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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.

Brooklyn Nets Beat Lowly New York Knicks as Expected

Jarrett Jack's Stealth Three-Pointer Helps Net Win 92-88

In the initial year of the brand new Barclays Center of downtown Brooklyn, NY, when the New York Knicks visited the Brooklyn Nets, it meant something.

It was 2012, and the Nets opened their brand new home-arena, completing the transition from the Izod Center in East Rutherford New Jersey to the pressured and prestigious grounds of the city.

Both teams were competitive and every Nets-Knicks game gave fans an excuse to choose their side, creating exciting environments, whether it was Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center.

It's 2015 and times have changed.

The Knicks are no longer the Atlantic Division champs and tonight the Nets reminded them how far they have fallen.

As ice covers our sidewalks creating dangerous walking conditions, New York had no trouble packing into Barclays tonight to witness the Nets defeat the Knicks, 92-88.

This win, increased the Nets winning streak to three, improving to (21-28) on the season as the Knicks, who showed fight, fell to (10-40).

30 games under .500, I know.

At least that's not the Nets who are in the midst of turning their season around, heading in the right direction for a change, after a horrendous month of January.

In the first month of the New Year, the Nets lost 12 of their scheduled 15 games, which included losing streaks of seven and four.

February, the month of love, is proving to be much kinder to the Nets as they have won the first three games of the month, including thrilling wins over NBA powerhouses in the Los Angeles Clippers (102-100) and the Toronto Raptors (109-93).

"The last three games have been great," said Deron Williams, according to ESPNNY.com.

"Three wins in a row. Tonight it was another where things didn't go right for us, but down the stretch we found ways to win."

If Williams is referring to "things didn't go right for us" as far as this game is concerned, then he must be questioning why his teammates only beat one of the worst teams in the league by four points.

Right now, the Nets are in the playoff race, occupying the 8th and final spot and in order to solidify their status as a playoff team or attempt to move up in the standings, the Nets have to be better than just four points against lottery teams,

All in all, they won this game, despite losing their grip on early leads and making the significant plays late in the final quarter to pull off an expected victory.

In the first half, the Nets enjoyed comfortable leads of 10 and 17 behind the strong play of Brook Lopez, who scored 14 of his team-high 22 points in the first half.

As for the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony, with help from Lou Amundson, Jason Smith and Lance Thomas, would score nine of his team high 21 points in the last 4 min of the second quarter, battling back from a deficit of 17, entering the halftime period down by eight, 45-53.

I mentioned before that the Nets made the significant plays in the final period to achieve the victory and here they are:

With 1:38 remaining, and the Nets up by a slim 1-point lead, 87-86, Lopez, as he feasted all night from the painted area, connected on a 9-foot floater assisted by Jarrett Jack, to give the Nets a little breathing room, up three-87 to 84.

And here's the dagger.

Jack, courtesy of horrible Knicks defense and an assist by Joe Johnson, stood at the arc of the three-point line, all by his lonesome and connected from deep, giving the Nets the final say, up by four, 90-86, with 13 seconds remaining until the end of regulation.

Anthony couldn't dig the Knicks out of this hole, nor could the triangle offense.

The Nets did what they were supposed to do and that is the only praise that counts.

"This is big for us to close out the first half, especially before All-Star break, going into it on a positive note knowing that we start out from the West Coast right after the break," Joe Johnson said post-game, via ESPNNY.com

Every win is big, especially when you take care of your business at home as the superior to your opponent.

Four players in double-figures for the Nets in Lopez, Jack (20 points), Johnson (13 points), and Garnett (12 points) is big.

Brooklyn-Nets-players Brook-Lopez Joe-Johnson Kevin-Garnett 750x250

Brooklyn Nets center, Brook Lopez; shooting guard Joe Johnson; and forward, Kevin Garnett

Lopez, albeit coming off the bench receiving starting minutes (33 min tonight) and Williams seeing some action, returning from ailments this season and contributing to the Nets cause is also big.

In the Nets three wins this month, Lopez and Williams have provided stability from two of the most important positions on the court, with Lopez and Williams, both reaching double-figures in wins against the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors and tonight against the Knicks (Lopez: 24 points vs. LAC, 22 vs. Knicks, Williams: 15 points vs LAC, 11 Raptors).

