Moke Hamilton, SNYNets.com

NEW YORK — Actions speak louder than words and on Wednesday night in a 100-86 loss to the New York Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets looked like a team that quit.

But afterward, no player would point to the gameplan or lack of preparation for the dispirited second half effort, they blamed themselves.

Still, the fight and resolve a team shows ultimately falls on a team's head coach. And as the Nets find themselves at 13-12—merely one game above .500—the whispers about Avery Johnson and his status have grown into murmurs.

Debby Wong : US PRESSWIRE

Trailing by just four at halftime, the Nets seemed to open up the third quarter looking to seize some of the game's momentum. Deron Williams scored nine points in the first six minutes of the second half and the Nets led 61-57.

(RELATED CONTENT - Rapid Recap: Nets 86, Knicks 100)

At that point, however, coach Mike Woodson called a timeout and reinserted one of the game's standout performers— J.R. Smith. Smith ended with 19 points and five rebounds on 7-for-11 shooting. With Smith, the Knicks ended the quarter on a 19-6 run.

The Knicks defense tightened up and the Nets shot just 3-for-11 to close the quarter. Trailing 75-67 after three, the Nets would never seriously threaten the Knicks again, falling behind by as many as 18 points and eventually losing, 100-86.

The Nets are now 2-8 in December and just two weeks after being named the NBA's Coach of the Month for the month of November, Johnson's job security has become a topic of discussion.

Even in Brooklyn, things change in a New York minute, but that's the reality when you're given a team of capable weapons, proclaim yourself to be a challenger in the Eastern conference and then tease the league and your fan base with the best November in franchise history.

Here's the truth: as a coach in the final year of his contract, Johnson is battling for a new deal. Sometimes, it seems as though the team has tuned him out and Deron William's recent comments about the offensive system won't help much.

But in all fairness, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez have each missed seven games. And the Nets have only had their regular starting unit for nine games. They're 6-3.

And though Lopez has returned, he's still being worked back into the rotation, playing just 29 minutes in Wednesday's loss to the Knicks. The Nets looked dispirited in the game's final 18 minutes, but that may have every bit as much to do with the 19-6 Knicks being a good team as it does with the fact that Wednesday night's game was the seventh in 11 days for the Nets.

Unless you're the Los Angeles Lakers, it's too early in the NBA season to be considering a coaching change, particularly when the topic of discussion happens to be a coach who was named the NBA's Coach of the Month just a few weeks ago.

Privately, I've been told that coach Johnson still has the ears of his ball club and that nobody in the locker room has quit on him. Understandably, Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks are the most disgruntled players of the bunch—both have seen inconsistent playing time.

Joe Johnson has been visibly frustrated after games and so has Williams, but losing does that. If NBA teams fired coaches each time there was a losing streak or a star player voiced frustration, every coach in the league except for Scotty Brooks, Gregg Popovich and Mike Woodson would have been fired three times over.

Recall that through 17 games, the 2011-12 Miami Heat were just 9-8 and that this season, the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers were 8-9.

At this point, after 25 games, the Nets have blown quite a few double-digit leads and should probably be somewhere closer to 16-9 than 13-12.

But it's not time for pitchforks and torches. At the very least, Johnson deserves 41 games to see what he can get out of his club. By the time the all-star break rolls around, the Nets will have played 53 games. That's a much more reasonable sample upon which to base a decision.

From what I'm told, Williams, coach Johnson, and general manager Billy King have a good working relationship and that was a part of Williams' calculation when he decided to re-sign with the Nets this past summer for five years and about $100 million. It's difficult to imagine Williams privately pining for the coach's removal just 25 games into the season.

That's especially true when you consider that Williams was a free agent this past summer and could have submitted a laundry list of demands to King.

But from what I hear, the only mandates were "build this team" and "turn us into a winner."

Obviously, we're all still waiting on that. But the questions surrounding Avery Johnson's status and whether or not he has lost his locker room are still a bit premature.

With three days off before battling the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, the Nets have some kinks and some issues to work out.

Yes, the clock is ticking on Avery Johnson.

But not even a New York minute has expired yet.

