Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Game 22 Recap: Pacers 106, Nets 99

Granger was frustrated by the Nets defense the whole game
The Nets lost a really tough game in Indiana tonight by the score of 106-99. The Nets were able to really stick with the Pacers for the whole 1st-half and then faded in the 3rd quarter and early parts of the 4th quarter, finding themselves down by 18 at one point. New Jersey then unleashed a 20-5 run cutting the Indiana lead to 102-99 with a minute left in the game but the comeback was too little, too late as the Pacers were able to hold on late for the win. The loss is the 2nd straight for the Nets and is their 9th straight loss in general to the Pacers.

This effort showed that the Nets (i.e: Deron and Anthony Morrow) had a ton of fight and weren't willing to give up and take the loss, even when the Nets are down by 18 points. D-Will and Morrow were the only Net players who scored in the 4th, as Deron had 14 of his 34 points in the final period and Morrow had 13 of his 28 in the 4th as well. With injuries across the board, Deron and Morrow knew they would have to step up if the Nets were going to compete and they did, but their efforts couldn't get a win because they weren't really healped out by anyone else on the team. D-Will and Morrow were seriously locked-in this game as they each had 4+ three-pointers and both made at least half of their shots.

Game 22 Preview: Nets (7-14) at Indiana Pacers (13-6)

Danny Granger normally kills the Nets will his all-around scoring ability, let's hope that doesn't happen tonight
The Nets will try to rebound from a drubbing at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Sunday against the upstart Indiana Pacers in Super Bowl-host city Indianapolis tonight. The injuries continue to pile up for the Nets as Marshon Brooks (broken toe), Mehmet Okur (back), DeShawn Stevenson (knee), Damion James (foot), and Brook Lopez (foot) will all be out for this game and presumably for tomorrow night's match-up against Detroit. Indiana has been very good this year, especially at home, and has clearly improved with their offseason signing of David West. Tonight's game will not be easy for a banged-up team like the Nets.

Background on Indiana
The Pacers are one of those teams that doesn't have a clear-cut superstar, but has a bunch of really good players who seem to work very well together on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Indiana' real strength lies in their depth as they have a deep bench highlighted by George Hill, David West, and even New Jersey-native Dahntay Jones that can produce in a multitude of ways for the Pacers, a team that is 4th n the NBA in scoring defense. This depth and defensive prowess will spell trouble for the oft-injured Nets who are missing a bevy of key players for tonight's game.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Netlinked 1/30/12- Marshon Breaks Toe, Dwight to the Bulls?, S-Jax to Return to New Jersey?

Could Stephen Jackson's possible return to NJ help a trade for Dwight?
This is the first installment of Netlinked, the series of link-dumps involving the Nets and general NBA stuff that I will post from time to time here on Brooklyn Balling.

First off, we have some interesting news from ESPN's Ric Bucher who says that the Nets might have to pull off a trade for the Milwaukee Bucks' Stephen Jackson in order to get Dwight Howard to New Jersey. Jackson played for the Nets in the 2000-01 and averaged 8.2 PPG while playing in 77 games for New Jersey in that season. Since leaving the Nets via free agency in 2001, Jackson has bounced around the NBA with a few teams but hasn't really found a permanent home. Bucher also reported that Howard and Jackson have been talking about possibly teaming up somewhere, including with Deron Williams in New Jersey as a possibility.

Now for some bad news. It appears that Marshon Brooks has broken his toe and that he will be out "indefinitely", according to the official Nets' Twitter account. The toe injury is unrelated to his sore Achilles for which he missed a few games to recover from. The injury could potentially be devastating for the Nets and it brings up the question as to why Avery Johnson rushed him back from free agency to play in the Nets' loss last night against the Raptors.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Game 21 Recap: Raptors 94, Nets 73

The fight that the Nets showed against the Cavs simply wasn't there tonight.
Well that was awful. The Toronto Raptors came into the Prudential Center and simply crushed a Nets team that looked like it never got out of bed in the morning. The Nets were simply horrendous and an energetic Toronto team without two of its better players ran circles right around the listless Nets that looked like it didn't care whether they won the game or not. There was no defense, there was no offense, there was no rebounding, and there wasn't even any energy to speak of whatsoever. The Raptors simply dominated the Nets tonight, ending a season-high two-game winning streak for New Jersey.

