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Nets best game of the year in Portland 109-107

Nets best game of the year in Portland 109-107

That’s better than I could do for a role. If Twitter is really down for the count, Brooklyn Nets The account is going out with a bang, posting deep-fried photos of the man arriving at training camp without a guaranteed contract. But nothing else, certainly anything else I can come up with, comes close to describing it feeling The Nets’ 109-107 win Thursday night in Portland was the best game of the year, so far.

And I don’t mean game of the year in the winning sense. This was the Nets best game this season considering the quality of play and entertainment factor. Portland came to play. With Brooklyn struggling to contain the big body of Jusuf Nurkic, they built the advantage we thought it would. Their group of wings caused all sorts of havoc, with rookie Sheddon Sharpe scoring a career-high 20 points, Jeremy Grant playing great defense on Kevin Durant (right on the last possession), and Justise Winslow and Nasir Little plus-minus Portland, by no coincidence. They even opened up an 11-point lead in the third quarter, after a close contest up to that point.

It would have been understandable (if not easy to manage) if the nets had lain down and died at that point. All in all, it was an underwhelming final game of a West Coast road trip. Brooklyn faced a team with a 10-4 record, atop the Western Conference. The Nets played so well in the first half, with so many positives, and are potentially looking forward to the return of Kyrie Irving in their next game. That’s enough to leave Moda Center with your head held high.

Instead, they ended the third quarter with a lead after a 14-0 run. All of a sudden, the game has become a must-win; The opportunity for such a life-injecting victory is now firmly grasped by them, and to let it slip would be worse than to fade quietly into the night. Brooklyn took advantage of that opportunity.

How would they do it?

A few performances are responsible for this win. Some were collective, such as help defense, consistent offensive pace, and promising rebounding. But I would like to highlight some individuals. First it would be hard for me not to mention Yuta Watanabe, who went 5 of 7 from deep, and they weren’t all pressure-free practice shots either…

A closer look: He runs, semi-transitions, hesitates, resets his feet and does a triple drill as the closeout approaches. That’s one of the most definitely value added But it wasn’t just shooting (or cutting to the basket, which largely accounted for his six free-throw attempts).

On defense, Watanabe was consistently making life easier for his teammates with assists, while also grabbing contested rebounds. He checked into the game and immediately got the Damian Lillard assignment. Yuta is here to stay, folks, and here to ball.

The second individual performance I would like to mention is that of Ben Simmons. This was the first time he was a through and through positive on the court. He just didn’t have positive flashes, or moments to make. He was very good.

Offensively, he attacked the rim fairly consistently, though his finishes were still all finesse, not power. But he and Joe Harris showed the kind of half-court chemistry you’d expect when Simmons was in net. He had the kind of chemistry he had with a JJ Redick in Philly.

He also played a big hand in getting Brooklyn to push the pace and get into the early offense, an offense that experienced much more success than their half-court counterparts. It wasn’t always that easy, and Ben still didn’t want to pick the ball up too early, but kick-ahead passes like the one below consistently resulted in the smooth offensive flow the Nets needed:

Simmons was also active and engaged on defense, making timely rotations with the deflections we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him during his All-Star years. The combination of Watanabe, Claxton and Durant’s fellow big athletes gives Brooklyn a strength that not every team can match. why is it Toronto Raptors Hell of a game, night in and night out. A bunch of 6’10” guys turning the tables and attacking an offensive player is hard to deal with. Aggression does not have to be a one-way street.

“For me, I love those moments,” Simmons said of the Blazers’ failed attempt at hack-a-ben. “I’m not going to be ashamed. That was their plan. Obviously, it didn’t work. It’s building. I love those moments.”

And finally, Royce O’Neale turned in his first-career triple-double. I wrote in the preview for this game that Portland tends to give up too many shots at the rim And Corner threes will lead to more pick-and-rolls or dribble handoffs for Brooklyn, versus the Durant post-ups we’ve seen recently. And while Durant was fairly active in the pick-and-roll, the real star of the game, in that case, was Royce O’Neal:

Many of his 11 assists were high-value, swing-only type of assists that had already been made. And that’s before mentioning his game-winning tip-in, which saved Brooklyn from an overtime they were desperately trying to avoid:

what a win It’s the type of win that instills faith in what can be this season, despite a start that’s been buried under a 50-foot excrement. Nothing about this game was a fluke. Damian Lillard’s 24 shots were absolutely necessary for his 25 points; He was not missing any openings. Portland shot just two percent worse from deep. They certainly, at times, had the advantage of the whistle, shooting five more free throws than Brooklyn.

Seth Curry gave the Nets solid minutes, but couldn’t hit a shot, and Cam Thomas played seven brutal minutes. Kevin Durant, for all his mind-altering brilliance – had 35 points, a disastrous final 200 seconds that nearly cost Brooklyn the win. Stuff is. It’s beyond relieving to see Brooklyn push through all of this and see the other side come out victorious.

“Undoubtedly [this was huge]. We didn’t do everything perfectly at the end of the game, and so for us to still be together, not panic and come out the other side – that’s huge. A group grows that way,” Jack Vaughan said after the win. “I’m still excited. … If a coach can draw a game and win at the end, that was it.”

Indeed, Thursday night had all the makings of a momentum-building win. They did the hard part; Now capitalize it on the net.

Chauncey Billups on Nets: It’s Always Something’

Before the game, Trailblazers coach Chauncey Billups remarked that there’s always something going on in Brooklyn … and he didn’t mean basketball.

Asked if he’s seen teams as dramatic as the Nets: “No, we played last time. It was different problems, different people. It’s always just something. It’s hard to go through a situation like this. I’ve never played with this kind of dysfunction.”

He added, “They’re going through a lot…it seems like they’re always going through a lot.”

If his comments are somehow emotional, it doesn’t work.

Milestone Watch

As mentioned, Royce O’Neal’s triple double was the first of his career.

Kevin Durant added two more milestones: He became the 19th player all-time to score 26,000 points. And with his 35 points, KD has now recorded 25 or more points in 16 games, tying Michael Jordan’s best start in 1988-89. If he can do it again Sunday, he’ll be the first NBA player to hit 17 straight in 56 years, since Rick Barry hit 25 straight. The NBA record is far from over. Wilt Chamberlain had 80 in his magical 1961-62 season.

Ben Simmons’ double-double was his first in the regular season since March 17, 2021.

Kyrie Irving Watch

All indications are that this game will be the end of Kyrie Irving’s indefinite suspension that spanned the last eight games (at a loss of roughly $3.5 million.) Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania report that — and the Nets aren’t trying to dampen expectations — at Barclays Center vs. the Grizzlies. Looks like it should be in Sunday uniform.

“I think there’s been some positive adjustments and progress toward his return,” Jack Vaughn said before the game. “It could happen with the Memphis game.”

“Just really excited,” Royce O’Neal said. “Just to get everybody back and keep building on what we’ve been doing. . . I mean, what kind of player is he? An All-Star-caliber player.”

Irving was suspended by the Nets for a minimum of five games on Nov. 3, a week after he circulated an anti-Semitic video on Twitter and Instagram. Under the terms of the suspension, Irving was supposed to meet six requirements before returning to the court. Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski report that the reinstatement “process” is nearing completion, with Shams reporting that Irving has taken “ownership” of that process in recent days.

Irving averaged 26.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.6 threes, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks, with a shooting split of 45/28/93.

next

Yet another explosive point guard who Brooklyn is probably already sick of: Ja Morant and Memphis Grizzlies Arrived in Brooklyn on Sunday night. Tip at 7:00 pm ET.

Another point of view, head on blazer age, Our SB Nation sister site.


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