John Paolantonio, SNYNets.com

NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets got off to the best start in franchise history in November, opening the season 11-4. A major reason for the success was the Nets bench.  The "Bench Mob" put up great numbers, allowed Avery Johnson to give his starters sufficient rest, and often extended leads.

But after losing four straight games, it's obvious how much the Nets have missed Brook Lopez. And an understated reason for the recent losing has been the recent inefficiency of the bench.

In the first 15 games of the season, the Nets bench—Andray, Blatche, CJ Watson, Reggie Evans, Jerry Stackhouse and Keith Bogans—were excelling together most of the time with either Joe Johnson or Deron Williams on the floor with them.

In November, the Nets played well with Brook Lopez starting in the middle and solidifying the interior defense. Lopez scored and blocked shots at a higher rate than ever before in his career.  Back on Nov. 28, the Nets defeated the Boston Celtics in Boston. Late in that win, Lopez hurt his foot and hasn't played since.

At the time Lopez got hurt, the Nets reserves were averaging about 30 points, 18 rebounds and five assists per game. And a big reason for that was Blatche. He was coming off the bench as Lopez's primary backup and sparked the second unit.

The team has not been the same since the Lopez injury, currently on a four game losing streak, and it is  most evident in the play of the bench and the lack of production from them. Blatche, the team's most efficient reserve, has been forced to start with Lopez sidelined and the dynamic of the team has been throw off.

After the Nets 97-88 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night, I spoke with C.J. Watson, another key reserve for the team. He, like most others in the locker room, was a bit somber.

When asked if the injury to Lopez has affected the bench's mentally, Watson didn't agree. "I don't think so," he said. "We still have to be aggressive and do what we can do when we are in the game and cant really have any excuses."

He continued, "We have to go out there and do what we can."

What he did agree with, though, was that the Nets defensive dynamic has changed without Lopez in the lineup. "Losing Brook is a big piece of the team," he said. "I think he was averaging 4 blocks a game, that does take a toll, but we still have to go out there and be productive without him."

Since Lopez went down and Blatche has started at center, the bench is averaging just 13 points and eight rebounds per game, and that's a major part of the reason why they've lost four straight.

If the Nets want to resemble the team that began the season 11-4, a healthy Lopez is necessary. Once he returns, Blatche can return to the bench and things will fall back into place.

After losing four straight, The Nets need a win in the worst way. On Tuesday, the New York Knicks visit Barclays Center, so winning the next one won't be an easy task, but Lopez practiced on Monday and is officially listed as a "game-time decision," so until tip-off, the Nets will hope that both he and the "Bench Mob" will make a return.

John Paolantonio is a Contributor to SNYNets.com and is the Founder of Pings HoopsYou can follow him on Twitter @pingshoops

 

Tags: brook lopez, Brooklyn Nets, cj watson, Columns

Daily News Live: Sports gambling 00:03:44
Eric Chemi of CNBC joins Daily News Live to discuss the legalization of sports gambling and the ramifications of this newly amended bill.

The United States Supreme Court struck down a 25-year old law on Monday that had basically prevented all states except Nevada from having legalized sports gambling. "The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," the Supreme Court announced. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own."

The ruling was an enormous immediate victory for the state of New Jersey, which could have a gambling venue open in Monmouth Park within a few weeks, according to the NY Post. There will be a press conference in Monmouth Park Monday at 1 p.m. Aside from New Jersey, The Post notes that New York and Illinois are among roughly 15 other states who have "introduced bills to legalize and regulate sports betting tied to the Supreme Court outcome." 

The NBA and MLB have been preparing for Monday's potential outcome, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who said each league had hired lobbying firms, submitted written statements, and sent executives to testify in statehouses. Windhorts added that every professional sports league had been involved, with the NBA and MLB at the forefront...

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Mar 25, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill (3) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 25, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill (3) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Nets G D'Angelo Russell summed up his first season in Brooklyn as "wavy" and "up and down" but believes he and the rest of the team can build upon the experience for next season.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

BOSTON (AP) Aron Baynes led a short-handed Boston lineup with a career-best 26 points and 14 rebounds, carrying the Celtics to a 110-97 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night in the regular season finale.

Jonathan Gibson scored 18 points, Guerschon Yabusele had 16 and Shane Larkin added 12 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Celtics (55-27).

