Archive for the ‘Brooklyn Nets’ Category

brook-lopez-deron-williams-happy

There are a few different reasons why a team wouldn’t want to lose in the playoffs. Yeah, the fact that a postseason elimination pretty much totally annihilates any chance that a team could win the NBA championship is the main one, but there are definitely a couple of others. At least if you’re the Nets, who beat the Bulls in Brooklyn last night to keep their season alive.

The first reason for wanting to stay playing comes from Brook Lopez, which means it’s going to be silly. From NBA.com:

“I don’t really have a social life. I like hanging out with the guys here. So I definitely didn’t want the season to end.”

As discussed on the show today, it’s kind of surprising that Brook Lopez isn’t looking forward to summer. I mean, just look at how many comic book movies are coming out this year, including “Man of Steel,” which might be the DC-est of DC Comics that Brook loves so much. Not to mention, I thought all 13-year-olds loved summers, since that’s when they get to hang out at Tastee Treet, order a crunch-dipped twist cone and play “My Ding-a-Ling” on the jukebox all day. And also not to mention, as a Californian, I thought he’d love hitting the beach once the season was over. Plus, doesn’t he have a twin to hang out with? But just like when Keanu Reeves was a great Neo, I guess I had Brook Lopez all wrong.

Here’s the second reason the Nets don’t want their season to be over with — it’s from Deron Williams and it’s more of a not wanting to be made fun of thing. From the New York Post (via EOB):

“That stuff doesn’t mean anything. We wanted to win the game for us and for our fans and for a chance to extend our season. We didn’t want to go fishing. We didn’t want to be on TNT with the hats on, and Chuck talking about it.”

Now this I understand. If JaVale McGee has taught us anything — which he hasn’t, but still — it’s that being made fun of by Chuck and the bros is only fun for a little bit. No one wants to be a punchline, which is why Deron Williams should maybe also consider a new haircut but I digress. And considering the Nets have been a league-wide punchline for a great portion of their existence in the NBA, wanting to win a playoff series so that Charles Barkley won’t make fun of you is a pretty fair reason. I mean, the Nets literally challenged for Worst Team Ever three seasons ago then signed Sasha Vujacic and Johan Petro instead of LeBron James, so if they don’t want to be Photoshopped in funny hats, well then that makes a lot of sense. They’ve gone through a lot.

Though to be fair, I think a hat would do Deron Williams a lot of good.

nate-robinson-high-fiving-fans

What a game.

I don’t know if people really properly appreciated it while it was happening. Around the times of the second and third OTs, my Twitter timeline was mostly filled with NBA fans irritated that the game simply refused to end, while TNT simultaneously refused to find another home for the concurrent start of Game Four of the Grizzlies-Clippers series, of which national viewers ended up missing the entire first half. And it’s true that in the grand scheme of things, this game was almost completely inconsequential — barring the miraculous return of You Know Who for a second round series against the Heat, neither of these teams have much chance of surviving to the conference finals, thus making it more of a curious footnote to these playoffs, an amusing distraction amidst the actually important dramas of the first round.

Still. You won’t see a zanier, more entertaining, and in all likelihood, more unforgettable game for the remainder of this postseason than Game Four of Bulls-Nets, and probably won’t for a couple more to follow, either. By my estimation, it’s the best game we’ve seen in the first round of the playoffs since 2009, when the Bulls played the Celtics in a series that had three or four games as good as this, because that was the greatest playoff series ever. (Thibs was even asked in the postgame conference if this game reminded him of that series; unsurprisingly, he denied any such connection and looked pissed that the question had even been asked.) I gasped, I screamed, I jumped out of my seat so many times eventually I just kept standing. It was awesome.

Because there’s a chance that the team that wins the series — probably the Bulls, though I wouldn’t count out the Nets just yet — ends up getting blanked in the second round, and then NBA lore forgets about the game altogether, I wanted to make sure that there’s at least some sort of historical record of all the crazy crap that went down between the Nets and Bulls on Saturday. Here are the 10 things that’ll stick in my mind the most about this game.

10. The final score was Bulls 142, Nets 134.
Even though it was inflated with the three OTs, let’s not lose sight of how bizarre it was for so many points to be scored in this game, especially considering that the last contest between the Bulls and Nets ended at 79-76. The teams combined for 121 more points this time around, in just 15 minutes of bonus action. Even by the end of regulation, with the two teams knotted at 111-111, they had already outscored their combined total from Game Three by 67.

I saw the final score of this one flash across my screen a couple times on the TNT and ESPN tickers while I was watching the later games, and pictured how much my mind would be blown to see that final score for the first time completely out of context. Pretty hard to imagine.

