The Nets could be in trouble against Milwaukee

In Game 3, the Brooklyn Nets, who were up 2-0 in their best-of-seven second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, had an 83-80 lead with under two minutes to go. However, Milwaukee outscored the Nets 6-0 to finish the game, including a Jrue Holiday layup to put them up for good as they defeated the Nets 86-83. 

Brooklyn was so close to taking a commanding 3-0 lead, and that’s why it’s so important to close teams out when you have a chance.

On Sunday at Fiserv Forum, the Bucks defeated the Nets 107-96 in Game 4. The series is now tied at 2. The pivotal Game 5 is Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

Unfortunately for the Nets, they might be without James Harden(hamstring) and Kyrie Irving(ankle). Harden has not been active since injuring his right hamstring in Game 1 of this series, which was the same hamstring that forced him to miss time in the regular season, and Irving left Game 4 in the second quarter and did not return after turning his ankle on a layup attempt. Irving reportedly left the arena in a walking boot and crutches.

“It was a big adjustment tonight to play without him(Irving) and James(Harden), but we’ve had that type of year,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said after Game 4. “So, we have to find a way to figure it out, to look at the tape and get better.”

With Irving and Durant, the Nets were able to take a 2-0 series lead. Without Harden and Irving, the pressure is on Durant to be at his best, and Durant is good enough to carry this team to victory in one game, but he’s not good enough to do it over the final three games of this series, and while Durant did score 28 points in Game 4, he did shoot 9-25 from the field and seemed bothered by the defense of Milwaukee’s P.J. Tucker, but again, this is Durant, so we know he can bounce back.

The momentum is clearly on the side of the Bucks. Without Harden and Irving, the Bucks are the more talented team, but this is why home-court advantage is vital because role players tend to be better at home, so that means guys like Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, and Landry Shamet could step up for Brooklyn.

But in the end, no Harden, no Irving, could mean the Nets’ season could end in the second- round of the playoffs, which would be a huge disappointment.

 

 

Mavs’ Finney-Smith: ‘If we come out how we did tonight(against Nets), we can beat anybody’

The Dallas Mavericks are in playoff mode right now as they fight to stay out of the Play-in Tournament, and on Thursday night at American Airlines Center, Dallas defeated the Brooklyn Nets(43-24) 113-109.

With the win and the Lakers’ loss to the Clippers on Thursday night, Dallas(38-28) has sole possession of the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Dallas has a one-game lead on both the Lakers and Blazers.

Dallas was led by Luka Doncic’s 24 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23. Kyrie Irving had a season and game-high 45 points for Brooklyn.

“We’ve got a little momentum here; we’ve got to keep it going,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “The game tomorrow is obviously very, very important because of everything that is going on with the standings. We’ll get some rest and do our best to be ready.”

Doncic had 19 points in the first half but only had five points the rest of the way, including 2-11 from the field, but according to Carlisle, Doncic, who had seven rebounds and five assists in the second half, was able to impact the game in other ways. 

“The thing, when Luka [Doncic] goes through periods where he’s not scoring, he finds other ways to impact the game,” Carlisle said. “He was rebounding really well during that stretch. He moved it to some guys for some really good shots. And he kept playing the game — that’s what you’ve got to do.”

Dorian Finney-Smith, who had 17 points against the Nets, did an excellent job against Kevin Durant and Dallas held him to 1-10 shooting from the field with four points in the second half. Durant finished the game 7/21 from the field with 20 points. 

After the game, Finney-Smith discussed his defense against Durant.

“Man, he’s just one of those guys you try to make him uncomfortable because he can shoot anytime he wants (because) he’s so tall,” Finney-Smith said. “Sometimes you feel like you’re there. You feel like he just plays like he’s in front of a cone. He’s doing the cone drill, but you got to try to make it tough for him, and we did a good job tonight.”

Dallas has won eight of their last 10 games, and Finney-Smith believes that Dallas can beat anybody if they play as they did against Brooklyn on Thursday night. 

“Sometimes when we play teams not as good as Brooklyn, we don’t come out with that fight,” he said. “If we come out how we did tonight, we can beat anybody.”

Dallas, who again was without Kristaps Porzingis(right knee), seem to be putting it together at the right time, but they must not play down to the opposition, and that would be put to the test when they battle the Cavs(21-45) at home in the second half of a back-to-back on Friday night. 

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on Sexton: ‘There’s a small group of guys in this league that can do what he did tonight’

He’s back and better than ever! After missing five games due to a sprained ankle, Cavaliers G Collin Sexton returned on Wednesday night against the star-studded Brooklyn Nets, who had their Big 3 of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving together for the first time.