It might not be what Nets management expected from this team, with how they envisioned Williams and Lopez as the primary pillars of success, but this format is working (Williams and Lopez-role players) and head coach Lionel Hollins would be foolish to remove Jack and Mason Plumlee from the starting lineup as they have earned their current roles.

The Nets will look to improve their streak against the Washington Wizards tonight, and hopefully, if the opportunity presents itself, against the Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets over their next five games (including All-Star Weekend).

A three game-winning streak could prevent Nets management from blowing up Brooklyn basketball, looking forward to the future in rebuilding.

In February, it appears the Nets are not interested in that plan.

For the moment, the playoffs are actually a possibility.

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.

Lionel-Hollins Postgame-Press-Conference 20150105 222307.mp4.Still003

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.

Mason-Plumlee MG 5957 resized 600x400

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 Lose to Philadelphia 76ers 90-88

Crushing End to an Ugly Week for Brooklyn Nets

After suffering three straight losses prior to tonight's game, the Brooklyn Nets at 16-19 were still in the playoff mix and respectably just under .500 and a game ahead of last season's record at this point before going on a terrific pre-All Star run that changed their season.

So facing another woeful Philadelphia 76ers team, with a pitiful 5 wins against 29 losses, Brooklyn had to feel like they could end this miserable week on a positive note. The Barclays Center was not filled to capacity and although it was only off by 1,600 seats out of a total of 17,732, it felt like more. Premium season tix and high-enders seemed to be sitting this one out and even though there are always folks to fill "celebrity" row, it seemed like a different level of VIP, no shade.

The Nets faithful were in full throat though and they expected what we all did, that their team would control this game from start to finish and come away with a much needed victory...unfortunately somebody forgot to tell the Sixers.

Brooklyn started off a little slowly. But, with a competent starting lineup featuring Mason Plumlee who continues to impress with his basketball I.Q. and versatility, and Jarrett Jack who brings a professionalism and consistency to the point that has been sorely needed, you were looking for the Nets to handle their business.

Collage Brookly-Nets-Center-Mason-Plumlee-and-Point-Guard-Jarrett-Jack 650x325

Brooklyn Nets center, Mason Plumlee, point guard Jarrett Jack

Philly started with a 3 from two-guard Robert Covington. The Sixers spent the first 4 minutes of the game with the lead for one of the two times they would enjoy it all night. Behind Plumlee, Johnson and Jack who played the entire 1st quarter, the Nets took the lead halfway through the first with balance scoring from all the starters and took their largest lead of 9 points, into the second on 60% shooting Brooklyn 32, Philly 23. Conversely, the Sixers were only shooting 45% from the two but 75% from 3-point range, which kept them within shouting distance.

Joe Johnson was on, hitting all three of his attempts from the field, with one of those a 3-pointer and it looked like the makings of game that could be broken open early.

Joe-Johnson

Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson

And even though Coach Hollins put in a new line up, with the exception of Lopez, to start the 2nd Quarter of Teletovic, Morris, Bogdanovic and Anderson, they were able to maintain their 7 to 9 point lead through the first 6 minutes of the second quarter but could never seem to shake the always athletic and scrappy 76ers loose.

With another Covington 3, a missed layup by Teletovic and a Wroten bucket off a MCW (Michael Carter-Williams) assist, the Sixers trail by only two points 40-38 and Hollins takes his 2nd timeout and brings back Plumlee, Jack & Johnson for Lopez, Morris and Bogdanovic respectively.

Despite the subs, Alan Anderson is the only Net who could find his shot, hitting two jumpers to stretch the lead back to six. Unfortunately, only to see MCW hit his only 3 of the half followed by a tip in by center Nerlens Noel and Brooklyn ends up nursing just a one point advantage at the half 46-45.

The third quarter looked a lot like the 1st, with Plumlee, Lopez, Jack & Johnson carrying the load and even upping the lead to as much as 11 points, 58-47 with 7 minutes left. The Nets eventually took a seven point advantage into the 4th despite the team shooting dropping dramatically down to 48% FG. However, where they were being severely outplayed was at the 3-point arc, going from 33% to 20% and crashing at 16.7%. In contrast, the Sixers after coming down from the impossible 75%, maintained a very respectable 46% through the remaining 3 quarters.

