Recap: Nets 87, Pistons 83 - Brooklyn Claims Third Straight Home Victory

It was an ugly game at the Barclays Center Sunday night when the Brooklyn Nets hosted the Detroit Pistons, as both teams shot an abysmal sub-40 percent from the field in the first three quarters. Despite the early struggles the Nets were able to inch out an 87-83 victory, the team’s third straight at home.

Brooklyn’s high-percentage free throw shooting was the difference in the ugly game on both sides. The consistent free throw shooting came in clutch when in the fourth quarter the Nets’ final four points came on free throws that sealed the victory.

The YES Network broadcast dubbed the game the battle of the ‘old school’ centers prior to the game and it was anything but that in the first half. Defensively the ‘old school’ battle was present, as Drummond shot 33 percent in the first half while Lopez connected on an abysmal 19 percent of his attempts.

Though he struggled to score on Drummond for the most part Lopez would fill up the stat sheet elsewhere to drive his team to victory. The Nets’ big man had one of the best defensive game of his career with season highs of six assists and four steals. Drummond shot just 18 percent from the line which ended up being the difference in the game. His inconsistent free throw shooting continues to haunt his team whenever they lose close games.

Coach Lionel Hollins is seeming to get Lopez to pass more this season, just as he did with Marc Gasol in Memphis. He had a season-high five assists on the game and has compiled his highest assist per game average since the 09’-10’ campaign.

Thaddeus Young led Brooklyn on the offensive side of the ball, shooting 75 percent on 19 points and 10 rebounds, to collect his seventh double-double of the season. To put that into perspective, he had five double-doubles over the entirety of last season.

Predictably Detroit focused on working the ball through Drummond as they had all season, but he was held to 33 percent shooting with seven points in the first half after being well defended by Lopez. His work on the glass was top notch per usual, collecting 18 boards - including 10 offensive rebounds - which allowed him to be more productive offensively with many second-chance looks. He finished the game with 20 points and 17 rebounds, and was the main culprit for the Nets allowing a season-high 19 offensive rebounds.

Reggie Jackson shot 20 percent from the field on 20 attempts and could be blamed for a bulk of the reason as to why his team lost where he had taken some really awful shot attempts and open shots just weren’t falling either. Its games like this where the Pistons miss Brandon Jennings.

On the night of his 28th birthday Wayne Ellington played his best game in a Nets uniform, scoring a season-high 12 points off the bench, seven of which came in the fourth quarter. Because of Ellington’s hot start in the fourth Hollins continued to play him throughout most of the quarter, causing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to take a seat on the bench for most of the fourth quarter.

Thanks to Ellington’s performance and an offensively resurgent Brook Lopez in a big fourth quarter, the Nets were able to just squeak by and save them the embarrassment of what was a terrible first half. Reggie Jackson’s poor shot selection also played a large part in allowing this Brooklyn team to get by with the win.

The Brooklyn Nets improve to 4-13 in the overall standings and 3-3 at home.


Recap: Nets 88, Cavaliers 90 – Lebron Burns Brooklyn

It would have been a tall order for the Brooklyn Nets to go into Cleveland and be the first team to beat the Cavs at home this season. Yet with less than a minute left in the game, that result was still a possibility. That was until Lebron James had a chance to win the game in the closing moments.

The final play was set up by a clutch set of free throws from Joe Johnson, who hit three clutch shots in a row from the charity stripe after being fouled on a 3-point attempt with 15.2 seconds left. Cleveland proceeded to run a pick-and-roll for James at the top of the key. James found his way into the paint and floated the game winner over the outstretched arms of Brook Lopez. The Nets led with 1:23 left in the game, but couldn’t hold on against James’ 10 points in the fourth.

It would have been Brooklyn’s second road victory of the season, and one that seemed possible after the team’s strong first quarter. The Nets jumped out to a 19-10 lead with the starters finding easy shots in the rhythm of the offense. The quick start was mostly due to the Cavaliers shooting just 30 percent from the field in the first quarter. Lopez scored 10 quick points to help the Nets grab the early lead and he finished as the team’s leading scorer with 22 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

The Nets held onto a 50-44 lead at the half, but the third quarter saw the Cavs retake the lead. Brooklyn’s frontcourt struggled to guard the 3-point line, leading to Kevin Love shooting 6-of-11 from beyond the arc on his way to 26 points.

Brooklyn held the largest lead of the second half when Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 4:54 left in the game to make the score 83-76. After that basket, the Nets were outscored 14-5 to close the game out.