There's still sand left in the hourglass.

Tags: avery johnson, Columns, Moke Hamilton, Moke Hamilton
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Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts after making a three point shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts after making a three point shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Sean Marks spoke to reporters at his summer press conference where he tempered expectations but coined a phrase that would stick throughout the season.

"We have [this] year to prepare for summer of 2019."

The conference was Marks extolling expectations for the season in an optimistic way. Everybody knew the Nets could potentially clear enough cap space for two max players -- depending on the moves they make. But nobody expected the team to make the playoffs this season. 

Something the Knicks can't say.

Tags: Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Apr 23, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler (23) shoots over Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley (6) during the second quarter in game five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Apr 23, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler (23) shoots over Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley (6) during the second quarter in game five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

The Nets couldn't mount a comeback in this First Round series, as the 76ers blew them out off in Philadelphia, 122-100, in Game 5 on Tuesday night. >> Box score

Seven things to know about Tuesday's game...

1) Joel Embiid was once again the Sixers' leading scorer and he only saw 20 minutes of work in the game. He had 23 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double, and collected two assists and one steal as well. He was 9-for-18 shooting as he continued to stay efficient.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Scott Thompson
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Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) loses the ball against Philadelphia 76ers defender during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) loses the ball against Philadelphia 76ers defender during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Joel Embiid's left knee will be a question for the Philadelphia 76ers for the duration of their playoff run, but when he is on the floor, things go extremely well.

Embiid's presence is among the reasons why the 76ers are on the verge of advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals. And they have a shot to do just that Tuesday night when they host the Brooklyn Nets in Game 5 of their first-round series.

Philadelphia is attempting to reach the semifinals in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1999-2001 during the peak years of coach Larry Brown and Allen Iverson, a stretch that culminated in getting to the NBA Finals in 2001.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Nets focus on Game 5 00:01:28
The Nets comment on staving off playoff elimination in tomorrow's Game 5 vs the 76ers

The Nets trail the 76ers 3-1 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals heading into Game 5 on Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

And they know what they need to do to stave off elimination.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers
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Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen loses the ball against Philadelphia 76ers defender during the second half at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen loses the ball against Philadelphia 76ers defender during the second half at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

The NBA admitted it missed a foul call on Nets forward Jarrett Allen late in Brooklyn's Game 4 loss to the 76ers on Saturday.

Allen lost control of the ball and turned it over with under 10 seconds to play and the Nets only down 110-108.

However, in the league's last two minute report, the NBA said it should have called a foul on 76ers forward Tobias Harris when he wrapped his around Allen, restricting his freedom of movement, as Allen drove into three Philadelphia players with 12 seconds remaining.

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That's one costly entrance for Sean Marks.  

The Brooklyn general manager was suspended one game without pay and fined $25,000 for entering the referees' locker room after Game 4, a 112-108 loss for the Nets. 

Marks is expected to serve the suspension Tuesday during Game 5. The series between the Nets and Sixers is currently tied at 2-2, with the action heading back to Philadelphia. 

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Many expected tensions to flare up in Game 3 of the Nets-Sixers series in Brooklyn, but Game 4 was went the trash talk from both sides boiled over. 

Jared Dudley and Jimmy Butler were ejected from the contest after a skirmmish in the third quarter that saw both benches clear to break it up. But the scuffle didn't end the feud. 

Embiid commented on what happened after the Sixers picked up the win, and made sure to answer the question first by calling Dudley "a nobody."

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers
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76ers fight past Nets in Game 4 00:01:59
In a heated affair, the 76ers got 31 points from Joel Embiid and took a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Nets with a 112-108 victory

Tensions were high in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon, but the heat of the moment didn't work in the home team's favor. The Nets were up for most of the second half, but they couldn't close out the 76ers in a 112-108 loss in Game 4 of this First Round matchup. >> Box score

Five things to know about Saturday's game...