However, Sexton was the biggest star on Wednesday night. The third-year guard scored 20 straight points, including 15 points in the second overtime and finished with a career-high 42 points as the Cavaliers(7-7) defeated the Nets(9-7) at home 147-135 in double overtime. 

Sexton out-dueled Irving last night, who returned after missing seven games and scored 37 points for Brooklyn. Sexton took over the game in OT, and according to his head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, not many players in the NBA could have done what Sexton did against Brooklyn. 

“Collin(Sexton) has proven time and time again against all his doubters is he’s not afraid of the big moments,” Bickerstaff said. “He likes pressure-filled moments. Not everybody in our league has the courage to do what he did tonight. Not everyone in our league have the ability to do what he did tonight… 

“Collin Sexton brought us home tonight, and again, people can say what they want to say about him, but there’s a small group of guys in this league that can do what he did tonight.”

Cavs’ Cedi Osman, who scored 25 points on Wednesday night, added this about Sexton: “That was a hell of an effort, man. He had 20 straight points. He played great; he played out of his mind. It was amazing. I don’t know what to say.” 

Even Irving enjoyed what he saw from Sexton.

“You gotta love NBA ball, though,” he said. “I was smiling when Collin Sexton was making those shots.”

Irving and Sexton will forever be linked. The former Cavalier was traded to Boston in 2017. In that deal, Cleveland was able to secure a first round pick, which turned into Sexton. After the game, Sexton acknowledged his connection to Irving.

“I am in Cleveland,” he said. “I wear number 2, and I do wear Kyrie’s(sneakers), so you know that’s definitely going to be linked together, so I just gotta take it.”

Sexton was terrific last night, and before the injury, was playing at a high level. What he is doing thus far this season is not a surprise. However, the way Cleveland is playing this season, especially when you consider the injuries, is impressive. Once they get fully healthy(Darius Garland and Kevin Love), they could be a team in the mix for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 

 

Cavaliers’ Lovc on Irving: ‘I think that calling anybody a pawn is a sure sign of disrespect'(VIDEO)

Last week, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving announced that he would not be talking to the media this year.

Irving released a statement explaining why he’s not talking to the media on December 4, which said the following:

“COVID-19 has impacted us all in many ways, so I pray for the safety and health of our communities domestically and abroad. I am truly excited for the season to start and I am also praying that everyone remains safe and healthy throughout this journey.

Instead of speaking to the media today, I am issuing this statement to ensure that my message is conveyed properly.

I am committed to show up to work everyday, ready to have fun, compete, perform, and win championships alongside my teammates and colleagues in the Nets organization. My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself.

Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change.”

On Thursday, Irving and the Nets were fined $25,000 apiece by the NBA for his refusal to speak. According to the NBA, Irving violated league rules governing media interview access.

Irving responded to the fine via Instagram on Friday:

“I pray we utilize the ‘fine money’ for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently,” he said “[I am] here for Peace, Love, and Greatness. So stop distracting me and my team, and appreciate the Art. We move different over here.

“I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more.”

Irving’s former teammate with the Cavaliers, Kevin Love, gave his thoughts on the situation and said the following:

“I think that calling anybody a pawn is a sure sign of disrespect, and I understand where Kyrie is coming from in trying to better a number of people’s lives, but I’m just not a divisive person,” 

Listen to Love’s complete thoughts below:

Kevin Durant to sign with the Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant is going to Brooklyn. Durant made the announcement via Instagram. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a four-year, $164 million deal. Durant is expected to miss all of next season due to a torn Achilles tendon.

Also, according to Wojnarowski, Kyrie Irving is expected to sign with the Nets. It will be a four-year, $141 million deal, according to the report.

Both Durant and Irving’s deals won’t be official until July 6.

With Irving and Durant in the fold, the Nets will be formidable for years to come. However, next season, they are probably not a championship caliber team because Durant is expected to miss next season, but it’s still happy times in Brooklyn.

Stephen A. Smith believes Kyrie Irving should test free agency(VIDEO)

The Boston Celtics are one of the favorites in Eastern Conference, especially with the return of their two best players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. With LeBron James out of the East, and if Boston stays healthy, there is a good shot they get to the NBA Finals.

Arguably, the Celtics best player is Irving, and the five-time All-Star can become a free agent at the end of the season, but the 26-year-old Irving recently told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he wants to stay in Boston.

However, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, even though Irving is happy in Boston, he should still test free agency.

Listen below:

Last season, Irving missed the playoffs due to a knee injury.

It would not hurt for Irving to see what is out there, especially if he confident in his ability to stay healthy. In my opinion, he should test free agency. It’s always good to have options in life, and by becoming a free agent, Irving would have options.

Antoine Walker: ‘If I got a chance to get LeBron James, Kyrie gotta go'(AUDIO)

Ever since the NBA season ended, the most talked about subject in the league is what’s next for LeBron James. James is expected to opt out of his contract and become a free agent very shortly.