  • Brook Lopez continued his strong play this season by scoring 26 points. The performance put him over the 20 points per game mark this season. He’s also averaging 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
  • Jarrett Jack picked up a whopping 14 assists despite shooting 3-of-13 from the field. We’ve been known to give Jack a hard time here at Brooklyn’s Finest, but his passing was impressive against Cleveland.
  • I’m here to confirm that Thomas Robinson did indeed play on Saturday night, but I understand if you didn’t notice. His only contribution was a single rebound in six minutes of action and that wasn’t enough to get him more playing time in the hard-fought second half.
  • Thaddeus Young picked up his sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds.


Recap: Nets 99, Thunder 110 - Durant’s Late Surge Downs Nets

On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Nets looked to win their fourth straight at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. This was Kevin Durant’s second game back after a hamstring injury sidelined him for six games. Anyone could tell the extra dimension Durant gave his team when he was on the floor tonight.

The first half was pretty even. Brooklyn led by 1 after the first quarter, but trailed by 4 at halftime. Brooklyn attempted 13 more shots than Oklahoma City at halftime, but converted one fewer shot. Much of this can be attributed to how clumsy the Thunder came out. Oklahoma had 10 giveaways by the second quarter, while Brooklyn only had 5 turnovers.

Useful Andrea Bargnani showed up tonight, and gave Brooklyn a nice 8-minute stretch in the 2nd quarter, where he scored 11 points. He finished 6-12 shooting with 13 points in a healthy 16 minutes. This could probably be pointed directly with Enes Kanter being in the game. Kanter is well regarded as one of the worse defensive big men in our league today.

Surprisingly, Brooklyn held tough through most of the second half. After starting the 3rd quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 3-point lead, the Nets were outscored 27-17 to finish the 3rd quarter. Brooklyn had 7 turnovers in the 3rd quarter alone, and Oklahoma City were quick to capitalize on these mistakes.

The 4th quarter was very similar to the 3rd. The Nets started the quarter going on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 85 with 8:09 remaining. From this point on, the Thunder kicked it into the turbo gear. Aided with Durant and Dion Waiters treys, the Thunder took on a 11-0 run of their own and the game was essentially over from there.

A large chunk of last season and the few games that Durant missed this year had Russell Westbrook literally trying to will his team to victories. With Durant back in the fold, it’s scary to see how easy it is for the Thunder to kick it to another gear. Check out this sequence here with Durant taking over.

“We played with a sense of urgency. They tied the game up and we didn’t want it to come down to the last minute,” Durant said after the game. “We did a good job of staying focused and staying with it. I just stayed patient with it and I was able to knock some down.”

Durant finished with 30 points, 11-for-18 shooting, 5-for-8 threes, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks. Had Durant been inactive this game, it was probably going down the wire. Once Durant got hot in the fourth, it was essentially over.


Food for Thought

  • The Hyphen, as Ian Eagle referred to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, double-doubled with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Just a few short years ago, Hollis-Jefferson was attending Kevin Durant’s camp as a participant, and now he was tasked of guarding Durant. Even though Durant burned him, it’s still a good learning experience as Rondae goes through his rookie campaign.
  • Brook Lopez finished with his usual boring 26 points, 11-of-23 shooting, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. He’s going to put up these kinds of numbers all season, as he’s the only go-to scorer for Brooklyn’s thin roster.
  • Shane Larkin got 25 minutes off the bench and delivered with 10 points, 4-of-7 shooting, 2-of-2 from downtown, and 6 assists. He’s been on and off all season, and this isn’t likely to change given his diminutive stature and limitations to adjust.
  • Joe Johnson was brutal tonight with 5 points on 2-of-11 shooting with 6 turnovers. Age is catching up to Joe, and as the second highest paid player, he’s definitely in the ‘keep getting them checks’ point of his career.
  • Russell Westbrook was his typical 27 points, 10-of-17 shooting, 13 assists, 6 rebounds, and 5 steals. He was carving up Brooklyn’s interior defense all night and kicking them out to open perimeter shooters all night.
  • As usual, the Nets were outscored by 21 points from the perimeter. Brooklyn finished 3-of-13 while Oklahoma City went 10-of-24.
  • The Nets head home for Thanksgiving, and then make the quick trip out to Cleveland to play LeBron James and the Cavaliers at 7:30 EST.


