Brooklyn Nets

Ben Simmons returns for the Nets after missing 38 games and helps gain two victories for the week

The Nets had a successful week with two victories and the return of Ben Simmons in action. The return of Simmonswas a short-lived victory as he suffered a minor knee injury in his return game against the Utah Jazz.  Fortunately, Simmons returned after missing one game and they now look to have Simmons on a daily basis and hope to have his presence on the floor creates better opportunities to win games. They now hold a 20-28 record and are 11th place in the Eastern Conference. 

Ben Simmons returns in action after missing 38 games

The Brooklyn Nets took down the Utah Jazz in a 147-114 victory where Simmons returned after missing 38 games due to back injury. Simmons last played on Nov. 6, where he suffered a pinched nerve on his back and his status remained questionable for a majority of the season thus far. In his return, he made an immediate impact on the team. While Simmons was on the floor, he and the Nets outscored the Jazz by 27 points.

Checking in off the bench in the first quarter, Simmons helped the Nets dominate on the offensive end and ended the quarter with a 43-28 lead. While Simmons committed no turnovers while on the floor, the same could not be said for the Jazz who committed 17 turnovers in the game. The Nets were advantageous of these turnovers and turned it into points as they scored 27 points off of those turnovers. While the Jazz cut down the lead down in the third, the Nets fired back with shots at the perimeter and cushioned their lead to over 30 points which led to the easy win. 

For the Nets, Mikal Bridges powered the team with 33 points and four assists. Cam Thomas also eclipsed 20 points with 25 points and seven rebounds, while Cam Johnson had 17 points and six rebounds. Nic Claxton had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, along with three blocks. Off the bench, Lonnie Walker IV had 19 points and four assists, while Dennis Smith Jr had 12 points, five assists and two steals. Simmons had a near triple-double with 10 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. 

For the Jazz, John Collins had 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, while Lauri Markkanen had a near double-double with13 points and nine rebounds. Off the bench, Keyonte George led the team with 21 points and four rebounds. Jordan Clarkson had 13 points, while Walker Kessler had 11 points and seven rebounds. 

Ben Simmons out again, but Kevin Durant returns against Brooklyn since the Phoenix trade

It was nearly a year ago when Kevin Durant and the Nets parted ways in one of the biggest trades in the NBA. This trade had the Nets acquire their current mainstays in Bridges and Johnson, along with four unprotected future first-round picks. Durant came back to Brooklyn with cheers and a tribute video produced by the team.

The love from the fans quickly disappeared as the first whistle blew and the ball was in Durant’s hands where boos ensued. While it was a close game in the first half, it was out of reach in the second half as the Suns completely outplayed the Nets with their starpower. The Nets were outscored 42-26 in the third quarter that included a 10-0 scoring run by Durant to extend their lead.

With the lack of big men on the lineup, the Nets had troubles on the rebound game who were out-rebounded 42-27. Simmons was out for Wednesday’s game after suffering a knee injury during his return against the Utah Jazz. The Nets were without Dorian Finney-Smith for the second straight game, while also missing out on Day’Ron Sharpe. 

For the Nets, Thomas led the team in scoring with 25 points, along with four assists and two steals, while Bridges also eclipsed the 20-point mark with 21 points. Johnson had 18 points and two steals, while Spencer Dinwiddie had 16 points and five assists. Off the bench, Walker IV had 19 points, seven assists and four steals. 

For the Suns, Durant powered the team with 33 points, eight assists and two blocks, while Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double with 28 points and 11 rebounds, along with six assists and two blocks. Devin Booker had a near double-double with 22 points, eight assists and two blocks, while Bradley Beal had 12 points and five assists. Off the bench, Josh Okogie had 11 points and seven rebounds. 

Nets triumphant over 76ers with 40-point performance by Cam Thomas 

The Nets had a stellar performance on Saturday in a 136-121 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, who were without their superstar Joel Embiid. Thomas had an explosive 40-point game to lead them to victory. Thomas has averaged 31.8 points over the past four games and has been a very important piece offensively for the Nets. Simmons returned after suffering a minor knee injury on Monday and while he did not score for the night, he helped the Nets in other manners with eight rebounds and five assists.

Embiid has been out after suffering an injury caused on January 30th during a 76ers matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Warriors’ forward Jonathan Kuminga fell on Embiid’s left leg after Embiid was attempting to dive for a loose ball. Embiid was confirmed to have suffered an injury to the left meniscus and there is now an unknown timetable for his return. The loss of Embiid on the floor proved to be advantageous to the Nets with the Nets being able to take good shots from the perimeter.

The lack of Embiid, along with other key players due to injuries, forced the 76ers to collapse into the paint. The Nets were able to use their strategy to utilize their shooters and do damage from the 3-point line. Claxton helped on the rebounding end for the Nets as he was able to grab 15 rebounds for the night and be a threat on the defensive end for them. They were able to play their brand of basketball and create openings on offense, earning another victory to end the week.  

For the Nets, Thomas powered the team with 40 points and five assists, while Bridges had 23 points and four assists, Johnson had 13 points, seven rebounds and two steals, while Claxton had a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds, along with four assists and four blocks. Off the bench, Walker IV had  20 points. 

For the 76ers, Tyrese Maxey had 23 points, five assists and three steals, while Kelly Oubre Jr had 16 points and four rebounds. Off the bench, Terquavion Smith led the bench unit with 17 points. Jaden Springer had 11 points and five rebounds, while Furkan Korkmaz had 10 points and four rebounds.

What’s next for the Nets?

The Nets looked like a completely different team with Simmons on the floor. Simmons was able to space the floor and create great plays for them. He helped run the offense that helped push them to victory against the Utah Jazz. This could be a possible sign of the future of the second half for the Nets. With Simmons back on the floor on a day-to-day basis, it could be a good sign for them that could sneak them into a spot in the play-in game. Only time will tell how the Nets will play in the second half of the season, but things may be on the brighter end after the All-Star break. 

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