Nik Stauskas scored 18 points for the Nets (28-54) who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Allen Crabbe had 16 points. >> Read More

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Mar 25, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill (3) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 25, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill (3) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Celtics are 3-0 against Brooklyn this season, but the three wins have been by a total of 12 points -- and Irving was the leading scorer in each of the three games. >> Read more

"Things are maybe turning that corner that we wanted to get a little early in the season, but it's better late than never," Allen Crabbe said after his career-high 41 points led his team to a 114-105 win over the Chicago Bulls Monday night.

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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Nets SG Allen Crabbe dropped a career-high 41 points to lead Brooklyn over the Bulls, 114-105, for their second straight win over Chicago. >> Box Score

Tags: Jarrett Allen
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Mar 25, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill (3) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 25, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill (3) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets often shoot 3-pointers but not necessarily at a record pace.

After making a franchise-record 24 3-pointers on Saturday, the Nets attempt to produce another good showing from behind the arc Monday night when they host the Chicago Bulls in the second game of a home-and-home set.

The Nets average 35.5 attempts from 3-point range and are making 35.6 percent of their attempts heading into their final home game. The Nets increased their percentage from behind the arc by making 24 of 55 in Saturday's 124-96 rout at Chicago. >> Read more

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Apr 7, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Quincy Acy (13) shoots against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)
Apr 7, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Quincy Acy (13) shoots against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Nets set a new franchise record with 24 three-pointers in Saturday night's 124-96 win over the Bulls on Sunday.

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Apr 7, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Quincy Acy (13) smiles after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)
Apr 7, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Quincy Acy (13) smiles after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Kamil Krzaczynski)

CHICAGO (AP) Quincy Acy helped the Brooklyn Nets set a franchise record with 24 3-pointers in a 124-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

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Mar 31, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 31, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

CHICAGO - From a standings perspective, the Brooklyn Nets don't have much left to play for this season.

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Mar 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

MILWAUKEE (AP) Allen Crabbe scored 25 points and hit two 3-pointers in the closing minutes of a tight game, and the Brooklyn Nets shot 48 percent from behind the arc to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 119-111 on Thursday night.

The sharpshooting Nets were 19 of 39 from 3-point range, dealing a blow to the Bucks' hopes of moving up from the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Crabbe was clutch by hitting two of his five 3s over the final three minutes, the second coming with 1:18 left to give the Nets a six-point lead that sent Bucks fans to the exits.

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Mar 21, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) reacts with center Jarrett Allen (31) against the Charlotte Hornets in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Mar 21, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) reacts with center Jarrett Allen (31) against the Charlotte Hornets in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

MILWAUKEE -- Thanks to the Detroit Pistons' loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks will take to the court Thursday against Brooklyn assured of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Where the Bucks will be seeded and ultimately who they'll face when the postseason begins remains to be season, leaving plenty to play for over the final four games of the regular season.

Those four games also give forward Jabari Parker chances to build up his strength as he continues his return from ACL surgery in February.

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Apr 3, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Marco Belinelli (18) shoots during the fourth quarter of the game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers won the game 121-95. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)
Apr 3, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Marco Belinelli (18) shoots during the fourth quarter of the game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers won the game 121-95. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) J.J. Redick scored 19 points and Ben Simmons had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their 11th straight victory, 121-95 over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

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Mar 31, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 31, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The question of whether the Philadelphia 76ers can survive without Joel Embiid has been answered with a resounding yes as they take an NBA-best 10-game winning streak into Tuesday night's matchup with the Brooklyn Nets.

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 (Kevin Jairaj)
(Kevin Jairaj)

Nets G Isaiah Whitehead underwent successful surgery to repair the scapholunate ligament on his right wrist Tuesday, per NetsDaily's Anthony Puccio.

Whitehead sprained his wrist last week, and upon further examination, the Nets realized he needed surgery to repair the ligament.

The 23-year-old jumped back and forth between the Nets and G League Long Island Nets this season. He averaged 22.3 points, 3.6 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and shot 45 percent from the field in 30 games with Long Island this season. 

Tags: Isaiah Whitehead
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Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie defends against Detroit Pistons guard Luke Kennard during the second quarter at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie defends against Detroit Pistons guard Luke Kennard during the second quarter at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)

Reggie Jackson scored 29 points, Stanley Johnson had 17, and the Detroit Pistons preserved their slim playoff hopes with a 108-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night.

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Mar 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

NEW YORK -- The Detroit Pistons are playing better recently but it is likely a case of too little, too late.

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Mar 31, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 31, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

MIAMI (AP) Caris Levert scored with about a half-minute left in overtime to put Brooklyn up for good, Dwyane Wade missed on a play where he thought he got fouled at the buzzer and the Nets beat the Miami Heat 110-109 on Saturday night.

