Bio: I cover the Brooklyn Nets, the St. John's Red Storm men's basketball team, and the Brooklyn Cyclones. I support the Fort Hamilton Tigers football team, a 3-time city champion. I am a graduate of Fort Hamilton High School (2003) and Brooklyn College (2008).
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By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
The Knicks beat the Nets 109-98 on Tuesday night at Barclays Center, in a game that they dominated the whole way.
The Knicks led by as many as 21 in the second half, and it was hard not to think that if the Knicks played like this more often, they certainly would have made the playoffs.
Starting with the warmups, in which the Knicks drew oohs and ahs with some of their dunks, they were keyed into this one. The Nets, on the other hand, looked flat, and have the composure of a team that can’t wait for the playoffs to start, even if that means falling to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks jumped out to an 18-9 lead in the first six minutes, but the Nets came right back, and a Mason Plumlee dunk on an alley-oop made it 19-16 Knicks. But, just like that, New York closed the first quarter on a 10-2 run and had a 29-18 lead.
They maintained that throughout the second quarter and led 55-43 at halftime, and pulled away in the third quarter. The closest the Nets got was 12 points twice, after Deron Williams and Joe Johnson threes made it 63-51 New York at he 8:37 mark and a Marcus Thornton three made it 69-57 with 5:49 left. After that, the Knicks went on a 7-1 run and controlled it for the rest of the quarter, taking an 83-67 lead into the fourth. The mood was so low at this point in Barclays Center that announcer David Diamante did not do his rallying cry to “Stand Up!” to the crowd before the fourth quarter.
Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd was asked if he was concerned with how the team played tonight, he sternly said, “No.” When pressed by Tim Bontemps of The Post, he elaborated, “It happens. There are 81 games. Sometimes you play well, sometimes you don’t. We got another one to get better tomorrow.”
Before the game, Kidd stressed that this game was about “getting better.” Afterwards, he said, “I thought we got better. No one got hurt, so we’ll move on to the next game.”
Paul Pierce said of any frustration the team may have, and he said, “Well, yeah. Going into the playoffs, you want to start building good habits, and tonight was an example of how not to take a step forward. We were off our game offensively, and that’s not how you want to go into the playoffs. No excuses about it. We have to be better.”
The Nets were led by Marcus Thornton, who had 24 points (7-15 FG, 4-10 on 3-pt) off the bench. Mason Plumlee had 16 points off the bench on 7-for-9 from the field, basically all dunks and 9 rebounds. Paul Pierce had 13 points Joe Johnson had 12, and Deron Williams had 10 points and 1 assist.
Pierce did make some history, as he has now scored 1,000 points for 15 consecutive seasons. He is the first active player and sixth player in NBA history to do that. The other five are: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it in 19 straight seasons, Karl Malone in 18 straight, John Havlicek 16, and Elvi Hayes and Robert Parish did it in 15 straight each.
The Nets have now lost three out of their last four games, with various players being rested in these games and the starters not playing nearly as many minutes. In this one, Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson sat out with injuries, and Mirza Teletovic was not with the team after his wife gave birth to a baby. (wonder what Boomer Esiason has to say about that after his infamous comments a couple weeks ago about Met Daniel Murphy taking paternity leave with the birth of his child.)
On if there is concern about losing momentum with resting players, Pierce said, “Well we want guys to be healthy. I think that’s the main part going into the playoffs. One of our biggest strengths is our depth, so it’s important that the guys who are out get healthy for us to try to make this run. That’s our strength, our strength is in our numbers.”
The Nets finish the regular season tomorrow night in Cleveland and when asked who would make the trip, Kidd said, “We haven’t made that decision yet, but we’ll see.”
The Nets, who fell to 44-37, hold a one-game lead over the Washington Wizards for the fifth seed. The Wizards play at the Celtics on Wednesday night in the season finale. If Washington wins and the Nets lose in Cleveland, Washington would get the fifth seed by virtue of winning the season series 3-0 and have a better conference record than the Nets, 32-19 to the Nets’ 26-25 mark.
