let the officials get to us a little bit. Our competitive edge wanted it to be right and fair all of the time and sometimes it’s not that way, so we just have to keep battling.”

Were the 3-pointers the Nets hit defensive breakdowns or just hot shooting?

“We’re in the NBA with great NBA players,” said Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre. “They have a lot of great guards on their team who find ways to get buckets. They got hot at one point in the game and you can’t do anything but go to the next possession and keep playing the right way. They punched first in the second half and they just continued to punch, so, it happens.”

What’s Next for the Phoenix Suns and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Phoenix Suns will travel to Detroit to face the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will remain at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 
 

Kyrie Irving has another breakout night, scores 54 points in 32 minutes

Make that two-in-a-row.

After defeating the Detroit Pistons 125-115 on Wednesday night, the Brooklyn Nets continued its win streak and defeated the Chicago Bulls 133-118. With the win, the Nets improved to 21-26, while the Bulls fell to 19-32 on the season with the loss.

By the Numbers

Brooklyn shot a season-high .625 (50-of-80) from the field. The Nets’ .625 field goal percentage marked the fifth-highest field goal percentage in a game in franchise history and their best field goal percentage in a game since shooting .640 almost three years ago on April 4, 2017, at Philadelphia.

The Nets also shot .484 (15-of-31) from 3-point range against the Pistons, which marked their second-best 3-point field goal percentage in a game this season. Meanwhile, the Bulls shot 15-of-31 from behind the arc.

At the free-throw line, the Bulls bested the Nets with hitting 22 of its 26 free throw attempts, while the Nets were successful at the stripe, 18 of its 25 attempts.

Brooklyn also led Chicago 73-57 at halftime, with Brooklyn’s 73 points marking a season-high for a first-half. Going into the fourth quarter, the Nets led the Bulls 103-96.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on the team’s high field goal percentage tonight

“I thought we got out in transition and got a lot of easy buckets, responded Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “They (Chicago) are the sixth-best defense in the league. They do a phenomenal job, but I think our goal was to get it up the floor before they could get that defense set. They still turned us over 20 times. Obviously, Kyrie (Irving) – vintage performance. I can’t imagine a more efficient game on only 23 shots. Really, really impressive. And then I think Spencer (Dinwiddie) was right behind him, super-efficient. But give Jarrett Allen and DJ (DeAndre Jordan) and our fives screening for them. We did a good job – 31 assists I think—getting it out, moving it. But having those two guys play at a high level like that, that bodes well for us in the future.”

The Brooklyn Nets’ Leading Scorers

In a game where the Chicago Bulls never led, the Brooklyn Nets saw Kyrie Irving take over the game and led the Nets with 54 points, five rebounds, and five assists in 32 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench and scored 20 points and seven assists in 30 minutes; Taurean Prince added 16 points, eight rebounds, and three assists; Jarrett Allen contributed 12 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points.

The Chicago Bulls Leading Scorers

For the Chicago Bulls, Zach LaVine led Chicago’s scorers with 22 points and eight assists in 36 minutes; Luke Kornet tallied 19 points and four rebounds in 28 minutes; Tomas Satoransky added 15 points, eight assists, and four rebounds in 31 minutes; Thaddeus Young contributed 14 points and four assists in 31 minutes; Shaquille Harrison recorded 12 points off the bench, and; Coby White chipped in 11 points in 25 minutes also off the bench.

“I thought we battled,” Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen said about the way his team played against the Brooklyn Nets. “We hung in there. I think we got it within six points, and we were right there. We couldn’t make enough plays there in that moment to take the lead. But I thought we battled. I thought a lot of guys competed. I liked our effort and I liked our focus. I thought we were trying.”

What’s Next for the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Chicago Bulls will head to Toronto to face the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, February 2, at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will travel to Washington, DC to play the Washington Wizards later today, Saturday, February 1, 2020, at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Nets will then travel home to Brooklyn to host the Phoenix Suns on Monday, February 3, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center.

