Tagged in: Brooklyn Nets

Rockets rally past Spurs 109-105 in 1st game without Harden

Houston’s first game without James Harden went better than anyone could have expected.

Christian Wood had 27 points and 15 rebounds, and the Rockets rallied to defeat the San Antonio Spurs 109-105 on Thursday night in their first game since trading away the franchise cornerstone.

“It was fun. It was really cool stuff,” Houston’s first-year coach Stephen Silas said.

Sterling Brown, who took Harden’s spot in the starting lineup, had 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes. Jae’Sean Tate added 13 points, 10 assists and five rebounds.

San Antonio forward Keldon Johnson had a career-high 29 points and Lonnie Walker IV added 16 points while tying a career-high with four 3-pointers. Houston sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team blockbuster trade on Wednesday. 

Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs, who the Rockets acquired along with numerous draft picks and draft swaps for Harden, are not with the team yet.

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It was Houston’s first match without Harden since 2012, when Oklahoma City traded its young guard to the Rockets primarily due to salary cap constraints.

Harden remained publicly quiet through months of rumors about his unhappiness with the Rockets, but he broke that silence following a second blowout loss to the Lakers on Tuesday. He bluntly said the Rockets were “just not good enough” and that he did not believe the situation could be fixed.

Houston showed otherwise, at least in their first chance to do so.

“We had a team meeting after that last game against the Lakers and we drew the line there,” Tate said. “Everybody has so much to prove.”

The Rockets were also without John Wall and Eric Gordon due to injuries. The upheaval led to more minutes for the remaining roster, and they took advantage of it.

“Spirit is something I believe a lot in and talk a lot about,” Silas said. “We had spirit tonight.”

Seven players scored at least nine points, with Mason Jones scoring a career-high nine points.

The Rockets staged a 15-2 run to lead 105-101 with 1:46 left.

“It’s got nothing to do with defense (or) offense,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the late swoon. “It has to do with between the ears and being ready to play. And we had four or five guys who were out to lunch.”

Brown had a wild, overhead shot land on the top of the backboard for an out-of-bounds call with 9.5 seconds remaining. San Antonio veteran DeMar DeRozan missed a 15-footer with 0.4 seconds left, and the Spurs fouled P.J. Tucker, who made two free throws to seal it.

DeRozan had 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds in his return from a two-game absence due to personal reasons.

The teams meet again Saturday at the AT&T Center in the finale of a two-game set in San Antonio.

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Kyrie Irving not expected to rejoin Brooklyn Nets this week; NBA reviewing maskless videos

As the NBA is reviewing videos circulating on social media of a maskless Kyrie Irving at what appears to be a family birthday party, there is no belief the Brooklyn Nets guard will return to the team’s lineup this week, sources told ESPN.

Irving was already ruled out for the fourth consecutive game Tuesday night versus Denver, and sources said that, at a minimum, he is expected to miss Wednesday’s game against New York and Saturday’s against Orlando. His absence has been attributed to personal reasons.

In the videos — which started being widely shared Monday night — a smiling Irving is dancing with his sister Asia on a confetti-covered floor and clapping as she blows out candles. If the video is found to be recent, that behavior could be a breach of the league’s coronavirus protocols.

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The league’s COVID-19 guidelines forbid players from going to clubs, bars and lounges.

They also ban players from attending social gatherings of more than 15 people.

“We are aware of a video on social media featuring Kyrie Irving at a family gathering,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement Tuesday. “We are reviewing the circumstances with both Kyrie and the NBA in order to determine compliance with health and safety protocols.”

“Kyrie will have the opportunity to address his absence when he is ready to do so,” Marks added.

Nets coach Steve Nash, during his pregame media availability Tuesday, said he hadn’t seen the video in question and wasn’t going to expand on Marks’ statement.

Asked if he is confident Irving will return at some point this season, Nash replied: “Sure.”

On Tuesday night, Irving appeared to attend a virtual fundraiser for Manhattan District Attorney candidate, Tahanie Aboushi. Aboushi shared a photo from the event, which started at 7 p.m. ET, on social media.

The photo appeared to show Irving in one of the video boxes. The Nets tipped off versus Denver at Barclays Center 30 minutes after the fundraiser’s start time.