1) There was a point in the second half when the Nets were leading for 23 straight minutes. However, the Sixers eventually took the lead with a Joel Embiid layup with 2:54 remaining. From there, the Nets and 76ers traded buckets with D'Angelo Russell draining a three with 1:26 remaining to regain the lead. But Mike Scott hit the eventual game-winner, a dagger three in the corner. On the ensuing possession, Russell found Jarrett Allen on the pick-and-roll, and he would've had a clear lane to the rim if he caught the pass cleanly. Instead, the ball was fumbled and Allen was swarmed by Sixers, who took it away. 

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell
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Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) glances in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets bench during a break in the third quarter in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) glances in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets bench during a break in the third quarter in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

The 76ers are listing All-Star Joel Embiid as doubtful for Saturday's Game 4 against the Nets because of a lingering left knee issue, according to reports. 

Embiid played in the first two games of the series but sat out Game 3 Thursday night in Brooklyn. It didn't hurt the Sixers as Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris dominated in Philadelphia's 131-115 victory as the Sixers took a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.

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76ers overpower Nets 00:02:07
Playing without Joel Embiid, the 76ers got a combined 86 points from Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick to take a 2-1 series lead

Even though the 76ers didn't have Joel Embiid for Game 3 because of a left knee injury, the Nets couldn't keep pace with the 76ers in a 131-115 Game 3 loss in Brooklyn Thursday night. The Nets now trail the first-round series, 2-1. >> Box score

Five things to know about Thursday's game

1) After trailing by six at halftime, the 76ers opened up an 18-point lead in the third quarter before the Nets closed the third on a 14-3 run. They got to within six in the fourth but the Sixers took control down the stretch.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell
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Apr 15, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) rest on the scorers table during the second quarter in game two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 15, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) rest on the scorers table during the second quarter in game two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

76ers star Joel Embiid, who isn't playing in Game 3 Thursday night against the Nets because of his lingering left knee issue, said before the game that he apoogized to Jarrett Allen for elbowing him in the face and think the elbow could've warranted a Flagrant 2.

"I probably should've been ejected," Embiid said.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Jarrett Allen
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Apr 15, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) shoots a foul shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter in game two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 15, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) shoots a foul shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter in game two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

The Nets and 76ers have developed a budding rivalry in this first round of the NBA Playoffs.

It started with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons laughing about the former's flagrant elbow to Nets center Jarrett Allen, and Jared Dudley followed up by saying Simmons is "average." And Simmons continued the feud by answering Dudley's comments this morning, saying "That's coming from Jared Dudley, cmon man."

All of this trash talk has come in only two days since both teams have touched the court. And now it looks like Nets fans will have the last laugh before Game 3...

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Apr 15, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives past Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler (23) during the second quarter in game two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 15, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives past Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler (23) during the second quarter in game two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

The Nets will play their first home playoff game in four years. Not much went right for Brooklyn in Game 2 except Spencer Dinwiddie's 19-point effort.

But the Nets took back homecourt advantage with the split. In the playoffs, that's a huge achievement.

"We go back to Brooklyn," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "The old story, if you would have told us before we're splitting here in Philly, I think we'd be happy. But I'm not pleased with the way we presented ourselves. We were below average, quite honestly."

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons dribbles against Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley during the second quarter in Game 1 of the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons dribbles against Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley during the second quarter in Game 1 of the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

76ers forward Ben Simmons fired back at the Nets' Jared Dudley after Brooklyn's forward criticized him.

"Ben Simmons is a great player in transition," Dudley said of Simmons. "And once you get him into half court, he's average."

Simmons' response, via the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey: "That's coming from Jared Dudley, come on."

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers
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Nets ready for Game 3 at home 00:01:08
New York Nets center Jarrett Allen was elbowed by Joel Embiid in Game 2, Nets players express their opinions on the matter.

In Game 2 of this First Round matchup between the Nets and 76ers, Joel Embiid hit Jarrett Allen with a nasty elbow that was deemed a flagrant one. But when asked about it post game, Embiid and Ben Simmons chuckled as the big man tried to answer the question. 

As one would expect, the Nets didn't think highly of that reaction. 

