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Brooklyn Nets Beat Milwaukee Bucks 129-127 in Triple Overtime

Brook Lopez Scores Team High 32 Points and 18 Rebounds, 11th Double-Double of the Season; But Joe Johnson Saves the Day

On the first official day of spring, the Brooklyn Nets returned home to a snowy Brooklyn, from a 4-game road trip, going 2-4 against the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Some might call that a successful road trip winning two of four, but know that the Nets, in defeating two teams they were expected to beat in Philly and the Wolves, lost to two teams in playoff contention: Heat and Cavs.

The Nets even had the opportunity to exploit the Heat for their own benefit, as far as the race for 8th is concerned and failed to do so.

Tonight, the Nets hosted, yet another team in playoff contention-the Milwaukee Bucks, who currently occupy the 6th seed at 34-34.

In their first meeting of the season, Bucks Head Coach Jason Kidd's first return to Brooklyn since he was traded for two second-round draft picks, the summer prior, the Nets lost in triple OT, 122-118.

In the second meeting of the season, the Nets would experience the same fate, this time losing at the end of regulation, 103-97.

Tonight was the last and final game of the season series between the two teams, and this time around, the Nets walked away with their heads held high.

Any time these two teams matchup, a fight to the finish is expected with extra time usually a strong possibility-which is exactly how this game developed.

Like the Bucks, the Nets needed extra time x 3 to outlast the Bucks, 129-127, because nothing involving the Nets from their perspective can be easy right?

During the early stages of this game, I thought I saw the signs that would prove to be the reasoning of why the Nets would lose the final game of this season series.

For instance, the Nets fell behind in deficits of double-digits during the 1st half.

With 3:30 remaining in the 1st quarter, the Bucks were up by 10, 27-17 as the "Greek Freak," Giannis Antetokounmpo converted one of two free throw attempts.

In the second, Ersan Ilyasova-the pride of Turkey, would connect on a three late in the quarter, heading towards the halftime period which would give the Bucks a 12-point lead, up 68-56 with 30 seconds left until the intermission period.

Just based on the way the Nets season has progressed to present day, I believed that they would struggle to comeback from these deficits and even if they did, in the end, find a way to lose.

But they didn't.

The Brooklyn Nets defied the odds.

They battled back from both deficits due to the strong consistent play of Thaddeus Young, who made key shots throughout the game and down the stretch en-route to 24 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Thaddeus-Young 650x366Brooklyn Nets power forward, Thaddeus Young

But this game was won in the fourth quarter and beyond and that's where the Nets made the plays to position themselves for the opportunity to win.

With the Nets down by three, 101-98 via a Zaza Pachulia two-point shot, who plagued the Nets all night from the post, Joe Johnson responded knocking down a three from the arc, assisted by Brook Lopez, which would evidently send the game into OT, as the Bucks failed to answer.

In the first OT, Khris Middleton, whose play was problematic from the Nets point of view continued his brilliance, converting three of the Bucks four field-goals, each of which the Nets countered.

More of the same would continue in the 2nd OT period with a little bit of deja-vu featuring Johnson, who would bail the Nets out, once again sinking another three to seal the Nets fate for the 3rd OT period.

"They set a great screen, and (Tyler) Ennis was trailing and he got off a great shot," said Jason Kidd during his post-game conference.

"And that's what big players do. He stepped up and made the big three."

In what would be the final OT period of the game, Lopez starred early, posturizing Ersan Ilyasova for the first field-goal of the five-minute period, converting a free-throw after drawing a foul and then hitting his next field-goal which proved to be the push the Nets needed, sealing the win with a series of made free-throws courtesy of Johnson, Young and Jarrett Jack.

Jarrett-Jack Brooklyn-Nets-Media-Day 2014 Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack

"It was just a good look," said Lopez regarding his dunk in the 3rd OT period, following the Nets win. "They had to respect (Jarrett) Jack coming off the pick and roll, and he made a great pass so I was able to finish it easy."

Lopez finished with a team-high 32 points and 18 rebounds, his 11th double-double of the season.

Johnson, who saved the Nets time and time again from defeat compiled 20 points and 7 assists and Jack contributed 12 and 7.