9. In a game where five other players fouled out, Brook Lopez somehow ended up getting whistled just three times.
I didn’t even notice this until well after the fact. Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah all fouled out for the Bulls in this one — meaning Nazr Mohammed was playing crunch time in the third OT, actually making a couple game-saving plays, an Honorable Mention crazy thing from this game — as did Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans for the Nets. Yet Brook Lopez, the Nets’ seven-foot rim protector, who not only led the game in blocks (along with Noah) but leads the entire league for the playoffs with his 4.3 rejections per contest, plays 51 minutes and still ends with three fouls to give? How the hell is that possible?

Of course, most Bulls fans would protest that Lopez actually committed far more than three personals over the course of the game, but that referee Tony Brothers just wouldn’t blow the whistle on them. One no-call on a possible Joakim Noah and-one towards the end of the first overtime seemed particularly egregious, with Lopez clearly raking Noah across BOTH arms, and Noah seemed to draw enough contact from Lopez on a last-second drive in the second OT to get to the line as well. You’d think the home team would be the one to get the preferential treatment in a game like this, but the Nets got whistled eight fewer times than the Bulls over the course of this one, and Lopez didn’t get whistled once over three OTs, until an intentional end-of-game foul on Marco Belinelli. Bizarre.

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nets-all-black-court

Since Jay-Z is selling his Nets shares, I’m not sure if I’m legally still allowed to use his lyrics when describing things that are happening with his soon-to-be-former team. But even if I’m not, I have a feeling the Office of Blogging Rules and Regulations will give me special dispensation for this case, because calling the Nets’ playoff plan “all black everything” is just too perfect.

From the New York Times:

The Nets are doing all they can to build up the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2007 — and the first playoff appearance by a Brooklyn team since 1956 — as a must-see event. The playoff décor: black on black.

The blackout is the brainchild of the Nets’ chief executive officer, Brett Yormark. The hope is to create a unified (and intimidating) atmosphere: fans wearing black while sitting in black seats and watching the action on a court with black trim. And yes, even the players might be wearing black, even though the Nets traditionally wear white at home.

“The goal is to wear black at home,” said Fred Mangione, the team’s chief marketing officer.

The Nets would need permission from the Bulls to alter their designated uniforms, permission that is normally given without much issue. Mangione said black towels would be distributed to fans for Game 2.

Even if this would mean not seeing the Bullies in their fantastic red uniforms, I am fully on board with this blacked out mission. (And if it means red vs. black, even better.) The Nets’ black uniforms are way better than their white ones — the away blacks look tough and sleek, the home whites look like default create-a-team kits — and I’ve always wanted to see what they would look like in the Nets’ already-pretty-black arena, which is striking in its blackness. It’s the best of both worlds, shoutout to R. Kelly.

One concern I see with this, however, is the effect it could have on Deron Williams’ precious sightlines. If the players didn’t like shooting in the cavernous abyss that is the Prudential Center, imagine what they’re going to think looking out in to an audience that could be none more black. If they don’t like looking at a giant, empty stadium, imagine how disconcerting it’s going to be going to the line to shoot free throws and just seeing several thousand floating heads. Not only is it probably really trippy and sort of like a Blue Man Group performance, it probably makes it feel like you’re shooting a basketball in to a very creepy cave where instead of bats there are human heads. I’m just spitballing here, but for a team that spent the entire previous season complaining about their shooting backdrop, maybe making it nonexistent as they head in to the playoffs isn’t the best idea.

That being said, if it happens, it’s probably going to look awesome, which is really the most important thing. Well, that and performing well in their first playoff series since a Russian billionaire bought the team and guaranteed a title within five years, but same difference.

filing-taxes-at-wizards-nets

There isn’t much to add here that Tamica C, the woman who snapped this picture of a guy doing his taxes at the last possible minute while taking in last night’s Nets win over the Wizards, hasn’t said already.

this man filing his taxes at the Nets v. Wizards game #cantmakethisstuffup

#Cantmakethisstuffup is right, but I guess the only thing worse than paying for Nets-Wizards tickets in April is paying for Nets-Wizards tickets in April while also having to pay late fees on your taxes. And with that being said, let’s enjoy a quick round of naming players after various tax terms:

  • Internal Revenue Serge Ibaka
  • Itemized Deducshawn Marion
  • Employment Expencer Hawes
  • Worksheed Wallace
  • Festus 1040EZeli

Just five names. Not a big deal. Feel free to carry on in the comments.

(via D.C. Sports Bog)

jay-z-wearing-a-sweatshirt

When reports surfaced a couple days ago that rapper/mogul/all-everything-everything dude Jay-Z had sold his ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets, I was absolutely shocked. Yes, I know he didn’t actually own that much of the team — though I would have guessed it was something like 3-5 percent of it, not like, way way less than 1 percent — but for him to jump ship after less than a full season since he ostensibly had a large part in moving the team across state lines and into his backyard, and when the Nets were still doing OK as a basketball team … it just seemed so anti-climactic for him to cut bait right before the playoffs.