Recap: Nets 111, Celtics 101 - Nets Return the Favor, Down the Celtics by Double-Digits

Jarrett Jack further cemented his role as the Brooklyn Nets’ go-to option in late-game situations with his 13-point fourth quarter performance to seal the victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

Despite the Celtics putting up 120 points on the Nets earlier in the week Brooklyn showed resilience in returning the favor with a 111-101 victory over Boston on Sunday evening at the Barclays Center.

The Nets found themselves in the familiar role of defending their fourth quarter lead. They have previously failed to hold down the fort against the Warriors and Kings earlier in the season leading to losses. Much of this is due to defenses zeroing in on Lopez late in games and Joe Johnson clearly lacks the consistency and speed he once possessed. Jack is undoubtedly that go-to option late in games in the 2015-16 season.

Jack finished the game with 22 points, fueled by his big fourth quarter when he fearlessly attacked Boston’s weak interior defense. Brooklyn’s offense was paced by Brook Lopez who led the team with 23 points in addition to 10 rebounds to collect his seventh double-double on the year. As a team they shot an uncharacteristically good 50 percent from the field.

Brooklyn began the game with a great defensive first quarter anchored by the energetic rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who continues to excel after moving into the starting lineup. The 19-year-old was seemingly everywhere on the court as he notched four steals and a ferocious block on David Lee at the rim, helping to hold Boston to just 19 points in the opening quarter.

Hollis-Jefferson finished the game with nine points, seven rebounds, four assists, five steals and one block. That’s what energy is, folks. Using the rookie as an anchor the Nets’ defense was able to hold the Celtics’ offense to 42 percent shooting.

In recent memory the second quarter has been a weak point for this Nets team. They broke the trend Sunday with a 35-point effort in the quarter to give Brooklyn a season-high 17-point lead at halftime.

Despite being without guard Marcus Smart the Celtics had heavy production out of the guard positions. Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas each had 27 points, combining for more than half of the team’s total points. Bradley connected on a career-high seven three-point shots, often due to the Nets routinely leaving him open from deep.

Sunday’s victory over the Celtics improves the Nets’ record to (3-11). Each win has come against teams that made last year’s playoffs.



The Morning Tip-Off: ‘The Nets Responded’

Every weekday morning, Brooklyn’s Finest will scour the interwebs for the best (and worst) of Nets coverage from the previous day (and night).

1. ESPN’s resident Celtics expert, Chris Forsberg, and their resident Nets expert, Mike Mazzeo had a quick back and forth on Friday about the state of each of the franchises in the post-Pierce/Garnett trade era:

Forsberg:Mazz, it’s funny because Celtics fans were a bit torn on the trade at the time. It was just weeks after Doc Rivers bolted for Hollywood and it was clear it was time to embrace rebuilding. But some were worried Pierce and KG would turn Brooklyn into a championship contender and diminish the return on the picks. We all know that things couldn’t have gone worse in Brooklyn, and now Boston fans are maybe more excited about the 2016 unprotected pick than a team that’s already wiggled its way back to the playoffs. How are Nets fans handling the team’s sluggish start while knowing their pick is bound for Boston?

Mazzeo: As you might expect, not well. But who could blame them? The future looks pretty bleak. Change is obviously necessary, but there are no quick fixes. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King, who is in the final year of his contract, have deservingly drawn the majority of criticism from fans. A 2-10 start to this season certainly hasn’t helped matters, as attendance has dwindled (two recent crowds were a Barclays Center-low 12,000-plus). And fans are already dreading the upcoming draft lottery — assuming their team can’t turn its season around.

As with many of Danny Ainge’s moves, Celtics fans find themselves scratching their heads a bit in the immediate, before (most of the time) warming up to the outcomes. This is an extreme case obviously.

On the Nets side, there is this sense of impending doom around what might happen if the Nets truly are as bad as they began the season and end up ‘winning’ the lottery. But as Zach Lowe repeatedly points out, that pick is gone, no matter if it ends up being #1, #5, or #10. The Nets should not allow concern about the perception of them giving the #1 pick to a division rival that just happens to be a playoff team to impact their decision making now. It’s time to let it go.

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Three Lessons: Brooklyn Nets Get A “Dirty South” Win

Well, Brooklyn Nets fans, the Nets maybe bad and their future could be worse, but one thing that the Nets will be able to do as long as Brook Lopez is in a Nets uniform is beat the Atlanta Hawks. The Nets pulled off their second win of the season upsetting the Hawks 90-88 behind the “future” of the franchise, Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez. Two things happened in this game that is becoming a trend that needs to be looked at going forward this season.