 

Spencer Dinwiddie led all scorers with 28 points in win over the Detroit Pistons; Kyrie Irving played through the grief of Kobe Bryant’s death

On a somber night, the Brooklyn Nets played its first home game since the passing of Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA’s most prolific basketball players of all time. The Nets defeated the Detroit Pistons 125-115 and improved to 20-26 with their win, while the Pistons fell to 17-32 on the season with the loss.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won By The Numbers

• Both Brooklyn and Detroit shot .506 from the field; Brooklyn (43-of-85) and Detroit (42-of-83).
• The Nets led Pistons 70-68 at halftime last evening and led the Detroit Pistons 99-93 through three quarters. The 99 points marked the second-most Brooklyn has tallied through three quarters this season. The last time the Brooklyn Nets scored at least 99 points going into the fourth quarter was 104 points against the New Orleans Pelicans on November 4 against New Orleans.
• Behind the arc, Brooklyn and Detroit shot 38.5 percent. However, the Brooklyn Nets hit 15 of its 39 three-point attempts compared to the Detroit Pistons’ 10 of 26.
• The Nets also overpowered the Pistons at the free-throw line 24-of-30 versus 21-of-28.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on the key to keeping the winning momentum in the second half

“We got some stops,” Coach Kenny Atkinson told the media. “I thought we started the second half with a better defensive mentality. We stopped fouling them, that was key. I thought we put them on the line 17 times in the first half. We corrected that and then we rebounded a little better. I thought Jarrett Allen was big at the rim. Four blocks but I don’t know how many shots he altered. Really, really big. Obviously, Spencer (Dinwiddie) was outstanding, really had that aggressive downhill mentality that we love. Good team effort.”

The Brooklyn Nets’ Leading Scorers

Spencer Dinwiddie, who changed his jersey number from eight (8), a number worn by his childhood idol, Kobe Bryant, when he first entered the NBA, to number 26, led Brooklyn with a game-high 28 points in 29 minutes off the bench, along with three rebounds, and a game-high six assists. Taurean Prince recorded 22 points, seven rebounds, and four steals in 28 minutes; Kyrie Irving totaled 20 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals in 33 minutes; Caris LeVert added 11 points in 22 minutes off the bench; Jarrett Allen contributed 11 points, and; Garrett Temple chipped in 10 points.

Prior to the start of last night’s game against Detroit, the question was would Kyrie Irving play or not. On Sunday, once Irving learned of Kobe Bryant’s death, he was so overwhelmed with grief that he couldn’t play in the Nets’ game against the New York Knicks. But Irving indeed did return to the floor Wednesday evening.

“I’m not the only one that’s hurting,” Irving said. “I don’t wanna make this about me and our relationship because we all shared something really, really strong with him (Kobe Bryant), there’s a bond whether watching him or studying him. We all shared something.”

Did Coach Atkinson have to talk to Kyrie Irving to get him to play?

“I knew he was locked in yesterday at practice,” Atkinson responded. “It surprised the heck out of me. He was so locked in; you’d have to ask him. He was super competitive in practice yesterday. I thought we were going to have one of those days where you’re just going to understandably not going to get much from him. So, his preparation for the game, it was impressive, and he carried it over tonight. I didn’t see any moments of doubt or insecurity, or emotionally – really good with his teammates. My opinion is, I think it’s his haven. This is (a) comfort zone and his place where he feels comfortable. But I’m sure on his drive home tonight, when he is sitting at home alone, I think a lot of those feelings will come back. But this was good for him, playing this game.”

Detroit Pistons Scoring Leaders

Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson scored a team-high 23 points, five assists, and three rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench; Derrick Rose posted 22 points, six rebounds, and five assists in 31 minutes; Christian Wood added 20 points, eight rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes off the bench; Markieff Morris tallied 15 points, four assists, and three rebounds in 32 minutes, also off the bench, and; Andre Drummond chipped in 12 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks.

“They finished the quarter on a 19-5 run, going into the third quarter, and we allowed them to get momentum coming out and we were already down,” remarked Detroit Pistons forward Markieff Morris on what was lacking in Detroit’s game. “We gotta take care of that later in the game.”

Coach Speak: Dwane Casey on how disappointed he was with his starting unit

“I was very disappointed,” said Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey. “….We have to figure out five or six or seven men that are going to come in and compete at a very high level. No matter what your contract says, we have to find it. Again, it was disappointing. Our rookie (Sekou Doumbouya) had seven minutes and was a minus-20. I don’t know how bad you have to play to get that many. We have to get that fire lit under him a little more because he’s lost that zest, that fire. We’ll get it back. He’s a young kid and we’ll get the fire back.”