Barclays Center Usher Sings Anthem:
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
The Nets beat the Orlando Magic on Sunday night at Barclays Center, 97-88, and were led by Mason Plumlee, who is making a strong case for Rookie of the Year honors.
Plumlee was a key player off the bench when Brook Lopez went down for the season in late December, and took a spot in the starting lineup when Kevin Garnett missed all of March due to back spasms. Entering Sunday night, Plumlee has averaged 7.1 points and 4.2 rebounds this season.
On Sunday night, Plumlee had his fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 6-for-8, with most of those via highlight reel dunks. The best one might have come on a 3-on-2 fast break, with Jorge Gutierrez finding Plumlee in the center of the key for the big slam that gave the Nets an 83-72 lead with 9:35 left in the fourth quarter.
Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd said of Plumlee’s impact on this team, “Mason’s having a heck of a year. I think with his energy and the veterans on the team, he brings that excitement. His ability to set picks and play above the rim is something that you can see he does well. He’s starting to rebound the ball for us. Again, he’s playing at a very high level and we’re going to need that for him to get better.”
Looking at the boxscore, Kidd noticed, “Oh, he had 11 rebounds. Yeah, he was good tonight. Rookie of the Year, you can blame the coach. I dont let him shoot outside the paint, so I’ll take the bullet for that. I think the big thing is that he understands his role and he does it well, and I think he’s gotten better since the summer.”
Plumlee said of how he is playing right now, “Just anticipating when guys are gonna hit me. They’re hitting me in stride. It’s all right around the rim so they’re shots I should be making at a high percentage.”
Plumlee played a good amount tonight alongside Kevin Garnett, and he said of that, “I thought that was good when J (Kidd) went with that lineup tonight just in case we have to look at that in the playoffs. I thought we handled it well. I thought it was smooth when Dray (referring to Andray Blatche) and Kevin were in there and I got to play with them for a little bit so it’s something I can see doing.”
The first half of this game could best be described as a track meet as it was fast paced, and Orlando took advantage of it to lead 49-46 at halftime.
The Nets did as they usually do now and took the game over in the third quarter. They went on an 15-0 run, starting with a Plumlee tip shot, followed by a dunk and a three form Mirza Teletovic, and threes from Joe Johnson and Deron Williams. It concluded with free throws from Plumlee to make it 70-59 with 3:23 left in the third. Kidd said of the 15-0 run, “I think the intensity after halftime picked up for us defensively and I thought the turnovers were down. In that first quarter, I think we had seven (turnovers) where we weren’t getting shots, but in that third quarter we came out with a little more urgency on both ends, both offensively and defensively.”
D-Will hit a three to give the Nets their largest lead in the third, 13 points, at 79-66, with 34.9 seconds left, and they took a 79-70 lead into the fourth. Williams had nine points in the quarter, and Johnson had eight. In the fourth, the Nets maintained an eight to 12-point lead, and their biggest lead, 13 points, came with 1:07 left when Teletovic hit a three to make it 97-84.
Mirza Teletovic led the way with 20 points on 7-for-12 overall and 4-for-7 on threes, and 6 rebounds. It was Teletovic’s fifth 20+ point game of the season and his second in the last six games. He is now one of four players in the NBA this season to have four 3-pointers off the bench this season, joining Nick Young, D.J. Augustin, and Gerald Green to make that accomplishment. Teletovic said of his offensive game, “To be honest, I’m really excited going into the playoffs. I think like everybody on the team, we’re just trying to get ready for it. Just be in good shape and when you’re called to be ready, come in and help out.”
Williams had 16 points (5-10 FG, 4-7 on 3-pt), 5 assists, and 4 steals in 35 minutes. He has now recorded a steal in 29 straight games, a Nets franchise record, career best, and the best in the NBA this season. he has now recorded 92 steals this season, just shy of his career high of 96 in the 2009-10 season.
Johnson had 17 points (6-13 FG, 3-7 on 3-pt) with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. He extended his career-best streak of games with at least one three-pointer to 29, which is the longest streak in Nets’ history. Johnson now has 160 three-pointers, and he passed Kerry Kittles on the Nets all-time single season three-pointers made list to move into second place, trailing only Deron Williams, who had 169 three-pointers last season.