Even the return of Marshon Brooks from injury couldn't spark this Nets team that just couldn't put it together. The only Net who seemed to be into the game and had some intentions of getting a win was Deron Williams and every other player seemed to have been caught by the complacency bug. Deron scored his seemingly usual 24 points but only had 6 assists which is a direct result of the lack of offensive movement and determination by the four other players on the court with Deron.

Injury Updates for Tonight's Game #21: Nets vs Raptors

The injuries keep flowing for each of these teams as Leandro Barbosa is now officially out for tonight's game with a sore ankle, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo. As stated in my preview for tonight's game, Andrea Bargnani is also out for the game tonight with a calf injury. The Raptors don't have much offensive firepower with those two guys out of the line-up.

Regarding the Nets, Brook Lopez and Mehmet Okur are both out for tonight's game and Okur is expected back in a few games while Brook is expected back sometime in early February. There is also good news for the Nets in terms of Marshon Brooks' Achilles. Brooks has been cleared to play tonight but will play only "limited minutes" according to The Record's Andy Vasquez. Personally, I have no clue why Avery is risking the reaggravation of Marshon's Achilles, especially against a under-talented and under-manned Toronto team, but I guess he felt that Marshon needs to get rid of some of the rust that he has accumulated during his absence from the line-up.

Game 21 Preview: Toronto Raptors (6-14) at Nets (7-13)

Bargnani is a key cog for Toronto's offense and it will be tough for them to score without him
Tonight at the Prudential Center, the New Jersey Nets look to extend their season-long winning streak of two games with a win over their divisional foe, the Toronto Raptors. Each team is suffering from a myriad pf injuries right now as the Raptors will not have leading scorer Andrea Bargnani (calf) tonight while the Nets won't have their two best centers, Brook Lopez (foot) and Mehmet Okur (back), while stud rookie shooting guard Marshon Brooks (Achilles) is a game-time decision.

Background on Toronto
The Raptors, like the Nets, are a team made up of two main stars in point guard Jose Calderon and power forward Andrea Bargnani while the rest of the roster is a bunch of lottery draft picks, young athletes who have shown some potential but not enough consistency, and a few veterans who are just trying to stick around the NBA without providing a ton of production for their team. When you add these factors together, you get a really bad team that will be seriously affected by the injury of its best player in Bargnani. The Nets should be able to handle this team with ease.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Game 20 Recap: Nets 99, Cavaliers 96

Yet again, Humphries stepped up with a big double-double performance for the Nets

The final score of tonight's Nets win over the Cavs was not at all indicative of how the actual game played. In reality, the Nets' 7th win of the season was a blow-out from the 1st quarter on. As has been the norm in Net wins this season, New Jersey held a 30-20 lead after quarter 1 tonight and they never looked back, keeping around a 10-point lead for most of the game except in the final minutes when Cleveland made a failed comeback attempt.

Similarly to Wednesday's win over the 76ers, Deron Williams led this team to a win tonight with 27 points and 10 assists in addition to 5 three-pointers. Deron is finally playing like the point guard that the Nets so desperately were looking for when they acquired him from the Jazz. Deron's uptick in performance has helped get open looks for other Nets like Anthoyn Morrow and Kris Humphries whose recent bumps in production have coincided with Deron finding his groove. Morrow, on 8-18 shooting, scored 22 points tonight and hit a few clutch shots towards the end of the game to seal the win for the Nets. Hump garnered another double-double on 18 points and 11 rebounds, he really asserted himself in the paint tonight as a force on offense and defense.

Game 20 Preview: Nets (6-13) at Cleveland Cavaliers (7-10)

Kyrie Irving has been a sensation so far in his rookie year, can the Nets stop him?   Joshua Gunter, The Cleveland Plain-Dealer
UPDATE: Mehmet Okur (back) and Marshon Brooks (Achilles) are out tonight with injuries, Shelden Williams and Anthony Morrow will replace watch of them respectively.