What’s Next for the Detroit Pistons and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Detroit Pistons will return home to host last season’s NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors, on Friday, January 31, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will also be in action on Friday, January 31, 2020, hosting the Chicago Bulls at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

 

LeBron James scores a triple-double and Jared Dudley gets to celebrate hitting a three-point shot against the Nets, his most recent former team

 The Brooklyn Nets are going in the wrong direction!

The Nets dropped their fifth-straight game last night, falling to the Los Angeles Lakers, 128-113. With the loss, the Nets fell to 18-25 on the season, while the Lakers improved to 36-9 with the victory. Amazingly, the Nets are currently holding down the eighth seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, which would put them in the NBA playoffs, if the playoffs were held today. It may seem like it’s a little early to talk about playoffs, but in a few weeks after the NBA All-Star break, the playoff hunt will begin in earnest.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers by the Numbers:

The Los Angeles Lakers shot 50 percent (47-of-94) of their field goals compared to the Brooklyn Nets’ 44 percent (40-of-91). From behind the arc, it was pretty much more of the same, the Lakers led with 50 percent on 19-of-38 shots made from three-point land, versus the Nets 45.7 percent (21-of-46). Brooklyn did shine over the Lakers when it came to the free-throw line from a percentage perspective, 80 percent to 75 percent, but points do matter and the Lakers pulled in 15-of-20, contrasted to the Nets’ 12-of-15.

During the first half, the Brooklyn Nets kept it close, only trailing by five points, 75-70, and then at the end of the third, Los Angeles ended that quarter up by just 10 points, 104-94. But during the final quarter, the Lakers decided it was “showtime” and put more distance between themselves and the Nets, up by as much as 25 points (121-96) with 5:32 left in regulation. In the time remaining, the Brooklyn Nets could only chisel off 10 points before the buzzer sounded, which left the Nets 15 points in the hole with the final score, 128-113.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on his team’s breakdown in the 2nd half

“I think we did not shoot it well,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said about the Nets not being able to score more points during the second half. “We couldn’t really figure out our transition defense. Even on dead balls, which is very frustrating to me as a coach. They exploited us continuously in transition defense. (The) third game in a row where we really struggled there. So, that was a big one. They shot the heck out of it. I think some of that was us not defending well, and some of that was them shooting the heck out of it.”

“I do think they have to be one of the best, if not the best, passing teams in the league, led by LeBron (James),” Coach Atkinson continued. “Obviously (Rajon) Rondo supports that. They get downhill and I think they started getting into our paint. We throw so much attention at LeBron. He started throwing out to shooters and their spacing was excellent. They went small without JaVale (McGee) in there, so now it’s not two big guys in there in the paint, they have everybody outside. We tried to match up and go small. They did a great job spreading us out, creating space and making shots.”

“You have to stay disciplined,” said Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving regarding the difficulty defending a team that includes LeBron James. “As great as he is going downhill and making plays for others, just have to stay disciplined. I feel like a few times we got caught ball-watching, and he did what a great player should do, and he took advantage of it. Guys were knocking down shots in the first half, and it continued in the second half.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Brooklyn Nets guard, Kyrie Irving, scored a team-high 20 points with three rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 33 minutes against the Lakers last night. Taurean Prince totaled 18 points with four assists, three rebounds, and a game-high three steals in 29 minutes; Caris LeVert recorded 16 points with four boards and three assists in 23 minutes off the bench; Wilson Chandler came off the bench and tallied a season-high 15 points (5-of-7 FG, 4-of-6 3FG, 1-of-1 FT) and three rebounds in 22 minutes, and; Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.

Spencer Dinwiddie did not cross the double-digit mark in points, but he recorded a game-high 13 assists with seven points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes.

Los Angeles Lakers Scoring Leaders

As dominant as Lebron James was on the court last night, it’s surprising when you look at the stat sheet that he only scored 27 points. However, James’ greatness came in the form of a triple-double, adding 12 rebounds and ten assists to his 27 points in 34 minutes. Both Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma each scored 16 points, with Kuzma’s points coming off the bench and Davis adding 11 rebounds to his 16 total points scored. Similarly, both Dwight Howard and Danny Green each scored 14 points and two steals in 23 minutes and 19 minutes respectively. Howard also added 12 rebounds to his stat line during his 23 minutes on the floor. Lastly, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope rounds out the Lakers’ scoring leaders, chipping in 11 points off the bench in 28 minutes.

