After two games against two of the NBA's lower echelon teams, P.J. Carlesimo and his Brooklyn Nets will look to go into San Antonio tonight and score a victory over one of the NBA's elite teams. Carlesimo spent five years as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich from 2002-2007 and helped the Spurs win three NBA titles during that span.

Now, tonight, he'll face them as a head coach. Here is your New Years Eve pregame primer.

Tony Parker

Slump Busting

The Nets haven't won a regular season game in San Antonio in almost 11 years. The last victory was on 1/22/02 and the Nets were led by 28 points and 11 rebounds from Jason Kidd and 17 points from Keith Van Horn. They were able to best Tim Ducan's 32 points and seven combined blocked shots from him and David Robinson.

Brook Lopez's Resurgence

Brook Lopez has looked dominant over his last three games, averaging 27.3 points per game along with 10.7 rebounds. The defensive competition he faced wasn't of the higher caliber, though. So he'll be tested tonight when he squares off against the Spurs.

Tough Road Game

The Spurs have won nine consecutive home games and are 12-2 on the season at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs enjoy a very healthy home court advantage and are often the beneficiary of increased productivity from some of its key reserve players.

Kris Humphries Expected to be Available

[tweet https://twitter.com/NYDNInterNets/status/285798064067837952]

Humphries last played back on Dec. 19 when the Nets visited the Knicks at Madison Square Garden and has missed the Nets last five games. The Nets are expected to stick with the same lineup they've had for the past three games: Deron Williams, Keith Bogans, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez.

 

Tags: Columns, pregame primer, Moke Hamilton
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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 22 points and the Nets led by as many as 20 points, but Brooklyn ultimately fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime 112-104 on Thursday night. 

With Kyrie Irving now officially done for the season due to shoulder surgery, and Kevin Durant still recovering from Achilles surgery, much of the scoring onus for the Nets will now fall on their two young staring guards, Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert.

Dinwiddie had a very strong overall game, scoring 22 points to go along with eight assists and five rebounds, while LeVert scored a team-high 25 points in the OT loss.

The Sixers jumped out to a commanding 22-4 lead on Thursday night, but the Nets answered back thanks in part to strong play from their second unit. Brooklyn outscored the Sixers 32-16 in the second quarter, taking a 10-point lead into halftime.

Tags: Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Jan 12, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles up court during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 12, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles up court during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

There were probably more than a few eye rolls from outside observers when the NBA Players Association voted Kyrie Irving as vice president. 

Reports of Irving being distant with teammates earlier in his career have created a perception that the Nets star isn't a great teammate. Whether that perception is fair or not probably depends on what you've seen, what you know - or what you've heard - and how you view that information. 

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A couple days after being shut down for re-aggravating his shoulder injury, Nets PG Kyrie Irving will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, GM Sean Marks told reports on Thursday. 

SNY's Ian Begley reported earlier that if surgery was opted for, the expectation is Irving will miss the rest of the season. 

Irving has been dealing with shoulder bursitis throughout the season, and it already forced him to miss 26 games. Head coach Kenny Atkinson said on Tuesday that Irving was to see a specialist regarding his shoulder, and though he said he "wouldn't go there" when asked about his status the rest of the season, surgery would definitely make it end. 

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Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

Nets guard Kyrie Irving has re-aggravated the shoulder injury that caused him to miss 26 games this season and is out indefinitely, head coach Kenny Atkinson confirmed today.

Atkinson also said that Irving will see a specialist regarding his shoulder that has been continuously bothering him all season. He "wouldn't go there" when it came to concerns over Irving missing the remainder of the season.

Earlier this season, Irving opted to receive a cortisone shot instead of having surgery on the shoulder impingement, with hopes that it would be enough to get him through the pain. But obviously, that hasn't been the case.

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Nov 14, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)
Nov 14, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)

Nets guard Kyrie Irving has been elected as a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association. He replaces Pau Gasol, whose three-year term expired, on the union's executive committee. 

"This was the right time for me to run for a leadership position in the NBPA," Irving said in a statement. "I have been an observer and a participant in union affairs for a while, but for the most part, I was off on the sidelines, supporting our Executive Committee as they made important decisions. At this point in my career, I wanted to join forces with those guys and take a bigger role outside of the basketball court and within our union."

Irving is one of six vice presidents on the NBPA's executive committee, joining Bismack Biyombo, Malcom Brogdon, Jaylen Brown, C.J. McCollum and Garrett TempleChris Paul is the president, while Andre Iguodala is first vice president and Anthony Tolliver is secretary-treasurer. 