Veteran forward Jared Dudley was the most outspoken of the Nets, and he didn't hold back during media availability at practice on Wednesday.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Scott Thompson
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Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts to his bench during a break in the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts to his bench during a break in the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

The Nets' 145-123 Game 2 loss against the 76ers on Monday night may not have been pretty, but they head back home to Brooklyn with a split series and a chance to capitalize on home-court advantage. 

It is the first playoff basketball game in Brooklyn in four years, except this time there is a different look surrounding the team with young stars such as D'Angelo Russell at the helm. 

"We're very excited," he said, per Greg Logan of Newsday. "I know the Barclays Center is going to be jumping. We're excited about getting back home and taking care of home court. The buzz around the city is what we need. We need that atmosphere. We need that intensity to be up like that."

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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Sixers rout Nets, tie series 00:01:31
The 76ers responded to their Game 1 loss with by blowing out the Nets, 145-123, to even their series at 1-1

The Nets allowed 51 points in the third quarter en route to a 145-123 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Monday at Wells Fargo Center. >> Box score

Five things to know about Monday's game

1) Despite trailing 65-64 at halftime, the 76ers started the third on a 21-2 run capped by a Ben Simmons basket that put Philadelphia up 86-66. Overall, the 76ers outscored Brooklyn 51-23, scoring the most points in a quarter in NBA playoff history.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley dribbles past Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley dribbles past Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Nets forward Jared Dudley will not play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the 76ers on Monday due to right calf tightness, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Dudley scored four points and recorded four assists in Saturday's 111-102 win, as Brooklyn outscored Philadelphia by 16 points when he was on the floor.

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Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts to a score against the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts to a score against the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Back in the postseason for the first time since 2015, the Brooklyn Nets defended well, produced plenty of offense and flustered the Philadelphia 76ers at times in Game 1.

On Monday night in Philadelphia, the sixth-seeded Nets look to follow up a strong performance while the third-seeded Sixers hope to bounce back and level the Eastern Conference first-round series.

A Nets win would mark the first time they went up 2-0 in a series since sweeping the New York Knicks in the opening round of the 2004 postseason.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell
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Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert drives to the basket against Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert drives to the basket against Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

Kenny Atkinson walked out of a quiet locker room and into a small press conference area with a handful of reporters. Brooklyn's head coach was in near tears having witnessed a gruesome right foot injury to his 24-year-old rising star and development poster boy, Caris LeVert. He did the best he could to answer questions, but they weren't really answers.

No timetables. No clue what was going to happen next for a kid who already endured three surgeries.

But then he finished with a powerful statement, a true testament showing how much he believes in his young prodigy.

"I just know Caris," he said, "like if anybody's coming back from this [it's him]. Knowing the human, the character, the person, the player … he'll come back from this."

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Nets focus on Game 2 00:02:24
Head coach Kenny Atkinson and forward Joe Harris talk about winning Game 1 and adjustments they'll have to be ready to make in Game 2

The Nets stunned the Sixers in Game 1 of the first round Saturday in an impressive showing

"From our perspective, I give us a B, B+," Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson said. "Game 2, we need an 'A'. We all know it. It doesn't take a sports psychologist to know that we have to ramp it up." 

Nets guard Joe Harris said the success in Game 1 could be attributed to the adjustments the team made, which were more than they normally did during the regular season. 

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Winter is here.

With Game of Thrones set to return Sunday for its eighth and final season, New York athletes gave their predictions and talked about theories for how the saga will end.

Click below...

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Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) glances in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets bench during a break in the third quarter in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) glances in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets bench during a break in the third quarter in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

The 76ers announced that they fined Amir Johnson for using his cell phone on the bench during Philadelphia's Game 1 loss to the Nets on Saturday.

"The 76ers organization has fined Amir Johnson for conduct detrimental to the team," GM Elton Brand said in a statement. "I have addressed the matter with Amir directly and he understands why his actions were unacceptable. We are moving forward together with our full focus now on Game 2."

"I apologize for having my phone on the bench in today's game," Johnson said in a statement. "I take full responsibility and will accept the consequences of my actions. I also apologize to my teammates, the 76ers organization and the fans for the distraction this has caused."

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Nets take Game 1 from Sixers 00:02:06
Head coach Kenny Atkinson saw his Nets bench outscore the 76ers bench 59-26, as Brooklyn took the opener of their playoff series, 111-102.