As for the Bucks, their starting five alone boasted a stat-line that without looking at the Nets score would persuade you to believe that they were indeed the victor.

Michael Carter-Williams: 19 points.

Middleton: 29 points and 6 assists.

Pachulia: 22 and 21 rebounds, a monster game.

Ilyasova, 20 points and 13 rebounds and Antetokounmpo, 23 and 14 rebounds, who actually had the chance to send the Nets home at the end of regulation missing an 8-foot shot as time expired.

"I had a chance to send it home, but I didn't make the shot," said Giannis, reflecting on his missed game-winner.

"It felt good when it left my hand, but after we were up three we let Joe Johnson make a three.

It was Johnson's three that put Giannis in that tough situation, all of 20 years young with the game in his hands and nothing to show for it.

And that's what happens.

You can't make them all but I guarantee that if there was another OT period to play, Giannis would've had another opportunity to make the Nets pay.

The Nets alleviated those thoughts and improved to 28-39 overall on the season while the Bucks dropped their 5th straight game, falling to 34-35 on the season.

Unlike the Bucks, the Nets don't have the luxury of owning the 6th seed, positioned in the playoffs.

They are on the outside looking in, and Jack knows that.

"We don't have much time to celebrate or think about it," Jack said post-game.

"We gotta move on to the next one, go to the next task at hand and be ready to take on a tough Indiana team that plays well in their building."

An Indiana team that is in a favorable spot, currently in a two-team race for the 8th and final spot with the Boston Celtics, both nursing identical records of 30-38.

It seems as though the Nets will only be able to make the playoffs by making a daily commitment to prayer or collapses by the three teams ahead of them.

The Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and Pacers all will face their share of tough teams to end the 2014-15 campaign, playing 8, 8 and 9 games respectively against playoff teams.

The problem is, the Nets too will have their own problems to confront in the nine games they will play against playoff teams.

There is a possibility that the Nets can move up if in fact two of the three teams fail to handle their business down the stretch.

But the Nets don't have the luxury of feeling any comfort.

They too have to handle their business down the stretch also.

NBA All-Star 2015 Meant More To New York City Than Basketball

When it was announced last year that the NBA All-Star 2015 would be held in New York City, fans from across the world were excited that one of the largest basketball events would be coming to the Big Apple. With the new Barclays Center in full effect located downtown Brooklyn, minutes from the Brooklyn Bridge and a new and improved Madison Square Garden, it was no question that the best city in the world could handle three days of NBA festivities. The remaining question that lingered going into NBA All-Star is whether or not Madison Square Garden is still the Mecca of Basketball and, perhaps, by extension, is New York City still the Mecca of Basketball. With the Knicks struggling to win games and the Brooklyn Nets remaining a team of overpriced players with a seemingly disconnected owner, there was only one New York born and partially raised player that made it on the All-Star roster—Carmelo Anthony. Yet despite the politics of basketball, it became evident that the events were more than just basketball.

The city had been recovering and healing after news spread on November 14 that Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African American man who was shot to death by a NYPD officer in the stairwells in the New York City Housing Authority's Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn. The rookie officer, Peter Liang who was patrolling the dark, unlit stairwell, fired his gun, resulting in a bullet ricocheting off a wall, striking Gurley in the chest. If that wasn't enough for the city to handle, a grand jury decided on November 24 not to indict Officer Darren Wilson after fatally killing Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. Then two weeks later, here in New York, a Staten Island grand jury cleared an NYPD cop in the chokehold death of Eric Garner after the attack was caught on video. Garner was arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. To top an already bad ending to 2014, two uniformed NYPD officers were shot to death in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn execution style in the line of duty after a gunman's mission revenge for the deaths of Garner and Brown.

The NBA has always been an organization in which players were allowed to express their voices, and due to the protests over the grand jury's decisions in the Brown and Garner cases, players like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Brooklyn Nets players Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams wore T-shirts that read, "I can't breathe," the final words of Garner before he died in the chokehold. The players were responding to the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture that had been a worldwide slogan due to the deaths of Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. During media day for NBA All-Star, Miami Heat Dwayne Wade spoke about the importance of the NBA coming together during the course of these tragic events.