Coach Speak: Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel on if the Lakers’ defense sparked the second half of the game against the Nets:

“Yeah, I mean that was sort of the halftime message, as a team, to lock in defensively and guard,” said Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “We relied on the positive experience of last night in the Knicks game where we were okay in the first half but really raised our level in the second half. We held them (Knicks) to 34 percent shooting and we did the same thing tonight. Great defensive effort in the second half. Obviously, we shot the ball well, LeBron (James) with a triple-double. Jared Dudley and Rajon Rondo (10 assists) with that second unit gave us a huge lift.”

What’s Next for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Los Angeles Lakers will travel to Philadelphia to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 8:30 p.m. ET.

As for the Brooklyn Nets, they will travel to Detroit to play the Detroit Pistons also on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Nets will then head back to New York City to play the New York Knicks the very next day on Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., at Madison Square Garden. Then, on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, the Nets will host the Detroit Pistons at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, at 7:30 p.m.

 

 

Philadelphia 76ers turned up the defensive heat in the second half and hands the Brooklyn Nets a back-to-back loss

Ouch! The Brooklyn Nets’ 117-111 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers must hurt, particularly since the Nets led through the first three quarters. But in the fourth, the 76ers turned up the defensive heat and took charge led by Ben Simmons and handed the Nets a back-to-back loss. The Nets are now 18-24 (six games under .500), while the 76ers improved to 29-16 on the season with the victory.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on Philadelphia’s changes that affected the second half

“Obviously there are two big keys to this game,” responded Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Give them a lot of credit for the first one, they turned us over a ton – 22 turnovers – and I thought they really hurt us on the glass. I think they ended up having 13 more shots than us, which is not going to work against a really good team. Turnovers and we didn’t rebound the ball like we need to. Credit to them, their length and their athleticism. Ben Simmons had five steals and they were all over the place. We gotta take care of it. We gotta screen better. We gotta pass better. We gotta make better decisions. It’s on us too, but first and foremost, credit goes to them. Heck of a defensive team.”

Atkinson did give praise to his younger players who fought to keep the Nets in the game.

“They swarmed us defensively,” Coach Atkinson continued. “I was really pleased with our bench and with our young guys. Obviously Nic (Claxton) was really good. That whole group was good, so that bodes well for the future. They kept us afloat there in the first half and did a great job.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Spencer Dinwiddie led the Brooklyn Nets with 22 points, five boards, and a team-high seven assists in 35 minutes. Caris LeVert totaled 16 points, six rebounds, and a season-high six assists in 29 minutes off the bench; Nicolas Claxton scored a career-high 15 points (6-of-8 FG) and four rebounds in 17 minutes against Philadelphia, also off the bench, which was just one game after scoring a then-career-high 14 points on Saturday vs. the Milwaukee Bucks; Jarrett Allen recorded his team-high 20th double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds in 31 minutes; Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot came off the bench and tallied a season-high 12 points in 15 minutes while shooting 4-of-4 from the field and 3-of-3 from 3-point range; Taurean Prince posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes and; Joe Harris chipped in 12 points and three rebounds in 33 minutes.

Some wondered if playing tough teams, i.e., Milwaukee and Philadelphia were causing a mental struggle for this Nets team.

“We don’t really have time for a mental struggle,” responded Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. “Obviously, our season has been very up and down with injuries and lineups and all of that different stuff, so we have to continue to come together as a group. Our focus can’t be external, it has to be internal. Obviously, getting healthy of course, but just figuring it out and gaining that chemistry with our own units, our own lineups and then once we kind of have ourselves down, then we can impose our will on the other teams.”

Brooklyn Nets rookie, Nicolas Claxton, had no mental issues at all when his number was called. He made the most of his time when he was called to play.

“It’s big, especially against Philly – they’re a solid team, Milwaukee is a solid team,” Claxton said about playing real minutes in two straight games. “So, me going out there and producing, I think, is just showing everybody and me showing myself, that I can play at the highest level.”