But more than the surprise of him doing it at all was the lack of fanfare with which he appeared to do it. No big press release, no tearful press conference, no tweets or website posts, just an Adrian Wojanrowski report without an official comment. And for what? The chance for his Roc Naton company to represent NBA talent in the upcoming draft? Was that really such a critical next step in the life of a man with a net worth of about half a billion dollars that he was willing to shed his stake in a team he’d invested years (if not necessarily millions) in bringing back to national prominence, as if it was just a minor formality, just like filing the proper paperwork?

This seemed particularly insane to me on Tuesday, as I went to see my Sixers take on the Nets at Barclays Center. As usual at Barclays, there was never more than a fifteen-minute period without some sort of Jay-Z-related song getting played. “Public Service Announcement” alone appeared in different contexts at least three times. In addition to that, and the rest of the supposedly partly-Jigga-curated playlist for the evening, and the uniforms he supposedly helped design (and definitely unveiled), and the 40/40 Club located within the building, there was even a Jay-Z banner hanging in the rafters for the eight sold-out shows he played to open the building, like it took Billy Joel and Elton John decades to get at Madison Square Garden. Mikhail Prokhorov may own the team, but Jay-Z surely owns the building. (Ed. note: He also literally owns part of the building.)

What’s more, Hov always seemed to take a considerable amount of pride in the Nets, and in particular his bringing them to Brooklyn. He wore his own Nets jersey onstage at Barclays. The Zadie Smith profile on Jigga for the New York Times was called “The House That Hova Built,” even though the article only made passing references to anything basketball or Brooklyn-related. In his most famous verse of the 2010′s, Jay bragged about “moving the Nets to BK” and scoffed at the idea of the Nets going 0-82 (something that was disturbingly close to a possibility in ’09-’10) being a problem. (“And anyway, the worse the Nets do, the easier it’ll be for Jay to move them to Brooklyn. This man cannot lose!” comments the RapGenius interpretation of the lyric.) This was not just some silent partner, this is a guy whose largely unassailable public identity was now almost inextricable from the basketball team he owned .067 percent of.

So what happened? Did Jay-Z note the team’s relatively low playoff ceiling, uninspiring and uncharismatic roster, and seemingly permanently spoken-for cap space and decide to cut his losses? Was it strictly a dollars and cents decision, with the cash-money opportunities of entering into the sports agency game too considerable to remain attached to the Nets for sentimentality’s sake? And does Jay think that this really is all just a formality, and that he can continue on being the unofficial spokesperson for the Nets even after he’s divested himself from the team financially, in sort of a business/sports equivalent to “I really hope we can still be friends?” We can’t know for sure, since Jay-Z’s not even talking about it.

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jay-z-waving-at-nets-game

I don’t know how to even address this sort of thing, you guys. It’s not every day that the world’s most famous rapper buys a hilariously small piece of one of the most notorious laughingstocks in pro sports, moves that team to his hometown, decides to sell his ownership stake to become an agent and then includes some zingers about the team in a rap song about all the controversies of his past two weeks. As far as I can tell, this has happened exactly once in the history of rap and professional sports and that one time is right now.

Nonetheless, Jay-Z is doing/has done all that stuff in the first paragraph, culminating in the song “Open Letter” (listen below) where he has this to offer about the Nets:

I woulda moved the Nets to Brooklyn for free
Except I made millions off it, you f–king dweeb
I still own the building, I’m still keeping my seats
You buy that bullsh-t, you better keep your receipts.

Oh man, classic receipt slam. In your face, unorganized financial planners.

But I guess this means he’s still going to be a Nets fan even though he won’t have a financial interest in the team. That’s nice for them, especially since he’s still going to show up to like 10 games a season because he’s “keeping [his] seats.” Who knows if Jay-Z being a celebrity fan will have the same effect that Jay-Z being a minority owner of the team did, but at least there will still be a little peripheral Jay juice, if you will.

As for the “made millions off it, you f–king dweeb” part, I guess this could be read as a diss against someone in the Nets’ front office. (Is it you, random executives Fred Mangione or Leo Ehrline?) Personally, I think it’s more of a colloquial “f–king dweeb,” like Jay is bragging about making bank off something he wanted to happen anyways. Rappers have been known to be boastful in the past.

Even though Jay-Z is doing his best to assure anybody who doubts his Nets fandom because he’s selling his shares (I think? Weird stanza topic) that he’s still going to love his team, there are certainly going to be changes when he’s no longer an owner, especially for headline writers. Without a rapper as a part owner, where are they going to look for puns? Until Mikhail Prokhorov finally drops that mixtape he’s always talking about — it’s been delayed so many times that it’s basically Russia’s “Detox” at this point — it’s going to be Carl “Slim” Pickens in the newspaper game. That one’s free. They’re not all going to be this great.

Hahahahaha, yes. The comedy pairing of one of the NBA silliest players and one of the NBA’s most notorious laughingstocks finally paid off, and it was totally worth the wait. Two thumbs up, would watch again.

(via View from the Couch)