Watch Caris LeVert hit floater with 0.3 left to lift Nets past Nuggets, 112-110

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DENVER (AP) — Caris LeVert hit a floater in the lane with 0.3 seconds left and the Brooklyn Nets scored the last six points to beat the Denver Nuggets 112-110 on Friday night.

The Nets overcame a big bounce-back night from Denver’s Nikola Jokic to win their third straight. In an offensive funk for the last four games, Jokic had a season-high 37 points and tied his career best with 21 rebounds.

It wasn’t enough to prevent Denver’s first home loss of the season.

Jokic took only one shot Wednesday night in a loss to Memphis, a 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have given Denver the win. He took only 18 shots in the first four games of November but topped that before the end of the third quarter.

He had 11 points in the first quarter and a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds at halftime.

Denver appeared to take control after Jokic blocked Jarrett Allen, grabbed the rebound and fed Malik Beasley for a layup and a 108-106 lead with 1:23 left. After a Brooklyn miss, Paul Millsap‘s two free throws made it a four-point game.

The Nets tied it with 29 seconds left and Jokic was called for traveling with 22 seconds left.

LeVert got the ball up top and was blanketed by Gary Harris. He broke through the tight defense to get into the lane and hit a soft lob to give Brooklyn the win.

D'Angelo Russell led the Nets with 23 points, and Allen had 18.

 

Stephen Curry sets records for consecutive games with at least five 3s, Warriors beat Nets

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NEW YORK (AP) — Golden State appeared on its way to another easy victory when the game suddenly turned into a 3-point shootout.

Luckily for the Warriors, they have the perfect guy for that.

Stephen Curry set another NBA record by making seven 3-pointers and finished with 35 points as the Warriors held on to beat the Brooklyn Nets 120-114 on Sunday.

Kevin Durant added 34 for the Warriors, who were coasting before the Nets made it close with some sizzling shooting behind the arc.

Curry finally turned them back when his final 3-pointer made it 115-108 with 1:07 to play. He has made at least five 3s in all seven games, breaking George McCloud’s record of six games in a row during the 1995-96 season.

“They got hot in the fourth to try to make it interesting, but made enough plays down the stretch to obviously get the win,” Curry said.

Klay Thompson continued to struggle behind the arc, going 1 for 5 and falling to 5 for 36 this season. He finished with 18 points and still hasn’t had a 20-point outing this season.

D'Angelo Russell scored 25 points and Caris LeVert had 23 for the Nets, who made 20 3-pointers in 42 attempts and cut a 19-point deficit down to two.

“I think the 3-pointer got them back in the game and ended up we had to play a little bit and execute down the stretch, so it was a solid outing for us,” Durant said.

Golden State has won four in a row since its lone loss and the previous three were all by at least 20 points. The franchise record is four straight 20-point victories, set by the San Francisco Warriors in 1966-67, and it appeared the Warriors were going to equal that.

Curry scored 16 points in the first quarter. The Nets hung close until midway through the second, and another 3 by Curry pushed it to 63-44 with 1:55 remaining in the half.

“The way the first half went we easily could have kind of folded and that’s not what kind of guys we have in that locker room,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “They’re a resilient bunch and I thought they competed their tails off and it was good for the fans to see that we didn’t just succumb to their talent or their aura so to speak.”

Draymond Green had a season-high 13 assists.

Watch Caris LeVert’s game-winning layup lifting Nets over Knicks 107-105

Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) —  Caris LeVert‘s driving layup with a second left gave him a career-high 28 points and the Brooklyn Nets their first victory of the season, 107-105 over the New York Knicks on Friday night.

LeVert surpassed the 27 points he scored Wednesday night in Detroit, when the Nets fell just short. He made sure they pulled this one out, driving right into the lane and putting up the tiebreaking shot over Tim Hardaway Jr.

D'Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen each added 15 points for the Nets. They improved to 6-1 in home openers since moving to Brooklyn in 2012.

Hardaway and Enes Kanter each scored 29 points for the Knicks, who were trying for just their third 2-0 start in 20 years. Kanter tied it on a three-point play with 15.9 seconds remaining but all they could manage for a final shot after LeVert’s basket was a long 3-pointer by Hardaway that wasn’t close.

The Nets were still without starting forwards Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who just became a father, and DeMarre Carroll, who had right ankle surgery. But they did get back Allen Crabbe, their normal starting guard who came off the bench after missing the opener while recovering sprained left ankle.

They started fast, shooting 70 percent in the first quarter, and were in control until early in the second half. Then, Kanter and Frank Ntilikina had a couple of baskets apiece in an 11-0 run that wiped out a 10-point deficit and gave the Knicks a 66-65 lead on Hardaway’s 3-pointer.