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Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd looks to the scoreboard during Game 3 of the NBA basketball playoffs against the Chicago Bulls Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)  (Aaron Gash/AP)
Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd looks to the scoreboard during Game 3 of the NBA basketball playoffs against the Chicago Bulls Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash) (Aaron Gash/AP)

Former Nets guard Jason Kidd is expected to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2018, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Kidd played six-and-a-half seasons of his 19-year career with the Nets and was an All-Star each one of his first three. Kidd led the Nets to back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals in his first two seasons.  

He was a 10-time All-Star, the 1994-95 Rookie of the Year, NBA champion with the Mavericks in 2010, and ranks second all-time in assists (12,091).

Kidd went into coaching after retiring, becoming the head coach of the Nets in 2013. After spending one season there and leading the Nets to a playoff series victory, he transitioned to Milwaukee as the Bucks head coach. However, he was fired midway this season after the team posted a 23-22 record. 

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) D'Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert each scored 16 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 111-104 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. >> Read More

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Mar 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Brooklyn Nets are getting off to good starts of late. Finishing games are the problem and a cause of their three-game losing streak. >> Read more

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Mar 25, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill (3) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 25, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard George Hill (3) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK (AP) LeBron James had 37 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Brooklyn Nets 121-114 on Sunday for their fifth straight victory.

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 (Nick Turchiaro)
(Nick Turchiaro)

The Nets poor fourth-quarter performance allowed the Raptors a comeback 16-112 win on their home court. >> Box Score

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Mar 21, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) reacts with center Jarrett Allen (31) against the Charlotte Hornets in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Mar 21, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) reacts with center Jarrett Allen (31) against the Charlotte Hornets in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

The Nets (23-49) are coming off a 111-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets when they squandered 23-point lead on Wednesday at Barclays Center. >> Read more

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Mar 21, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) reacts with center Jarrett Allen (31) against the Charlotte Hornets in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Mar 21, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) reacts with center Jarrett Allen (31) against the Charlotte Hornets in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

NEW YORK (AP) - Dwight Howard had 32 points and 30 rebounds, becoming the first player with a 30-30 game against the Nets since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978, and the Charlotte Hornets stormed back to beat Brooklyn 111-105 on Wednesday night.

Kemba Walker scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for the Hornets, who trailed by as many 23 points in the second half to win in front of an announced crowd of 10,231 at Barclay Center while a heavy snowfall outside blanketed the New York City area.

Trailing 105-102 with 2:14 left in regulation, the Hornets went on a 9-0 run to pull off the impressive comeback. >> Read more

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Mar 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell (1) reacts against the Memphis Grizzlies in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Mar 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell (1) reacts against the Memphis Grizzlies in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

NEW YORK -- In their last two games, the Brooklyn Nets made enough plays in the fourth quarter and won.

If they get into a close game Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets at Barclays Center and make the plays on both ends in the fourth quarter, the Nets will be on their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Brooklyn (23-48) won consecutive games for the fifth time this season Monday when it held off the Memphis Grizzlies for a 118-115 victory. The Nets outscored the Grizzlies 31-21 in the final 12 minutes, doing so after limiting the Dallas Mavericks to 17 points in the fourth on Saturday. >> Read more

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Brooklyn Nets guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson puts up a shot against Memphis Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green in the second quarter at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson puts up a shot against Memphis Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green in the second quarter at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)

Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert each scored 22 points and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 118-115 on Monday night.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and DeMarre Carroll scored 18 points for the Nets, who have two straight wins for the first time since Jan. 19-21.

Andrew Harrison, who missed Memphis' last nine games due to a right wrist injury, scored 19 points, and Brionte Webber had a career-high 15. The Grizzlies have lost 20 of 21.

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Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie goes to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis during overtime at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie goes to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis during overtime at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Taking satisfaction in the results of games has been difficult to accept for the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets in recent weeks.

Especially the Grizzlies.

Only one team will leave Barclays Center Monday night feeling good about getting a win when the Grizzlies visit the Nets.

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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

NEW YORK (AP) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 23 points, D'Angelo Russell had 22 and the Brooklyn Nets recovered after blowing a double-digit lead to beat the Dallas Mavericks 114-106 on Saturday night.

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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

NEW YORK (AP) Jonas Valanciunas had 26 points and 14 rebounds, and the Toronto Raptors won their ninth straight and 16th of 17, 116-102 over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid had 24 points and a career-high 19 rebounds and Robert Covington hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 35.4 seconds left to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 120-116 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.