Dwayne-Wade-at-2015-NBA-All-Star-Media-Day 650x650Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade at the 2015 NBA All-Star Media Day

"I think the individual guys have done a great job of [taking] a stand or getting behind on whatever they believe in. Nowadays it's obviously a lot easier because of social media...for your voices to be heard," he said. "The NBA supports us doing that....When we leave here (New York), we are obviously going to do something in the community."

Additionally, Wade revealed that he constantly talks to his sons about being "aware."

"My kids...are shielded from the real world. This doesn't happen to every kid in America or across the world," he said. "You try to show them as much as possible. I am an open book with my kids. I don't try to hide them from what's going on in the world; I try to educate them and hopefully one day if they get into a situation they know how to or what not to do." Wade's comments made it clear that NBA All-Star came at the perfect time.

New York City is labeled as one of the greatest cities in the world because the people have proven that they can and will always overcome adversity. The city has undoubtedly produced a lot of basketball talent, and the argument is still up in the air on whether or not it's still the Mecca of Basketball. However, what the NBA All-Star 2015 did do was help to unify a broken city, if only for a short while.

Toronto Raptors Defeat Brooklyn Nets in OT (Minus Kyle Lowry)

Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack Gave it Their All

With the NBA All-Star Weekend break approaching, the Brooklyn Nets will this year play hosts to the Friday and Saturday NBA All-Star events. Tonight, the Nets welcomed a team boasting a first-time NBA All-Star starter.

The Toronto Raptors, first in the Atlantic division and 2nd in the Eastern Conference standings (31-15), along with the entire league were informed last Thursday that their floor general, Kyle Lowry will play on Sunday, earning his first career All-Star selection.

After being snubbed from last year's game, Lowry's exploits on the hardwood this year could no longer go un-noticed. He is averaging 19.4 points, 7.4 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals.

Fortunately for the Raptors, Lowry was hardly needed as his amigos did all the rest, in extra time.

Behind the strong production of the starters, not named Lowry, and the bench, the Toronto Raptors handed the Nets their fourth-straight loss, in overtime, 127-122.

The Nets are now ten games under .500 at (18-28) while the Raptors improved to (32-15).

Don't always expect the All-Stars to exhibit All-Star performances, they do have teammates that can also play, I mean this is the NBA right?

Six players scored in double-figures for the Raptors, with Demar Derozan leading the team in scoring with 26 points, followed by sixth man, Lou Williams contributing 25 points.

Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas of the Raptors front-court, chipped in 24 and 14 respectively, and Patrick Patterson chose his spots wisely, scraping up 12 points of his own.

Oh yea, Lowry, the All-Star struggled all night long shooting 4-17 from the field for 10 points, affecting the game in other ways with 8 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals.

As for the home-team, the Brooklyn fans in attendance tonight, despite the loss should be proud of the effort the Nets exhibited on a chilly Friday night.

The Nets battled back from extensive deficits all-game long, which included a 19-2 run in the 4th quarter, led by Jarrett Jack, who scored eight of his team-high 35 points in the final quarter.

However, it wasn't enough.

Brook Lopez stepped up with an offensive explosion tonight albeit missing a potential game-winner in the 4th quarter, scoring an identical 35 points, like his teammate, Jack.

"More than execution, they made shots," said Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins during his post-game press-conference.

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Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins talking with the media. Photo Credit: What's The 411 Networks

"I mean, Jarrett had a lot of big plays, got to the basket, got to the free throw line. Brook...actually got to the basket a few times, and then he made some shots outside, but he just got to the basket on drives."

However, it wasn't enough.

Extra Time Extends the Inevitable for the Nets

This was the type of game that if the Nets were unable to secure the win within the league standard of four quarters, forget about trying to find the win in overtime.

It just wasn't going to happen.

With each basket the Nets scored, the Raptors had an answer.

With 2:57 left in OT, a Lopez hook shot assisted by Jack which, at the time gave the Nets a 117-116 lead, was offset by a Derozan pull-up jump-shot, taking the lead, 118-117.