New York was ahead 76-74 after three quarters and neither team led by more than six in a back-and-forth final 12 minutes.

Watch Nets’ Jarrett Allen reject Blake Griffin’s dunk attempt

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Blake Griffin doesn’t attack the rim as often as he used to, but when he does he still can go in with force. Griffin remains an elite athlete.

Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen shut Griffin down at the rim Monday night — this is a block-of-the-year candidate in the preseason.

That’s not going to come up in Griffin’s comedy routines.

Jarrett Allen is going to be something special. D'Angelo Russell poured in 25 for the Nets on the night. Brooklyn isn’t going to be good this season, but as they have been the last couple of seasons they are going to make opponents work and be a tough out every night.

Half-dozen players with especially intriguing contract-year seasons ahead

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After increasing 7%, 11%, 34% and 5% the previous four years, the NBA’s salary cap increased just 3% this year. Plus, teams were already overstocked with highly paid players signed during the 2016 – and, to an extent, 2015 – cap booms.

That meant many players signed one-year deals this offseason, allowing them to hit the market again next summer, when the cap is projected to rise 7% and many players signed in 2015 and 2016 come off the books.

The result is a deep 2019 free-agent class.

Some potential 2019 free agents, like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, are assured max-contract offers. Even Kawhi Leonard, who missed nearly all of last season due to injury, is practically guaranteed of max offers.

But there are many more players with their future compensation in flux. Here are six players with a ton on the line next season:

DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins shocked the league by taking the Warriors’ taxpayer mid-level exception. It’s probably a one-year rental. The highest starting salary Golden State can offer him next summer through Non-Bird Rights is $6,404,400. This year will give him a chance to get healthy, show he can contribute positively to winning and expand his versatility. Cousins isn’t the perfect fit with the Warriors, and some teams are still scared off by his attitude. But, if all goes well this season, Cousins won’t be able to claim no offers next summer.

Isaiah Thomas

Thomas learned the hard way Brinks trucks typically carry an amount near his $2,029,463 minimum salary – not the nine-digit max contract he hoped for. That dream has probably passed, but Thomas can still land a lucrative contract next summer if he thrives with the Nuggets this season. First, that means getting healthy, as his hip injury still lingers. Then, the 5-foot-9 point guard must show he can still get separation and lift to get buckets. And it’d help if he meshes better with his teammates and coaches. It’s amazing how big of a hit Thomas’ value has taken in the last year, but he has proven his determination before. Will he do it again?

D'Angelo Russell

Russell entered last season as a potential franchise player for the Nets. Then, he got outplayed by Spencer Dinwiddie. Russell missed 34 games due to injury and stagnated in his growth while on the court. The shine is off the former No. 2 pick. But Russell is still just 22 and talented, and point guards tend to develop later. He could earn a huge payday, though it’ll require a major breakthrough. He and Brooklyn can technically sign an extension by Oct. 15, but that seems unlikely – especially with Dinwiddie, another pending 2019 free agent, also in the mix. Most likely, Russell becomes a restricted free agent next summer.

Tobias Harris

Harris reportedly rejected a four-year, $80 million extension from the Clippers this summer. That’s a lot of money to turn down, but the upside is there. Harris could be the Clippers’ focal point this season, especially in the starting lineup (which probably won’t include Lou Williams). Harris is just 26 and has the all-around skills and work ethic to cash in. The Clippers are aiming higher, so Harris might have to leave L.A. to get paid.

Trey Burke

The No. 9 pick in 2013, Burke gradually fell out of favor with the Jazz. He got a change of scenery with the Wizards and struggled even more in Washington than he had in Utah. Burke seemingly blamed everyone but himself. He fell out of the league until the Knicks called him up in the middle of last season. Burke flourished in New York, showing the offensive command everyone expected when he declared for the draft out of Michigan. Burke must fend off Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay – more recent and higher picks – at point guard, and the Knicks’ reported top target in 2019 free agency is point Kyrie Irving. But if Burke maintains his play with New York over a full season, he’ll have lucrative options somewhere.

Marcus Morris

Morris signed a four-year, $20 million extension with the Suns in 2014, taking a discount to play with his twin brother, Markieff Morris. Then, Phoenix traded Marcus to the Pistons. Marcus vowed never to let personal relationships get in the away of business again. Now with the Celtics, he’ll have his chance to maximize his earnings next summer. Marcus is a hard-nosed and skilled combo forward in a league where his versatility is increasingly valued. He’ll try to prove his worth on a stacked Boston team that has too many strong pieces to allow any individual to fully fly.