Sean Marks says the Brooklyn Nets must improve their "level of compete" after head coach Jacque Vaughn was fired.

Vaughn was dismissed on Monday after the Nets lost 136-86 to the Boston Celtics last week, leaving Brooklyn at 21-33 and 11th in the Eastern Conference heading into the All-Star break.

The Nets had made the postseason in the last five seasons, but a 6-18 run has left the team with it all to do if they are to keep their playoff streak going.

Nets general manager Sean Marks pointed to a perceived lack of effort as one area that must be fixed by the new head coach.

"It's about the level of compete," Marks told reporters. "We're not going to be the most talented team in the league. I'm not an idiot. I totally understand that.

"But at the same time, this is a talented group of young men out there. And my expectations, and I think their expectations, should be to hold each other accountable to do the little things. The effort plays, the loose balls, the contested shots and so forth, diving on the floor.

"These are things that should be expected when you're in a place that we're at right now, where we're clawing and grappling for every single thing we can. That's what I would hope to see over these next 28 games, and that's probably, to be quite frank, some things I haven't seen. The level of effort and the level of compete has not always been there."

Many pointed to the Nets' 144-122 defeat against the Milwaukee Bucks as the reason for Vaughn's firing. The Nets were fined $100,000 for violating the NBA's player participation policy after choosing to both rest and sit a number of key players.

However, Marks said the Bucks drubbing was not the reason for Vaughn's exit, commenting: "I don't think we lost the team that day.

"I appreciate the fact that players want to play. They want to play night in and night out.

"Again, I don't think there was one decision that ultimately affected the record or [making] this decision this day. I think a lot of things went into that."

James Harden could not understand why he was ejected from Game 3 between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets, although he was not the only individual frustrated with the officiating on Thursday.

A hot-tempered affair saw a player from each side ejected and the Nets claiming Joel Embiid should have joined them.

Embiid and Nic Claxton clashed after the MVP frontrunner was fouled in the first quarter. As Claxton stared Embiid down, the Sixers big man appeared to aim a kick at his opponent.

While Embiid was issued a flagrant foul one, Claxton was hit with a technical and would later be ejected for a second technical, again for confronting Embiid.

Embiid later described himself as "too valuable" to allow that situation to escalate, but team-mate Harden was thrown out of the game in a separate incident.

He caught Nets forward Royce O'Neale while in possession late in the third quarter, and referee Tony Brothers explained after the game: "Based on the point of contact directly to the groin, it rose to the level of excessive and ejection."

Harden disagreed, not even believing the incident was worthy of a foul.

"Unacceptable, unacceptable flagrant two," Harden said. "First time I've been ejected.

"I'm not labelled as a dirty player, and I didn't hit him in a private area. Somebody is draped on you like that defensively, that's a natural basketball reaction. I didn't hit him hard enough for him to fall down like that.

"For a flagrant two, it's unacceptable. This is a playoff game. We've seen around the league, things are much worse than that play was.

"Honestly, I didn't think it was a foul on me. But that's unacceptable. It can't happen."

By contrast, Brothers said Embiid's foul was "unnecessary" but "didn't rise to the level of excessive" as contact was made with Claxton's leg.

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn responded: "I don't think I've ever seen that in my career before.

"For a guy to intentionally kick someone in an area that none of us want to be kicked at or towards, for him to continue to play...

"I've never seen that before in a game and a guy continues to play. Intentional."

Despite Harden playing only 29 minutes and Embiid scoring just 14 points, the 76ers won 102-97 to take a 3-0 series lead.

Ben Simmons will not return this season, Brooklyn Nets coach Jacque Vaughn confirmed on Tuesday.

Simmons did not play a single game in the 2021-22 campaign, in which he was traded by the Philadelphia 76ers to the Nets, and has again had a limited role this year.

The one-time Rookie of the Year has played only 42 games, with 33 of those starts, and averaged career lows in points (6.9), assists (6.1), rebounds (6.3), blocks (0.6) and steals (1.3).

Simmons last played on February 15, since when he has been absent with an unspecified issue.

As recently as March 16, coach Vaughn said the Nets were "definitely operating under that belief" that Simmons would return before the end of the season.

Yet less than two weeks on, he told reporters the point guard would "not be joining us the rest of the year".

Simmons is expected to make a full recovery, Vaughn added, although details about the nature of his absence remain scarce.

The Nets are sixth in the Eastern Conference and set for the playoffs despite trading Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving midseason.