The Nets edged Orlando on rebounding 43-31, and 14-8 on the offensive glass, a rare thing since they went to the smaller lineup in 2014. The +12 rebounding margin is the largest this season for the Nets and most since they beat San Antonio on February 6th. Ironically, one of the Nets’ strengths, controlling the ball, went the other way tonight, as they matched their season high of 23 turnovers, set on November 8th at Washington.
The Nets improved to 44-36, including 34-15 since the start of 2014, and are in firm position of the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They have two regular season games left, Tuesday at Barclays Center against the Knicks and at Cleveland on Wednesday. Plumlee said of the Nets’ peaking now, “I think when we have everybody, the last couple of games we’ve been missing some pieces, when we’re all together I think we’re definitely hitting our groove.”
Kidd said of preparing for the playoffs, “I still understand that we’re playing for something. We’d like to get that 5th spot, but we have two games left against the Knicks and Cleveland. We have to continue to get healthy and continue to get better each time we take the floor. That’s one reason why I brought those guys back late in the fourth, was to give them a different situation of time and score and being able to execute and get stops.”
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
Paul Pierce hit the 25,000 point plateau on Friday night in the Nets’ 93-88 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center. Pierce becomes the fourth active player, alongside teammate Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and Dirk Nowitzki, and the 18th player in NBA history to reach that achievement.
Pierce is now just 13 points away from scoring 1,000 points for the 15th straight season. He would become the only active player and just the sixth player in NBA history to score 1,000 points in 15 or more consecutive seasons. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19 straight), Karl Malone (18 straight), John Havlicek (16 straight), and Elvin Hayes and Robert Parish, who each did it for 15 straight seasons, are the others to accomplish it.
On reaching 25,000 points alongside Garnett, who was in just his third game since February 27th, “It’s better to be in the championship club, obviously. Statistical things, they come and go. There’s going to be players in the future that pass me, but you know, when you win – that lasts forever. It’s great being part of history – just a testament to my hard work and consistency over the years and good health.”
Kevin Garnett said of Pierce, “I told him, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood, man.’ Congratulations. Truth has been a big part of this league, so it’s kind of dope to see one of your great friends – best friends – reach some accomplishments together. We’ve done some things together, but tonight was all about him. I’m proud of him – happy for him.”
Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd said of Pierce surpassing 25,000 points, “Well he’s been big for us all year; being able to go from the three to the four. We’re asking him to guard bigger guys and offensively it’s a big honor. I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten that far but 25,000 is a lot of points. I’m happy for him. I’m happy for the guys who played tonight because they fought. Again, we had an opportunity but we came up short.”
HAWKS EDGE NETS, INCH CLOSER TO EIGHTH SEED
The Atlanta Hawks edged the Nets 93-88 on Friday night at Barclays Center, and their magic number to clinch the eighth seed is down to one game. The loss snaps the Nets’ record home winning streak of 15 in a row. Paul Pierce made some history as he joined the 25,000 point club in the win.
The Nets are locked into the fifth seed in the playoffs, so are planning for it by getting the key players some rest. Tonight, Head Coach Jason Kidd rested Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche, and Alan Anderson.
The Nets’ starting lineup was a unique one, with Jorge Gutierrez starting at point guard, Andrei Kirilenko at forward, alongside Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, and Kevin Garnett, who was making his first appearance at Barclays Center since February 12th.
Gutierrez took advantage of the opportunity, as he scored 11 points on 405 shooting and had 4 assists. Kidd said of the confidence this can give Gutierrez heading into the playoffs, “I’m very confident in all the guys. If it’s Jorge who has to step in and play some minutes at some point in the playoffs, I’m confident that he can do the job and I think his teammates are too.”
The Nets dominated early, holding a 23-16 lead at the on the Hawks, who looked disinterested at times, at the end of the first quarter. The Hawks turned it around in the second, led by Jeff Teague, who had 14 points, and outscored the Nets 39-24 in the quarter to lead 55-47 at halftime.