Shortly after, Jack drove the lane and connected on a floater with 56.6 seconds remaining in OT, tying the game at 122 all, in which Amir Johnson executed a put-back layup, off of a Derozan missed layup, giving the Raptors the go-ahead bucket.

The Raptors led 124-122, which proved to be the deciding play, as they never looked back, ending the Nets threat altogether.

The Nets would not be able to come from behind and extend the resiliency they have shown all night long.

There's only so much Jack and Lopez can do within the confines of team basketball until shots that were once falling ceased.

"Jack and Brook played unbelievably," said Mason Plumlee post-game.

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Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee. Photo Credit: Alexis Williams/What's The 411 Networks

"They really willed us and kept us in the game."

As far as statistical performances go, it was one of the best performances I have seen from both Brook and Jack, but tonight's loss validated what we should all realize regarding the makeup of this Nets team.

They just aren't good enough.

But there's a reason why the Raptors were able to win this game and it has nothing to do with the box score.

Good teams find a way to win tough games, and tonight, Derozan played a significant part in orchestrating the final results benefiting the Raptors with timely shots in desperation.

"Every day is extra motivation, honestly," Derozan said in the opposing locker-room post-game.

"I just try to pick up the slack sometimes when we may need to get it going or when we may need something."

Tonight's loss was the second game in a row the Nets legitimately challenged a superior being and failed to deliver the goods; just two days ago, it was a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, 113-102.

"We just played the two top teams in the Eastern Conference back-to-back and gave them both good games," said Lopez post-game.

"I think we just need to look at what we did well tonight and what we didn't do right and continue to get better."

How much better can the Nets realistically be when they can't get past the best teams in the East?

Coming Down the Pipe

Over the Next 5-games, the Nets will face the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, the Toronto Raptors (again this time in Toronto), the New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks.

This could get ugly or is it too late?

After the way the Nets lost tonight, moral victories have become a necessity for a team that can't get out of its own way.

Brooklyn Nets Fall Short to Washington Wizards at Home

Word Surfaced Prokhorov Shopping For New Ownership for Nets

The Brooklyn Nets contributed to another loss for the eighth time in nine games when they fell short to the Washington Wizards, 99-90 at the Barclays Center Saturday night.

Paul Pierce, who played with the Nets for one year after the Brooklyn franchise failed to sign him for the 2014-2015 season, recieved a mixed welcoming from fans when he was announced in the starting lineup with the Wizards.

The Nets visited Washington last night and cut their seven-game losing streak with their 102-80 win over the Wizards. However, it was a different story when the Nets played host.

Lopez helped his team keep the game close with a half-time score of 51-50. Neither team led the entire game by five and then Brooklyn made it even at 81 early in the fourth quarter, But the Wizards' dominance, including a three point play by Nenê contributed to a loss of momentum.

Jarrett Jack was Brooklyn's leader finishing with 22 points and 8 points. Joe Johnson finished with 15 points.

"Tonight, obviously, they [were] more desperate, knowing that we went into Washington last night and got a win," Johnson said after the game. "So we knew we were going to get their best shot today, but I thought we played great. I just think down the stretch we couldn't get stops and we couldn't make shots to get us over the hump."

It seems as though the loss to Washington is the least of Brooklyn's worries. In a team where consistency, unity and rhythm still haunt them, the team now faces ownership turning its back on them. Word spread earlier this week that owner Mikhail Prokhorov is looking to sell the team.

Three years ago when the Nets moved from New Jersey to the Big Apple, Prokhorov made a plan to win a NBA title within five years. Since then, the team has struggled with four different coaches—Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo, Jason Kidd and current coach Lionel Hollins. Not to mention, Johnson was fired in the middle of the season and Carlesimo, who took over was not renewed for the 2012-2013 season.

Add to ownership and coaching disruptions, rumors have also spread that Brooklyn is looking to shop its star-injury plagued players Deron Williams and Brook Lopez around.

Only time will tell when it comes to the Nets.