The fourth quarter lead for Brooklyn looked vulnerable. Coach Hollins was still juggling his lineup, keeping Plumlee on the bench for huge stretches. The Nets' inability to put together back-to-back buckets let the 76ers continue to hang around and gave them growing confidence. Philly took only their second lead of the game with less than a minute left in the game at 88-86. When Brook Lopez tied the game at 88, everyone in the building knew what was coming. Plumlee had been reinserted and although he had a career high in rebounds at 15, he would need help on the final play.

As he had done on the previous big scores for Philly, their best player, Michael Carter-Williams took the ball from the right elbow at the foul line down the lane and attacked the basket. When Mason Plumlee came over to defend, there was no one rotating to cover Sixers forward Luc Mbah a Moute, who scored the game winning bucket at the cup. The Nets go down to the hapless 76ers 90-88 and given the recent losing streak, the crowd's fears were realized.

Brooklyn Nets Drop Third Straight Game to Lottery Bound Boston Celtics

Deron Williams Re-Aggravates Sore Left Side and Exits Game

In their last ten games, the Brooklyn Nets are 6-4.

It's better than average, good for most teams right?

Well if you don't count the last two consecutive losses to the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks (both heart-breakers), then you're probably comfortable with the Nets progress thus far this season.

Sooner or later the Nets are going to have to decide what team they are going to be for the remainder of this season.

Can they catapult themselves towards the hierarchy of the Eastern Conference? Or will they mirror the team they once were during the 2012-13 season that enjoyed a short trip to the playoffs, eventually sent home in the first round in seven by the Chicago Bulls.

One game/win does not define a season, but the New York Knicks are in rebuild mode and the Nets are the city's only hope as far as competitive basketball is concerned.

With the precipitation featuring snow recently, the Brooklyn Nets have allowed the unfavorable weather beyond the comforts of the Barclays Center to affect their game, and it showed tonight hosting the Boston Celtics.

With the exception of the first quarter, the Nets struggled offensively for the rest of the game and fell to the lottery-bound Celtics, 89-81, their third straight loss.

The Nets are now three games under .500 at (16-19) while the Celtics improved to (12-21).

It just wasn't their night.

Expending a month's worth of energy in Monday's overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks, 96-88 could have something to do with it, as well as, completing a 10-game stretch which included three back-to-backs.

"The energy was low and I was fearful of that coming in," said Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins during his post-game press-conference.

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Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins speaking with the media in a postgame press conferenence.

"We just played back-to-backs and one of them was overtime, and now we go back to another back-to-back, so we have a back-to-back, a day off, game, a day off and a back-to-back."

Hollins also expressed that the current schedule along with Deron Williams and his injury status (re-aggravating his sore left side in the second quarter against the Celtics), has forced Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson to play more minutes than he would have liked.

In the Dallas overtime loss, Jack logged in 44 minutes and Johnson logged in 45.

Jarrett-Jack Brooklyn-Nets-Media-Day 2014

Brooklyn Nets point guard Jarrett Jack

Tonight, Jack logged in 39 minutes producing 15 points and four assists while Johnson contributed 17 points in 37 minutes.

Despite the Nets boasting four players in double figures, including Mason Plumlee who recorded his 7th double-double of the season with 16-12, as a whole, the home-team struggled on the offensive end the entire night as the Celtics out-scored the Nets in every quarter besides the first quarter (2nd: 21-14, 3rd: 29-23, 4th: 20-19).

Oh there's more.

The Nets shot 40.5% from the field, shooting 21.4% from behind the arc and 69.2% from the charity strike.

"When you are consistently at 39%, it's going to be a struggle to score every game," Hollins told the media post-game.

It gets worse!

The Nets committed 17 turnovers opposed to the Celtics 6.

As poor as the Nets offense was, they did compete on defense, but their efforts just weren't enough for a team who was younger and sported fresher legs.

And about those fresher legs, Celtics guard Avery Bradley showed off.

With the departure of Rajon Rondo, Bradley took advantage, torching the Nets for 21 points, shooting 3-5 from three-point range.