The Hawks maintained an eight-point lead for most of the third quarter, but the Nets battled back, and a Joe Johnson bank shot made it 70-68 Hawks with 2:08 left in the third. A Mirza Teletovic three made it 74-73 Atlanta heading to the fourth.
The Nets took the lead on a Marcus Thornton jumper 1:40 into the fourth. With Atlanta leading 81-79 with 6:29 left, Kevin Garnett and Atlanta’s Elton Brand had a tough battle for a rebound, which Garnett won, and they went at it heading back up the court, drawing technicals. It was good to see Garnett out there with that intensity, battling with a fellow veteran.
Paul Pierce made the pass of the night when he had three Hawks on him and went behind-the-back to find Joe Johnson in the corner for a three to make it 87-84 Atlanta with 4:04 left. A Mason Plumlee reverse lay-up that turned into a three-point play with the foul, gave the Nets an 88-87 lead with 2:22 left. Paul Millsap returned the favor with a reverse lay-up of his own after a drive along the baseline to make it 89-88 Hawks.
The Plumlee three-point play wound up being the last points the Nets would score, as Pierce missed two key free throws with 1:32 left and a three to tie it with 56.9 seconds left. Atlanta sealed the win on a Jeff Teague floating jumper with 19.3 seconds left.
Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd was asked what stood out about the game, and he said, “Well the guys fought. We had an opportunity but we missed some shots down the stretch. We guarded the three very well but again, we had opportunities at the free throw line and then we had some good looks at the end.”
The Nets were led by Mason Plumlee, who had 17 points on perfect 6-for-6 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists off the bench. Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, and Marcus Thornton all had tough shooting nights. Johnson had 9 points on 4-for-15 from the field and 1-for-5 from behind the arc. Pierce had 13 points on 5-for-14 overall and 1-for-7 behind the arc. Thornton had 14 points on 6-for-17 from the field and 2-for-7 from behind the arc.
Atlanta was led by Paul Millsap, who had 27 points (10-19 FG) and 10 rebounds; Jeff Teague with 22 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds; and DeMarre Carroll, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19
It has only been one week since David Letterman’s surprise announcement that he would retire next year from the “Late Show,” and CBS executives said they would not take too long deciding on a replacement. CBS announced on Thursday that Stephen Colbert will succeed Letterman effective when he retires in 2015. The start date and location will be determined at a later date.
“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career. I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead,” Colbert said in a statement.
Colbert also said, “I’m thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth,” referring to one of Letterman’s defining features.
Les Moonves, the President and CEO of the CBS Corporation, said, “Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television. David Letterman’s legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today’s announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night.”
Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment, said “Stephen is a multi-talented and respected host, writer, producer, satirist and comedian who blazes a trail of thought-provoking conversation, humor, and innovation with everything he touches. He is a presence on every stage, with interests and notable accomplishments across a wide spectrum of entertainment, politics, publishing and music. We welcome Stephen to CBS with great pride and excitement, and look forward to introducing him to our network television viewers in late night.
Colbert has hosted “The Colbert Report” at 11:30 pm on Comedy Central since 2005, and the show has been very successful. It has won two Peabody Awards and 27 Emmy nominations, including an Emmy win for Outstanding Variety Series in 2013 and three-time winner (2013,2010, 2008) for the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program. Colbert started his career on “The Daily Show” for eight years, from the infancy of that show when Craig Kilborn was the host before Jon Stewart succeeded him in 1999 when Kilborn moved to CBS to host “The Late Late Show.”
Colbert was a member of the acclaimed Second City improv troop out of Chicago with Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello. They went on to create and star in the Cable Ace-nominated sketch comedy series “Exit 57″ and “Strangers with Candy,” both of which were on Comedy Central.
Letterman has hosted the “Late Show” since 1993 at The Ed Sullivan Theater. Letterman has set the record for longevity as a late-night host of 33 years, including his time as the original host of “Late Night” on NBC. He will turn 67 years old next week, and said he would like to spend more time with his family. In his retirement announcement on the show on April 3rd, he told the story of a trip with his son Harry and the birds they saw, and how he spent the following Monday spending the day looking up a bird they saw. This is what made him realize it was the time to retire.