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 (Quinn Harris)
(Quinn Harris)

Nets guard Joe Harris was not able to successfully defend his crown in the 2020 NBA Three-Point Contest.

Shortly after Spencer Dinwiddie was defeated in the first round of the Skills Competition as part of Saturday night's All-Star Weekend festivities, Harris did not advance past the first round of the Three-Point Contest.

The rules for this year's contest were slightly different than in previous years, as the NBA introduced two new "Mountain Dew zones" to the floor, set up six feet behind the arc on the wings. Players could also pick one of their racks to be made entirely of "money balls" with each shot being worth two points.

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 (Dennis Wierzbicki)
(Dennis Wierzbicki)

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie participated in the NBA Taco Bell Skills Challenge at All-Star weekend in Chicago Saturday night, but didn't get to stay out there for as long as he'd have hoped.

Dinwiddie faced Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo, as the two were the opening duo to face off in the first round of the contest, and got both got off to quick starts ,swerving through the cones.

However, Dinwiddie missed his first pass attempt into the upright hoop, while Adebayo connected on his to take a lead he would never lose, hitting his three-point attempt on the first shot to knock Dinwiddie out of the challenge.

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Rich Kleiman
Rich Kleiman

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Rich Kleiman, Kevin Durant's manager and business partner with Thirty Five Ventures, was at the Museum of the City of New York on Tuesday. Kleiman was among the guests on hand to honor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Owen D. Thomas with Gotham Icon Awards.

Before checking out the new New York City basketball exhibition at the museum, Kleiman took a few minutes to speak with SNY about Durant, the Nets, Leon Rose, his name being linked to the Knicks presidency, Steve Stoute and his Stephon Marbury documentary.

The Q&A has been lightly edited for length.

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Feb 8, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) controls a ball as Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis (0) tries to defend during the third quarter at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports (Nick Turchiaro)
Feb 8, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) controls a ball as Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis (0) tries to defend during the third quarter at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports (Nick Turchiaro)

The Nets had a big comeback in the fourth quarter against the Raptors in Toronto on Saturday, but it fell one point short, 119-118.

Entering the fourth quarter with 100 points on the board, the Raptors only mustered 19 points in the final frame as DeAndre Jordan had a strong game defensively. Jordan had 14 total rebounds, including 11 in the Nets' end. 

The Raptors led by as much as 18 in the third quarter

Tags: Caris LeVert
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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

The Rockets completed a massive four-team trade this week, which included the Timberwolves, Nuggets and Hawks. 

The Nets were invited to be involved in those festivities, but opted not to join. 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets tried to acquire Nets center DeAndre Jordan. Per the report, the Nets turned down the offer made to them.

Tags: DeAndre Jordan
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 (Wendell Cruz)
(Wendell Cruz)

Even without Kyrie Irving in the lineup, the Nets destroyed the Warriors 129-88 on Wednesday night, marking the most lopsided victory for Brooklyn in the history of Barclays Center.

The Nets' 41-point margin of victory is the largest for the team since the 2009 season, when the Nets defeated the Nuggets by 44 points, with a final score of 114-70.

One of the biggest storylines for the game was that D'Angelo Russell made his return to Brooklyn, appearing as a visitor for the first time since this past offseason's sign-and trade deal that sent him to Golden State and brought Kevin Durant to Brooklyn.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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Jan 29, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) shoots a layup with Detroit Pistons point guard Derrick Rose (25) in pursuit during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Jan 29, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) shoots a layup with Detroit Pistons point guard Derrick Rose (25) in pursuit during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly inquired about Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe.

Lowe joined ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on The Woj Pod for an NBA trade deadline episode, and spoke about what types of moves the Lakers could make before 3 PM on Feb. 6.

"However the Lakers do have Kyle Kuzma," Lowe said. "We've heard him floated for lots of different guys, including not Marcus Morris, not Andre Iguodala, but point guard types.

"Not just Iguodala and Marcus Morris, but Spencer Dinwiddie, Dennis Schroder, I think that they've made some calls on."

Tags: Spencer Dinwiddie
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Dec 17, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris (12) celebrates with guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) during overtime as New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) looks on at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports (Derick E. Hingle)
Dec 17, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris (12) celebrates with guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) during overtime as New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) looks on at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports (Derick E. Hingle)

Although the Nets will be without an All-Star this season, they will still be well represented at NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago, as Spencer Dinwiddie prepares to participate in the Skills Competition, and Joe Harris gets set to defend his 3-point contest championship.