The Nets look to continue their momentum from the team's huge overtime win in Philadelphia on Wednesday win a another road game against the Cavs, a team the Nets lost to on New Year's Day in a particularly poor effort. Marshon Brooks looks to be another game-time decision for this one but according to numerous reports, there's a better chance of him not playing than there is of him being able to play but its very close to 50-50 either way.

Background on Cleveland
Obviously, the Cavs are still a team in rebuilding mode after star hometown boy Lebron James took his talents to South Beach to join the Heat the summer before last. However, the rebuilding mode has been accelerated by the team's most recent draft in which they netted franchise point guard Kyrie Irving 1st overall and power forward Tristan Thompson 4th overall. Cleveland isn't good right now, but in a few years with even more draft picks added to the fray, they might become a team to watch in the East.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Game 19 Recap: Nets 97, 76ers 90 (OT)

Deron went nuts after his game-winning three, deservedly so
No Brook, no Marshon; no problem. The Nets played their best basketball of this young season en route to an enormous overtime over the divisional rival Philadelphia 76ers. The win was the Nets first against a team above .500 and they certainly earned it. The Sixers, a really good home team, entered the game 8-1 in games played in the Wells Fargo Center showing that they only loss at home to teams that outright perform better than they do. And oh boy did the Nets do that.

Deron Williams had possibly his best performance as a Net putting up 34 points and 11 assists and exhibited why the Nets gave up so much to acquire him from the Jazz last February. Deron put on some ridiculous moves in this game including the game-winning three in overtime in which Deron did a crazy step-back, juke sort-of-thing to free himself for the game-winning jumper which he canned. Furthermore, the Nets would have never made the overtime if Deron didn't make a clutch driving lay-up to knot up the game qt 82-82 with barely more than a second left in the 4th quarter.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Game 19 Preview: Nets (5-13) at Philadelphia 76ers (12-5)

Deron needs to be on his best game tonight
The Nets will try to break a 9-game losing streak to the Atlantic Division-leading Philadephia 76ers in Philly later tonight. The Nets will try to bounce back from one of their worst performances of the season against the Bulls in a blow-out loss on Monday.

Background on Philadelphia
The 76ers have been one of the NBA's biggest surprises this season as they have played amazing team basketball so far this season to propel to the best record so far in the Atlantic Divison. Their solid 12-5 record puts them ahead of teams like the Celtics and Knicks who were predicted to be better than these 76ers at the beginning of the year. One of the main reasons that Philly has been so good this year is because of their dominance at home as they have one of the best home records in the NBA this season with 8 wins and only 1 loss. They hope to continue their home success against the Nets tonight, a team they have beaten 9 straight times.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More Nets Injury Woes; Damion James Done For Season

James had a promising future with the Nets, but sometimes things just don't work out
The Nets were dealt some more tough injury news today as it was announced that Damion James' foot surgery, which was performed earlier today at Indiana Health Hospital in Indianapolis, will indeed sideline him for the rest of the 2011-12 season. James has played well so far in his short NBA career and has shown that he can get the dirty work done on the boards and on defense that many other players in the NBA, and especially on the Nets, simply aren't willing to do.

However, James simply hasn't been able to stay healthy for extended periods of time so far in his NBA time. At multiple points last season, Damion was sidelined for extended swaths of games mainly due to injuries he suffered on the right foot that is plaguing him right now. The news of this injury's severity is bad news for the Nets and James alike because the Nets miss Damion's toughness in the interior and his ability to guard some of the opposition's best players and do so with moderate success.

Latest in Absurd Trade Rumors: Stephen A. Smith Says D-12 to the Knicks?

Dude looks like he would make up a trade rumor
Notoriously biased ESPNNewYork.com writer Stephen A. Smith, who has shown an incredible anti-Nets sentiment since joining ESPNNewYork (remember this article?, how's that D-Will to the Knicks thing working out for you Stephen A.?), has concocted an incredibly absurd trade scenario in which the Knicks trade Amare Stoudamire and Tyson Chandler to the Magic for Dwight Howard. To try and give his report some semblance of validity, Smith says that "his sources" inform him that the Magic have inquired to Knicks' management about this possible trade idea.