Letterman and Jay Leno were rivals for over 20 years, going back to 1992, when Leno got “The Tonight Show.” Leno was forced out in favor of Jimmy Fallon, who has done well in the ratings. Not having Leno to go against anymore may have taken some of the fun out of it for Letterman. The generational shift to Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel on ABC also could have been a factor. Colbert will be just as effective as the Jimmys at making videos that are buzzworthy and “go viral” and already has a good following from Comedy Central to draw upon, giving him a great chance to win the ratings war.
By BrooklynFans.com Contributor Lloyd Carroll of the Award-winning Queens Chronicle
Colin Jost, who succeeded Seth Meyers at the “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update” desk, quipped, “Monday was Opening Day for baseball and a reopening of old wounds for Mets fans!”
As angry as Mets fans had to have been on Monday watching their heroes fail to hold a one-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning, their spirits had to have truly sunk the following day when it was announced that the team’s closer, Bobby Parnell (pictured above), would have to be placed on the disabled list because of a ligament tear in his pitching elbow.
Last Wednesday Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was initially hopeful that Parnell would be able to avoid season-ending Tommy John surgery because the ligament tear was in a fairly thick part of the elbow. He ominously added however that torn ligaments don’t heal themselves. Parnell and Mets management agreed that he should have the surgery this week.
Last September Parnell had to end his season early because of neck surgery. Thankfully that surgery was completely successful and the Mets are hoping that this one will be as well.
The Mets’ loss of Bobby Parnell makes their failure to re-sign LaTroy Hawkins, who steadied the bullpen in Parnell’s absence last year and was a rare leader in the clubhouse, all that more egregious. Hawkins signed a $2.5 million contract with the Colorado Rockies as a free agent during the off-season which is chump change in terms of payroll for major league teams.
Every Mets player that I spoke with told me that Hawkins is very much missed. They also agreed that it reflects the penny-wise, pound-foolish philosophy that has become synonymous with the Mets corporate culture in recent years.
New York Post columnist Ken Davidoff wrote an insightful article on Sunday about how the cost of going to a Mets game, factoring in average ticket price, parking fees, and concessions, is in the highest third of major league teams yet their payroll is in the lowest third. Unless a team is defying the odds and winning, that is a certain recipe for poor attendance.
Although the calendar says that it’s finally spring, nighttime during the first week of April, can feel like winter. Every Mets player that I polled felt that the team should follow the example of the Detroit Tigers and play all of their home games at 1 PM the first homestand of the season.
Outfielder Curtis Granderson went a step further by stating that all games played during the first two weeks of the season should take place in either warm weather cities or in domed stadiums.
Mets manager Terry Collins was not a sympathetic to the atmospheric conditions. “It’s a business. More fans will come to a game on a Friday night than on a Friday afternoon.” I am not sure if that is correct, particularly on a cold wet night such as what we experienced last Friday.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy made national news when he missed the first two games of the season so that he could be with his wife when his son, Noah, was born. Paternity leave is part of the collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and its players association and other big leaguers have utilized the provision.
The only reason that Murphy’s absence raised eyebrows was because WFAN air personalities Craig Carton, Boomer Esiason, and Mike Francesa criticized him. Esiason took it one step further by saying on the air that Murphy’s wife should have had a Caesarian so that their son would have been born before Opening Day.
I wonder if any of the aforementioned trio really believed what they said or if they were just playing shock jock villains just to create listener and media buzz. Esiason is a bright guy and I think that he was just trying to say something outrageous for on-air comedic value without thinking of the consequences much the same way Don Imus did nearly seven years to the day earlier on the same radio station when he wanted to have some fun with the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. To his credit, Boomer immediately called Murphy to apologize.
It will be hard to recognize the St. John’s Red Storm men’s basketball team without a scorecard next season as center Chris Obekpa announced his plans to transfer from the school.