Philadelphia 76ers Scoring Leaders

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons played like he was on a mission; he led all players with 34 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, five steals, and two blocked shots. Al Horford scored 19 points and six rebounds; both Tobias Richardson and Josh Harris each scored 15 points, Richardson added six rebounds to his total points and Harris added four assists, and; Furkan Korkmaz chipped in 10 points and three assists off the bench.

As the Brooklyn Nets led the Philadelphia 76ers through the first three quarters, with only one point separating the Nets from the 76ers at 91-90 going into the final quarter, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown turned up the defensive heat.

Coach Speak: Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown praises Ben Simmons and his team’s defensive effort

“The spirit of the group, the committed sort of team effort to play defense and rally around each other was evident tonight,” Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown told the media. “We sort of played off of Ben Simmons. He, for sure, was the beacon to our defense, but as a group, as a team, we had many contributors tonight. We went with an unlikely group. I had Ben at the five and Mike Scott at the four and had the young guys surround that group. We just rode that longer as they performed. I wanted to see it. It performed well, so we played it longer. Ben Simmons was ridiculously dominant tonight. He played some four. I played him at the five. He had the ball. He was just multi-skilled, used all over the place in multiple positions. Ball handler, screen setter, post target, he was on the five-man defensively. He was just incredible tonight.”

What’s Next for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Philadelphia 76ers will travel to Toronto to face the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will remain home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

TIP-INS:

o Spencer Dinwiddie has now scored 20+ points in a single-season career-high 26 games this season (in 41 games played). He scored 20+ in 18 games all of last season (in 68 games played).

o Jarrett Allen is second in the NBA among players 21 or younger in double-doubles, trailing only Luka Doncic (26).

 

Kyrie Irving held to 17 points, Spencer Dinwiddie gets 11, and Caris LeVert scores just six points; but rookie Nicolas Claxton shows promise with 14 points

Last night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the 18-22 Brooklyn Nets met up with the 37-6 Milwaukee Bucks, a team that is clearly on a mission to represent the NBA Eastern Conference in the 2020 NBA Finals and it wasn’t pretty. The Nets fell to 18-23 with their 117-97 loss to the Bucks last night, while the Bucks improved to 38-6 on the season with the victory.

How the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Brooklyn Nets by the numbers:

In terms of metrics, the Brooklyn Nets shined at the free-throw line. Brooklyn shot a season-high-tying .941 (16-of-17) from the free-throw line, which was previously done against the Phoenix Suns on November 10, 2019, at Phoenix (also 16-of-17 FT). The Nets also edged Milwaukee 18-13 in fast breakpoints.

However, Milwaukee shot .500 (45-of-90 FG) from the field last night compared to Brooklyn’s .333 (33 of 99 FG) from the field. From behind the arc, the Bucks outpaced the Nets 45.9 percent (17-of-37) to 30.6 percent (15-of-49), and of course, the Bucks’ 117 points overall to the Nets’ 97 points sealed the winning deal.

Milwaukee Bucks Leading Scorers

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo registered a game-high 29 points, 12 rebounds, along with four assists in 25 minutes. Khris Middleton added 20 points, four assists, four rebounds, and three steals in 29 minutes; Brook Lopez scored 12 points, seven rebounds, five blocked shots, and four assists in 26 minutes; Wesley Matthews accumulated 11 points and three assists in 27 minutes; Donte DiVincenzo came off the bench and also posted 11 points, with sides of six rebounds and two steals in 26 minutes, and; Kyle Korver chipped in 10 points in 17 minutes off the bench.

Coach Speak: Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer on the Bucks’ defense

“Brooklyn is a team that drives it a ton, like everybody in the league, a lot of pick-and-rolls too,” said Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer. “I thought the discipline in just getting over screens, playing without fouling, making them uncomfortable, making them hopefully get to spots that they don’t want to be in. Brook Lopez is always good in the paint. Giannis (Antetokounmpo) was good in the paint.”