J.J. Redick added 23 points and Ben Simmons had 21 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds for Philadelphia (38-30), which pulled a half-game behind idle Washington for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 21 points for the Nets (21-48), who lost their third straight and 19th in the last 22 games.

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

Brooklyn is coming off a 116-102 loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. D'Angelo Russell led all scorers with 32 points -- his second straight game with at least 25 -- and the Nets led at the half, but the Raptors went on a run behind Jonas Valanciunas and handed Brooklyn its third straight loss and 17th in its last 20 games. >> Read more

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Mar 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

NEW YORK (AP) Jonas Valanciunas had 26 points and 14 rebounds, and the Toronto Raptors won their ninth straight and 16th of 17, 116-102 over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

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Mar 11, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris (12) reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Mar 11, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris (12) reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

NEW YORK -- The Toronto Raptors own some gaudy numbers -- an eight-game winning streak, 49 victories and a dominant 29-2 mark against losing teams.

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Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons shoots the ball past Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll in the first quarter at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons shoots the ball past Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll in the first quarter at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)

Joel Embiid scored 21 points, Robert Covington added 19, and the Philadelphia 76ers routed the Brooklyn Nets 120-97 on Sunday night.

Dario Saric scored 18 points and Ben Simmons had 11 points, six assists and six rebounds for the 76ers, who were able to avenge a disappointing loss to the Nets at Barclays Center in January.

D'Angelo Russell had 26 points for the Nets, who have lost 13 of their last 15 games.

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Feb 4, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Allen Crabbe (33) moves the ball against Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Feb 4, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Allen Crabbe (33) moves the ball against Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

NEW YORK -- Road games are not going well for the Philadelphia 76ers recently, but their remaining road schedule could be favorable.

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Dec 12, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Allen Crabbe (33) gestures after scoring a three pointer during the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Dec 12, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Allen Crabbe (33) gestures after scoring a three pointer during the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Allen Crabbe made his first six 3-point attempts and finished with 29 points and eight rebounds, helping the Brooklyn Nets beat the Charlotte Hornets 125-111 on Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Caris Levert scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 18 points and 12 rebounds to provide a spark off the bench for the Nets. They entered the game tied for the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Kemba Walker had 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting for the Hornets. They've lost five straight games.

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Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell and guard Spencer Dinwiddie react in the first quarter against Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell and guard Spencer Dinwiddie react in the first quarter against Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)

Teetering on the edge of playoff elimination following a rugged stretch of four games, the Charlotte Hornets begin a favorable turn in their schedule when they host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.

The Hornets lost for the fourth straight time Tuesday, 128-114 to the Philadelphia 76ers. They are six games behind the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks, who are tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference and occupy the final two playoff spots.

Those four losses -- while costly -- were hardly unpredictable for Charlotte, which went up against the 76ers twice and Boston and Toronto once apiece over a seven-day span.

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 (Jeff Chiu)
(Jeff Chiu)

For the second time this season, the Nets challenged the defending-champion Warriors. However, just like the first time, Golden State emerged victorious in the end.

Steph Curry rode a hot shooting night, including six made threes, to 34 points as the Warriors held off the Nets, 114-101, at Oracle Arena.

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Feb 10, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic (3) goes to the basket against Brooklyn Nets defenders during first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Feb 10, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic (3) goes to the basket against Brooklyn Nets defenders during first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors will seek a 50th win for the fifth consecutive season Tuesday night when they open a two-game homestand against the Brooklyn Nets.

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 (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

Yet another hard-fought comeback crumbled before the eyes of the Nets in their 123-120 road loss to the Clippers Sunday night. 

Down virtually the entire game, the Nets battled back from a 15-point deficit at one point to take a commanding 118-110 lead with about two-and-a-half minutes to play. That was all for nothing, though, as the Clippers rallied for a 13-2 run to finish the game, and send the Nets packing without a win. 

"Yeah, very discouraging. We couldn't make the plays to put it away," Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told The Post's Brian Lewis after the loss. "The hardest thing in professional sports is to close out a game. That's where we're at right now with our ability to close it out. We're not there yet. We've been in a lot of games like this. We have to do a better job."

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Los Angeles Clippers forward Sam Dekker, left, gets fouled by Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 4, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)
Los Angeles Clippers forward Sam Dekker, left, gets fouled by Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 4, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

The Nets trailed essentially from the opening tip on Sunday night. Despite an inspired comeback and career-night from Caris LeVert, they finished the night trailing as well.

