Taurean Prince

Kyrie Irving looks sharp, scores 21 in return to lead Nets during rout of Hawks

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 21 points in 20 minutes of an easy return from a two-month absence with an injured right shoulder, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 108-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Irving shot 10 for 11 from the field 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.

Cam Reddish scored 20 points for the Hawks, who played without star guard Trae Young because of a left hamstring injury and lost their fourth straight.

Taurean Prince scored 14 points for the Nets, who 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 finished with eight points in his final road appearance against the franchise.

Irving began 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 and struggled especially in crunch time.

Irving got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24, revealing last weekend his options were that or surgery. He gave no indication then he was close to returning, but participated fully in practice this week.

He started alongside Dinwiddie to share the playmaking responsibilities and did most of his scoring near the basket, making the only 3-pointer he attempted. The Nets were already leading 70-46 at halftime before he went 5 for 5 for 10 points in a dazzling six-minute stretch of the third quarter.

Spencer Dinwiddie’s 26 points help Nets snap seven-game losing streak

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NEW YORK — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 26 points and had a career-high 14 assists as the Brooklyn Nets snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 117-113 win over the Miami Heat on Friday night.

Rodions Kurucs scored 19 points and Taurean Prince added 17 for Brooklyn.

Jarrett Allen finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for his team-high 17th double-double of the season.

Jimmy Butler scored 33 points and Bam Adebayo added 22 for the Heat.

Miami’s Duncan Robinson missed a 3-pointer from the corner with 5.7 seconds left.

The Nets came up with several clutch plays down the stretch.

Caris LeVert hit a step-back 3-pointer to give Brooklyn a 112-111 lead with 1:09 remaining.

Prince hit a floater in the lane that extended the lead to 114-111 with 25.9 seconds left.

Butler hit back-to-back jumpers and a layup to give Miami a 109-100 lead with 5:09 remaining, but Brooklyn responded with a pair of 3s by Dinwiddie and LeVert to cut the deficit to three with 3:37 left.

The Nets turned up the defensive intensity in the third quarter and held Miami to 20 points in the period, which ended in an 89-all tie.

Miami led 69-57 at the half. Butler led all scorers with 19 points. Brooklyn attempted three free throws in the first half and relied on perimeter jumpers.

Miami shot a blistering 65% from the field in the first quarter and Butler scored 13 points as the Heat took a 42-32 lead.

Kurucs made a season-high three 3-pointers in the first quarter for Brooklyn.

Chris Paul scored 20 points in fourth quarter, overtime, to lift Thunder to victory

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NEW YORK — Chris Paul scored 20 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 111-103 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

The game was tied at 103 before Paul made consecutive jumpers and the Nets never scored again.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander closed out the scoring with four free throws, after making a jumper to open OT.

Gilgeous-Alexander added 22 points for the Thunder, who bounced back from a loss Monday in Philadelphia to win for the sixth time in seven games. Steven Adams had 10 points and 18 rebounds as Oklahoma City won without Danilo Gallinari, who rested a calf injury.

Taurean Prince scored 21 points and Caris LeVert had 20 in his second game back from right thumb surgery, but the Nets dropped their seventh straight. Spencer Dinwiddie had 14 points, but he struggled early and late in a 6 for 21 night.

The Nets had a seven-point lead with under 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation before Paul scored 10 points in a 12-5 surge that tied it at 101 on his jumper with 47 seconds left. He lost the ball on a drive with 11 seconds remaining to give the Nets a chance, but Dinwiddie missed a free throw after getting fouled before the inbound pass, then was off on a short jumper before the buzzer.

Prince made his first five shots, including four 3-pointers, but the Thunder got the better of it when the teams went to their benches and opened an eight-point lead in the second quarter before taking a 49-48 lead to the locker room.

Dinwiddie and LeVert then scored eight apiece in the third, carrying Brooklyn to a 77-74 lead going to the final period.

Spencer Dinwiddie scores 30, leads Nets over Knicks 103-101

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NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving will miss at least two more games, sitting out trips to his old homes in Cleveland and Boston.

The way Spencer Dinwiddie is playing, it might not matter to the Brooklyn Nets.

“Just, difference-maker right now,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.

Dinwiddie scored 30 points in another strong start in place of the injured point guard and the Nets beat the New York Knicks 103-101 on Sunday for their season-high third straight victory.

Irving continues to rest an injured right shoulder, and Dinwiddie is making sure they get by without him, scoring 20 or more points in a career-best five straight games after stepping into the starting lineup. He was 13 of 14 from the foul line, where the Nets had a whopping 27-9 advantage in makes.

Jarrett Allen had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, and Taurean Prince added 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Joe Harris scored 13 points, with four coming after the Knicks had cut it to one with 1:20 remaining.

Marcus Morris scored 26 points for the Knicks, who lost their third straight. They played without rookie RJ Barrett. He was scratched after feeling sick before the game.

The Nets are missing their starting backcourt, with Caris LeVert out after right thumb surgery. But they have won four of five to even their record at 8-8.

“We don’t have some of our better players on the court but we’re still finding a way to win,” Allen said.

The biggest reason has been the play of Dinwiddie, who could go back to the bench as soon as Friday if Irving is cleared to return. Or, perhaps Atkinson could choose to start them together until LeVert is recovered.

“I’m not the coach, I don’t make those decisions,” Dinwiddie said. “If that’s the new role then that’s what I’ll do, and if it’s not then it’s not.”

The Nets opened a 29-15 lead, but struggled when Dinwiddie and Allen went to the bench and let the Knicks close the gap to 52-46 by halftime.

New York cut it to one after back-to-back 3s by Morris and another by Wayne Ellington, but Harris scored on a drive and later added a pair of free throws.

The Knicks had a much stronger effort than a night earlier, when they never led in a home loss to San Antonio. But they fell to 4-13 ahead of a tough five-game stretch against Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston, Milwaukee and Denver.

“I embrace the challenge,” coach David Fizdale said. “I don’t feel like we need to be looking at that like that’s impossible. We’re going to take it a game at a time and continue to try to give ourselves a chance to win every night.”

 

Report: Pelicans, Brandon Ingram never seriously discussed contract extension

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Of the nine 2016 first-round picks who averaged over 10 points per game during their first three seasons, eight received a rookie-scale contract extension last offseason – Ben Simmons, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray, Taurean Prince, Jaylen Brown, Caris LeVert, Domantas Sabonis and Pascal Siakam.

The lone exception: Brandon Ingram.

Ingram is off to an excellent start, averaging 26 points per game. He’s not just posting empty numbers for the Zion Williamson-less Pelicans. Ingram looks improved in nearly every facet of his game.

Does New Orleans regret not extending him before last month’s deadline?

Brian Windhorst on ESPN:

From what I’ve been told, there wasn’t even really significant talks about it. I think both sides realized now is not the time to make a deal because of that blood clot.

That blood clot, which sidelined Ingram the end of last season with the Lakers, is so concerning. A recurrence could end Ingram’s career. It’s hard to agree to an extension with that looming over negotiations.

So, maybe the Pelicans could’ve extended him for less money. But that would’ve been taking a huge risk.

Now, though they’ll likely have to pay up to keep him.

If Ingram stays healthy and keeps playing like this, he could draw max offer sheets this summer. He’ll stand out in a weak free-agent class.

Expect New Orleans to match. Even before taking the job, Pelicans lead executive David Griffin has consistently praised Ingram. Now, Ingram is doing more to justify the hype.

The Pelicans are probably happier to have a max-level(-ish) player on their roster rather than kicking themselves for not securing him for cheaper.