Harris, a career 42.3 percent shooter from 3-point range, is having a slight down year from beyond the arc, shooting just 40.5 percent -- he shot at a 47.4 percent clip from three last season.

Despite that slight dip, Harris is still ready to defend the title he won during last season's 3-point competition, when he narrowly defeated Stephen Curry 26-24 in the final round to claim the trophy.

Tags: Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie
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 (Green, Jacob (206636922))
(Green, Jacob (206636922))

Nets forward Kevin Durant was seen running -- even almost sprinting -- for the first time since rupturing his achilles back in June during the NBA Finals as a member of the Golden State Warriors.

Durant, who tore his achilles in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors, was seen running with a football at the Nets' practice facility on Tuesday in Brooklyn. He also managed to throw a pass across the court after the run.


With Kyrie Irving out with a knee sprain, the Nets needed someone to step up as they fight to remain seventh in the Eastern Conference. On Monday, Caris LeVert assumed that role.

Making his first appearance in the starting lineup since Nov. 10, LeVert went off for a game-high 29 points on 10-for-20 shooting, the most he's scored all season and a tie for the most he's had in his career.

"We needed it," head coach Kenny Atkinson said. "He did it on both ends. His defense was excellent and, of course, offensively. He really, really carried us."

Tags: Caris LeVert, Joe Harris
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Jan 29, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets small forward Joe Harris (12) shoots a three point jump shot over Detroit Pistons shooting guard Langston Galloway (9) defending during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Jan 29, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets small forward Joe Harris (12) shoots a three point jump shot over Detroit Pistons shooting guard Langston Galloway (9) defending during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Joe Harris will defend his title in the NBA's Three-Point Content at All-Star Weekend on Feb. 15, the Nets' swingman confirmed prior to the team's game against the Suns on Monday.

Harris won the competition last season in his first appearance, defeating the likes of Steph CurryDamian LillardDevin Booker and Dirk Nowitzki, among others. At one point, he made 12 consecutive shots en route to the title.

His confirmed competition this season includes Lillard, Buddy Hield and Trae Young.

Tags: Joe Harris
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Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets staff tends to guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets staff tends to guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

After the Nets revealed Sunday that Kyrie Irving's knee injury from Saturday's 113-107 loss to the Wizards (17-31) was a sprain and not a tear, Brooklyn's star point guard expanded on the medial ligament sprain diagnosis.

Taking to Instagram later Sunday evening, Irving shared a story that showed white text on a black screen, typing out the following message exactly as it appears below.

"I appreciate everyone reaching out!" Irving wrote. "I'll be okay after last nights tweak with my knee. Honestly, what a scare, but I know God and the angels definitely looked out for me on that one! The Marathon Continues though, gotta keep the same focus and determination to get back out there when I'm Healthy! What a week of Challenges, but I trust in the Divine Purpose of life!"

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Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts after getting his legs tangled swithb Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during the fourth quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts after getting his legs tangled swithb Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during the fourth quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

The Nets avoided a catastrophe, as Kyrie Irving's MRI revealed only a "medial ligament strain" in his right knee, the team announced. He will be re-evaluated in one week.

Brooklyn announced Saturday night that Irving had suffered a knee sprain, but many expected the worst when the star point guard clutched at his right knee in pain after getting tangled up with Bradley Beal in the fourth quarter. As the two went down to the ground fighting for the ball, Irving's leg ended up bent in an awkward position underneath Beal.

Once the play was ruled a jump ball, Irving rolled over on the floor and was noticeably writhing in pain and grabbing his leg. After getting up, stretching out his leg and losing the jump ball, Irving subbed out of the game and went back to the locker room immediately.

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Jan 29, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) dribbles the ball and gives direction against the Detroit Pistons during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Jan 29, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) dribbles the ball and gives direction against the Detroit Pistons during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

After Kyrie Irving led the Nets to a 133-118 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night with a 54-point performance, teammate Spencer Dinwiddie expressed his feelings on not being invited to the Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend.

"Look at it like this: I won the Skills Challenge and didn't get invited back," Dinwiddie said. "What does that f---in' say? Have you ever met a winner of an award not get invited back? Now that s--t is pretty crazy. Folks don't care about me. I'm Spencer. Quit playin'."