The Nets took control late in the first quarter and held the lead the rest of the way, causing the boo-birds to rain down in Philly as Brooklyn upset the 76ers on Saturday, 111-102, to take Game 1. >> Box score

Five things to know about Saturday's game

1) Brooklyn used an incredible 20-1 run to take a 39-23 lead in the second quarter. After trailing by three, the Nets closed the first quarter on a 12-0 run over the final 2:30. The Sixers would get to within two in the third quarter, but that's as close as they'd get.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Nov 20, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) dribbles the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Nov 20, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) dribbles the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Philadelphia 76ers will open the 2019 NBA playoffs at home on Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, but All-Star center Joel Embiid remains questionable with a sore left knee.

Embiid missed 14 of the final 24 games in the regular season with a combination of knee soreness and load management.

Still, the 76ers won 51 games thanks in large part to several trades by general manager Elton Brand.

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Mar 28, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is defended by Brooklyn Nets forward Ed Davis (17) during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Mar 28, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is defended by Brooklyn Nets forward Ed Davis (17) during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

The Nets and 76ers kick off their First Round matchup in the NBA Playoffs this Saturday, and Philadelphia is likely to be without one of their key starters in Joel Embiid

The Sixers listed the All-Star center as doubtful for the contest, per The Athletic's Derek Bodner. Embiid has been dealing with left knee soreness, and his status for the start of the playoffs has been a big question for Philly for some time now. 

If Embiid is deemed out officially, it would be a big break for the Nets down around the rim. Jarrett Allen would have to go up against Boban Marjanovic, another very physical center. However, Marjanovic doesn't have the offensive versatility Embiid possesses, as the latter can score anywhere on the floor. 

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Jarrett Allen
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The Brooklyn Nets were a pleasant surprise this season. Expected to finish out of the playoffs, Brooklyn managed a 14-game win improvement from the previous season and finished 42-40, earning the sixth seed in the East.

In their first playoff appearance in four years, the Nets will head down the New Jersey Turnpike to face the 51-31 Philadelphia 76ers. In the regular season, the Nets faced the Sixers in four games and split the season series 2-2. Just one of these games - a 123-110 Sixers win on March 28 - has featured Philadelphia's fully updated roster following the Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in-season trades.

Can the upstart Nets make some noise in the playoffs? Here are some key factors to the Nets' first round playoff matchup.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, D'Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Apr 10, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (3) posts up against Brooklyn Nets guard Treveon Graham (21) in the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Apr 10, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (3) posts up against Brooklyn Nets guard Treveon Graham (21) in the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

NEW YORK (AP) Dwyane Wade capped his career in style, with one last triple-double before heading off to retirement.

The Brooklyn Nets' destination is Philadelphia, where they are headed as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Wade had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in his final NBA game, which the Nets won by beating the Miami Heat 113-94 on Wednesday night to finish their remarkable turnaround at 42-40. >> Read More

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Mar 2, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (left) exchange jerseys with Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (right) after their game at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 2, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (left) exchange jerseys with Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (right) after their game at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Brooklyn (41-40) will face either third-seeded Philadelphia or second-seeded Toronto in the first round of the playoffs. The Nets are even with Orlando but own the head-the-head tiebreaker and would finish sixth with a win or if the Magic lose Wednesday at Charlotte.

The Nets are in this position because of what unfolded in a challenging road back-to-back set. After getting a five-point win at Milwaukee on Saturday, Brooklyn led most of the way and celebrated clinching a playoff berth with a 108-96 victory at Indiana on Sunday.

"To be honest, it is a big moment for us and a big moment for the organization, from where we've come from in the last couple of years, the improvement that we've had individually and collectively," Nets guard Joe Harris said at practice Tuesday. "Just to clinch a playoff spot, it's a big moment for the organization for sure, and we're all very happy. But at the same time, we still have Miami left to finish out the year the right way, and we still want to make some noise in the playoffs and make it competitive." >> Read More

 

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Apr 9, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson speaks to the media before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)
Apr 9, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson speaks to the media before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)

Among the many things Magic Johnson had to say Tuesday night as he announced his stunning resignation as Lakers president, he addressed the emergence of D'Angelo Russell as an All-Star for the Nets. 