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on what was the most difficult part about playing the Milwaukee Bucks

“I thought our defense was actually decent,” responded Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I’m not saying it was great or outstanding. I thought we fought defensively and offensively, obviously didn’t make shots. They’re the number one rim protection team in the league and I don’t know – I feel like, yes, we attacked the rim, but we also have to figure out how – against a great rim protecting team – maybe just make that extra pass, those extra two passes. I thought they were going against a wall, especially in the first half. I thought the second half we moved it a little better. I thought there were a ton of open threes. We knew we were going to get the threes, it didn’t go down, that makes it look worse. But credit to Milwaukee. I think they are playing as good as anybody I’ve seen in a while in this league. So just have to give them credit, give Bud (Mike Budenholzer) credit. They’re playing great basketball.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 17 points, six rebounds, six assists, and a season-high four steals in 31 minutes. Brooklyn Nets rookie player, Nicolas Claxton, a member of the Nets second unit, scored a career-high 14 points (on a career-high 7-of-12 FG) with a career-high-tying six rebounds, and a career-high-tying three blocks in a career-high 19 minutes; Taurean Prince recorded 13 points in 24 minutes; Spencer Dinwiddie, who had been carrying the Brooklyn Nets in point-scoring during Kyrie Irving’s absence, registered 11 points, three rebounds, and three assists in 27 minutes, and; Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot chipped in 10 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

Nets rookie Nicolas Claxton, who came off the bench against Milwaukee last night, told the media what kind of feedback he is receiving from Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks, and the Brooklyn Nets coaching staff.

“They all have been giving me great feedback,” said Claxton. “In Long Island, I’ve been solid, and that’s what they want, especially from a young guy like me who they’re really trying to develop. So, I’m just doing the best that I can with that.”

What’s Next for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Milwaukee Bucks will return home to Milwaukee to host the Chicago Bulls on Monday, January 20, 2020, at 4:00 p.m. CT.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will host the Philadelphia 76ers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn also on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 20, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. ET.

 

TIP-INS:

Taurean Prince’s second 3-pointer made last night against the Milwaukee Bucks was his 100th of the season, moving him past Joe Harris (99 threes) for the team lead. He now has made 101 threes on the season.

 
 

Kyrie Irving’s 32 points were not enough for the Brooklyn Nets to overtake the Utah Jazz

Kyrie Irving was back in the Brooklyn Nets lineup for his second game after a shoulder injury sidelined the star for 26 games, and from the thumping the Brooklyn Nets took from the Utah Jazz last night, it’s official, Irving is not a savior for this team. The Nets lost to the Jazz 118-107, and thus, fell to 18-21 on the season with the loss, meanwhile the Jazz improved to 28-12 on the season with the victory.

How the Utah Jazz beat the Brooklyn Nets by the numbers:

Brooklyn shot .500 (45-of-90 FG) from the field last night, shooting .500 or better in a game for the fourth time this season and for the first time in a loss. However, Utah also shot .500 on 46-of-92 FG shooting. Utah also went further, it shot 36.1 percent (13-of-36) from behind the arc versus Brooklyn’s 30.8 percent (8-of-26), and it also punished the Nets on the free throw line 86.7 percent versus 60 percent.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on the aspects of the game where the Utah Jazz caused problems for his team

“First of all, just give them credit,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson about the Utah Jazz. “What you saw tonight backs up their stellar play recently. They’ve been the number one offense over 15, 20 games and we could never find a way to stop them. Just that simple. Transition defense, pick-and-roll defense, rebounding, physicality, all of this stuff, I think they just dominated. We’ve been really good defensively for the last couple of months, over a long period of time, and tonight we just weren’t. We never found a solution to stop them. I do want to look big picture and understand that we have been defending well lately. But they were just too strong tonight – made shots, screened us, great job by the Utah Jazz.”

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving pretty much co-signed on Coach Atkinson’s assessment of last night’s game against the Utah Jazz.

“I mean, when you look at them on film—I’ve watched a few of their games and there is a reason why they are 15-1 in their last 16 games, so we have to give them credit, said Kyrie Irving. “They finished off the first quarter, we gave up five points. We were up 26-25 then it was 30-26 to end the last four minutes and then the second quarter, you play against really good teams like that, they go on runs. We were down 13 going into halftime and we were just climbing uphill. And we’ve had a tendency to do that over our fair share of games and we just can’t get into that kind of position moving forward. But that’s a good team in that locker room. They’ve really played well together this season and they’re developing, so you give them credit. But also, we can correct some things on the defensive end. Switches, communication, being there to switch when we call out switches, just little things like that and we just have to keep developing that and we’ll be alright.”

