LeVert, Allen Shine as Nets Clinch Postseason Berth in Win Over Kings

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Final: 08/07/2020

W 119 – 106

The Brooklyn Nets are (finally) playoff-bound. 

After a 119-106 win over the Sacramento Kings, the Nets clinched a postseason berth for the second straight season. Whether they will be the No. 7 or 8 seed is yet to be determined (they are one game up in the seventh seed right now), but it’s an achievement to be applauded nonetheless in a strange and injury-riddled year.

With a day off on Thursday, the Nets looked fresh against the Kings in a team effort with seven players in double digits. The group bounced back from their blowout loss to the Celtics in a much-needed way with a convincing effort against the Kings on Friday.

When Brooklyn’s “bubble” big three are on point, good things follow. The team shined behind the efforts of Caris LeVert, who put up as balanced a performance as he has all season. LeVert was immediately locked in from all angles, making his presence known offensively as well as setting up his teammates, who shot a combined 48.8% on the evening.

While both teams traded the lead throughout the first quarter, the Nets took the second frame to break out. Brooklyn put up a 39-26 advantage in the second quarter, powered by strong shooting and a 14-2 run. 

The Nets focused on (and improved in) many areas in which it struggled against the Celtics. The team’s three-point shooting was on-point, going 17-40 from distance while also taking care of the ball, committing just nine turnovers. The team’s ball movement was another highlight of the night, recording 30 assists on 42 made field goals.

While the Kings went on a 12-0 run in the third quarter that cut the deficit to as little as two, Brooklyn bounced back with a pair of three-point buckets and went on to take its largest lead of the game (23) in the fourth quarter. Jarrett Allen also came alive, recording a career-high eight (!) assists. 

The Nets needed a good win after Wednesday’s showing, and their focus on making shots and forcing steals (nine) led them to their playoff-clinching win. The support of the bench gave the team its extra needed push, recording a slight 39-37 advantage, while their defense held the Kings to just 106 points. 

Next up: A fight for seeding! A tough meeting with the Clippers awaits, but Brooklyn’s resilience was on display on Friday. Whether the team can carry over its efforts into consistency is the next step. 

Caris LeVert

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The stats: 22 PTS, 9-21 FG, 3-8 3FG, 1-4 FT, 5 REB, 7 AST, 2 TO, 3 STL, 36 MIN

Caris LeVert’s fingerprints were all over this game from the first minute. 

The Nets needed leadership, and LeVert led by action by being aggressive early against the Kings. His balance allowed the Nets to show their strengths with their three-point shooting and pressure on defense. 

LeVert missed his share of shots, but his influence was felt across the court as he created offense via steals and assists. Many had high expectations for LeVert heading into the season’s restart, and he lived up to them on Friday.

Joe Harris

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The stats: 21 PTS, 8-11 FG, 5-7 3FG, 4 REB, 4 AST, 1 TO, 25 MIN

THIS is the Joe Harris the Nets need. 

There is not much more that can be asked of Harris than what he showed against the Kings. He powered Brooklyn’s strong shooting night from distance and continued to stay aggressive and push the pace. 

When Harris is on point offensively, he draws the defense in and opens the floor for others. He has shot well in the bubble, going 14-of-25 from three, and the Nets will be looking for more after his strong performance on Friday. 

Jarrett Allen

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The stats: 17 PTS, 5-8 FG, 7-10 FT, 11 REB, 8 AST, 1 TO, 1 BLK, 36 MIN

Jarrett Allen was the man of the hour. 

Allen nearly became the first-ever Net center to record a triple-double on assists. He may have fallen just short, but it was fun to watch him work and be in rhythm with his teammates. 

The Nets may not have much size on their bubble roster, but Jacque Vaughn has done a good job of putting Allen in a role to shine. Allen is as important a player as any on Brooklyn’s roster in the bubble, and his latest career performance shows he can step up alongside his teammates in their game plan. 

Chris Chiozza

B+

The stats: 14 PTS, 5-12 FG, 2-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 3 TO, 1 BLK, 29 MIN

The bench was a large part of Brooklyn’s victory against the Kings, and Chris Chiozza was at the front of the effort. 

Chiozza tied career-highs with his 14 points, six rebounds and four assists while posting an impressive +24 plus/minus. He has continued his development on the court as he’s gotten more minutes, making his way to the bucket and staying on his toes. 

His offensive efficiency varies, but Chiozza is an important part of Brooklyn’s rotation. He provided a boost off the bench in the second quarter against the Kings and a hot hand from distance and was key in the victory. 

Tyler Johnson

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The stats: 14 PTS, 5-9 FG, 2-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 3 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 18 MIN

Tyler Johnson was alongside Chiozza in powering Brooklyn’s bench push. 

Johnson made his presence known early and often, helping contribute to Brooklyn’s three-point barrage. He is not a loud player, but he remains ready and aggressive in the second squad. 

Brooklyn’s bench stepped up to take and maintain their lead, and Johnson was a large part of it. Chiozza and Johnson are proving to be a strong offensive duo off the court that Brooklyn will need to rely on is it goes into the playoffs. 

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