St. John’s was the only number one-seeded team that did not make it to the National Invitational Tournament Final Four that was held last week at Madison Square Garden. The Johnnies were clobbered by Robert Morris in the opening game of the NIT and it was clear that the players wished that they were elsewhere. NCAA officials who overlook the NIT admitted that they were livid at St. John’s performance and even used the derogatory term “tanked” to describe their putrid play.
The Wood Memorial is the first major stakes race of the New York State horse racing season and for years it was considered a preview of the Kentucky Derby. It has been a long time since a Wood Memorial winner had a major presence at the Derby and this year will probably be no different after a 9-1 longshot, Wicked Strong, easily beat the highly regarded favorite, Social Inclusion.
Cable television’s Animal Planet announced at their upfront last Thursday a new fall show titled “The Yao Ming Project.” The former Houston Rockets center is an animal rights activist and he is starring in a program that aims to prevent the slaughter of rhinos and elephants for their tusks.
China is a major importer of these tusks and Yao is an admired celebrity there. He is hoping that his goodwill will help educate the nouveau-riche in his country who are unaware of the suffering these animals go through so that they can acquire a rather bizarre status symbol.
Washington Nationals television voice Bob Carpenter is one of the best in the business. He is also an entrepreneur as the detailed notebook his company makes for keeping score of a baseball game is the gold standard for fans, scouts, team executives, and his fellow broadcasters, is now celebrating its 30th anniversary. Carpenter is well aware of the digital revolution and is hoping that he can find a programmer who can design an electronic scorecard that would meet his specifications for computers and tablets.
It is traditional for the starting pitcher to play disc jockey in the clubhouse before a game. I was surprised to hear Biz Markie’s 1990 novelty hit. “Just A Friend,” blaring through the Washington Nationals clubhouse on Wednesday. “I saw Biz around Citi Field on Opening Day and I remembered how much I liked that song,” the personable Nationals hurler and perennial Cy Young Award candidate Gio Gonzalez explained.
Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan has been so successful in television since his retirement that it’s easy to forget that he is an NFL Hall of Famer. He is an integral part of Fox’s Sunday NFL pre-game and halftime shows and he has more than ably replaced Regis Philbin on the most-watched daytime morning talk show.
Strahan will now be contributing to ABC’s “Good Morning America” which has undergone some personnel changes with the departures of both Sam Champion and Josh Elliott. Ryan Seacrest is a slacker compared to Michael Strahan.
Now that David Letterman has announced that he will be stepping down from his hosting duties on CBS’s “The Late Show,” everyone has an opinion on who his successor should be.
CBS skews older and Jay Leno has long proven to be a ratings king. I am frankly surprised that he is not being given serious consideration. If CBS wants to hire a younger host, Chris Rock, is a comic who can be edgy but can appeal to a wide audience and is a very good interviewer. Chelsea Handler has a very sharp wit but it may be too cutting for CBS executives and blue chip advertisers. (Stephen Colbert was named new host of the “Late Show” on Thursday)
The Ford Motor Company and Long Island City’s Gnosis Chocolates are among the exhibitors who will take part in the 2014 Green Festival at Pier 94 taking place onApril 26th and 27th.
The German port city of Hamburg is hoping to see an increase of tourism thanks to the immense interest in the 50th anniversary of the Beatles making it big worldwide. The Fab Four got their start playing at Hamburg’s Star Club in 1960. A rival rock venue, the Beat Club, was the showcase for a lot of 1960s rock acts from all over the world. Both are still operational today.
Germany is playing up its many UNESCO World Heritage sites as a way of drawing visitors this year but tourism officials are shying away from the centennial of the start of World War I.
These days nearly every cell phone takes photos. The camera industry has taken notice and that has led to innovations that have both improved technology while sharply reducing prices. Vivitar’s F 131 ViviCam retails for around $40; fits in your pocket; and takes the kind of digital photos that only a professional photographer would have been able to take just a decade ago.
On a very sad note, the sporting press lost a great one with the sudden passing of Marcus Henry who left us at the all too young age of 41 last Wednesday. Marcus covered a wide array of sports for both The Amsterdam News and Newsday. It meant a lot when he complimented me on a column.
