G13 Brooklyn Nets (5-7) vs Utah Jazz (5-7) “Will Defense Propel the Nets for Another Win?”

Brooklyn Nets managed to pull a surprising 101-97 road win at Portland under the leadership of D’Angelo Russell (21 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, and only 2 turnovers) and Rondae-Hollis Jefferson’s smart defensive plays (11 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists, 1 block in 39 minutes). Alan Crabbe also contributed with offense and defense to finish with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in his first game playing his old team after the trade in the offseason.

Coach Atkinson praised Russell’s in games that the Nets have done well offensively to get everybody else involved then wait until the end to work in the pick-and-roll (PnR). It could be keys to winning formula by combining great ball movement and a late dose of PnR.

“I thought he read the game well and picked his spots,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson told YES Network after the game. “It seems like the games we’ve done well offensively, he picks his spots. He waits until the end to really go to work in the pick-and-roll and, before that, gets everybody else involved. I thought he did a nice job of balancing that out.”

It is possible that Coach Atkinson has slowly managed to convince how Russell’s ability to get everyone involved with a lot of assists has contributed to 4 wins (19.3 points and 8.3 assists) while his scoring mode resulted in offensive stagnation in 7 losses (21.1 points and 4.6 assists). It will be a continuing development throughout the season for the 21-year old but it is encouraging to see the upward trend that he listens well to his coach. The missing Nets ball movement has returned and they are a fun team to watch again.

He also praised the Nets defense that really kept them in the game. The players echoed the same message in the post-game interviews. If the Nets can keep the defensive intensity, they will be on their ways of getting more wins.

 

ESPN Preview:

SALT LAKE CITY — Offensive struggles have reached a new low for Utah. No solution seems to be in sight amid a four-game losing streak compounded by uglier and uglier losses.

The Jazz (5-7) struggled through one of their worst shooting performances yet in an 84-74 loss to Miami on Friday night, connecting on just 4 of 33 from the field after halftime. They scored a season-low 25 second-half points and were held scoreless in the final three minutes.

It doesn’t bode well with the Brooklyn Nets coming to Salt Lake City on Saturday fresh off a 101-97 win over Portland on Friday night.

“Whether it’s confidence, continuity or connectivity or whatever the case is, we just have to grind through it,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “There isn’t a magic bullet right now that we’re going to figure out. We’ll keep trying to address the things we can.”

Utah (5-7) shot a combined 31.8 percent from the floor in its last two home losses to Miami and Philadelphia.

The Jazz guards are struggling the most in that stretch. Rodney Hood is 9 of 33 from the floor in his last two games. Donovan Mitchell is 8 of 35. Ricky Rubio is 4 of 21….

Brooklyn has a whole different set of problems to deal with now. The Nets (5-7) improved to 2-2 on their Western Conference road trip after beating the Blazers, but their depth is paper thin after a slew of injuries to key players.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (hip), Trevor Booker (back) and Jarrett Allen (foot) have all missed time with various ailments. Jeremy Lin suffered a season-ending patella tendon injury in the season opener.

The injury bug has caused Brooklyn to use patchwork lineups at times to work around it.

D’Angelo Russell has been a stabilizing influence on the offense through some of the rough stretches. Russell is averaging 17.3 points and 7.0 assists on the team’s current road trip. He totaled totaled 21 points and nine assists against Portland — highlighted by a step-back jumper and driving layup in the final minute that helped secure the win.

“I thought he read the game well and picked his spots,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson told YES Network after the game. “It seems like the games we’ve done well offensively, he picks his spots. He waits until the end to really go to work in the pick-and-roll and, before that, gets everybody else involved. I thought he did a nice job of balancing that out.”

Utah swept the season series with Brooklyn a year ago, winning the two games by an average of 18.5 points. It was the first sweep for the Jazz over the Nets since the 2014-15 season.

Jeremy Lin’s Recovery News

Jeremy is in great spirit going back to the gym accompanied by his dad and his cute nephew, Jaden, who tried on the treadmill for the first time


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