Brooklyn Nets Back Home from California Camp and Preseason Opener
Nets practicing at HSS Training Center this week before hosting Bucks on Friday
With five days of training camp and a preseason opener in their rearview, the Brooklyn Nets returned to HSS Training Camp for practice on Tuesday with a few days back in the gym on the slate before their first preseason home game on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“We had a great week in California,” said head coach Steve Nash. “The guys were incredibly focused and we got a lot out of it. So it was great to be back in our own building. The guys had great energy today and we carried it over from training camp.”
“I thought our camp was unbelievable,” said Blake Griffin. “Our intensity was so high. The players brought that intensity. Anytime you have a good week of practice and keep that intensity high throughout I think it always helps going into that next game.”
After Friday’s game, the Nets will have two preseason games remaining — at Philadelphia on Monday, Oct. 11 and at Barclays Center against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, Oct. 14 before they open the season in Milwaukee on Tuesday, Oct. 19. Brooklyn’s home opener is Sunday, Oct. 24 against the Charlotte Hornets.
Against the Lakers on Sunday, the Nets broke things open in the fourth quarter for a 123-97 win.
“I thought defensively we did really good,” said Nash. “A lot of carryover from training camp. Offensively, we had different lineups out there that found a way to score and do largely the things were asking of them. Always things to clean up. But the tape showed a lot of positives and a lot of transfer from training camp.”
With Kevin Durant and James Harden among the veterans held out of Sunday’s game, the Nets went with a starting lineup you’re not likely to see again and also funneled significant minutes to some of the roster’s younger players, including rookies Cam Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe, Kessler Edwards, and David Duke Jr.
“They were unbelievable,” said Griffin. “No fear. Just came out, played hard. Stuck to our principles, everything that we practiced on. It was great to see them play like that.”
“They all did great,” said Nash. “Duke was really good. Did a lot of things. I thought Kessler too, it shows he can defend at this level. Good offensive rebounder and can do some things with his athleticism and length and Day’Ron, he’s got some ability. He’s a big guy, he’s got soft hands. Natural rebounder. Can finish around the basket and showed I thought a little bit of being able to move his feet out there. All those guys did really well and I’m pleased with them. They didn’t get a ton of reps in training camp too so I was really proud of them for playing that way and executing more importantly all the things we tried to get across in camp they executed in the fourth quarter having very little reps.”
Sharpe had 13 points and six rebounds in just 14 minutes, while Duke played a team-high 31 minutes and scored 13 points with seven rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Thomas poured in a team-high 21 points in just 22 minutes, shooting 7-for-14.
Thomas had led the SEC and all college freshmen in scoring last season with 23.0 points per game at LSU, then was named Co-MVP of the Summer League in Las Vegas after averaging 27.0 points per game.
“Scoring is scoring,” said Thomas after Sunday’s game. “I don’t know why people always think stuff can’t translate. Scoring is scoring. If you can score, you can score. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against.”
“I’ve seen these guys all week at practice and I’ve seen the work they put in, so they’ve been putting in the work all week,” said Paul Millsap. “They were a little eager for this moment, and them getting out there and doing what they do, it’s impressive, especially for young guys to come in, first preseason game. You didn’t see any nerves. Not a lot of turnovers. Guys got to their spots and went out there and did their jobs.”
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