First off, this trade makes little to no sense as of right for the Magic as Amare hasn't even been playing well as of late (only one 20-point game in his last 6 overall games, all Knicks losses). For that matter, Chandler has only scored in double-figures in 2 of his last 7 games.Why would the Magic trade their franchise player for an over-priced, over-rated, injury-prone power forward and a complementary defensive center who are making nearly $30 million combined this season? I thought that GM Otis Smith was trying to save the Magic organization money/cap space while also building the team for the future. Building a team around a fading scorer with terrible knees and a light-scoring rebounder doesn't seem like the best move for a GM trying to keep his job.

Ok, I'm done ranting now. I just wanted to say how ridiculous I think this trade possibility would be for the Magic as it makes no sense from multiple angles. Regardless, I seriously can't believe how biased Chris Broussard and Stephen A. Smith are as writers and yet they are still employed by the Worldwide Leader in Sports, also known as ESPN.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Game 18 Recap: Bulls 110, Nets 95

Derrick Rose was the real star of tonight's game. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Tribune photo
Lacking effort. Sluggish. Disinterested. Those are three phrases that would accurately summarize tonight's paltry Nets' loss to, in my opinion, the best team in the NBA. It didn't help that Marshon Brooks was surprisingly unable to play after coming down with a sore left achilles as reported by ESPNNewYork's Mike Mazzeo. It also didn't help that the Nets were playing in their 3rd straight game in as many nights. It also didn't help that game-time decisions like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were able to play. Nothing really helped the Nets, and well, the Nets didn't help themselves much either.

Frankly, the Nets didn't do much right tonight in any aspect of the game for that matter. The shooting was terribly inconsistent as the Nets had multiple open looks at three-pointers to cut the Bulls' double-digit lead to a manageable margin but missed almost every time (Okur and Morrow were the biggest culprits). The only reason the Nets' FG% was able to be somewhere close to 50% was because of extended garbage time which basically lasted the entire 4th quarter.

Game 18 Preview: Nets (5-12) at Chicago Bulls (15-3)

Jim Urquhart - AP
Tonight at the United Center in Chicago, the New Jersey Nets will end their first back-to-back-to-back of the 2011-12 season by taking on the NBA-leading Chicago Bulls. The Nets are coming off of a 3-game home-stand which included wins against Golden State and Charlotte in addition to a loss to Oklahoma City Thunder. Just to add, the Nets have already won 3 road games this season while they only won 5 on the road last season so I think its fair to say that the Deron Williams trade has significantly improved this team and it might even improve more by the end of the season (Trying to be vague as to not jinx anything, fingers crossed).

Background on Chicago
The Bulls are one of, if not the best, team in the NBA right now and that has been truly exemplified by how they have played their last 4 games, of which included 3 wins and 1 loss. In those 4 games, Chicago hasn't had the services of their best player and the reigning NBA MVP in point guard Derrick Rose, in addition to a bunch of other key injuries they have had to deal with. Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, John Lucas and Rose have all missed games recently and all of those players, including Luol Deng, are game-time decisions for tonight's game which is beyond wonderful news for the Nets.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Game 17 Recap: Nets 97, Bobcats 87

The Nets finished off their home-stand with a nice and relatively easy 97-87 win over the hapless Charlotte Bobcats. The Nets looked very solid in all aspects of the game and most importantly, they shot a lot better than they did in last night's loss to the Thunder. Granted, the Bobcats were missing a ton of players due to injury like Augustin who got hurt in the 1st quarter, and Corey Maggette, Reggie Williams, and D.J. White who didn't even play at all.

After a really slow start for the Nets which resulted in a 7-0 Bobcats' lead to start the game, the Nets found their stride offensively and by the end of the 1st quarter, built a 7-point lead that they would basically keep for the rest of the game. This game had all of the makings of a blow-out by the end of the 1st half as the Nets had built up a solid 58-42 lead. However, the Bobcats made a few runs in the 2nd half to bring the lead under 10 but really couldn't make it any closer and the Nets prevailed for their 2nd home win of the season.

Game 17 Preview: Nets (4-12) vs Charlotte Bobcats (3-13)

Tonight's game matches up two teams that have two of the worst records in the Eastern Conference and even the whole league as well. To put it simply, the Nets and Bobcats stink at this point in the season.