Heat Edges Out Nets for a 95-91 Win

Mason Plumlee Has Good Game Despite Nets Loss

Despite the most recent trade rumors surrounding the Brooklyn Nets big three of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, the Nets have been fairly focused on the immediate task at hand, which involves winning games.

They are not in the basement; but the thought is that Nets management feels that this culmination of talent, specifically, bringing in Williams and Johnson to join Lopez has been a failed experiment and perhaps, demolition is the best possible direction to pursue.

And, tonight's game results didn't help.

Winners of two straight, the Nets returned home from a one game road-trip win against the Charlotte Hornets, and were unable to continue their good fortunes tonight falling to the Heat, 95-91.

At the 1:47 mark in the first quarter, the game was delayed because of a ceiling leak over celebrity row at the Barclays Center. There was some talk after that perhaps the leak had an unsettling effect on the Nets.

The Nets are now three games below the .500 mark at (10-13) on the season, while the Heat improved to (12-13), one game below the .500 mark.

This is also the second straight win for the Heat against the Nets this season. The last two meetings are scheduled for January 4 and March 11 in Miami. Hopefully, Miami in the winter will have a better effect on the Nets.

In a game where Chris Bosh received a DNP due to a strained left calf, the Nets caught a break and failed to take advantage.

The injury bug also affected the Nets as Lopez was out with a lower back strain.

With Bosh's injury, you would expect that the Heat would need the other member of the Big 2 in Dwyane Wade to carry the Heat offensively, and early on Wade delivered.

Through the first fie plus minutes of the first-half, Wade accounted for all of the Heats first 10 points converting all of his shots from the perimeter.

Wade would enter the intermission period leading both teams in individual scoring with 17 points at the half.

Although Wade found early success on the offensive end, the Heat's early double digit lead, which they enjoyed throughout the duration of the first half, stemmed from the depth of their bench.

Chris Anderson, Mario Chalmers, Shawne Williams, and Shabazz Napier all had their moments and combined to score 22 points, as the Heat led at the half 55-45.
As far as the home-team, Mason Plumlee, in the starting line-up for Lopez did not disappoint scoring 13 first-half points converting 6 of 8 shots around the rim.

Opposed to Miami's bench, the Nets found minimal help from their reinforcements; Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jarrett Jack totaled 11 points heading into halftime.

Fortunately for the Nets, two more quarters remained, in which they would seek out the solution in cooling off the Heat.

In the beginning of the third, D. Williams and Co. found that solution.

During the first four minutes of play, the Nets orchestrated a 12-3 run behind baskets made by Kevin Garnett, Plumlee, Sergey Karasev, and Johnson. They cut a 10-point deficit to one, trailing the Heat 57-58.

At this point, I, along with the rest of the crowd figured that the Nets would continue their push and eventually take control of their home-court.

The Heat responded with a run of its own.

Sharpshooter Shawne Williams connected from behind the arc seconds before the conclusion of the third quarter as the Heat built another double digit lead. The Heat entered the 4th quarter 76-66.

Somehow, someway the Nets organized a series of plays which led one to believe that they could re-write the script of their fate in tonight's affair, but one play down the stretch made the difference.

After Wade's turn-around jump-shot assisted by Chalmers found nothing but net to give his pals a 92-83 advantage with 2:16 remaining in the 4th, I thought the Nets chances in possibly securing a win were slim-to-none.

And then this happened.

Plumlee's two points made at the free-throw line brought the Nets closer, 85-93, and a feeling of life.

Then, a Plumlee steal, leading to a three-point shot by Johnson, added a spark. Suddenly, the Nets are now within five, 88-93 with a minute left till the end of regulation.

And a missed 3-point attempt by Luol Deng allowed the Nets to inch even closer as Bogdanovic drained a three in the corner, on one of D. Williams' 11 assists, pulling the Nets to within a basket, down 91-93 with 35.1 seconds remaining in the 4th.

Fans were energized, feeling that the Nets have come too far, albeit late in the fourth to lose this one, but that's exactly what they did.

Once again, the Heat made just enough plays to break the Nets spirits and leave Brooklyn, 2-0 this season.

The Nets couldn't catch that one break they needed to put them over the hump and here is the play that spelled the difference in tonight's game.