Dinwiddie won the 2018 Skills Challenge in Los Angeles, CA., beating Chicago Bulls' Lauri Markkanen in the finals. Though, he was not able to participate in the 2019 Skills Challenge due to an injury.

Tags: Spencer Dinwiddie
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Jan 31, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacsts after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 31, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacsts after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Kyrie Irving had a night to remember on Friday against the Bulls.

The six-time All-Star scored 54 points on 19-of-23 shooting in 31 remarkable minutes at Barclays Center. Irving was 7-of-9 from beyond the arc and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. He also added five assists and five rebounds as the Nets beat the Bulls 133-118.

Irving's 54 points are the third most ever by a Net in a single game, just three points shy of Deron Williams' record, set in March 2012 against Charlotte. He also became the first Net to score 45+ points three times in a single season, an incredible fact considering it was just his 19th game with the team this season. He is also the first Net ever to record multiple 50-point games in the same season.

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Jan 18, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 18, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Kyrie Irving had a perfect first half against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

In 16 minutes, Irving went 10-for-10 from the floor. The six-time All-Star knocked down all four of his three-point attempts, including a buzzer-beater from well beyond the after stealing the ball at half-court to end the first half.

The Nets led Chicago 73-57 at the half, with Irving leading all scorers. He also added three rebounds and one assist. 

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 (Tim Fuller)
(Tim Fuller)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Like all teams around the NBA, the Nets have been mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant

Star point guard Kyrie Irving discussed his relationship with Bryant after Wednesday's win over Detroit. He said that Bryant's death still feels like an 'open wound.'

Tags: Caris LeVert, Ian Begley
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Following the Nets' 125-115 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, Kyrie Irving spoke about the impact that the late Kobe Bryant had on his life.

For Irving, it was his first time speaking publicly about Bryant, who, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, passed away at the age of 41 in a helicopter accident on Sunday. 

Irving, who Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said was much closer to Bryant than many knew, spoke about how much of an impact that Bryant had on his life, both on and off of the court. In fact, Bryant offered Irving guidance while he was navigating his trade demand out of Cleveland.

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Before the Brooklyn Nets tipped off with the Detroit Pistons for Wednesday's game, Barclays Center stood still during a pregame tribute to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

The 41-year-old Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter died Sunday in a southern California helicopter crash that killed nine people while reportedly going from Calabasas to nearby Thousand Oaks, where the Mamba Sports Academy is located, for a travel basketball game.

In the few days that have followed, the tragic accident has shaken the sports world to its core. The impact Bryant had was evident again prior to the midweek contest as Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving -- who did not play in Sunday's 110-97 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden due to personal reasons -- was among those who appeared shaken up, fighting back tears during Brooklyn's tribute to the Bryants.

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Jan 15, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) stands for the anthem before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Jan 15, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) stands for the anthem before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

After not playing in Sunday's game against the Knicks following the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving is expected to play on Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons, per Nets coach Kenny Atkinson.

"Yes, I expect him to play. I think we all understand that we have to focus on the task at hand and our jobs," Atkinson said on Wednesday. "Obviously, the message is we have to make up some ground here before the All-Star break, and it starts tonight at home against a team we battled with the other night.

"We've been in contact and we've talked, and I think it's hard for me to get into what, when, how, where, but yes, we've been communicating."

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Nets star Kyrie Irving returned to the practice court on Tuesday for the first time since the death of his mentor, Kobe Bryant

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson didn't want to speak for Irving, but he noted that his point guard was 'tremendously affected' by Bryant's death. 

"I think he was closer to Kobe than people realize. …Very, very affected (by Bryant's death)," Atkinson said after Tuesday's practice. "He practiced today, kind of stoic and quiet. Competed his tail off in practice and was really good. But you can see, he's obviously still affected."

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Nets F Kevin Durant was the latest NBA star to share this thoughts about the tragic death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on Tuesday. 

Much like everyone around the league, Durant is still trying to process the event. 

"It's still hard to process. It's a tragedy," he told the media after Nets practice. "It made so many people in the world sad. I had the opportunity to compete against Kobe and be around him in a human space was a joy. It's hard to comprehend all of this, but having that time and those moments with Kobe was always about pressing forward and I think at this time it's so hard to do so with the amount of impact he had on all of us."