The Brooklyn Nets’ Leading Scorers

Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 32 points, with a season-high 11 assists, five rebounds, and two steals in 32 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie recorded 17 points, five assists, and four rebounds in 36 minutes; Joe Harris added 13 points (5-of-10 FG) in 34 minutes, and; Caris LeVert chipped in 11 points, and three assists in 26 minutes off the bench.

Utah Jazz Leading Scorers

John Ingles scored a team-high 27 points, four assists, and three rebounds for the Utah Jazz in 30 minutes; Donovan Mitchell recorded 25 points and four assists in 36 minutes; Rudy Gobert accumulated 22 points, 18 rebounds, four assists, and two blocked shots in 37 minutes; Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Nets player, registered 18 points in 32 minutes, and; Jordan Clarkson came off the bench to chip in 13 points and three rebounds in 26 minutes.

Coach Speak: Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

“I think we’re getting contributions from a lot of guys,” said Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder on what he saw in last night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. I thought Rudy Gobert was terrific. It was a dominant performance by him on both ends of the floor. Joe Ingles obviously playing with Rudy, even driving and making plays. You kind of go on Donovan Mitchell, especially late when we really needed to score. Brooklyn was scoring, and we had to answer, and Donovan made some big moves to the rim and finished. So, all the way down the line, and everyone is defending. It’s not going to be perfect every possession, but the guys are really committed to defending together.”

At 6:20 in the third quarter, the Utah Jazz led the Brooklyn Nets by as much as 20 points and ended the third quarter up by 14 points at 88-74. In the fourth quarter at 6:48, the Nets got as close as eight points (99-91) on a Kyrie Irving five-foot pull-up jump shot, which pulled Nets fans in closer with the notion that the Nets just might be able to turn things around. However, it wasn’t to be as the Jazz had answers at every turn.

“I thought Brooklyn was playing well,” responded Jazz coach Quin Snyder to a question about the Nets cutting the lead down to eight in the fourth quarter. “They were scoring, whether it was (Spencer) Dinwiddie or Kyrie (Irving). They came up with a couple of loose balls, and I thought we answered offensively when we needed to. Sometimes you’re just against a good team and you’re not going to get every stop. You have to respond, and I think we continued to defend and got some big ones when we needed.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on catching a team like the Utah Jazz, “I would say right now they are far ahead of us; we’ve got a long way to go to catch a team like that.”

What’s Next for the Utah Jazz and the Brooklyn Nets?

 The Utah Jazz will travel to New Orleans with its sights on getting a win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, January 16, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. CT.

The Brooklyn Nets traveled to Philadelphia last night to be ready to play the Philadelphia 76ers tonight, January 15, at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Nets will return to Brooklyn, NY to play the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at the Barclays Center at 6:00 p.m. and you may want to arrive early to cop a Spencer Dinwiddie bobblehead doll.

 

Atlanta Hawks guard, Vince Carter, gets a rousing standing ovation from basketball fans at the Barclays Center during a game against the Nets on Sunday

Make that two-in-a-row.

To no one’s surprise, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Atlanta Hawks at the Barclays Center last evening. What might have surprised most is the score, 108-86. The 22-point victory marked Brooklyn’s largest win margin of the season; topping the 20-point win margin against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 15, 2019. With the win, the Nets improved to 18-20, while the Hawks fell to 8-32 on the season with last night’s loss. With the Nets' most recent losing skid, it could make one forget that this wasn’t the first time this season that Brooklyn held the lead wire-to-wire, with the largest margin being 39 points. The last time this season the Nets’ held the lead from start to finish was on November 22, 2019, against the Sacramento Kings.

How The Brooklyn Nets beat the Atlanta Hawks by the numbers:

Brooklyn led Atlanta 37-16 at the end of the first quarter, its 37 points marked the highest point total for the Nets in a first-quarter this season, while Atlanta’s 16 points marked the fewest points. At halftime, with the score 70-46, the Nets continued its lead, but the Hawks narrowed it to 24 points, and it was the Nets' largest halftime lead of the season. At the end of the third quarter, the Nets led the Hawks 92-66. Brooklyn also outrebounded Atlanta 62-33, with the Nets’ 62 rebounds marking a season-high. The Nets only eclipsed the Hawks by two assists, 25-23.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on the metrics that got away from the Nets

“Free throws, obviously,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I’ll have to talk to our free-throw coach about that – we obviously have to do a better job making free throws. Turnovers bothered me. I will give Atlanta credit – I thought they put their
young guys out there and they were just trying to make every catch hard. We had a tough time getting open. They were denying us and causing a lot of problems – I give them a lot of credit. Listen, when guys deny you and are in your shorts, we have to do a better job of screening, (a) better job of getting open. We did that early and I thought we slipped later.”