Ben Simmons has had "zero discussions" with the Brooklyn Nets about bringing his season to an end, says head coach Jacque Vaughn.

While remaining vague about the specific issue keeping Simmons sidelined, the 26-year-old has been contending with back and knee problems.

Speaking prior to the Nets' 101-96 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, Vaughn confirmed he expects Simmons – who last featured on February 15 – to be back on court before the season ends.

"Definitely operating under that belief," Vaughn replied when asked if Simmons will play again this campaign.

"There's zero discussions about him not playing. We expect him to be back, waiting for him to be back."

It has been a frustrating time in Brooklyn for Simmons, who did not play at all last season after moving to the Nets in the huge trade that saw James Harden switch to the Philadelphia 76ers.

He sat out the first half of the season while he was waiting to be traded, then missed the rest of the campaign with a back issue.

While he has played 42 games this term, Simmons is averaging career-lows for points (6.9), rebounds (6.3), assists (6.1) and steals (1.3).

Vaughn added there has been no setback to his recovery.

"No setbacks. He's progressing. So, great to see him," he added.

"He's doing some work on court right now, so as more updates come, I'll definitely give them to you guys, but good to see him back on court getting some work in."

The Nets' setback to the Kings leaves them sixth in the Eastern Conference, two wins back of rivals the New York Knicks.

Forward Mikal Bridges was pretty frank about why the Nets failed to get the job done.

"They just played harder," Bridges said. "Get stops and they were just scoring. Getting to the line. But, yeah they just played harder than us."

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn has signed a multi-year contract extension.

The Nets have the NBA's fifth-best record at 32-19 since Vaughn replaced Steve Nash – initially as acting head coach – on November 1. 

Having helped stabilise the franchise during a turbulent campaign which has seen Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving depart for the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks respectively, Vaughn has been given the chance to lead the team for the long haul.

While the Nets did not reveal details of Vaughn's new deal per the team policy, a report from ESPN has claimed the contract will run through the 2026-27 season.

Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said: "Jacque has made an immediate and immeasurable impact on our entire organisation since assuming the role of head coach earlier this season.

"On the court, he's clearly demonstrated his leadership through his ability to connect and communicate at a very high level while displaying tremendous instincts for the game. 

"As a person, they don't come any better than Jacque. We are thrilled to have Jacque lead the Nets for years to come."

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said he will need to figure out how to get the best out of Ben Simmons in the wake of losing star duo Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Irving and Durant left the Nets for the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns respectively before the trade deadline, leaving Brooklyn shorn of two players who often took opposition attention away from Simmons.

The Australian played less than 13 minutes of Monday's 124-106 loss at the New York Knicks, having only once played for a shorter period in a game this season.

"It's going to be some work that we have to do," Vaughn said after the defeat at Madison Square Garden. "Because you just take a look at what the lineups could potentially look like.

"You put another big next to Ben, then you got to figure out what the spacing is around him. Then if you put another playmaker next to him, then you got to figure out what Ben looks like without the basketball. Then if you go small with Ben, then you have to figure out can you rebound enough with him?

"So, the challenges are ahead of us. We'll look them head-on. We'll figure it out. We have the personnel to figure it out. Whether it is me mixing and matching throughout different pieces of the game, and allowing him to have a group and run with a group, that part we'll figure out, but you see the challenges that lie ahead."


Spencer Dinwiddie, who was acquired as part of the trade for Irving, top-scored for the Nets with 28, though he was no match for another former Dallas player in Jalen Brunson, who scored 40, making 15 from 21 field-goal attempts and six from nine three-point shots, and Vaughn said Brunson's performance was a factor in his thinking around Simmons.

"With Brunson being out there, trying to throw different bodies with him," he said. "We're always concerned about [rebounding], so didn't want Ben to be the lone big out there.

"We tried him with another big; I didn't like that rhythm of the game because we weren't scoring enough at that time. A lot of different problems thrown at you in the course of a game; you try to figure them out.

"Trying to figure out what lineup fits around Ben, what position fits for Ben, how we can make him look good at every opportunity. That's the goal. I'm still trying to figure that out. That's on me to figure that out. But I think overall as a team, we're going to try different lineups to try to figure this out."

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn wants Kyrie Irving to succeed despite his departure from the team, after he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

The guard made the move from New York to Texas ahead of Thursday's deadline after threatening to leave as a free agent at the end of the season.