  1. The Brooklyn Nets will at least be competitive. They might not win a lot of games but they will test some teams.
  2. Lionel Hollins’s future will come down to the execution in the final minutes of these games which have come under fire lately.

Brook Lopez finished the night with 24 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Thaddeus Young had the support that the Brooklyn Nets had in mind when they signed him to that $50 million dollar contract this offseason with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and a whopping five steals, with the last one sealing the game for the Nets in the end. Shane Larkin is starting to figure things out, folks. He scored 14 points as he was the only one besides Wayne Ellington to score off the bench.

Al Horford led the Hawks with 18 points and Paul Millsap had 17 in the loss.

Here’s what I learned from this game…

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Brooklyn Nets Play “Jersey Shore” Ball In Boston

Sometimes when you cover a team, you don’t actually a recap… you just rant. The Brooklyn Nets getting beat down in “Beantown” is definitely one of those games. The Boston Celtics, who stole Brooklyn’s future half decade away in draft picks, got the Nets’ dignity too, winning 120-95 on Friday night. Let’s be clear, folks, the Brooklyn Nets have hit rock bottom. How bad are things in Brooklyn? I think the NBA has forgotten that the Philadelphia 76ers are on a 24-game losing streak. Rumors of Lionel Hollins being replaced by Randy Ayers that were floating are probably circling the dead carcass that is this team at the moment. The game was a complete portrait of how the Boston Celtics embarrassed this franchise on the floor and in the executive offices. For a complete recap please check out Paul Mitchell’s piece on the game.

As bad as this game was, I’m nominating him for employee of the month. Please support his piece. Man does he deserve it.

This team reminded everyone of what the Nets used to be… IN NEW JERSEY. Man, Derrick Coleman is rolling over in his grave right now!

The Brooklyn Nets should have come out the gate with something to prove. They had played well as of late and beaten a couple of good teams in the Houston Rockets and the Atlanta Hawks. I mean, the Nets came the closest to beating the undefeated Golden State Warriors. It looked like the Nets were turning the corner.

It was dead end street in Boston. The game, the team, and the future.

This season wouldn’t be so daunting if the Nets had a draft pick to sell to fans to be patient. Someone like LSU’s Ben Simmons, perhaps?

This topic is so huge, is breaking down the trade.

I’ll bet Danny Ainge won’t have that problem reminiscing. Shoot, the Boston Celtics fans REMINDED the Nets of that fact.

Let me paint the picture for everyone…the game is over like when the ball was tossed in the air to start the game and you hear this…

“Brooklyn draft picks!” “Brooklyn draft picks”

Nets fans, it’s time to face facts. It’s time for Lionel Hollins to go. He needs to be fired ASAP. Billy King needs to join him. The Brooklyn Nets basically quit after the first quarter.

No team in the NBA should allow a team to shoot an absurd 86% from the field like the Celtics did in the second quarter. The Boston Celtics scored 43 points in the second frame, which outscored the Nets by one for the entire half. The Celtics had 23 assists which helped them in the paint, scoring 38 by halftime. The Nets never hit double figures until the second half.

Jae Crowder dominated the Nets to the tune of 17 of his 19 points in the first half. David Lee had 11 points on 5/5 shooting. Avery Bradley finished with 21 points and Isaiah Thomas finished with 18 points.

Brook Lopez scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds while being harassed with double teams the entire night. Thaddeus Young had a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. It marked his fourth double double of the season. Rondae Hollis Jefferson also had a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds but he turned the ball over five times.

Okay, the question that has to be asked is why does Lionel Hollins continue to play Jarrett Jack when he is playing poorly? Jack had six almost comical turnovers in the first half (seven overall) and shot 3/8 for the game. Now Shane Larkin, the backup point guard, was one of only two Nets (Brook Lopez being the other) who shot over 50 percent from the field. Now both point guards got lit up in this game, but the body language of the two were vastly different. Shane Larkin gave the effort to close out on the shooters. Jarrett Jack gave just about as much effort as hard boiling an egg in a microwave. It’s one thing to get beat, but Jack quit. It will be very interesting if you see “Deron Williams lite” coming from Jarrett Jack. Is there issues in the locker room? We’ll see.

There was a Sergey Karasev sighting! You know the Russian player? Google him. Well, he got to actually play in this game. It happens one day after his father tells a Russian paper that Karasev wants to be traded out of Brooklyn. Well, Sergey, you only have to wait about six months and it really won’t matter, because they are going to let you go anyway.