The investigation into the Irving videos at the family event comes during a turbulent week, as the league is reevaluating its coronavirus health and safety rules. The league has postponed three games this week as positive COVID-19 tests and contact-tracing quarantines mounted.

The NBA in conjunction with the NBPA announced tightened coronavirus protocols Tuesday, including further limiting movement for players and staff members on road trips. If a player misses a game for a COVID-19 violation, he would lose 1/72nd of his salary, according to league rules.

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Short handed Nets reach deal with veteran guard Jamal Crawford

When the Brooklyn Nets boarded their plane out of New York on Tuesday, there were only 12 healthy players on board. But reinforcements are coming. Jamal Crawford is signing with the Nets for the remainder of the season, league sources told ESPN.

Crawford, 40, will fill one of the Nets’ three vacant substitute roster spots. Crawford is qualified to be signed after Brooklyn had three players — Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince — test positive for the coronavirus.

All three have been ruled out for the campaign restart in Orlando, Florida. Wilson Chandler, citing familial obligations, also did not make the trip. The team signed forward Justin Anderson in his place.

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Now the Nets have two roster spots available to be filled.

According to NBA rules, Crawford could fly or drive to Florida. If he hasn’t been tested regularly since June 23 — when the league started testing players every other day — he will need to quarantine and be tested every day for a week in Orlando before he will be eligible to join his new teammates on the court.

Crawford hasn’t played in the NBA in the 2019-20 season. He most recently played for the Phoenix Suns and scored 51 points in the last match he played in 2019. The 20-year veteran has averaged 14.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over the course of his career.

The Nets arrived in Orlando on Tuesday as one of the 22 NBA teams listed to resume games on July 30. They are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the Orlando Magic, who currently hold the final playoff spot.

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Nets now free from coronavirus symptoms after testing positive

Fifteen days after the Brooklyn Nets announced that four players had tested positive for COVID-19, general manager Sean Marks stated that Brooklyn’s roster is free from coronavirus symptoms.

Speaking to reporters during a conference call on Wednesday morning, Marks said that the Nets’ traveling party has completed a two-week quarantine and will continue to adhere to the government issued social distancing guidelines.

“As it pertains to the team,” Marks said, “I sense like all of us, like the rest of New York and really the rest of the globe, we’re trying to deal with this as best we can.”

The symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, chills and extreme exhaustion.

Many people who have coronavirus do not have any symptoms at all. Three of the four Nets players to test positive were asymptomatic. Still, Marks said as of right now there is no plan for players to be retested.

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Marks said that he only foresees players being retested if it is something the government or NBA requires in order to return to playing.

The NBA campaign has been on pause since March 11 and since then, more than a dozen players and at least one team owner, the Knicks’ James Dolan, have tested positive for coronavirus. During the three week hiatus, many teams have distributed workout equipment to their players’ homes in order to keep them in shape. For the Nets, that has also meant that their injured players have had more time to heal.

Nets star Kyrie Irving had shoulder surgery in February and was expected to be out for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. Kevin Durant, who sustained an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals, had been ruled out for the entire campaign.

Marks did not definitively say how the extended postponement of the season could affect whether Durant — who tested positive for coronavirus — or Irving returns to the court this season. Marks stated that while both players are continuing their rehabilitation, the process could be slowed due to the practice facility being closed.

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Kevin Durant among four Nets players to test positive for covid-19

Kevin Durant, the DMV’s contemporary basketball legend, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus after coming back from a trip to San Francisco with his new team the Brooklyn Nets.  Durant, who remains sidelined after rupturing his achilles tendon in the 2019 NBA Finals while playing for the Golden State Warriors, was one of four Nets players who reportedly have contracted the virus.

“Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine,” the Prince George’s County native said to the sports website The Athletic. He said that he is feeling fine and not showing any symptoms. “We’re going to get through this.”

According to various reports, Brooklyn hired an outside firm to handle its testing, but the organization hasn’t released the names of the players. However, the Nets said in a statement on Tuesday that only one of the four players showed symptoms of the virus. but they are being kept isolated while receiving medical attention from team physicians. 

Four players represent one third of the team’s roster who have been infected.