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Jan 26, 2020; New York, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) drives to the basket against New York Knicks guard Elfrid Payton (6) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 26, 2020; New York, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) drives to the basket against New York Knicks guard Elfrid Payton (6) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Nets G Spencer Dinwiddie, who idolized the late Kobe Bryant, is changing from No. 8 to No. 26 to honor him, Dinwiddie announced via social media on Tuesday.

Bryant wore No. 8 and No. 24 during his 20-year career with the Lakers.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Dinwiddie is among a host of players who have unofficially begun retiring Bryant's numbers. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced Sunday that Dallas would be retiring No. 24 to honor Bryant.

Tags: Spencer Dinwiddie, Danny Abriano
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Several NBA players weighed in on the league's decision to play Sunday's slate of games in the wake of Kobe Bryant's death.

Some, like Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard, felt that playing in games on Sunday was the proper way to honor Bryant, one of the most relentless competitors in NBA history.

"I know he'd have wanted me to come out here and try to ball and still just be great,so that's what I tried to do tonight," said Leonard, who knew Bryant personally, on Sunday.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Ian Begley
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Jan 26, 2020; New York, New York, USA; The exterior of Madison Square Garden is lit up in purple and gold, the colors of the Los Angeles Lakers, in memory of basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash today in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 26, 2020; New York, New York, USA; The exterior of Madison Square Garden is lit up in purple and gold, the colors of the Los Angeles Lakers, in memory of basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash today in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

As the world mourns the death of Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash that killed nine people, honors and tributes have rolled in throughout the past 24 hours to honor the Los Angeles Lakers and NBA legend.

New York has embraced Bryant by honoring him in various ways, and the latest tribute is set to come from an iconic part of the city's identity. The Empire State Building announced it would be lit up in purple and gold Monday night to honor Bryant.

Los Angeles County authorities confirmed Sunday that Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a southern California helicopter crash killing nine people. The flight from Calabasas to nearby Thousand Oaks, where the Bryant-owned Mamba Sports Academy resides, served as transportation for a travel basketball game, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday.

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When the Nets won the opening tip in Sunday's game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Jarrett Allen's jump-ball tap went into the hands of Spencer Dinwiddie, who crossed the half-court line and took the 24-second shot-clock violation on the opening possession.

The move, which the Knicks did as well on the ensuing possession with Elfrid Payton, was planned as a tribute to Kobe Bryant. The NBA legend, who spent all 20 seasons with the Lakers, died earlier in California on Sunday when a Calabasas helicopter crash killed the 41-year-old Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna among nine people reportedly on the way to his Mamba Sports Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks.

"That's all about him," Dinwiddie said of the Knicks' and Nets' honoring Bryant, whose first name was chanted by the crowd on hand at MSG after the plays and throughout the evening. "That shows what he meant to people. He didn't play for the Knicks and Madison Square Garden was on their feet. The loudest they were all night was for him."

Tags: Spencer Dinwiddie
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Jan 26, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) dunks against Brooklyn Nets forward Nicolas Claxton (33) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 26, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) dunks against Brooklyn Nets forward Nicolas Claxton (33) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Knicks avoided a three-game losing streak with Sunday's 110-97 win over the Nets at Madison Square Garden. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Sunday's game

1) There was a somber mood before the contest even tipped off. The NBA world mourned the sudden loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died earlier Sunday in a Calabasas, California, helicopter crash that killed nine people. The 41-year-old Bryant was on board a short flight to his nearby Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. TMZ first reported the incident and local authorities confirmed the details.

Tags: Spencer Dinwiddie
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Sunday evening's game between the Knicks and the Nets at Madison Square Garden started in unique fashion, with both teams honoring the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

After an initial TMZ report and later confirmation from authorities earlier in the afternoon that the former Lakers star died in a helicopter crash that killed him and his daughter Gianna among nine casualties in Calabasas, California, New York's two teams started the game with a touching tribute.

Jarrett Allen won the opening tip against Taj Gibson and Spencer Dinwiddie brought the ball across the half-court line as the Nets held for all 24 seconds and took a shot-clock violation. As chants of "Kobe" broke out from the crowd on hand at MSG, the Knicks did the same on the ensuing possession, with Elfrid Payton walking the ball up past the logo and holding for 24 seconds.

Tags: Spencer Dinwiddie
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Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson took the time to address the tragic news of Kobe Bryant's death ahead of Brooklyn's game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

And he couldn't hold back his emotions. 

It's an extremely tough subject to talk about, and Atkinson was choking back tears as he spoke for the organization...