Tyler Zeller played sidekick to Bradley's exploits, as the Celtics second leading scorer with 18 points of his own, oh and another thing: every player who checked in for the Celtics recorded points.

The Celtics bench outscored the Nets bench, 34-18.

At the end of the day, it comes down to making shots and the Nets were unable to keep up with the hungrier and younger team.

They looked fatigued and un-enthusiastic.

Tonight, the Nets played with what the Knicks are made of which is just plain old bad.

In his post-game press-conference, Hollins, combated the negatives with his own observations of where his team is now opposed to where they were in the beginning of the year.

"We are playing much better," Hollins expressed.

"We've made progress, were moving forward, I think our culture is better, our togetherness is better, our defense is certainly better, we just have to figure out a way to make shots throughout the course of the game."

It seems like the Nets most recent struggles on the court stems back to the root of what their foundation as an organization is built on: The Big Three.

With the exception of Johnson, Williams and Brook Lopez have missed significant time on the court this season and their absence from this team as leaders, with their presence, continues to take its toll on the Nets, in the present and immediate future.

How long can Johnson and Jack continue to play excessive minutes without suffering injuries or just overall fatigue.

Their games will suffer which will eventually compel the remaining roster of the Nets to carry their load as starters, which isn't their role.

Jack was brought here to provide a formidable guard option off the bench along with Alan Anderson, and due to Williams injuries, his role has increased.

The Nets have to make a decision with their $99 million dollar-man in D-Will.

To trade or not to trade?

Williams re-injuring his sore left side during the second quarter of tonight's game does not help the possibilities of trading the former star at all.

As for the able bodies, Johnson and the crew are looking for the formula to solve their answers.

"I think we've had a few different lineups-us as players, trying to still learn and fine tune it for one another, so this team needs a little more time than we expected," Johnson said post-game.

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Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets Shooting Guard

"We just got to keep working hard, keep trusting one another and keep believing in one another."

The positive similarities in Johnson's and Hollins' post-game quotes regarding team chemistry are encouraging but losses like tonight are exactly what can disrupt that chemistry.

The Nets have to take care of their home-court and beat the teams that are inferior.

This weekend, the Nets will participate in another back-to-back. They play Philadelphia at home on the 9th and then will travel to play the streaking Detroit Pistons on the 10th, who are a perfect 6-0 since waiving Josh Smith.

The Nets need to win those two games.

Following Philly and Detroit, the Nets schedule features a ten-game stretch where they will face the likes of the Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies (home-home), and the Washington Wizards (back-to-back; and away-home). The Nets then do a west coast swing to play the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers (back-to-back), and Utah Jazz. They come home to play the Portland Trailblazers (Monday, Jan. 26), then back out to play the Atlanta Hawks (Wednesday, Jan. 28) and back home on Friday, January 30 to face the Toronto Raptors.

It can get very ugly.

But that's why it's Wednesday, were not there yet.

Brooklyn Nets Beat Sacramento Kings 107-99

Mason Plumlee and Jarrett Still Starting and Still Shining

Jarrett Jack and Mason Plumlee continue to start for the Brooklyn Nets; while Deron Williams and Brook Lopez provide their services off the bench.

It wasn't supposed to be that way, but injuries to both stars have kept them away from the court recently, and Jack and Plumlee have stepped up in their absence, so here we are.

It continued tonight against the Sacramento Kings with Plumlee and Jack in the starting lineup, opposed to Williams and Lopez.

There's a synergy there and the Kings experienced the dynamic duo's exploits tonight as the Nets, were able to sustain their late second quarter surge throughout the second half, pulling out a 107-99 win in front of a sellout crowd.

The Nets scored their highest point total (by quarter) of the game in the second with 30 points and the most important scores occurred in the closing minutes.

With 4:20 left, and the Nets leading by a deuce, 46-44, Plumlee and Co. organized a 11-0 run which improved their lead to double-digits, as they entered the intermission period up 13, 57-44.

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Brooklyn Nets point guard, Jarrett Jack

Plumlee scored half of the points in the run, which included two slams, while Alan Anderson and Jack accounted for the other six.

Plumlee and Jack also scored 10 and 12 respectively, leading the team in scoring individually into halftime.