Russell, whom the Lakers selected No. 2 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, was traded by Johnson to the Nets in June of 2017.

"We had to give up a really talented young player in D'Angelo Russell. And congratulations to him," Johnson said during his impromptu press conference. "We saw D'Angelo mature. He wasn't mature like he is now. He always had the talent to score, but he was immature. And now he's grown up, and that's why he's an All-Star."

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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Apr 6, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) talks with guard Treveon Graham (21) during the first half at Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)
Apr 6, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) talks with guard Treveon Graham (21) during the first half at Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Nets have already clinched their spot in their year's NBA playoffs, which would suggest head coach Kenny Atkinson rest his key players against the Heat on Wednesday to make sure they're 100 percent healthy for the big games this weekend right? 

Wrong.

"S--t we're trying to win," D'Angelo Russell told The Daily News' Stefan Bondy. "It makes sense if guys are banged up to rest. But I'm playing."

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Apr 7, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) dribbles the ball against Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison (2) during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Apr 7, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) dribbles the ball against Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison (2) during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) D'Angelo Russell scored 20 points and Joe Harris added 19 on Sunday, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 108-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers and back into the NBA playoffs for the first time in four years.

The Nets moved into position to clinch when Miami lost in overtime at Toronto earlier in the day. It's also the first time since 2014-15 the Nets have not posted a losing record.

Domantas Sabonis finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Pacers. Thaddeus Young scored 16 in a game coach Nate McMillan promised to closely monitor the minutes his players logged.

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Apr 6, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives to the basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half at Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)
Apr 6, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives to the basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half at Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)

As the Brooklyn Nets made their playoff drive, they knew the degree of difficulty they would face with their schedule in the last few weeks, especially with the final weekend.

After getting a dramatic win over the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, the Nets conclude a critical back-to-back set Sunday when they visit the Indiana Pacers, who will likely be the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.

"It says a lot about the team and the organization," Nets forward DeMarre Carroll said. "We just keep fighting and fighting. We don't want to stop here. We want to try to go to Indiana and pick up another one."

Tags: Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll
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Apr 6, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) dribbles the ball around Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill (3) during the first half at Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports  (Kamil Krzaczynski)
Apr 6, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) dribbles the ball around Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill (3) during the first half at Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)

MILWAUKEE (AP) D'Angelo Russell had 25 points and 10 assists, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks 133-128 on Saturday to improve their positioning in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Brooklyn (40-40) made 19 3-pointers and placed eight players in double figures. Caris LeVert had 24 points, and Jared Dudley finished with 16.

The Nets, who had dropped four of five, moved into sixth place in the East. Orlando also is 40-40, and Detroit is a half-game back with a 39-40 record.

Tags: Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Milwaukee Bucks
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Nov 29, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) controls the ball as he is watched closely by Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) in the fourth quarter at Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors beat the Warriors 131-128 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Nov 29, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) controls the ball as he is watched closely by Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) in the fourth quarter at Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors beat the Warriors 131-128 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

With just a few games left in the NBA regular season, the highly anticipated offseason will officially kick off for half the league. Teams like the New York Knicks will be ramping up their strategy for free agency, but their crosstown rival in the Brooklyn Nets could be headed to the postseason before they think about the offseason. 

The Nets are the NBA's surprise this season, with it's young core -- led by the emergence of All-Star PG D'Angelo Russell -- beating some of the best teams in the league on their way to a low seed in the Eastern Conference. They currently hold the seventh seed, but with three games left, a lot can happen in this tight race. 

Playoffs or no playoffs, the Nets have certainly put themselves on the map this season, and the top free agents expected to hit the market like Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and Kyrie Irving have taken notice, according to many reports...

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Apr 1, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) shoots the ball past Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 1, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) shoots the ball past Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

When the NBA playoffs start next week, the Milwaukee Bucks know they will have home-court advantage throughout. Whether the Brooklyn Nets are joining Milwaukee in the postseason remains unknown.

