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
Deron Williams made his return to the Nets’ starting lineup on Tuesday night, and his impact was immediate, as he led the Nets to a 104-96 win over the Boston Celtics.
Williams had 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting, with 7 assists and 3 rebounds. He was reunited with Brook Lopez for the first time since they both were hurt on November 15th in Phoenix. Lopez also had a stellar night, as he had 24 points (10-13 FG).
Lopez and Williams were the main reason why the Nets did something that they have done rarely this season: outscore an opponent in the paint. They scored 48 points in the paint to Boston’s 30.
D-Will said of his mentality coming into this one, his first game since November 2oth, “I just tried to get going. I knew watching the games that we were a little stagnant at times and we needed to, you know, pick up the tempo and the pace and so, I just wanted to try and get the team going early.”
Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens said of Williams, “I think you saw what I was talking about with Deron Williams. He was driving it in and kicking the ball out for Brooklyn. He made huge plays for them I thought. When we got after them in the backcourt, Brooklyn subbed him in and they handled it better with him on the floor. I thought he was the biggest difference in the game though the obvious difference was Brook Lopez’s size. I give credit to all of Brooklyn’s players and coaches because they played great tonight.”
The Nets played as complete a game as they have all season, and Williams said of the team’s energy, “This is the type of energy we need every night. This is how we’ve got to play, especially on our home floor. You know, come out and give these fans something to cheer about and I think we did that tonight.”
The Celtics came out firing, practically picking up from Sunday when they blew out the Knicks. They hit their first five shots and had a 12-5 lead three minutes in. From that point on, the Nets’ defense tightened up and Lopez scored 10 points to lead the Nets to open up a 30-21 lead at the end of the first. The Nets kept that momentum going into the second quarter, and held a 56-47 lead at halftime.
The Celtics’ offense got back into a rhythm to open the third quarter, which they opened on a 13-4 run in the opening couple of minutes capped by a Jared Sullinger three-pointer to tie the game at 60. Usually, this is where the Nets fold, but instead they went on a run.
It started with a Williams drive down the lane, followed by a Kevin Garnett 18-foot jumper, an Alan Anderson highlight-reel reverse layup, a Lopez floater, and a long Williams jumper made it a 10-0 run and a 70-60 lead. The Nets built the lead up to as many as 17 points, at 85-68, on two Paul Pierce free throws with 1:14 left in the third. Those were Pierce’s first two points of the game and he finished with 4 in his first game against his old team.
Lopez said of the Nets preventing a Boston run in the third quarter, “We responded. Bottom line is we responded and that’s the first time we’ve done that in a while this season.”
In addition to Lopez and Williams, Alan Anderson, Kevin Garnett, and Andray Blatche all scored in double figures. Anderson had his best game of the season, as he had 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting and Garnett and Blatche had 11 each.
All five of Boston’s starters scored in double figures, with Avery Bradley scoring 22, Jeff Green had 19, Jordan Crawford and Jared Sullinger had 15 each, and Brandon Bass had 13. They combined for 84 of Boston’s points, as their bench scored just 12 points.
Ex-Nets Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace got major playing time off the bench, as Hump had four points in 16:38 and Wallace had two points in 23:09. The other former Nets on Boston, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans, did not play.
Lopez said of winning two in a row for the first time this season, “It’s good obviously. We’ve got to start somewhere and these are two good games for us to get back into it. We’ve got to respect every team. We came out as a unit, executed, defended so we just got to keep it going now.”
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19 Showcase photo by @LolitaLens – Amar’e Stoudemire blocks Joe Johnson
The New York Knicks blew out the Nets 113-83, dominating from start to finish and making the Barclays Center their home for one night as their fans took over.
From the moment the game started, there were chants of ”Let’s go Knicks” and even “de-fense” chants when the Nets had the ball. By the end, it was all Knicks fans and they gave their team, who ended a nine-game losing streak, a rousing standing ovation.