At some point, you have to ask yourself where are Williams and Lopez?

After all, they did play and provide stability off the bench, but the more Williams and Lopez play in the roles they are currently reflecting, the more they are becoming after-thoughts.

Williams and Lopez, who subbed for Jack and Plumlee respectively in tonight's contest, have me questioning whether or not the crowd is cheering their arrival into the game or the play of the two they have come to replace on the floor.

Just a thought.

If you're wondering, Lopez scored 11 points with six rebounds while Williams chipped in six points and three assists.

The Nets improved to (14-16) overall on the season while the Kings dropped to (13-18), after defeating the New York Knicks just two days ago in OT, 135-129, which really isn't news by the way.

Unfortunately for the Kings, they were unable to sweep the state of New York tonight, as Brooklyn seems to be the only team that matters in the mecca, as far as basketball is concerned.

With the way the Nets are playing collectively, this alignment seems to be the recipe for success.

Plumlee, who had the challenge of facing up against DeMarcus Cousins (7th in All-Star balloting for front-court players with 117,003), one of the best young bigs in the game, held his own scoring 22 points with 4 rebounds, while Cousins produced a double-double in 24 and 14.

Jack and Joe Johnson both scored 16 points.

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Brooklyn Nets shooting guard, Joe Johnson

Since Jack and Plumlee replaced Williams and Lopez in the starting lineup, the Nets are 4-1.

It's a small sample size but you cannot argue with results.

To be honest, if Jack and Plumlee started the season, they could've been viable candidates to make the All-Star team as alternates on a team where no-one else deserves the honor.

Another key stat in tonight's game was the fact that Plumlee got to the line eight times, sinking 10 of 16 free throws.

"They got it to me on the block a little bit more and in transition I got fouled a bit," said Plumlee post-game.

"They wanted to foul, so they called them, and I got to the free throw line."

It seems like the only facet of Plumlee's game that is lacking is a face-up game and a 15-foot jumpshot, which is what makes Plumlee's development thus far and production such a surprise.

Although Plumlee and Jack were the stars of the game, the play of the game award goes to Kevin Garnett who flashed back to his Minnesota days for one play late in the third.

With 16.3 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Kevin Garnett rebounded a miss shot from Kings guard Ray McCallum and led a two-man fast-break, in which Sergey Karasev served him up an alley-oop slam, which Garnett completed emphatically, much to the delight of the crowd.

"I know I'm like 150 years... I can actually dunk the ball," said Garnett regarding his slam-dunk.

"You can't start in the league if you can't dunk."

Garnett finished with 10 points on the night.

With all the success the Nets are experiencing as of this moment, something has to be done about Williams and Lopez.

Two of the highest paid players on the team have accepted their new-found roles as bench players but how long can this last to this team's benefit.

There are a number of players around the league that can produce the numbers that Lopez and Williams are averaging off the bench for a discounted price.

Just saying.

Break Up The Indiana Pacers: Brooklyn Nets Lose in a Rout 110-85

Jack, Johnson Try to Keep Nets in the Game

The Brooklyn Nets were feeling pretty good about themselves going into last night's contest with the Indiana Pacers, coming off three consecutive wins earlier this week. And, a big part of it has been the play of Jarrett Jack, as the Nets were 3-0 with Jack in the starting lineup.

After exchanging some opening buckets, Sergey Karasev, the big 6'7" guard in his ninth start, makes the first of his two 3-pointers to get the Nets on a little bit of an early run taking their first lead at 5-4.

Add a couple of free throws by recent hero, Mason Plumlee and jumpers by the offensive "Heavyweight Champion", Jack Johnson and by that I mean the duo of Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson, Brooklyn scores the next six points unanswered to go ahead 11-4, three minutes in and it had the feeling like Christmas was going to continue for the Nets.

In only his third game back for the Pacers, George Hill had scored Indy's first two points and stayed aggressive throughout the opening quarter, grabbing 3 rebounds, hitting a big three pointer to keep them close midway through the first.

At the same time, Jack continued his fine play, running the offense, getting in the lane and scoring, Lopez comes in for the first time for KG and Joe Johnson hits his only 3 of the quarter to stretch the lead to 6 points and with another Jack floating jumper, the Nets re-establish their largest lead of the early going and the evening, eight points up 19-11.

