DeAndre' Bembry Expanding His Impact For Brooklyn Nets
High-energy forward scores season-high 18 points against Suns in his fourth game after moving into the starting lineup
As the season reaches the 20-game mark when the Brooklyn Nets host the New York Knicks at Barclays Center on Tuesday, the Nets are seeing more — and more to like — from DeAndre’ Bembry.
The sixth-year swingman, signed as a free agent in the offseason, has started the last four games and played at least 30 minutes in three of the last six after playing 20 minutes just twice in Brooklyn’s first 14 games.
“He gives us some speed and athleticism,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “He gives us a defender out there who can guard number one options on the other team, and he also is a cutter offensively for us. So he's been great. We've been working with him to really understand his role, and I think he's been fantastic with his willingness to compete and to grow as a player. So, really proud of his effort and he's getting better.”
Against Phoenix on Saturday night, Bembry had a season-high 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting with nine rebounds and two steals.
“He played incredible tonight – playing defense into the ball, cutting to the rim, making himself available, rebounding,” said Kevin Durant. “We’re going to need that from him. He was a spark for us and he was one of the bright spots out there, so hopefully, he can continue to build on this and keep getting better.”
In a six-point Brooklyn loss, the Nets were plus-8 in Bembry’s 35 minutes on Saturday night, and his energy plays were right in the middle of a pair of Brooklyn runs. With the Nets trailing by 20 in the second quarter, they ran off 15 straight points with Bembry coming up with a steal and layup to make it a five-point game with just under a minute left in the half.
They were trailing by 21 when Bembry entered the game two minutes into the fourth quarter, and he quickly came up with a jumper and a steal. The Nets got within six points in the final minute before coming up short.
“Offensively, I’m just playing my game, trying to be aggressive,” said Bembry. “Steve told me over the past week or so to keep trying to be aggressive, make the right play. So just trying to find more ways out there. Obviously, James (Harden) is looking for back doors out there, and he and Kevin found me a couple times, so just being able to look out for those guys. We need to put up some points from other than those guys.”
Bembry’s performance against Phoenix came after he had 10 rebounds and three steals in the 123-104 win against Boston on Wednesday. He got his first start of the season in a 115-113 win against Orlando when the Nets gave Durant a rest night, playing a season-high 41 minutes. Bembry then stayed in the starting lineup when a hamstring strain sidelined Bruce Brown.
“He’s a talented defender and he’s also an intelligent offensive player for a guy that’s a quote-unquote ‘non-shooter.’ He’s good with the ball,” said Nash. “He can push it in transition. He can draw and kick. He’s a good cutter. He really makes a lot of good decisions offensively for a guy that’s not a primary target. You add it all up and he does a lot for the team.”
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