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The process is alive and well in Brooklyn



At the end, there was a broken game that may have broken the net. Mike Scott would be a decoder. That was what he called himself. Instead, he was the hero. That was what Sixers would call him; The networks would no doubt call him something else.

Joel Embiid "saw me in the corner," said Scott about beating the Game 4 winner who put Sixers in a leading 3-1 position in the first round. "Cashed out."

Discarded. It got some snickers in the room and more than some online. It's a difficult way for Brooklyn to lose. The net was up seven points with just over five minutes to go. They were so close to being even Sixers-and now they are so far away.

"You see two teams out there are hungry and are trying to compete," says Angelo Russell after Saturday's match. "They are sure that hell doesn't want to lose to Brooklyn Nets."

No, it's safe as hell doesn't. Networks like hell do not want to lose to Sixers, but Tuesday's game 5 can prove fatal and deadly. Losing the first two matches in the home they've had this year ̵

1; in front of the Barclays Center crowd that had to be among the tallest and most committed that the building has ever seen – was not the result they wanted. It has been an incredibly fun series for the rest of us, and probably a scary for the net. As Brett Brown says, "a lot of oxygen" sucks from a series when a team goes up 3-1. But even though they were in a situation such as Caris LeVert of course called "disappointing" and "frustrating," it is difficult not to think about how much life these networks have breathed into Brooklyn basketball.

Just last season, the net was a sub-500 team – all but invisible leaguewide and in its own city – in the midst of a difficult, open construction. Even franchise loyalists could only hope that the office plan would eventually yield results. It was all theoretical. And then suddenly a part of the payout was real. In this way, the network was rebuilt similar (but certainly not the same as) Sixers. Like Philly, Brooklyn returned to the playoffs faster than expected due to a dirty maneuver. Like Philly, Brooklyn's first after-season may come to a more troublesome end than the net wants. And just like Philly, it produces the pain slightly larger.


Even in the best of circumstances, pack interviews tend to be quite annoying to everyone involved. You have a lot of journalists jockeying for position and an interview topic trying to answer questions that are surrounded. The bigger the event, the more involved, the more stringent the neighborhood is. No one likes a media scrum. Not the media. Not players. Not a coach. Not usually.

"I have thought about it," says Kenny Atkinson, "and I am proud of it. We are proud of it, I should say. The fact that I am here with you in this type of scrum, playoff scrum , media scrum, it's just I didn't expect it to come soon. "

Bless their heart, he was almost radiant. Usually during these group interviews, you have a promotional trader standing outside the page looking at a watch, eager to call time and save the subject after an assigned period has been exhausted. Not so with the network and their head coach. Atkinson was more than happy to chat longing last week at the team's training facility in Brooklyn a few days before match 3 in the series of Sixers. Before now, the franchise had missed three straight post-season, and nine of its current players had never been to the playoffs. The same applied to Atkinson in his capacity as head coach. There is a first time for everything, and this is theirs. Atkinson seemed to want to suck everything up and enjoy the procedure, including scrum.

But keep that in mind: To be annoyed by the love of postseason media, you must first make the after-season. There was nothing much people thought Brooklyn would pull off as fast as the net included. Atkinson said he had told manager Sean Marks that he "expects to go through this in six years, five years".

"It's hard to believe, honestly," Atkinson said of the network's accelerated timeline. "I continue to say that we are a little ahead of schedule, and we are proud of it."

This is Atkinson's third season as head coach. The net won only 20 games the first year and only 28 a year ago. This season was not meant to be much better. Vegas installed their over / under total total of 32.5. FiveThirtyEight predicted that they would win 36 games and gave them a 34 percent shot to make the playoffs. For some action, the networks surpassed. They went 42-40 their first winning record in five seasons – and earned the 6-seed in the Eastern Conference. During these downsets the net was not only bad, they were something much worse, especially considering the city they are recording: irrelevant. It has recently changed. As my Ringer teammate Chris Almeida wrote, the nights and their fans have a moment.

"I know it," Atkinson said. "I know the chatter. I feel chatted. It's really cool to be here. To get this city to talk about us, it's hard. There is so much action and so much between culture and sports teams. now is huge. "

It did not hurt that the nets became (mostly) healthy at the right time and played some of their best basketballs late in the season. Caris LeVert returned from a frightening early season foot injury, and Spencer Dinwiddie recovered from a thumb injury that required surgery. (However, they lost Allen Crabbe to late knee surgery.) Meanwhile, Angelo Russell had his best season as a pro, made his first All-Star Game and helped carry the net while working back to full strength. After the All-Star crimes, the networks received much-needed victories over the Hornets, Spurs, Pistons, Kings and Celtics, and they regularly closed with three straight wins against Bucks, Pacers and Heat. Atkinson said the networks felt like "we've been playing playoff games" for the last quarter or season, and that pressure helped the maturation process.