The Heat are up two with 35.1 seconds left so it's pretty obvious who would receive the ball in this situation to ensure a Heat victory.

None other than the 3-time champion in Wade, who missed a three point attempt only for Deng to hall in the rebound in which Bogdanovic was called for.

Game, set and match.

Wade scored a team-high 28 points complimented by Deng who recorded 18 of his own.

For the Nets, Plumlee, in Lopez's absence compiled 21 points supported by a solid 15 points and 10 assists performance by D. Williams and 16 points from Johnson.

Despite the Nets poor shooting in this game at 39% from the field, they still had a chance at the end to prevail. Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins has the answers for his team's struggles this season.

"You have to be a good team," Hollins said during his post-game press conference.

"Were struggling to be that right now," Hollins continued. "We're trying to be. We're working at it, we've made progress, but we're not there yet."

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Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins talking with the media.

And who could argue with that statement?

Even Johnson agreed with his head coach in expressing his own assessment of tonight's context during his post-game interview with reporters in the Nets locker room.

"I just think we're only helping each other sometimes on defense, night-in and night-out, and it hurts us," Johnson said to the media.

"Our pick-and-roll defense was pretty good, but we gave up a few easy baskets tonight and we have to do better."

Joe-Johnson

Brooklyn Nets shooting guard, Joe Johnson

Reviewing the game's stats, I believe the Nets lost this game because they could not neutralize the Heats bench.

Wade will get his and is capable of getting his on any given night and it was up to the Nets to figure out how they could corral Wade along with the rest of the Heats supporting cast tonight.

The Heat's bench out-scored the Nets bench, 35-24.

Chalmers, S. Williams, and Napier all scored in double-figures registering 10, 10, and 11 points respectively.

What's even more crucial in tonight's loss for the Nets is the road ahead.

In the next two opponents, the Nets will travel north of the border to take on the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors and then towards the mid-west to compete against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Raptors are winners of their last three games while Cavs are 8-2 in their last ten games.

If that isn't convincing enough, the Raptors are 19-6 while the Cavs are 14-9.

Kyle Lowry is emerging as an elite point guard in the NBA and Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love are catching their stride in Ohio.

That's why the Nets needed this game.

A loss tonight could translate into a three-game losing streak over the next couple of days for the Nets.

"We need to go up there and get a win," said Plumlee regarding the next opponent in the Raptors.

"Whatever we have to do doesn't matter; we just need to get a win."

Ya think?

Brooklyn Nets Get Royal Beat Down by Cleveland Cavaliers

Nets Lose to Cavaliers 110-88

On a night when the Barclays Center hosted a king, a prince, and a basketball game, the Brooklyn Nets picked the worst day to not prevail. On an historic night, the Nets received a royal beat down in front overseas company, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

LeBron James aka "King James" and his royal court, the Cleveland Cavaliers, came to the Barclays Center to win a battle, and win they did, 110-88. One could argue that the short-handed Nets made it easy for the Cavs. The Nets missing troop members were: center Brook Lopez, out with a bad back, and shooting guard Joe Johnson; he has the flu.

The first two quarters, the Nets played competitively, but during the third quarter, the tide changed. The Nets were leading 61-60; Kevin Love attempted a pair of free throws made one and tied the game and turned around on the next possession to put the Cavs up 63-61. The Cavs ended the period with a 24-6 run.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Cavs were up 85-67. And, in a flash, something happened that has never happened at any NBA basketball game. British royalty was introduced to American musical royalty. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Prince William and Kate Middleton, were ushered onto the court to meet Jay Z and Beyonce.

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From that point on, the chatter in the arena was less about the game and more about the meeting of two power couples.

Directly following the game, LeBron James gave Prince William and Kate Middleton a gift that included a box of cupcakes and a jersey for the baby on the way.

Prince-William Kate-Middleton Lebron-James.Still002 resized 700x394

There were no photo opps with Nets players, just LeBron.

Well, LeBron is the greatest NBA basketball player of our time, but can you imagine a party going on in your house and you're not invited.