In a field where there is a lot of needless backbiting, I never heard a bad word from anyone about Marcus Henry. It is an understatement to write that you will be missed, Marcus.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
The Nets suffered a tough loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night, 115-111, and their Atlantic Division title hopes took a major hit as they fell three games behind the Toronto Raptors.
Toronto got a comeback win against the Philadelphia 76ers at home, 125-114, and their three-game lead with four to play is virtually insurmountable. Toronto is now 46-35 and host the Knicks on Friday night. The Nets fell to 43-35, and host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, who are clinging to a two-game lead over the Knicks for the eighth seed in the playoffs.
The results of Friday’s Toronto-New York and Brooklyn-Atlanta game will play a big part in the fates of the four teams. One scenario is if Toronto and Atlanta win, the Raptors would clinch the Atlantic, and Atlanta would have a stranglehold on the eighth seed, with a three-game lead over the Knicks with three to play.
The Nets-Orlando game on Wednesday had the feel of a letdown the day after a big party you were looking forward to for awhile. The fact that the arena was deserted added to the feeling.
Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd rewarded Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston with the night off after their efforts in the win in Miami Tuesday, with the reason being minor injuries. Mirza Teletovic and Alan Anderson took their spots. Kevin Garnett was back in the starting lineup after sitting out Tuesday’s game, just the second time he has played since February 27th. It probably will be musical chairs on the Nets’ bench for the rest of the regular season as Kidd wants everyone as fresh as possible for the start of postseason in ten days.
The game was a see-saw affair, with the Nets leading 22-20 at the end of the first quarter and had a 28-27 lead on a Marcus Thornton layup with 9:03 left in the second. The Magic put a jolt into this one with an 18-1 run over the next four minutes, led by E’Twaun Moore, who had 11 points in the stretch and 14 overall in the second quarter. The Magic led 55-43 at halftime.
The third quarter belonged to Mirza Teletovic, who hit four three-pointers, with the last one giving the Nets a 73-72 lead with 2:23 left in the quarter. Deron Williams hit a three of his own to make it 76-75 Brooklyn with 1:10 left in the third, and the Magic closed the quarter on an 8-2 run, capped by a Moore three as time expired to make it 83-78 Magic entering the fourth.
The Nets kept chipping away in the fourth, and tied it at 97 on a Marcus Thornton three with 4:45 left, part of seven points Thornton scored in the fourth. The Magic responded with a jumper from Dewayne Dedmon and a layup from Aaron Afflalo to make it 101-97 with 3:38 left.
Mr. Clutch, Joe Johnson, took over down the stretch as he made four straight jumpers, the last of which cutting Orlando’s lead to 110-109 with 14 seconds left. The nets had to foul, and Jameer Nelson made his two free throws to make it 112-109. The Nets still had plenty of time, and Johnson was set up for a three on the side, but had three Magic players on him, and Kyle O’Quinn blocked Johnson’s attempt. This was the second straight night a block at the end decided the game, with Mason Plumlee’s “block heard ’round the world,” as coined by Ian Eagle, on Tuesday night sealing the Nets’ win in Miami.
Johnson led the Nets with 31 points on 11-for-19 from the field, including 2-for-6 on threes, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. Mirza Teletovic had 17 points, with all five of his made baskets three-pointers. He shot 5-17 overall and 5-12 from behind the arc. Mason Plumlee had 16 points (7-8 FG) and 5 rebounds in what is now a rare spot coming off the bench. Marcus Thornton had 13 points, and Deron Williams had 11 points and 5 assists. Williams had 3 steals as well, extending his team record to 28 consecutive games with a steal.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19
The Nets beat the Miami Heat 88-87 on Tuesday night, completing the four-game regular season sweep of the two-time champions. The Nets are the only team to go undefeated against the Heat this season.
The game ended on what might turn out to be the play of the year for Brooklyn. Mason Plumlee blocked a dunk attempt by LeBron James in the final seconds. James got the feed from Rashard Lewis, who was under the hoop and found James driving the lane. Joe Johnson tried to strip James of the ball as he began his leap for the hoop, and got a break as he was not called for a reach-in foul. Plumlee surged in from the other side of the lane and pushed the ball out of James’ hand right in front of the rim before making contact with LeBron’s right hand.