The Knicks played perhaps their best game of the season, as they had six players in double figures, with Carmelo Anthony leading the way with 19 points, followed by Iman Shumpert with 17, Andrea Bargnani with 16, Raymond Felton had 13, Tim Hardaway, Jr. had 12, and Amar’e Stoudemire had 11. It was Shumpert’s strongest offensive night of the year, and Bargnani was successful mainly because the Nets let him take uncontested shots all night. If you are not even putting a hand in the face of a scorer like Bargnani you’re only asking for trouble.
The Knicks were in control of this game from the start, as they led from the start, by as much as 15 in the first quarter before the Nets cut the halftime deficit to seven, at 50-43.
It has become so common it’s not even worth mentioning anymore, but the Nets were humiliated once again in the third quarter, with the Knicks outscoring them 34-16. The Knicks had a 53-47 lead a couple minutes into the third, and went on a 20-6 run over the next six minutes.
The Nets were trailing 84-59 entering the fourth, yet Coach Jason Kidd had Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, and Kevin Garnett out for significant minutes in the fourth. This was foolish, as Johnson had already played 30 minutes, Lopez is a week removed from an ankle injury, and Garnett, well, they never know when to play him.
The one highlight of the fourth was when there was a fight between Garnett and Bargnani at the 9:12 mark, and Bargnani took a second technical foul less than a minute later to be ejected from the game.
Carmelo Anthony said of the win, “I think the guys on this team step up to the challenge. We put a complete game together for the 48 minutes, offensively and defensively. It also helps when you make shots. We shot the ball well today. Most importantly it was a great road win for us, great division win. So now tomorrow we want to build off this momentum. We can’t have any slippage, especially how great we played tonight. We want to carry that over to our home court and just get back to winning and playing basketball on our own home court.”
The win takes Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson off the hot seat for one night. A loss here, which would have been their 10th in a row, might have forced James Dolan to fire him. Instead, they got a 30-point win that could spur a revival.
Woodson said of the win, “We finally put a 48-minute game together. We’ve been playing some pretty good basketball, but we just couldn’t close out some games. I thought tonight, across the board, everybody was tremendous. Everybody that played gave something when they were on the floor. That’s what it’s going to take for us to get out of this hole. We have to go home and play well in front of our fans, that’s important. We have to figure out how to play in our building. It’s important that we go home and validate what we did here tonight and get ready for our game tomorrow night.”
Nets guard Joe Johnson said of the Nets regrouping after this, “You’ve got to have a short memory in this league, that’s part of it. Obviously we’re in a tough rut right now and the only people that can get us out of it are the people in this locker room. We’ve got to find out how to get it done with the players that are healthy and ready to go.”
Johnson was asked if the Nets can get it done, and he said, “We just got to keep playing and eventually we’ll get out of it.” On the team’s confidence, Johnson said, “I think we’re still a confident group. We’re just trying to figure it out. Nobody can really put their finger on it, why it’s turned the way it had but eventually we’ll get out of it.”
Nets forward Kevin Garnett said of the state of the team, “It’s not ideal. It’s not ideal. Nothing just went our way from the giddy up. They came out fast. The first quarter seemed like they made everything, and it seemed like we were playing catch up from that minute on.”
Brooklyn’s own showing his Knicks pride:
By Ian Parfrey and Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Basketball Reporters
JS: The Nets face their crosstown rivals, the New York Knicks, on Thursday. The Knicks are entering the game on a nine-game losing streak, but have played more consistent basketball than the Nets in some ways because they rarely get blown out. The difference for the Knicks Thursday is that they have a player in Carmelo Anthony who can score whatever it takes to get them a win.
Kevin Garnett said of the upcoming matchup with the Knicks, “I think at this point, we are trying to figure out who we are and try to fix this. We are at home getting beat by 30, 40 points and that’s not what we want. That’s not even close to what we predicted where we wanted to be. We just want to understand and like I said, there’s a lot of things going on here, but no excuses. This is a non-excuse league, people don’t care about that. They care about performance and coming out and we need to have a better showing at home, we need to have a better showing period and we will, we have no choice.”
Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd said of the matchup after Tuesday’s game, “It’s the rivalry. The one thing is that we have to find a way to get better. It starts tomorrow for us. We have to find some answers as to why we go on our separate ways instead of staying as a team. So we’ll figure that out, and again, we have to find a way to protect home.”
When the schedule came out over the summer, and it showed the first Knicks-Nets game would be on December 5th, there was an anticipation that they would be battling for the top spot in the Atlantic as they were for the first meeting last season, on November 26, 2012, a game the Nets won in overtime.
Instead, each team has been a major disappointment, with the Nets entering the game at 5-13 and the Knicks at 3-13. There is no doubt that each coach, Kidd of the Nets and Mike Woodson of the Knicks, is on the hot seat. There is some thinking that whoever loses the game may soon be out of a job. For each coach, that would be unfair for different reasons. Kidd was given the unenviable task of molding a lot of new parts into a team expected to win 60 games and contend for a championship. Kidd has taken a while to get used to the job and the many injuries the Nets have had (Brook Lopez, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Jason Terry, and Andrei Kirilenko) have made it worse. Woodson should be given more time since he is coming off a season in which the Knicks won the Atlantic Division and he has a track record of being a successful coach going back to his days with the Atlanta Hawks. With Woodson, the question is, who can the Knicks find that would be any better?
IP: Since we’ve spent more than enough time dissecting the failures of the Nets, let’s look at why the Knicks aren’t winning. Before discussing individual players, it’s worth noting that the Knicks are getting outscored by 8.38 points per game from the free throw line. Last year’s team was outscored by 0.79 points per game. That’s your difference right there.
The absence of Tyson Chandler plays a big part, but the Knick guards have also been completely unable to keep anyone in front of them. J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton have completely stunk on offense, and those are the Knicks’ third and fourth leading scorers. Carmelo Anthony is rebounding at a career best-rate, and isn’t actually gunning any more than he usually does. It’s just that he’s not as open as he was last year, and he has no help. Yes, Melo hasn’t put the team on his back the way Kobe Bryant did with last year’s Lakers, and he’s proving that he’s not really that kind of player. But we knew that already, right?
Other than Andrea Bargnani and maybe Tim Hardaway Jr., no one has stood out for the Knicks so far. And unlike Jason, I do hold Mike Woodson responsible. He’s barely doing anything while the ship sinks. Jason Kidd put Tyshawn Taylor in the starting lineup, and he dumped Lawrence Frank. Woodson just keeps running J.R. Smith out there, and the Knicks have also lost a few games this year at the buzzer because the only play that the Knicks ever run in crunch time is Melo holding the ball for an eternity and then jacking a contested jumper.
Say what you will about Mike D’Antoni, but he was creative. He ran crunch time plays for Steve Novak. The Knicks’ situation is dire enough to require more than putting ‘em out there and hoping they figure it out.
Who’s going to win? Does it matter? This ballgame should have been the beginning of an intense rivalry, and instead it’s going to be grim. I think the Nets are in a better place right now, and the game may hinge on whether the Knicks can take advantage of the Nets’ tendency to foul anything that moves. I’m thinking they’ll just keep shooting long jumpers like lemmings running towards the ocean, and the Nets will win.
Stephen Ross, the New York real estate developer and Dolphins owner, was certainly a happy man after the game. Ross is partnering with Mets owner Fred Wilpon to develop Willets Point into a shopping center and apartment complex. Mayor Bloomberg gave them his blessing even though there was a complete lack of transparency.
Woodson’s Nets counterpart, Jason Kidd, has found being an NBA head coach so far a lot harder than playing point guard in the league. He added a touch of levity last Wednesday night when realizing that his team was out of timeouts in a tight game with the Los Angeles Lakers he told one of his players, Tyshawn Taylor, to accidentally bump him so that he could spill some soda on the court forcing the referees to stop the action as they summoned the Barclays Center custodial crew to clean up the mess.
Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? New York City has not been a hotbed for college basketball for years yet both the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden had one tournament after another in late November. Among them were the 2K Wounded Warrior Project, the Progressive Legends Classic, the Barclays Classic, Coaches vs. Cancer, and the granddaddy of them all, the Preseason NIT.
The good news is that nearly all of the aforementioned college hoops tournaments raised money for various good causes.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19 Showcase photo by @LolitaLens – Denver’s Nate Robinson soars above the Nets’ big men
Tuesday night at Barclays Center could have been a new start for the Brooklyn Nets, as it was the first game in December and they were home for an opponent they could beat. Instead, it was another night that just showed the trouble they are in.
Before the game, Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd announced that lead Assistant Lawrence Frank would be “reassigned” because of what he termed “philosophical differences,” whatever that means. Frank will no longer be Kidd’s right hand man on the bench, kind of mystifying considering that Frank was brought back to the organization with great fanfare when Kidd was hired in the hope that he could serve as a kind of mentor. Instead, Frank is the scapegoat for the team’s 5-12 start heading into Tuesday’s game.
There was “friction” between Kidd and Frank from the start of the season. Kidd said of the move, “This is the decision that I had to make and we made it and we move on. This is my decision in the sense of what I had to do. It’s about basketball. That’s it.” Kevin Garnett said the Frank demotion, “There’s a lot of moving parts around here and we are trying to adjust to it. That’s how I am going to answer that.” When Kidd was asked after the game how the players reacted to Frank’s reassignment, he said cryptically, “You’d have to ask them. I have no idea.”
In the game itself, the Nets started out well, but trailed 58-50 at the end of a first half that was as exciting as a drowsy cold medicine.
In typical Nets fashion, they let the game slip away in the third.
Kidd zeroed in on where he felt it all began to fall apart for the Nets, “In the third quarter, it’s a four-point game (62-58) with eight minutes and some change. We can’t score. Denver continues to keep playing. They can’t score. They get a couple rebounds, put-backs, and from there, it just went quickly onto the 20-4 run. We sometimes can’t put the ball in the basket and (we) stop playing on the other end, so you’re talking about a four-point game, with eight minutes or so, that turns into a 20-4 run. Guys are starting to look like they had in games where we’ve let go of the rope. It’s something that we have to address and get better at.”
From the 8:00 mark of the third, Denver closed the quarter on a 27-7 run and were in complete command with an 89-65 edge entering the fourth.
The Nets went through the motions in the fourth quarter, and never got the lead under 21, on their way to a 111-87 loss.
Denver had six players in double figures, with Timofey Mozgov leading the way with 17 points, Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton had 15 points each, Ty Lawson had 13, Randy Foye scored 11, and Darrell Arthur finished with 10.
For the Nets, the problems were the same as always. They are a worse team when Tyshawn Taylor, as evidenced by the fact that he re-entered the game when the Nets were down 42-40 halfway through the second quarter, and he remained out there until they trailed 58-50 at halftime. He can’t play any defense and he does not know how to run the offense as he dribbles around aimlessly.
Kidd’s rotations are all over the place. He never leaves the same five players on the court for longer than two minutes at a time. At one point in the second quarter, he had the unique lineup of Reggie Evans, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Mirza Teletovic, and Tyshawn Taylor. The reason they have no chemistry is because of lineups like this. There is no clear “starting five” and “bench”. Last year, there was tremendous consistency in the five on the court at any given time with the only two going back and forth with both units being Johnson, Evans, and Andray Blatche.
The Nets face their crosstown rivals, the New York Knicks, on Thursday. The Knicks are entering the game on a nine-game losing streak, but have played more consistent basketball than the Nets in some ways because they rarely get blown out. The difference maker for the Knicks Thursday is that they have a player in Carmelo Anthony who can score whatever it takes to get them a win.