Brooklyn Nets Hobbling Along; Lose to Miami Heat 95-83

After returning home from a 0-3 West coast road-trip against the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trailblazers, the Brooklyn Nets hosted the ailing Miami Heat and delivered a dud. The Brooklyn Nets extended its losing streak to four, as the Heat prevailed 95-83.

The Nets regressed to (4-6) overall on the season while the Heat improved to (6-5).

Dwyane Wade Who?

The Heat star and 3-time NBA World-Champion missed his third-straight game due to a hamstring injury along with F Josh McRoberts who is also ailing with a blister on his left toe.

It didn't matter.

Lebron James didn't suit up because he is sporting another jersey.

Even free-agent signee Luol Deng was out with a wrist injury.

In their place, G Mario Chalmers, and Forwards Danny Granger and Shawne Williams were promoted to the starting lineup.

You would think the Nets should be able to take care of a Heat team missing their sizzle with Wade and other significant pieces collecting DNP's right?

The casual NBA fan would expect that these injuries would take away from the competition aimed in the Nets direction but in reality, the Heat gave the Nets all they could handle for the duration of the 48 minutes of play.

They showed up with the intent of ruining the first game of the Nets two-game homestand and they succeeded.

In the first half the Nets shot well from the field and from behind the arc, shooting 45% and 44% respectively.

Deron Williams led the charge getting off to a hot start from the field scoring the first seven points for the Nets in the first quarter complimented by backcourt mate Bojan Bogdanovic, the leading scorer at the half with nine points.

The first half featured a back & forth affair which favored the Nets as they entered the intermission period with a five-point advantage 43-38, courtesy of Bogdanovic converting a layup off of a feed from Williams.

Early on, things looked good for the Nets.

The Fans were into it, the Nets held multiple leads and life was good.

That was until the second half arrived in which the Nets forgot that there were two more quarters left to play because that's how they responded.

They were lethargic; passive, slow and unable to make shots.

They could've used the energizer bunny tonight.

The Brooklyn Bunch went with the flow and were unable to sustain their effort from the first half to the second.

The arrival of the second half triggered the Heat, as they answered the shortcomings of their poor shooting start (37.1% in the first half) in making a surge of their own.

It was an exhibition of the Heat's bench that took control of the second half proving why they can be a dangerous team in the East when healthy.

Former UConn Huskies two-time NCAA Champion G Shabazz Napier's play gave us flashes of why he was one of the best guards entering the 2014 NBA Draft, torching the Nets from deep, connecting on three of six three-point attempts for a bench-high 11 points.

Heat swing-man James Ennis provided highlight reel material converting plenty of dunks for the pleasure of the crowd as well as the many Heat fans in attendance, contributing 10 points.

The Nets didn't just have a bad third quarter, they had a bad second half.

The Heat outscored the Nets in the second half, 57-40.

What happened?

It all started in that third quarter.

With the Heat down 51-49 with 7:03 remaining, G Norris Cole delivered a three, giving the Heat a slight advantage up by one, 52-51.

Cole's three led to a 12-4 run in which the Heat and their offense peaked and never looked back.

The Nets offense just wasn't there and the weapons at their disposal misfired on too many occasions.

The NBA is a game of runs and the Nets had countless opportunities to change their fortunes in the fourth and deciding quarter.

With 5:45 remaining, Nets G Williams was sent to the charity strike and sank 1-2 free throws as the Nets deficit shrunk to four, 78-82.

The Nets would miss their next three field goals which translated to additional opportunities for the Heat in which they seized full-control of their fate and the game for good.

Bosh's 20 foot jump-shot improved the Heat's lead to six, 78-84, and Chalmers provided the icing on the cake with a 4-foot floater and two made free throws as the lead ballooned to eight, 88-80 with 1:58 remaining till the end of regulation.

Game, set and match.

The Nets had no answer especially from those of whom you would expect to come to the rescue with the game hanging in the balance.

Joe Johnson shot 2-9 from the field for six points in 36:41 minutes of play.

That's not enough.

Brook Lopez shot 2-8 from the field for five points in 21:37 minutes of play.

That's not enough either.

Role players Jarrett Jack and Mirza Teletovic showed signs of life combining for 26 points, scoring 15 and 11 respectively.