Because of that contact, LeBron was incensed that a foul was not called. He even watched a replay on the video board and looked very angered. After the game, he made his feelings very clear, saying “It was a foul. He got my right hand.”
Sorry LeBron, you can’t get every call.
The key was that Plumlee got the ball first, and any contact after that is secondary, meaning not worthy of a foul. Plumlee told TNT’s Craig Sager that as long as three guys, meaning the referees, thought it was a block, that’s all that counts. Plumlee told Sager about guarding LeBron, and said, “You have to guard him with multiple guys…try to make him kick it because he’s such a great player. You have to commit multiple guys, so I thought Shaun (Livingston) did a great job individually on him, and the guys were ready to rotate over.”
The Nets dominated this one early, leading 26-18 after the first, but Miami went on an 11-2 run in the second quarter to make it 35-34 Brooklyn and go into the half trailing the Nets by a point, at 44-43.
The Nets came out firing to start the third, with Paul Pierce getting a couple of baskets and Joe Johnson draining a long jumper to make it 50-43. The Heat responded with a 13-3 run capped by James hitting a free throw off a technical foul taken by Paul Pierce, who gave it to the refs for an idiotic offensive foul call. The Heat maintained control of the third, and it ended with a James driving layup that gave them a 65-62 lead heading into the fourth.
Part of the reason the Nets lost their big lead was they did not hit a three-pointer in the second or third quarters. That futility streak ended early in the fourth when Marcus Thornton and Pierce hit back-to-back threes to give Brooklyn a 72-69 lead with 8:12 left in the game.
The lead went back and forth, and the Heat took the lead, at 82-81, on a James dunk with 3:15 left. The Nets had a chance to take the lead a minute later when Deron Williams got to the line and he inexplicably missed both free throws. On the Heat’s ensuing possession, Plumlee blocked a Chris Bosh shot getting it in the air while it was still on the way up; a split second later it probably would have been a goaltend.
Thornton hit another three at the 1:40 mark, followed by a Johnson jumper (Mr. Clutch as always) to give the Nets an 86-82 lead with 1:00 left. LeBron got a three-point play on the Heat’s next possession, but the Nets responded with Plumlee making a layup on a feed from D-Will with 41 seconds left. Chris Bosh got a dunk with 34 seconds left to make it 88-87 Brooklyn. Joe Johnson could have put it away with a three with 10 seconds left, but it rimmed out, and Miami did not take a timeout and went straight up the court to set up James for a dunk that was swatted away by Plumlee with no time left on the clock.
The Nets were led by Marcus Thornton, who had 16 points off the bench and played right until the end. Thornton had 16 points on 6-8 shooting and 4-5 on three-pointers, with 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and an impressive four steals.
Joe Johnson led the Nets in scoring with 19 points on 9-for-17 from the field and 1-for-4 from behind the arc. Paul Pierce had 14 points (5-8 FG), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals. Deron Williams had 8 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Mirza Teletovic had 11 points off the bench (4-8 FG, 2-3 3-pt), but his main contribution was on defense, as he had the task of guarding James down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
The Nets’ three wins earlier in the season were classics like this one, starting with the Nets beating Miami in the home opener on November 1st by a score of 101-100. On January 10th at Barclays Center, the Nets hosted the Heat amidst the start of their 2014 rebirth, and they beat Miami 104-95 in double overtime. The Nets traveled to Miami on March 12th and won it 96-95, with the game ending on a steal by Shaun Livingston in the final seconds.
Plumlee, who had 8 points and 8 rebounds on Tuesday night, said of sweeping the season series with the Heat, “This is good, more importantly, this is the game that we’re gonna be tested going into the playoffs, so we’re just trying to execute late in the game, and I thought we did that.”
The Nets improved to 43-34, and are now 33-13 since the start of 2014, the best in the Eastern Conference. They gained a half-game on the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls, who were both inactive tonight, and are now two games behind both of them in the race for home-court in the playoffs.