Perhaps late-season performance is a myth in predicting the after-season success, but the network felt pretty good about their efforts. Russell called it a "good atmosphere" and "very different" from how it felt a year ago, and Jarrett Allen said people on the street "dare and say" I can't wait to meet you "." As I guess they mean that they did not dare before and / or were not anxious to see them before.

"We have a lot of pride to see how far the organization has come here in the last three years since Sean and Kenny have come in," says Joe Harris after training in Brooklyn one day last week. "We have come to the point where we definitely can feel proud of playing basketball to Brooklyn. "

It has been an entertaining but uneven ride. The nets shocked Sixers in Game 1 and sent filad elephants into a predictable panic and then lost the next three matches. 51 points in a ugly and fatal third quarter in Game 2, then underperformed in Game 3 at home even though Joel Embiid did not play. In Game 4, Jared Dudley became famous Ben Simmons, became an instant meme took on all Sixers and then ejected along with Jimmy Butler.

Dudley vs Simmons feud has been wildly entertaining. Villain vs. villain is always. Dudley clowned Sixers after Game 1, went see then after Ben Simmons before Game 3. Nets fans raised the cause. Someone put up a Ben Simmons missing poster outside the Barclays Center when the series moved to Brooklyn. And when I headed to my place inside the arena last Thursday, a fan called near the press section, "Ben Simmons, you're a bitch." The Sixers returned fire. Embiid called Dudley "a nobody" after Game 4 and Sixers Twitter debated whether Dudley looks like "a wet thumb in a headband" or "a potato left out in the rain." The NBA is incredible at times.

It is also irreconcilable all the time. The network learns when they go here, and that the education has come up with some hard knock lessons. As Dudley is constantly determined after his expulsion and his team's Game 4 loss, the Sixer's "3 seed is for a reason". These Sixers have played in exactly two matches than these networks, and yet when Atkinson calls his guys "inexperienced" by comparison, it doesn't sound crazy.

"It's not like we're happy to be here," Atkinson said before Game 3. "We can compete with these guys and we can get them if we play the way we played all year." [19659022] The old adage about styles that make fights has been particularly interesting in this series. Brooklyn has tried to play fast and shoot a lot 3s. Philly has looked at taking advantage of its size advantage and lowering the net. But for all their differences in staff and approaches, there are obvious similarities between the two organizations. A year ago, Sixers came in the playoffs before the schedule, after a dark period in his franchise history. It was a sense of accomplishment. There were also questions about what would come next and how they could continue progressive momentum. Restoring the franchise and making the playoffs again is good, but doing a postseason running and building something sustainably presents another set of challenges. Atkinson called the postseason a great experience for his players but admitted that they are all a little "naive" when trying to figure out exactly what they can do – not just right now, but for the foreseeable future. 19659023] "Sometimes Atkinson, who kept hopeful," said what you don't know does not hurt you. Right? "


Nets fans can do the same with it. What the organization didn't know in the past – trading a wealth of valuable assets to aging veterans in the baskets corresponds to a desperate, fast-paced program – ended up badly for the team. If you Google" Online Trading Celtics "is the first result of a Washington Post headline asking a simple and bitter question:" Worst NBA trade ever? "

In 2013, General Director Billy King sent five players and four first round draft Celtics in exchange for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and DJ White There is a post-trade image of the Boston president of the basketball business Danny Ainge with a giant, crescent gnash on his face; that Celtics acquired Kris Humphries, it took a while for the network to dig out during that decision, they had no first round picking in 2016, and no one picks up in 2014. When Marks took over the office in February 2016, the net was a hung up memory that struggled to win 21 matches as a season. Apart from the draft outcome of the outcome, it was valuable few good players on the route. Marks inherited a team led by Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Among others, Marks beat out Bryan Colangelo for the gig, but many people around the league then wondered when he wanted to leave the security and success he had had in San Antonio to take on a huge mass of heavy lifting in Brooklyn. as Marks told Kevin O & # 39; Connor in December 2017, "You never know how different teams evolve and what should happen. … Much of it is to know the temperature of the NBA landscape, make sure you have flexibility. "

Brands and the net have done a great job finding value where other teams didn't see anything. They sent Thad Young to Pacers for a second round of picking and LeVert, who did well this season before the injury and has become a key component in The same goes for Dinwiddie, who nights on a bold new contract supplement in December after taking him from the NBA cashier, and they were quick to raise their hands when the Lakers looked around for a team to take a chance on D & # 39; Angelo Russell. For the sake of denying the network Timofey Mozgov's contract and giving up the rights to Kyle Kuzma, but with Russell's breakout All Star season, you won't hear anyone in Brooklyn complaining.