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Jan 12, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles up court during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 12, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles up court during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Nets PG Kyrie Irving will miss Sunday's game against the Knicks due to personal reasons, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports. 

Those personal reasons stem from the tragic news that Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Irving and Bryant had a "close friendship," as Charania points out. Nets Daily's Anthony Puccio tweeted that Irving left Madison Square Garden after hearing the news. 

In his statement before the game, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was emotional while delivering his message, mentioning "a player that was very close to Kobe" and how everyone was praying for him in reference to Irving. 

Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were among the five people killed in the accident. They were on their way to a travel basketball game along with another player and parent. 

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Apr 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) looks on after the Lakers defeat of the Utah Jazz 101-96 at Staples Center in Bryant's final game of his career. Bryant scored 60 points in the game. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)
Apr 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) looks on after the Lakers defeat of the Utah Jazz 101-96 at Staples Center in Bryant's final game of his career. Bryant scored 60 points in the game. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash on Sunday at the age of 41. 

There were nine people killed in the helicopter that went down around 10 a.m. PST in Calabasas, Calif, officials said. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were on their way to a travel basketball game, were among those dead, according to multiple reports, confirming the initial TMZ story

Bryant has been flying via helicopter for years, going back to his playing days to avoid LA traffic. 

Also on the chopper was Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, along with his wife and daughter, according to the Brewster Whitecaps -- the team that Altobelli used to coach. 

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Jan 25, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during overtime against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Jan 25, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during overtime against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

The Nets beat the Detroit Pistons 121-111 in overtime on Saturday night, as star point guard Kyrie Irving had one of his best games of the season, scoring 45 points to go along with seven assists and six rebounds in 40 minutes of action.

After the win, Irving talked about what the team's key to victory will be against the Knicks on Sunday.

"Get as much rest as we can, take care of our bodies in the morning time, and just come ready to play," Irving said. "Obviously we know they play pretty different at home, but it's still New York vs. New York, and we understand that. So it's going to be a pretty uptempo game, as well as the crowd will get into it, but you look forward to that."

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Kyrie Irving and LeBron James played three seasons together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and while their relationship was reportedly strained at times, the duo combined to reach three NBA Finals and capture an NBA title in 2015-16.

On Thursday night, Irving and James went head-to-head as the Nets hosted the Lakers at Barclays Center, with the Lakers coming away with a 128-113 win.

James finished with a triple-double, scoring 27 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and adding 10 assists. Irving, meanwhile, finished with a team-leading 20 points to go along with four assists.

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The Nets are scuffling of late, having dropped 11 of their last 13 games.

The road doesn't get any easier for Brooklyn, as the Los Angeles Lakers -- owners of the NBA's best record in the West at 35-9 -- come to Barclays Center for a matchup on Thursday.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and point guard Spencer Dinwiddie know the challenge of trying to slow down LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the rest of the high-powered Lakers.

Tags: Spencer Dinwiddie
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The Nets had no answer for Ben Simmons on Monday, who finished with a triple-double (34 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists) as the Sixers knocked off Brooklyn 117-111.

Despite Simmons' big game, head coach Kenny Atkinson spotted some other areas of concern for his team.

"Obviously there are two big keys to this game," Atkinson said. "Give them credit for the first one, they turned us over a ton, 22 turnovers. Then I thought they really hurt us on the glass."

Tags: Jarrett Allen
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Jan 18, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving watches play against the Milwaukee Bucks from the bench during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 18, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving watches play against the Milwaukee Bucks from the bench during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The return of Kyrie Irving from his right shoulder impingement, an injury that sidelined him for 26 straight games, has given the Nets an interesting past week.

After the star point guard's career-high outing in his first game back, last Sunday's 108-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks, the days that ensued ensued with losses on the court and outside criticism off it.

Following Saturday's 117-97 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, which marked the Nets' third straight and 10 in their past 13 games, Irving kept a positive outlook on Brooklyn's 2019-20 season -- one he believes still includes the playoffs.

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Kyrie Irving had some strong words to say as he spoke with the media at Nets practice Friday afternoon.

The point guard defended the way he pushes his teammates and the organizations he's played for, after being criticized over comments he made earlier in the week.

"It's a telltale sign of the career that I've had," Irving said. "Some of the moves that I've made individually, and then as well as coming to different enviornments and organizations. ...It's not like I'm an a--hole yelling at everybody in the freaking locker room all the time and you hear all these stories." 