Background on Charlotte
Like the Nets, the Bobcats are a team in transition and are mainly built around a bunch of young players and rookies around the age of 25 like point guard D.J. Augustin, shooting guard Gerald Henderson (who played his college ball at nearby Duke), center Byron Mullens, and rookies Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo in addition to other players. The Bobcats did get a lot younger this offseason when they traded veteran guards Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston to Milwaukee as part of a three-team Draft day deal which netted Charlotte veteran Corey Maggette (also from nearly Duke) and the 7th pick in the Draft, which was used on Biyombo.

Injury Update: Damion James to Undergo Surgery, Shawne Williams Expected Back Soon

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, small forward Damion James will undergo surgery on his right foot on Tuesday to replace a screw that was already implanted in James' foot last season. There is no timetable for his return. This is tough news for the Nets as James is a solid defender and rebounder but he can never seem to stay healthy since the Nets acquired him during the 2010 Draft out of Texas.

The Nets also received some good news regarding injuries today as it appears that Shawne Williams will play limited minutes tomorrow against Charlotte (same link as above). Having Shawne Williams back in the line-up gives the Nets another shooter and big body to hopefully break the team out of its extended shooting slump.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Game 16 Recap: Thunder 84, Nets 74

The Nets fell to 4-12 with a tough, hard-fought loss to the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder with a 84-74 loss tonight at the Prudential Center. After the Thunder led by 10 points, 28-18, after the 1st quarter, they never looked back and were able to keep that 10-point lead for most of the game, keeping the Nets at arm's length. A positive sign for the Nets was that they didn't get blown which was able to be done because like the Nets, the Thunder just weren't shooting well and they couldn't break away and make the game a blow out.

Game 16 Preview: Nets (4-11) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (12-3)

Tonight at the Prudential Center, the New Jersey Nets will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game that kicks off the Nets' first back-back-back of this young, condensed season. Tonight's game is also between two teams at nearly opposite ends of the spectrum.

The Thunder, who hold the Western Conference's best record at 12-3, recently re-signed Russell Westbrook to a 5-yr, $80 million contract extension which solidifies Oklahoma City's future with the team's two best players, Westbrook and Durant, under team control for years to come. In addition to those two players, the Thunder boast one of the NBA's deepest rosters boasting do-it-all shooting guard James Harden, defensive-minded veteran power forward Kendrick Perkins, and crazy athletic big-man Serge Ibaka who has monster blocking and rebounding ability among other players. The Thunder seemed to have finally become the monster of the West that they have been building towards for years now.

Conversely, the Nets are in a state of flux as outlined in my latest post on the site. The team's two best players, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, don't have set futures with the team and could easily be on a different team at this time a year from now. For the most part, the rest of the Nets's roster is made up of stop-gap reserve players who are signed to 1-year contracts so the Nets can have as much salary cap space for the offseason free-agent signing period.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Extension Unlikely For Brook Lopez: The Ramifications for Getting Dwight

According to Nets' general manager Billy King, the Nets are probably not going to give the injured Brook Lopez a contract extension before the deadline of January 25th. This is very bad news for Nets fans as it is appearing like the Nets are putting all of their eggs in the Dwight Howard-basket and if they don't acquire him via a trade or free agency by this offseason, then this franchise will be primed to be a bottom-dweller of the Eastern Conference for years to come.

As most Nets fans already know, Deron Williams is probably not going to re-sign with the team this offseason unless the Nets and Billy King get him some help, which in a perfect world, would be Dwight Howard. However, with the recent inclusion of the Clippers onto Dwight's preferred destinations list, it is looking less and less likely every day that Howard will be a New Jersey (basically Brooklyn) Net before the start of the next NBA season.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Hello everyone on the internet that is looking at my new site right now. This is Brooklyn Balling, a blog exclusively about the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets, along with some Springfield Armor (Nets' D-League team) and even some major NBA transactions and news. This is one of my many forays into the sports blogging/internet journalism field even though I am only a high school sophomore. I have written at a multitude of sites with both parody articles (they can be found at this site, my username is HecklerJosh) and actual sports news articles (most of my articles can be found at this site, some here, and even some here). However, Brooklyn Balling is my first site for which I will contribute only about basketball, specifically about the Nets. Hope you enjoy and keep reading!