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“All players and members of the Nets travel party are being asked to remain isolated, closely monitor their health and maintain constant communication with team medical staff,” the Nets said in a statement.

“The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best care possible.”

Durant, 31, signed a four-year deal that could pay him $164 million in Brooklyn after spending the last three years with the Warriors. While playing in the Bay Area he led Golden State to straight championships and they seemed poised for a third until he was lost for good in game six of the 2019 championship series.

The 10-time NBA all star led them on two title runs and was named NBA Finals MVP twice. He hasn’t played this campaign while rehabilitating an Achilles tendon injury suffered during their loss to the Toronto Raptors.

The final team the Nets faced before the season was forced into its hiatus were the Los Angeles Lakers ,who have been tested Wednesday. Lakers officials announced via Twitter after testing the team will be imposing a 14-day self quarantine.

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Kyrie Irving to have season-ending shoulder surgery

Kyrie Irving tried to keep playing through pain, a cortisone shot no longer providing enough relief.

Eventually, he and the Brooklyn Nets decided it’s best to get his right shoulder taken care of now and get healthy for next season — when Irving and Kevin Durant can lastly play together.

Irving will have arthroscopic surgery and miss the rest of the campaign, Nets general manager Sean Marks said Thursday.

“Kyrie mentioned he was playing through pain and you have to give him a lot of credit for that.

He wants to be out there and playing with his guys,” Marks said. “But there comes a point where you say enough is enough and again, it goes to long-term health. And the best thing that (we) could do is to shut it down and get this taken care of once and for all.”

Coach Kenny Atkinson said the point guard was still having trouble with the shoulder that started troubling him in October and sidelined him for 26 matches earlier this season.

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“Some days it was OK and other days it bothered him,” Atkinson said before the Nets faced the Philadelphia 76ers. “Obviously, it is difficult to perform under those circumstances.”

Irving said pain in the shoulder initially worsened after a game on Nov. 4. The Nets then went on a five-game road trip, where Irving continued to play until the pain got so bad he was having trouble lifting his shoulder.

He got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24 and was able to return on Jan. 12, but he acknowledged that surgery might still be necessary. Irving met with a specialist this week and by deciding to have a procedure now, his first season in Brooklyn ends after just 20 games.

Irving averaged 27.4 points, with a 50-point game on opening night and a 54-point performance versus Chicago on Jan. 31. He played only one more game after that.

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Nets´ Kyrie Irving out at least a week with knee injury

After departing Saturday’s contest versus the Washington Wizards midway through the fourth quarter, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has been diagnosed with a medial ligament sprain in his right knee and will miss at least the next week before being re-evaluated, the team informed Sunday.

The injury occurred as Irving attempted to secure a rebound, but he got caught up with Wizards guard Bradley Beal. The two tussled for possession, which led to Beal’s weight forcing Irving’s leg/knee into what appeared to be an uncomfortable direction.

Irving remained on the ground for a few moments before eventually heading to the locker room. It has been an injury-hampered first season in Brooklyn for Irving, who has played in just 20 of his team’s first 48 matches.

A shoulder ailment previously kept him out of the mix, paving the way for Spencer Dinwiddie to take on an increased role in the offense, a role that he figures to reclaim over at least the next week while Irving is absent.

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With a 21-27 record following play Saturday, the Nets still in possession of the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.

After a splashy offseason in which the team made headlines by inking Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan to free-agent deals, the team was expected to be better, even with KD sitting out all campaign.

Irving will miss at least his team’s next three matches, with Feb. 10 being the next contest that falls beyond the one-week timetable. But with the All-Star break fast approaching, Brooklyn could opt to play it safe, if Irving is even cleared to return in the near future.

Irving had his highest-scoring game of the season the previous night, scoring 54 points in a triumph over Chicago. Irving has already missed a career-high 28 games this season.

He missed 26 games due to a right shoulder impingement and one each because of a strained hamstring and to mourn the death of Kobe Bryant.

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Kyrie Irving returns, leads Nets past Hawks

The Brooklyn Nets will take whatever they can get after seeing how much a healthy Irving means to them.