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Kyrie Irving (Bill Streicher)
Kyrie Irving (Bill Streicher)

After losing their second straight game and eighth in the last 10 games, Kyrie Irving had some interesting post-game comments. 

Irving has only been back three games after dealing with shoulder bursitis, and the Nets are 1-2 in that span. However, losing to the 76ers -- a top seed in the Eastern Conference at 31-16 -- the All-Star point guard was asked about whether or not Brooklyn can compete with teams like Philadelphia. 

Here's what Irving had to say on the matter:

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Donovan Mitchell's New York roots run deep, and on Tuesday night he returned to the Empire State as the Utah Jazz visited the Brooklyn Nets.

Mitchell, an Elmsford, N.Y. native whose father works as the Mets Director of Player Relations and Community Engagement, scored 25 points and added dour assists in Utah's 118-107 win at Barclays Center.

After the game, Mitchell said that he always enjoys coming back home to New York. 

"For some reason I was kind of nervous to start the game, just being back home and getting the nerves or whatever," Mitchell said. "I always love being back home in front of my friends and family, and I think we've won pretty much most of the times when we're back home, so it's been good."

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Jan 12, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter (15) dribbles up court during the second quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jan 12, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter (15) dribbles up court during the second quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

While Kyrie Irving's return from injury was the main story in Sunday's 108-86 Nets win over the Hawks, the star point guard's career-best shooting performance wasn't the only headline coming out of Barclays Center.

Against the Nets for the final time, Hawks small forward Vince Carter got his farewell. As he gets set to retire from the NBA after 22 seasons, the former New Jersey star from 2004-09 made one last appearance before Nets fans.

A fan of the team while growing up in West Orange, NJ, Irving idolized Carter and former star point guard Jason Kidd. Reflecting on Carter's impact, Irving did not mince words when asked about how the Nets should honor him.

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For the first time since Nov. 14, Kyrie Irving was back in uniform with the Nets, who welcomed the star point guard back with open arms in Sunday's 108-86 rout of the Atlanta Hawks.

Brooklyn's second straight win followed Friday's 117-113 comeback victory against the Miami Heat (27-12), as they throttled the Hawks (8-32) behind Irving's game-high 21 points on a career-best 91 percent (10-of-11) shooting.

Head coach Kenny Atkinson recapped Irving's return to action for the first time in 26 games, while center Jarrett Allen added more on how the point guard's offensive involvement gave the the Nets (18-20) a much-needed boost to cap the weekend at Barclays Center.

Tags: Jarrett Allen
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After he missed 26 straight games with his right shoulder impingement, Kyrie Irving came back for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Hawks and starred.

Among his game-high 21 points, Irving shot a personal-best 91 percent from the field, making 10 of 11 shots, as the Nets welcomed back their starting point guard and rolled to a 108-86 win over the Hawks at Barclays Center in New York.

"It was kind of a long road back," Irving said after the win. "A lot of questions I had to answer (about the) health of my shoulder, longevity, what would have been the best option for my health long-term. Once I got that foundation set, it was easy to make that decision (to return to the court)."

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Kyrie Irving will officially return to the Nets lineup Sunday night against the Hawks, the team announced.

Brooklyn hasn't seen Irving take the court for them since Nov. 14, as the star point guard had been dealing with a right shoulder injury for the last two months.

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Mar 24, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Sean Marks general manager of the Brooklyn Nets talks at a press conference announcing the Long Island Nets D League team before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Mar 24, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Sean Marks general manager of the Brooklyn Nets talks at a press conference announcing the Long Island Nets D League team before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

Nearing the halfway mark of the NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets find themselves eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 17-20 record. Offense has been a major problem. Brooklyn is ranked just 24th in offensive efficiency through 37 games. 

Brooklyn's shot profile is a modern NBA analytics dream. According to Basketball Reference, Brooklyn is ranked first in shots attempted around the rim (34.8 percent) and sixth in three-point attempt rate (41.7 percent). The problem is that the Nets are third worst in the league in three-point percentage at 32.9 percent and they are converting just 62.4 percent of their attempts around the rim. That is the fifth-worst mark in the association.

Having Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert miss significant time due to injury hurt as the Nets lost two of their key ball handlers. Irving and LeVert help break down the defense and open up the three-point shots that the Nets heavily rely on in their offense.

Tags: Caris LeVert, DeAndre Jordan, Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs
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