While the Bucks can rest up and get ready to potentially make their first finals appearance since 1974, the Nets are in a wild scramble to get one of the last three seeds and make the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Heading into Saturday's visit to Milwaukee, the Nets are jostling with the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Miami Heat for the sixth, seventh or eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. >> Read More

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Apr 7, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson yells to his team against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)
Apr 7, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson yells to his team against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)

Kenny Atkinson sat on a high stage in front of a large group of reporters and other basketball types. Behind him was a bright silhouette of the New York City skyline -- the highlight of Brooklyn's immaculate brand new practice facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He spoke confidently, yet humbly, having accepted his first job as a head coach after more than 14 years of playing professional basketball and more than 10 years of coaching.

Back in his home state, Atkinson told reporters, "Brooklyn is basketball."

Less than three years later, Brooklyn basketball is defined by the morals and values Atkinson has brought to the Nets. He preaches a team-first, blue-collar mentality that's helped blossom a culture. Egos are checked at the door.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Apr 3, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) grabs a rebound against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 3, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) grabs a rebound against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

NEW YORK (AP) Pascal Siakam had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 26 points and nine boards and the Toronto Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 115-105 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.

Serge Ibaka finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors (56-23), who need to win their final three games to match last season's franchise record for victories. Their victory prevented the Milwaukee Bucks from clinching the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

D'Angelo Russell had 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Nets, who fell to 39-40 and missed another chance to improve their playoff situation. They came into play seventh in the East but could have moved ahead of Detroit after the Pistons fell in Indiana.

Brooklyn has lost four of five. >> Read more

Tags: Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Toronto Raptors
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Feb 11, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris (12) shoots for a basket against Toronto Raptors in the second half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Dan Hamilton)
Feb 11, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris (12) shoots for a basket against Toronto Raptors in the second half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Dan Hamilton)

The Nets own head-to-head tiebreakers against Orlando and Detroit but not with Miami.

Following Wednesday, the Nets visit Milwaukee and Indiana on a back-to-back this weekend before ending the season at home next Wednesday against Miami.

Brooklyn has lost six of its past nine games since a four-game winning streak. The Nets returned home from a seven-game trip by beating Boston on Saturday but found themselves rallying from a slow start and falling short in a 131-121 home loss to Milwaukee on Monday. >> Read more

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Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson instructs in a huddle against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson instructs in a huddle against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

The Nets reportedly expect to sign head coach Kenny Atkinson and his staff to contract extensions, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Nets, who currently hold the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, are nearing their first playoff berth for the first time since 2015, in large part due to Atkinson.

In three years with Atkinson, Brooklyn's win total has gone up each season. It won 20 games in 2016-17, 28 last year and already has 39 wins this year.

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Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell is fouled by Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe during the first half at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell is fouled by Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe during the first half at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 11 rebounds in his return to the lineup, Eric Bledsoe added 29 points and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Brooklyn Nets 131-121 on Monday night.

Reserve guard George Hill chipped in 22 points while Brook Lopez and Sterling Brown each scored 14 for the Bucks, who played without All-Star forward Khris Middleton because of soreness in his left groin.

Tags: Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Milwaukee Bucks
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Feb 4, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) controls the ball against Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill (3) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 4, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) controls the ball against Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill (3) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

With a win against the Nets on Monday in Brooklyn, N.Y., and a little bit of help from the Orlando Magic, the Milwaukee Bucks can clinch home court throughout the playoffs.

Milwaukee is three games up on the Toronto Raptors with five games remaining. The Raptors and Magic tangle at the same time the Bucks and Nets will be squaring off.

For all intents and purposes, every game left for the Nets is like a playoff game.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Milwaukee Bucks
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Mar 30, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Ed Davis (17) drives past Boston Celtics forward Aron Baynes (46) in the second quarter against at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Mar 30, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Ed Davis (17) drives past Boston Celtics forward Aron Baynes (46) in the second quarter against at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

NEW YORK (AP) D'Angelo Russell scored 20 of his 29 points in another blistering third quarter against Boston, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 110-96 victory over the short-handed Celtics on Saturday night.