The only player on the roster who showed up for the Nets was Bogdanovic who poured in a team-high 22 points.

The victors boast five players in double-figures with G Mario Chalmers and Bosh leading the way scoring 22 and 15 respectively.

"It was a good win," said Chalmers following tonight's match-up. "Everyone did what they had to do."

Indeed.

If only we could say the same about the Nets.

"It's Just a tough loss," said Joe Johnson in the Nets locker-room after the game. "Defensively we had a lot of miscues, especially in the fourth."

Did they?

All I know is that once Johnson decided to express himself last week with comments regarding the team along the lines of "selfish play", the Nets have struggled.

They are 0-4 post Johnson's cry for obviously more touches.

Something internal is wrong with the team and the results are revealing.

Head Coach Lionel Hollins is also concerned with his team's production.

"It's been a concern since the beginning," says Lionel Hollins during his post-game press conference.

"I have to be patient myself, and we got to keep growing and growing and growing."

Hollins continued, "You know, for me, I want it to be done right and right away, but I'm also smart enough to understand-been around long enough to understand-that it takes time."

Just the mood in the locker-room alone was telling of the state of the Nets at this point in their season.

Johnson and Plumlee left immediately after briefly speaking with the media.

Jack also left without any communication with teammates.

The lights were dim although all of the lights were on if you catch my drift.

Hollins stated that the Nets have to keep growing. Right now growing doesn't seem to be in the Nets vocabulary.

The Nets will host Milwaukee in the second game of their home-stand and then embark on a three-game road trip challenging the hobbled Oklahoma City Thunder, the defending champions in the San Antonio Spurs and the Philadelphia 76ers.

If the Nets fail to fix their internal problems quick, this season can turn into a distant memory soon and very soon.

The Nets are no better than their cross-town counterparts in the New York Knicks and that is saying something.

Wins can heal and melt the Nets problems away.

They need one immediately.

Derek Fisher: A Rivalry Between Knicks and Nets Doesn’t Exist

A Healthy Deron Williams was a Recipe for Brooklyn Nets 110-99 Win Over the Knicks

For the first time as a coach, Derek Fisher stood along the sidelines as his New York Knicks faced a 110-99 loss to the Brooklyn Nets Friday night at the Barclays Center. And for fans--the game seemed like a rivalry between the two New York teams, and perhaps a win for for bragging rights, but for Fisher---the loss meant none of the two.

Fisher, a former Oklahoma City Thunder, although most known for his role on the Los Angeles Lakers has no idea of the subway match between the two teams and quite frankly he's trying to dismantle the thought of a such rivalry.

"Rivalries are not really created until there's been some playoff history and some playoff battles with teams. I know it's fun for folks to talk [and] write about, but in my experience...its not really a rivalry until you beat each other with a huge...prize at stake, and that hasn't happened just yet," Fisher told reporters at a post-game media conference.

The 40-year-old rookie coach stressed the importance of team work, and said he's still learning about the Knicks. What attributed mostly to the Knicks' loss was a healthy Deron Williams, who finished the night with a season-high of 29 points. Fisher blamed defensive communications on how the team guarded the All-Star point guard.

"I think it was a combination of some of our other defensive concepts—whether or not a guy didn't communicate on a pick-and-roll situation or if Deron Williams was isolated," Fisher said. "Deron is an All-Star player. He's healthy again. It's not about not shutting out Deron. It was a team game, and their team won.

Williams, who once played with Fisher while on the Jazz admitted that it was still a little weird seeing his former teammate suited up on the sidelines. Despite it all, he's still "happy for him."

Deron-Williams Media-Day-Photo

Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams

"When he played and when I played with him, he was like a coach out there on the floor. I always thought that Fish would make a great coach if he ever decided to go that route. I'm excited for him," Williams said.

A healthy Williams is looking towards the future after being injury-prone for the last two seasons. Whether or not playing against the Knicks is a rivalry, a win is a win, considering the adversity that he's faced.

"Last two years have been a struggle," Williams said. "They're behind me now, looking forward to this one and we got a great win tonight."

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