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Shaun Livingston, Jeremy Lin

Shaun Livingston (right) (AP)

Brooklyn Nets guard Shaun Livingston garnered two second-place votes and five third-place votes in the NBA's voting for Most Improved Player, the league announced today. The voting tally gave him 11 points in the vote, which ranked him 12th overall.

No regular Nets beat writers or commentators gave Livingston one of their three votes, but Livingston caught the eye of some notable names: NBA commentators Marv Albert and Mike Breen each gave Livingston a third-place vote, as did NBA Hall of Famer and Hawks color commentator Dominique Wilkins. No other Nets player earned a vote.

Livingston averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 26 minutes per game for the Nets this season, setting career-highs in games, games started, minutes played, points, rebounds, and steals. His insertion into the starting lineup at the turn of the new year helped change the complexity of Brooklyn's starting lineup, turning them from a 10-21 laughingstock into the league's best team at forcing turnovers.

Goran Dragic ran away with the vote, earning 65 of a possible 126 first-place votes from sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. He beat out Lance Stephenson, Anthony Davis, and Gerald Green.

More on Shaun Livingston: Shaun Livingston, standing out by fitting in

 

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Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett has played 39 minutes in the first two games. (AP)

Though the points disparity didn't reflect it... MORE →

 

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In a five-point loss to the Toronto Raptors, it's easy to point fingers at a lot of small things: the Nets didn't execute well, they didn't rebound well, and they missed shots in crunch time as the Raptors sealed the 100-95 victory.
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In crunch time in the fourth quarter, it looked like Paul Pierce was set to take over again.
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The Nets lost a close battle in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs, dropping a 100-95 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Toronto and tying the series at one game apiece.
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DeMar DeRozan; Andray Blatche

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors to a Game 2 win. (AP)

Hello! Thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game. We've had an amazing season here at TBG, and you the fan are as good as it gets. If you've liked what you've read this year, join the movement and check out some gear at The Brooklyn Game Store. Your support keeps us pushing through the playoffs. Thanks!

Here's a brief recap of Tuesday night's festivities.
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The Brooklyn Nets CENTER

Until the last few minutes, the Nets maximized their best asset -- forcing turnovers -- and were dominated by their biggest weakness -- rebounding. They may have set a record for most shots rimmed out in a game, which will happen sometimes. Credit to DeMar DeRozan for showing up big after a rough Game 1. Now it's time to go back to Brooklyn.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

Came out as aggressive as he did Saturday afternoon, but his shots didn't fall in the first half. One notable layup twirling around Jonas Valanciunas to put in a scoop, but a quiet night otherwise on a bigger stage, including a rough turnover in crunch time.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

Didn't show any fear attacking the paint in his first playoff series since 2006 and his first as a starter, and unlike the rest of the team didn't have any issues hitting free throws.

Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

The Raptors still don't have an answer for him on the wing -- it's either make or miss once he gets into the paint. Johnson carried the Nets through the third quarter with 12 big points in a variety of ways, but airballed a 3 in the fourth quarter and the Nets didn't go to him otherwise.

Paul Pierce POWER FORWARD

2 quick fouls in the first quarter kept him glued to the bench, but played disruptive defense throughout. Didn't hit any shots until crunch time: a step-back and-one jumper that tied the game at 83, and then an and-one layup to cut a 92-87 lead to 92-90 with under a minute left. Pierce had one more chance to give the Nets the lead, but rimmed out two wide-open three-point attempts down the stretch.

Kevin Garnett CENTER

Strong start to this one on both ends, neutralizing Raptors pick-and-rolls with Valanciunas and hitting two nice mid-range jumpers in his first four-minute stint. Rolled well to the rim to get some easy buckets and played solid defense in his limited time. Not an accident that he had the team's best plus-minus.

Andrei Kirilenko SMALL FORWARD

After sitting out the entirety of Game 1, drawing the ire of his wife, Kirilenko got some early playing time in Game 2 and earned his keep with his usual, sneaky style of play. Played some crunch time minutes in lieu of Shain Livingston, hitting the deck on one play to save a defensive rebound. If not that, this is his play of the night: stealing an offensive rebound right out of Terrence Ross's hands and grabbing another offensive rebound on the very next shot.

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

Rough Game 1 didn't translate over: Teletovic missed his first three shots but then buried his next four, including three three-pointers, briefly leading the Nets in scoring to close the first half. Still can't defend.

Mason Plumlee CENTER

Doesn't look fazed by playoff minutes but Brooklyn's defense fell off a cliff with him in the game.


 

Up here, Kevin Garnett's called for his second technical of the first-round series against the Toronto Raptors, after an equally questionable one in Game 1.

I'm not one to blame referees for too many mistakes -- it's a quick sport with snap decisions made by imperfect that are scrutinized on slow-motion replay. But that's not at play here: this is a decision made after a play, with Garnett casually walking down court. He doesn't do anything drastic. It doesn't appear that he said enough bad words to warrant a technical (though with Garnett, that's always possible). But Garnett's still slapped with one.

I guess you could argue that he pawed down at Vasquez on the floor, but that's silly to call a technical on. Maybe it was just preventative on the official's part. Your thoughts?

 

Johnny Mack's Bar & Grill

Johnny Mack's (from website)

Address: 1114 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (Map)

Phone: (718) 832-7961

From Johnny Mack's: LET'S GO NETS! Nets fans, come out to Johnny Macks and cheer on the hometown Brooklyn Nets in the NBA Playoffs! We have $3 Coors lights $4 Amber Bock and $5 beer and shot specials!

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Johnny Mack's Bar & Grill On Yelp

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