"Sean Marks has done a good job and Kenny has done a good job with the players Sean has given, "Brett Brown says." Their remodeling is different. They are both extremely difficult because our remodeling, we had to get some ping-pong balls right. Maybe you did, maybe you didn't. Some we did, some we didn't. His version you had to pay some people and hopefully they did well, or take a chance at D & # 39; Angelo Russell and it did well. It seems to be a hell of a smart decision. "

Between LeVert, Dinwiddie and Russell, the net has three killer guards who have given opposite teams that fit all season, which also means playing a certain style. As Atkinson said, they won't be" Pistons Bad Boys. " temporarily in Game 4 when Dudley and Sixers entered a stupid shoving match, but the short exchange exchange did not change the identity of the net.

"We are not the 80s aviator," Atkinson said. "We understand who we are." They are a team that likes to run and operate on the perimeter. From Monday, the net was tied for the first in pace and tried to the second most 3s. However, the network's preference for finesse over physicality has been a matter sometimes against Sixers. Not only has Philly played out those in the series and made more points in the color, but Allen's face absorbed a pretty big blow from Embiid's elbow in Game 2. It's still something of a tender subject around the net, and it probably had got to do with the increased excitement of Game 4. By last week, LeVert and Russell Allen defended after practice in Brooklyn and said they were not too happy with Embiid's tactics. And Dinwiddie theorized that, if the roles had been reversed, Allen would have been cast out to do something like that. It was a hot topic that afternoon.

"What proves it?" Dinwiddie responded when asked if the network would be more physical with Sixers. "We prove that we are quote-unquote tough guys? What does that mean? It doesn't matter."

That's not entirely true. It meant enough that Marks that he drew a move hosted a Greek basketball owner and reportedly barged into the judge's dressing room after Saturday's play to complains that Embiid's Flagrant 1 conversation in the series would have been Flagrant 2s. For his problem, Mark's fine was $ 25,000 and canceled a game.

Of all networks, Allen has been most chill about his vacuum cleaners with Sixers. He is a pretty gentle guy and just kind of shrugged by it. He said he didn't think there was any "nausea" against Embiid's elbow and fired it so little more than "an aggressive play." He is a sweetheart of a child and he fits nicely online. Allen was only 21 on Sunday. The network followed him with the 22nd election of the 2017 draft. Along with the three young guards (Russell is 23, LeVert is 24, Dinwiddie is 26), it's a good core to build up – one that already pays dividends. As Spotrac pointed out the net costs five dollars just $ 37 million this season. For comparison, Sixers & # 39; costs $ 5 million. The networks also check all their future first round picks again, as well as a further top class courtesy of the Denver Nuggets in the upcoming 2019 draft. And they should have about $ 50 million in the space for court potential free agents this coming offseason.

"I know that all our guys are happy to be part of this transition process," Dinwiddie said. "We really want to produce for [Brooklyn]. It has been a long journey."

Now comes the difficult part. As Sixers learned the last offseason, significant lure space doesn't mean superstar free agents will set up because you've cut them a giant check. And the networks have not always been careful about how they have distributed money. It was true in the royal age, and during Marks, the networks made some wild takeovers to limit free agents, including offering $ 106 million to Otto Porter Jr., $ 75 million to Allen Crabbe, $ 50 million to Tyler Johnson and $ 37 million to Donatas Motiejunas. The small process of the networks has, as Atkinson said, "been an education" to all-inclusive brands. But basically, Brooklyn is in better shape than just three years ago. There has been a lot of talk about Knicks and Clippers who are looking for this offseason, but with the maneuvers they have done, the net is as well positioned as everyone.

"Big, just big growth," Atkinson said of the franchise's rapid development. Before the second heartbreaking home loss to Sixers, the head coach said his guys "saw things we haven't seen" in the after-season and thought "there might be a series on the road or next year where this will help us." They are not in the end of that way yet, but it says something about the net that they have come so far, and it can for the first time in a long time see a real path for their future.


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