Where James will play next season is pretty much a mystery at this time, but you get the sense that certain teams have the edge over others.  According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, there are seven teams in the mix: Cavs, Warriors, 76ers, Celtics, Rockets, Lakers, and Heat, but we won’t know until James starts meeting with teams.

One team that is on Stephen A.’s list is the Boston Celtics, which could make for an unusual situation. If James were to go to Boston, he would be reunited with Kyrie Irving. As we all know, Irving, who was traded from the Cavs to the Celtics, wanted to leave to get out from underneath the shadow of James. So, if LeBron went to Boston, what happens to Kyrie?

Former Celtics star Antoine Walker thinks if Boston has a chance to get LeBron they must choose him over Irving.

“If I got a chance to get LeBron James, Kyrie gotta go,” Walker said on the SouthSide Heat podcast.

Listen below:

Stephen A. Smith believes a Leonard for Irving swap is not a bad idea(WATCH)

The Boston Celtics are making a lot of noise in these NBA playoffs. Without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics found a way to beat the Bucks in round one, and currently, Boston is up 2-0 over the 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Terry Rozier, who has filled in for the injured Irving, has been a revelation for the Celtics in these playoffs. Rozier is averaging 19.1 ppg in the playoffs and is playing some great  basketball.

Conversely, the San Antonio Spurs were eliminated by the Warriors in round one. The Spurs were without their best player in Kawhi Leonard, and there have been rumblings that Leonard may want out of San Antonio.

The fact that Rozier is balling and Leonard may want out of San Antonio led ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith to think about the possibilities of an Irving for Leonard swap.

Here’s what Smith said on First Take today:

If the Spurs want a star, maybe trading Leonard for Irving is not a bad idea. Plus, you keep Leonard out of the Western Conference.

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown on Isaiah Thomas trade: ‘Do I agree with it? Not necessarily’

The Boston Celtics are going to look a little different this NBA season. Gone are Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Kelly Olynyk. In are Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward,  Marcus Morris, and Jayson Tatum.

Boston finished first in the Eastern Conference last season, and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Cavs in five.

The biggest move for the Celtics this offseason was the trade of Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving.

Celtics F Jaylen Brown is not sure if the trade of Thomas is good for the team. Here is what he told Complex Magazine:

“It changes the whole dynamic, the whole culture. We’ll see if it’s for good or bad, time will tell. But it’s still a little weird to me, to be honest, because when I came in everything they stressed was culture, environment, Celtic basketball. Now, it’s like what is the environment, the culture, what is Celtic basketball? I think it’s a great opportunity for me, great opportunity for the Celtics, great opportunity for Kyrie. Obviously, I loved Isaiah. He was like a big brother to me. I watched him, admired him, the chip he carried on his shoulder I love him. I still do. I’ve kept in contact with him. Congratulated him when he got traded to the Cavs. It’s tough because it’s the business we live in. Do I agree with it? Not necessarily. I think Isaiah definitely tried to plant his flag in Boston. He will definitely be missed—he and Jae [Crowder] both. And Avery [Bradley], too. Those three guys are truly going to be missed. I love them and I thanked all of them for helping me out and said I’d see them down the line,” Brown said.

Interesting comments by Brown. I think getting Irving was a great move by Boston. While last year’s Celtics had great chemistry, the 2017-18 has more talent.

In the NBA, chemistry is important, but talent wins!

Cavs’ Iman Shumpert on guarding Kyrie Irving: ‘I know how Kyrie play’

The Kyrie Irving trade to Boston took a lot longer than expected. On August 22, Boston and Cleveland agreed to a deal that had the Cavs sending Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick. However, due to concerns from the Cavs with Thomas’ hip, the deal was not completed until August 30 when Boston agreed to add a 2020 second-round pick.

Irving spent six seasons in Cleveland. During that time, Irving was a 4x All-Star, and won a title in Cleveland. However, Irving wanted out of Cleveland, and desired a bigger role elsewhere.

Cavs’ Iman Shumpert still has love for Irving. When asked if he had any ill will toward Irving, Shumpert told TMZ Sports the following:

“Nah, that’s my brother. It’s a business dog, it’s all a business. I used to do the super loyalty. It’s business at the end of the day, and you can’t get mad when things don’t go how you want it to go because it’s in your heart. It’s just a business.”

Shumpert had this message for Irving and the Celtics:

“I know how Kyrie play. I know we got to beat them, that’s it. I know all his moves,” Shumpert said.

The Cavaliers and Celtics will make for a great rivalry. Both teams will probably be the top two teams in the East, which means they probably will see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The two teams face off in the first game of the NBA regular season on October 17. Can’t wait!