As Coach Hollins would say in his postgame press conference, we shot well to start and then missed shots. Exhibit 1: Brook Lopez, looked flat footed and listless as he missed all of his four FG attempts. And considering Mason Plumlee's more stellar play, Lopez could be on the market in short order.

Despite abysmal offense and half-hearted defense, as Coach commented after the game, the team never stopped playing and competing and as a result made a valiant come back from 9 down to close the second quarter only 3 points behind the Pacers (50-47 ) going into the half.

Unfortunately the numbers say everything about the first half: NETS 32.6% FG Shooting, 31% 3 PT shooting, while PACERS 44.2% FG Shooting, 67% 3 PT shooting. Indiana scored 5 points off 7 turnovers and Nets scored nothing (0) off 4 turnovers.

Deron Williams who continues to be the subject of trade rumors, did not check in until the end of the first quarter and was part of a dismal offensive showing by the bench throughout the game.

Again, Head Coach Lionel Hollins, was very clear when asked what contributed to the poor outing, "when you expect to get a spark off the bench and they go 4 for 27, you're going to lose."

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Lionel Hollins, Head Coach, Brooklyn Nets

Then Hollins was asked, what did he see that presented such problems for his team?

He responded, "It's basketball, you put the ball in the basket and you guard somebody."

It became apparent even with Hibbert a non-factor, the Nets had no answer for David West, CJ Watson, and Rodney Stuckey and found themselves down by 14 at the end of the third quarter, 79-65.

The only NETS bright spots were the play and leadership of Jarrett Jack, as a consistent and productive scorer, although he needs to get to the line more. One free throw attempt is not enough for someone who penetrates the paint, as well as, he does and 2 assists is too few against 5 turnovers. And Karasev sets a new career high with 14 points.

The fourth quarter turned quickly into a rout, as the Pacers duplicated their 3rd period 11-point outscoring of the Nets and had the lead up to 27 points before both teams emptied their benches and finished with a 25 point victory, 110-85 over Brooklyn. While Coach Hollins felt like the team never stopped trying to compete, he could not explain the inept shooting except to say it was a good week winning their previous three games and these nights can happen.

Considering the Pacers desperation to make up for a beating they suffered in their last outing, they simply wanted it more and played that way. Even at 13-16 they're still in second place in the East Atlantic Division. Hopefully, the Nets can end the year on a positive note with Sacramento on Tuesday and Chicago on Wednesday and find their groove, as they did last season at the start of the New Year in 2015.

So there's good reason to keep hope alive, Happy New Year!

Plumlee Stars and Leads Nets In Win Over Nuggets

Johnson and Jack Combine to Help Nets Defeat Nuggets 102-96

Before tip-off against the Denver Nuggets this evening, Mason Plumlee, starting in place of Nets center Brook Lopez, wished everyone in attendance at the Barclays Center a Happy Holidays.

With the way Plumlee has been playing lately, his holiday season will be happier than most.

Plumlee's inspiring play has relegated the role of Lopez's status from starter to role player, and that might not be all.

Recently, NBA trade rumors have placed the Nets big three, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Lopez on the trading block, according to ESPNNY.com and SBNation.com.

Due to Plumlee's emergence, Lopez could be headed out of town, and tonight's display explains it all.

The late scoring of Johnson, and Jarrett Jack, the Nets defeated the Nuggets, 102-96. However, the player of the game award without question goes to the man in the middle, Plumlee. He made a number of key plays down the stretch.

Plumlee scored 19 points in addition to 13 rebounds, recording his 5th double-double of the season, making plays on both ends of the floor along with two steals and three blocks.

Plumlee's activity not only contributed to the Nets win but helped lead the Nets down the stretch, as he was the source of the action, in a series of plays during the final quarter which helped the Nets seal the deal.

And it all started at the 9 minute mark where Plumlee escaped to the phone booth and eventually saved the day.

With 8:46 left in the fourth, Plumlee converted an easy dunk, assisted by Jack, which brought the Nets within five as the Nuggets led 85-80.