LeVert scored a career-high 27 points and assisted on five baskets, but the Nets lost to the Clippers, 123-120, after a go-ahead three-pointer by Austin Rivers. The Nets have lost three straight since ending an eight-game losing streak to begin the week.

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Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll passes the ball in the third quarter against Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll passes the ball in the third quarter against Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)

Two days after the Los Angeles Clippers took down the team from Manhattan, they will work on conquering the one from Brooklyn.

When the Clippers handled the New York Knicks 128-105 on Friday at Staples Center, it kept them knocking on the door of playoff eligibility in the Western Conference as the division's ninth-place team.

An opportunity against the Nets (20-43) on Sunday could move the Clippers even closer to the playoffs.

 

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers
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 (AP)
(AP)

DeMarre Carroll scored 22 points and Jarrett Allen had a career-high 16 points along with a double-double, but it wasn't enough as the Nets fell to the Kings, 116-111, in overtime Thursday night on the West Coast.

Carroll tied the game with a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left in regulation and Spencer Dinwiddie then got to the line to hit two free throws, but De'Aaron Fox forced overtime with a floater as time expired and then proceeded to star in the single period of extra time. Dinwiddie had eight points and five assists in the loss.

The Nets were outscored, 16-11, in overtime. With the loss, the Nets dropped to 20-43 on the season and have now lost 14 of their last 16 games. Brooklyn is 0-5 in overtime games this season.

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Feb 27, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) goes after a loose ball in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
		 (David Richard)
Feb 27, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) goes after a loose ball in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports (David Richard)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Neither the Sacramento Kings nor the Brooklyn Nets have been caught up in the controversial conversations concerning the race by the dregs of the NBA to lose games. Yet, neither team seems capable anytime soon of winning more than just an occasional contest.

On Thursday, one of them will have to prevail. The two bottom feeders in their respective conferences face each other at the Golden 1 Center, giving each a chance to add a blip to what has seemed to be endless losing lately.

Sacramento has lost four straight at home, and Brooklyn has dropped seven straight on the road. >> Read more

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Feb 27, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives to the basket in the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
		 (David Richard)
Feb 27, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives to the basket in the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports (David Richard)

CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James scored 31 points and finished a month averaging a triple-double for the first time in his career, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 129-123 on Tuesday night.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

CLEVELAND -- The Brooklyn Nets represent an important opportunity for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, and not just because of the draft pick.

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Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell and guard Spencer Dinwiddie react in the first quarter against Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell and guard Spencer Dinwiddie react in the first quarter against Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)

Alan Crabbe scored 21 points and the Brooklyn Nets snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 104-87 win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

Jarrett Allen and DeMarre Carroll each had 18 points for the Nets, and Joe Harris added 15.

Kris Dunn led Chicago with 23 points and Lauri Markkanen had 19.

Tags: Chicago Bulls, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
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Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson shoots during the third quarter as Detroit Pistons forward Reggie Bullock defends at Little Caesars Arena. (Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson shoots during the third quarter as Detroit Pistons forward Reggie Bullock defends at Little Caesars Arena. (Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports)

A month ago, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson strained his right groin during a blowout loss in Milwaukee against the Bucks, and since then the Brooklyn Nets have been in a significant tailspin.

The Nets will get good news Monday when Hollis-Jefferson is expected to return from missing 12 games against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center.

Tags: Chicago Bulls, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
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Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead looks on during the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead looks on during the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Current Nets and former Seton Hall guard Isaiah Whitehead was listed among numerous current and former college basketball players who reportedly received impermissible benefits and met with an agent while in school, Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde and Pete Thamel report.

The report also lists 2017 draft picks Markelle Fultz, Dennis Smith Jr. and Kyle Kuzma, and many other current and former players from schools like Texas, Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Whitehead reportedly received $26,136 from the agency ASM Sports while he was a freshman at Seton Hall. Another document says he received $37,657 and was being set up for a payment plan, Yahoo! reports.

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Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie drives past Mason Plumlee during the first half on Tuesday night in Denver. (AP)
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie drives past Mason Plumlee during the first half on Tuesday night in Denver. (AP)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Dwight Howard grabbed a season-high 24 rebounds and added 15 points, Kemba Walker scored 31 and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Brooklyn Nets 111-96 on Thursday night.

Dante Cunningham had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who lost their eighth straight game and fell to 19-41.

D'Angelo Russell, starting for the first time since November knee surgery, scored 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting.

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