Garnett said of the upcoming matchup with the Knicks, “I think at this point, we are trying to figure out who we are and try to fix this. We are at home getting beat by 30, 4o points and that’s not what we want. That’s not even close to what we predicted where we wanted to be. We just want to understand and like I said, there’s a lot of things going on here, but no excuses. This is a non-excuse league, people don’t care about that. They care about performance and coming out and we need to have a better showing at home, we need to have a better showing period and we will, we have no choice.”
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
The Brooklyn Nets announced on Monday that Paul Pierce will be out two to four weeks after he was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal of the right hand.
The injury occurred during Friday night’s loss in Houston.
Pierce has averaged 12.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 15 games this season.
This is the latest injury to hit Nets’ starting lineup in the last few weeks. Brook Lopez was out two weeks recovering from an ankle injury suffered in Phoenix on November 15th.
Deron Williams sprained his left ankle in September, made it back for opening night despite not being back to full strength. He aggravated it in the Phoenix game and less than a week later in Charlotte. Williams is out indefinitely.
After Tuesday night’s game, Kevin Garnett said of Pierce’s injury, “It’s unfortunate for P (Pierce). I knew something was wrong with him because I’ve seen him play through a lot of different injuries and for him to keep inquiring and trying to understand what was wrong with his hand, I knew it had to be something very, very serious, and I mean, put it on the list. These are frustrating times right now.”
The starting five for now will probably be Lopez at center, Kevin Garnett at power forward and Mirza Teletovic or Andray Blatche at the other forward position, Joe Johnson at shooting guard, and Shaun Livingston at point guard.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19
The Arizona Wildcats won the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden with a 72-66 win over the Duke Blue Devils on Friday night.
Arizona did something very rare, in that they shut down Duke in the second half. The Duke led 45-42 with 11:10 remaining when Nick Johnson hit a three to tie it.
That started a 21-8 Arizona run over the next nine minutes, led by Johnson and Aaron Gordon. Arizona would lead by as many as 10 with 3:58 left and Duke pulled as close as five with 1:46 left.
The Arizona defense was stellar throughout the game, as they held Duke to 42 percent shooting, 25-for-59 from the field. Their biggest achievement was holding Duke phenom Jabari Parker to 19 points on 7-for-21 shooting. Parker never looked comfortable from anywhere on the court and never got into a sustained rhythm.
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “There wasn’t a kid who played poorly tonight for either team. It’s tough to single out anybody for them. I thought the biggest shot of the game scored was three — when we were up by four and Johnson hit one right at the end of the clock right after that. They had two threes that wiped out our lead, the small lead that we had and seemed to give even a little bit more life. And then we had one that rimmed out during that time.”
Nick Johnson was the NIT Outstanding Player, as he had 15 points on 4-of-10 shooting with two 3-pointers and three assists. He had 20 points (5-12 FG) and four assists in Arizona’s win over Drexel to open the tournament on Wednesday night.
Johnson was one of four Arizona players in double figures, as Brandon Ashley had 13, and Aaron Gordon, Kaleb Tarczewski, and T.J. McConnell had 10 each.
The night opened with a thriller in the consolation game. Drexel beat Alabama 85-83 in three overtimes. Chris Fouch led the way for Drexel with 19 points on 7-for-21 shooting. He said after the game, “My only thought during the game was, after the game, actually that we really grinded it out. Like things wasn’t going our way. We were just kind of back and forth for a little while, but when it came down to it, we buckled down and made stops when we needed it and got the win.”
Mohamed Bah got what turned out to be the decisive basket, a layup with 2:33 left that made it 85-79 Drexel, and it was Bah’s only two points of the game. They held on as Jimmie Taylor missed two free throws with Alabama down 83-79 with four seconds left, which sent the Duke and Arizona fans into a frenzy because it meant this game would finally end and their game would finally begin.