Back from a seven-game trip that lasted more than two weeks, the Nets had a happy homecoming thanks largely to Russell, who added 10 assists and finished with 25 points after halftime.

It was the third straight time he hurt the Celtics in the third quarter, and the Nets really needed this one after going 2-5 on the road and dropping into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Tags: Boston Celtics, D'Angelo Russell
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Jan 18, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) points during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jan 18, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) points during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

After seven games and 17 days on the road, the Brooklyn Nets are glad to return home.

Even if the schedule presents some tough challenges with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

One of those challenges occurs Saturday night when the Nets host the Boston Celtics, who are coming off a dramatic and important win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday.

Tags: Boston Celtics, D'Angelo Russell
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Jan 18, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) points during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jan 18, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) points during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Brooklyn Nets are all but back in the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2014-15. All that's really left to determine is who their opponent is going to be.

The Nets currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, up half a game against the eighth-seeded Miami Heat and behind half a game to the Detroit Pistons with six games to play. 

At the moment, they would face off against the Toronto Raptors in the first round, but with constantly shifting standings, the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks are potential adversaries too. Here's a look at which of the three teams makes for Brooklyn's best chance at an upset.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll, Jarrett Allen, Milwaukee Bucks, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Toronto Raptors
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Mar 28, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is called for an offensive foul against Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Mar 28, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is called for an offensive foul against Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid had 39 points, 13 rebounds and six assists to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 123-110 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.

JJ Redick scored 18 points and Ben Simmons had 16 points and eight assists for the 76ers, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

The game matched teams that would've met in the first round of the playoffs had the postseason started Thursday. The 76ers have a strong hold on the No. 3 seed in the East with seven games remaining, and they moved three games ahead of idle Indiana.

Joe Harris scored 22 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 19 for Brooklyn, which is clinging to a playoff spot.

Tags: Philadelphia 76ers, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
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Mar 25, 2019; Portland, OR, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts after getting fouled and scoring a basket during a double overtime game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Brooklyn Nets in double overtime 148-144. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Wayrynen)
Mar 25, 2019; Portland, OR, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts after getting fouled and scoring a basket during a double overtime game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Brooklyn Nets in double overtime 148-144. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Wayrynen)

The Nets fell 148-144 in double overtime on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.

It was a difficult game to complete as both teams watched Portland's Jusuf Nurkic taken off the court on a stretcher with a nasty left leg injury.

Point guard D'Angelo Russell continued his stellar play with a team-high 39 points for his third 30-point game in the last four. Russell also contributed nine rebounds and eight assists.

"I'm a nervous guy. He's just cool," Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters of Russell. "Doesn't get fazed. He's one of those guys, special guys, they really enjoy the moment. They don't get flustered. I never see him get frustrated. And keeps his cool, keeps his composure and keeps his IQ. Some guys, things go wrong and they go haywire. He kind of keeps locked in. That's a special thing he has."

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic makes a move to the basket against Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris and guard Spencer Dinwiddie during the first half at Moda Center. (Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic makes a move to the basket against Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris and guard Spencer Dinwiddie during the first half at Moda Center. (Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)

Jusuf Nurkic had 32 points and 16 rebounds before suffering a gruesome left leg injury in the second overtime, and the Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the Brooklyn Nets 148-144 on Monday night.

Nurkic was hurt when his leg bent awkwardly as he battled for an offensive rebound. His leg was immobilized and he was removed on a stretcher while surrounded by members of both teams.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Portland Trail Blazers
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Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie passes the ball away from Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee in the second half of a NBA game at the Staples Center. (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie passes the ball away from Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee in the second half of a NBA game at the Staples Center. (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

The Brooklyn Nets come to Portland to play the Trail Blazers Monday night with confidence, a two-game winning streak and some familiar faces.

The Nets (38-36) have won the last two stops on a seven-game, 15-day road trip - Portland is game No. 6 - with victories against the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers.

Brooklyn rallied from a 28-point deficit - the Nets trailed by 25 points heading into the fourth quarter - to beat the Kings 123-121 on Tuesday. On Friday, they downed the Lakers 111-106.

Tags: Portland Trail Blazers
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