The point guard scored 21 points in 20 minutes in his return from an injured right shoulder, leading the Nets to a 108-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Irving made a career-best 90.9 percent of his shots after missing 26 games with an impingement. The shoulder looked fine and his handle looked as good as ever while he dribbled his way around a hopeless Atlanta defense.

Energized by his return that still seemed a ways away just a week ago, the Nets led by 39 points and won their second straight after dropping seven in a row.

“We had a certain confidence about us tonight that I think we were missing during that streak,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “So great, great timing having him back.” Cam Reddish scored 20 points for the Hawks, who played without star guard Trae Young due to a left hamstring injury and lost their fourth straight.

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The Nets made it such an easy night that their fans didn’t need to worry about the scoreboard as they roared for Vince Carter’s two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

The 42-year-old former Nets star ended with eight points in his final road appearance versus the franchise.

“Obviously to come back here, and some of the other stops I’ve played for, and just kind of to receive a standing O for one last time is just great,” Carter said.

Irving started feeling pain in his shoulder early in the season, and he took himself out of the lineup after a game in Denver on Nov. 14. The Nets held up well without him for a while thanks mostly to Spencer Dinwiddie’s strong play, but had faltered recently, especially in crunch time.

Irving got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24 and returned to full practice this week, just in time to return on his sister’s birthday.

“It’s not really a surprise for me,” Irving said of his performance. “I put in the work and when I do that I feel like the results will come.”

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Nets´ Irving hopes to return within a week

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has hopes of being back on the court before 2020 gets too far along.

Irving has been out of the lineup for nearly two months because of a right shoulder issue. However, he told reporters Thursday he expects to be re-evaluated next week. Just being cleared to play is a big step to Irving.

“We just see where we end up in the next few days,” Irving said. “Realistically, we will re-evaluate tomorrow. See how I feel tomorrow. Then go Saturday — probably another practice.”

There is no exact date for his return, but Irving said Thursday he’s assigned himself a deadline of one week.

“Hopefully I get some game reps in addition to practice probably in the next week or so, it could be less than that but I’ll give myself a week.”

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Irving was able to fully participate in practices for the first time on Thursday, which included him going through some 5-on-5 contact drills, ESPN’s Malika Andrews reports. He said that a week and a half ago, he started to do 2-on-2 work with coaches as he slowly started ramping up his workload. 

When asked if there are any limitations about what he’s able to do, he said he has none “other than just keeping my shoulder maintenance program going before I get on the floor.”

Irving has played in just 11 games this season, averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists.

In the latest NBA All-Star Voting returns, Irving ranks second in the Eastern Conference among guards with 1,351,997 votes. He saw nothing wrong with him being so up in the voting tallies despite playing in so few games.

“I put a lot of work in this league to be up there whether I’m playing or not,” Irving said. “If it’s an All-Star Game, then I would vote for myself as well.”

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Nets’ Irving suffers facial fracture in pickup game

Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving suffered a left-side facial fracture after being elbowed in the face during a workout at the team’s practice facility, the team announced Wednesday.

Brooklyn sent Irving to the hospital for further evaluation Tuesday after he was injured during a pickup game. League sources told the New York Daily News that Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson accompanied him to the hospital following the injury.

The Nets signed Irving in July after two seasons with the Boston Celtics.

He had to wear a protective mask during games to protect a previous facial fracture, including early in the 2017-18 campaign after he was elbowed by former teammate Aron Baynes.

The good news for the Nets is that the injury doesn’t seem too serious, and Irving shouldn’t miss any significant period of time. Still, you never want your best player dealing with a broken face a few days before training camp is about to begin. That’s not a good way to get the season started. 

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However, even if Irving has to miss a few days of practice, the signing is already paying dividends for the team. During a press conference on Tuesday, which was already scheduled before the incident, Nets GM Sean Marks praised Irving’s professionalism and commitment to the team, saying the “leadership, the work ethic and the competitive nature that he has brought to the group has been terrific.”

The Nets will start training camp on Sept. 28, a few days earlier than most teams due to their preseason trip to China. They’ll be playing two preseason games against the Los Angeles Lakers in Shanghai and Shenzhen on Oct. 10 and 12. Assuming no further complications, Irving should be ready to go for those contests.

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