One area that didn’t disappoint Coach Atkinson was Kyrie Irving’s return.

“Yeah, he was really efficient,” Coach Atkinson said about Kyrie Irving’s shooting after missing 26 games. “I liked that he didn’t force anything, and he just played like a pro. My fear was being out so long, he’d try to really force things. He was just in a perfect flow – had a nice demeanor and nice rhythm about him. Normally when you come back after a long time, your rhythm is off, you’re going too fast or too slow – you’re not in the right tempo. He was in the right tempo, right place and I thought defensively, (he) competed his tail off. The first group, I think 16 points in the first quarter, really made a mark defensively – I thought our defense was good again. Offense has a long way to go.”

Did Nets' players think that Kyrie Irving’s return gave the team an energetic emotional boost?

“It did,” said Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen. “Seeing anybody come back from that (shoulder injury), just being able play basketball again – you take the Nets out of it, just having a friend being able to come back and play, then that gives everybody an extra boost to play hard.”

“…Having Caris (LeVert) and Kyrie (Irving) back, that brings us to a whole other level,” Allen continued. “We have more ball handlers, we have more people that can score without having an action for them, so it just brings us all together.”

The Brooklyn Nets’ Leading Scorers

Last night, Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 21 points (10-of-11 FG) with four rebounds, four assists, and a steal in 20 minutes. Irving’s .909 field goal percentage marked a career-high and the highest field goal percentage for a Net in a game this season. Taurean Prince recorded 14 points (5-of-8 FG, 4-of-6 3FG) with five boards and two assists in 21 minutes; Caris LeVert totaled 13 points, two rebounds, and a season-high-tying three steals in 22 minutes off the bench; DeAndre Jordan also added 13 points (5-of-7 FG), eight rebounds, and a block in 24 minutes off the bench; Joe Harris tallied 11 points and seven rebounds with a steal in 21 minutes, and; Jarrett Allen chipped in 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in 24 minutes, notching his team-high 18th double-double of the season.

About Kyrie Irving’s performance

“I mean, he is who he is,” Brooklyn Nets forward Taurean Prince, said about Kyrie Irving’s return after missing 26 games. “He’s missing all the games, but he’s not missing any days in the gym. He’s probably there before us, more than half the time, so that just shows you the preparation he puts in for himself. It also shows you that he cares about the organization and the team to be ready and able to put on a performance like this on his game back.”

The Atlanta Hawks’ Leading Scorers

Cam Reddish led the Atlanta Hawks with 20 points and five steals in 29 minutes; DeAndre' Bembry recorded 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in 22 minutes, and; Alex Len chipped in 10 points.

It is worth mentioning that even though Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter, who at age 43-years-old, plans to retire at the end of this season, only scored eight points, three steals, and two rebounds, he received several “call-outs” from the crowd to play and several standing ovations.

“It’s always great to receive a standing ovation coming into or checking out of the game,” said Carter. “It’s always extra special when it’s a team I’ve played for before. To come back here — and some of the other stops I’ve played for — and receive a standing ovation one last time is great.”

Vince Carter played for the Brooklyn Nets from 2004-2009.

Coach Speak: Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce

“Not a lot of fun in that one,” said Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce. Brooklyn was good. They fed off of Kyrie (Irving) being back and had some great momentum in that first quarter. We were stuck in (the) sand. We were stuck in cement, trying to move and just late to everything with everybody.”

What’s Next for the Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Atlanta Hawks will return home to host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

As for the Brooklyn Nets, they will host the Utah Jazz at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, also on Tuesday, January 14, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

TIP-INS:

Caris LeVert has now scored in double figures off the bench in four straight games, which matches the longest streak of appearances in double figures off the bench for a Net this season.

 
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