Plumlee, then blocks Nuggets rookie Jusuf Nurkic at the rim and at the other end completes a tough reverse-layup, assisted by Joe Johnson, with the foul, as the Nets closed the gap to three, down 85-82 which brought the 17,080 fans in attendance to their feet.

You could feel the energy in the air, as Brooklyn stood up for the second time this quarter in addition to the beginning of the fourth when the Brooklyn PA requests the crowd to do so.

Plumlee gave the crowd no reason to sit and continued his exhilarating play.

On this night, he could do no wrong.

With a little after seven remaining, Plumlee met JaVale Lindy McGee at the rim for another denial, forcing a jump-ball between the two players.

The Nets would then win the tip gaining another possession where Johnson connected for two from 15 feet, giving the Nets their first lead since late in the third quarter.

In the final six minutes, Plumlee hauled in six crucial rebounds which helped the Nets secure the win, while giving Johnson and Jack opportunities on the offensive end as they would go on to score 14 points collectively, ending the Nuggets threat.

There's no doubt that Johnson's late out-burst from the perimeter and Jacks creativity off-the-dribble showed up on the scoreboard but the crowd recognized who made the hustle plays and rewarded Plumlee graciously from one of his rebounds to each basket made.

In general, the Nets offense picked up where they needed it the most, executing a 13-7 stretch in the closing moments.

"I think it just goes back to energy and effort," Jack said post-game.

"Usually when those opportunities present themselves is because you've worked hard on the defensive end and created some havoc."

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Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack

And so they did.

In that stretch, the Nets increase in defensive pressure forced the Nuggets to miss six shots in which they would've had the opportunity to tie or stop the bleeding of the Nets run.

"Second-chance opportunities, letting them get offensive rebounds, us not executing on the offensive end and them making shots-basically that was the end of the game," Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler expressed.

"That was working for most of the game, but the last five, six minutes, they outplayed us."

And sure enough, Plumlee is the primary reason, spearheading the Nets late-game execution from a blue-collar perspective making the necessary plays.

Winning plays to say the least.

When I asked Coach Hollins during his press-conference whether or not Plumlee's play of late is making it difficult for the other big's to see the floor in big moments, Hollins said:

"It was an easy decision to leave him in there, whatever the situation warrants, that's who's going to be in the game."

If Plumlee keeps this up, there might not be any more situations left for anyone on the Nets roster over 6'9.

In his answer, Hollins also made a hint to the media as to why no-one asked him about Brook Lopez, who came off the bench for 6 points in 8:15 minutes of play.

This is also the same Lopez who subbed out of the 4th quarter for Plumlee with 10:34 remaining and never returned.

In this brief two-game winning streak, the Nets are exhibiting a toughness and an effort that has been consistently inconsistent throughout the course of this season.

And it is coming when their big-three have been the main subject of trade rumors with Lopez playing limited minutes and Williams recording DNP's.

Jack isn't missing Williams at all providing a steady hand at the lead guard position with the increase in minutes, pacing the Nuggets for 17 points and 8 assists, barely missing his second straight double-double of the season.

Johnson also came up big when it mattered most, scoring a team-high 27 points.

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Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson

Even though Johnson is still too-cool for school, (I've never seen him sweat or dive on the floor EVER!) he is still more than capable of winning games.

It seems like all the Nets are benefiting and here's a fun-fact in tonight's game: every Net that entered the game tonight scored.

Cheers to that.

Despite the win, the Nets did give up 26 fast-break points, and were out-rebounded by the Nuggets 51-39, but tonight they persevered.

Ty Lawson penetrated the Nets defense at will, scoring a team-high 29 points with 9 assists complimented by the "Manimal," in Kenneth Faried who also exploited the Nets defense for a double-double in 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Yet again, it didn't matter.

Plumlee is on fire, like an uncomfortable stick of Big-Red chewing gum and Hollins has taken notice.

"Mason made a conscious decision to go and just play and not worry about what I say, if I yell at him, if I take him out of the game-just go play," Hollins said during his post-game press conference.

"He's doing some stuff that I haven't seen Mason do since I've been here, and it's good to see."

Hey! Maybe the Nets don't need ALL of the big three to get the job done.

Just watch Jack and Plumlee play and you will understand why.

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