The more disturbing issue that Karasev’s father told the paper is that the team is in total disarray. In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet. Sergey denied the claims (Sure, Sergey) and insisted he’s cool in Brooklyn. But Lionel Hollins watching Jarrett Jack stink up the entire city of Boston before allowing Karasev 24 minutes of playing time doesn’t show functionality. Doesn’t it remind you of a little league team, when the father screams at the coach and his son gets to play all of a sudden?

Maybe the Nets will show up on Sunday. If not, the Lionel Hollins watch will definitely be on.


Three Lessons: Brooklyn Nets Take A Dive At The Hive

Well there went the Nets’ chance for winning two games in a row. The Brooklyn Nets, fresh off upsetting the Atlanta Hawks, took yet another step backwards losing to the Charlotte Hornets 116-111. The good news is that the Nets scored more points in this game than in any other this season. The bad news is that the Nets gave up more points in this game than in any other this season.

Thaddeus Young went off in this game, scoring 27 points while grabbing eleven rebounds. Brook Lopez dropped 23 points in 35 minutes of play and Jarrett Jack continued his efficient play almost messing around and getting a triple-double with 16 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. Joe Johnson finished with 16 points, helping the Nets fire out the gate with 13 first quarter points.

Nicolas Batum led the Hornets with 24 points and eight assists. Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker both added 18 to the cause.

This game was weird to figure out. On paper, this was a game that you’d think the Nets could have and should have won. However, taking a closer look at this game, the “Vampires in Brooklyn” reared their ugly heads once again.

Here’s my three lessons…

1.) If the Brooklyn Nets do not figure out the importance of the three-point shot, the Nets will struggle.

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Recap: Nets 95, Celtics 120 - Bottoming Out in Boston

The Brooklyn Nets played competitively for all of one quarter of their devastating 95-120 loss in Boston.

Despite a 2-10 record entering Friday’s game, the Nets were feeling a bit better about themselves of late, with two wins in their last five games and an overtime loss on the road to the undefeated Golden State Warriors mixed in. Following the 25-point thrashing at the hands of their Atlantic Division rivals, and the draft pick implications that a loss to Boston conjures up, and Friday’s loss could represent the lowest point of the season already for the Brooklyn Nets, just 13 games into their 2015-16 campaign.

The first quarter began in typical Nets fashion, with minutes-long stretches of offensive inactivity that was interspersed with aggressive moves from Thaddeus Young around the basket. Rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in with a couple of drives and would go on to lead all players in rebounds, while long jumpers from veterans Joe Johnson and Jarrett Jack tied the game early. Nets guards helped to contain point guard Isaiah Thomas and hold him to a 0/6 shot chart, but lazy passes on the offensive end led to five Celtics steals and a four-point deficit at the quarter’s close.

The Nets’ defense would completely abandon them in the second quarter, “holding” the Celtics to three missed shots and four turnovers in a lopsided 43-23 stretch. All three missed field goals from Boston came from beyond the arc, giving them a perfect 12/12 conversion rate on two-point shots that were largely assisted and of the “layup” and “wide open” variety. The Brooklyn bench simply could not stay with the ball movement of the Celtics, and Lionel Hollins again went to the Brook Lopez/Andrea Bargnani frontcourt that (again) failed to defend a more mobile opponent (in Boston’s case, the David Lee/Kelly Olynyk pairing). Sergey Karasev cracked Hollins’s bench lineup in favor of Wayne Ellington, who played just three minutes, and nailed a three-pointer on a Brook assist, as one of the few bright spots to a second quarter that was completely dominated by the Celtics. Read More


Recap: Nets 111, Hornets 116 - “The Hyphen Has Hops!” (But the Frontcourt Can’t Finish)

Brook Lopez sums up the Nets' night

Brook Lopez sums up the Nets’ night

The Brooklyn Nets’ quest for their first winning streak of the season will continue, after falling to the Charlotte Hornets, 111-116, Wednesday at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

With both teams on the second nights of back-to-backs, the game alternated between effortless offense and sloppy execution, as each team scored at will in the painted area and took it easy on their respective defensive ends. Both squads shot over 48 percent from the field, but while Brooklyn held the edge in turnovers and paint points (each by a plus-six differential), the Hornets generated 14 additional free throw attempts and finished with a 33-15 advantage from the three-point line, in their five-point victory.

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