It has been an unsettled campaign for Irving with the Nets, having been suspended for eight games after posting a link on social media to an antisemitic film.

But Vaughn, who has picked up Mavericks pair Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith in return, had nothing but kind words to say after his exit.

"My interactions with Kai have always been positive," he said after the Nets slipped to a 124-116 loss against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

"I enjoyed coaching him. I want him to succeed. I'll keep it that simple. We've had some ups and downs along the way. I've also seen the young man score 60 points.

"I've also seen him bring his kids into the locker room. I've also seen him grow as an individual and be a better teammate than when I first met him.

"For me, I'm going to always look at the good in people and want the good in people. I want him to succeed. He's no longer with us, but I appreciate his time."

Irving, who will link up with three-time All-NBA Team guard Luka Doncic in Dallas, will be out to help push the Mavericks into the championship race.

The team sit fifth in the Western Conference with a 29-26 record after a 124-111 win over the Utah Jazz and face the Clippers next on Wednesday.

Jacque Vaughn believes the Brooklyn Nets proved what they want to be by fighting back to defeat the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

Cam Thomas scored 44 points from the bench as the Nets overturned a 23-point deficit at Barclays Center.

The Nets were without star players Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving, the latter missing with a calf issue having this week requested a trade.

Irving was not in attendance, with Vaughn saying "we were all in agreement on him not being here", as the Nets coach hailed his team's mental fortitude.

"We stacked the deck, I think, at mentally challenging them tonight," he told reporters. 

"We didn't get off to the start that we wanted to, but we responded. We talked about it at half-time that it was more than the physical piece of this game that we were missing, it was the mental piece of this game.

"Definitely a shift in our mentality. And we got rewarded for it.

"It's proof, it's evidence of who we want to be as a team. We talked about what day of the week, what state we're in, how many guys are available.

"It just doesn't matter. You have the ability and the choice to lock in and play and the group that we had did that."

Thomas' points haul was a career-best tally for the 21-year-old, who has played 35 times this season but is yet to make a start.

Edmond Sumner added 29 points but used his post-match press conference to laud his team-mate's match-winning efforts.

"I'm watching him score after score. Cam's a guy that once he gets that type of rhythm, you've just got to let him go," Sumner said.

"He can run off 10, 15, 20 straight. In the fourth quarter, he really picked it up and got it. Get it going, Cam. Go to work my guy. I love it."

Saturday's game marked an 11th start of the season for Sumner, who can empathise with Thomas when it comes to a lack of opportunities.

Sumner added: "People don't see what we really go through every day.

"It's hard not playing games when you're busting your butt every day – it's hard. For you to always stay mentally happy, it's tough.

"I know how hard he works, how talented he is. We stay ready every day, we compete against each other almost every day, so that was huge.

"I love that everybody on this team was happy for him and then we let him go to work."

Kyrie Irving is enjoying the extra responsibility bestowed upon him by coach Jacque Vaughn in the absence of Kevin Durant.

Irving starred as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Utah Jazz 117-106 on Friday, scoring 48 points with 11 rebounds and six assists at Vivint Arena.

The Nets have struggled since Durant was sidelined by an MCL injury earlier this month, losing four in a row prior to Friday, but Irving stepped up to lead his team to a win in Utah, and when asked about consistently shooting close to 50 points said: "I don't think it's an unrealistic expectation."

The 30-year-old is averaging 26.4 points this season, and following his first 40+ point contribution of the campaign, said: "Every night I try to put myself in that place, in that zone. Specifically in the fourth quarter when it's winning time.

"I have the trust through Jacque to be able to make plays down the stretch, and he comes to me and we talk about it. 

"I think we've been able to develop a dialogue, it continues to grow game-to-game so it gives me a lot of confidence in the fourth quarter to be able to perform that way.

"And my team-mates looking to me as well and when the ball's feeling good in my hands you just want to get a great shot, that's better for our team."

Vaughn – who has a record of 24-10 since being appointed head coach in November – was understandably pleased with Irving's efforts.

"I thought you saw from him throughout the course of the night just different segments of the game where he really put his imprint on what we were trying to do offensively," he said.

"And it paid dividends, especially in the fourth quarter."

Nic Claxton was Brooklyn's next-highest scorer with 20 points, and added his kudos for Irving, saying: "I'm really observing out there on the court and just watching him. It's like he's in a different world. He's locked in. He's in a different type of zone, and he makes those big shots time and time again.

"We just watch it and don't take it for granted, just having a guy that can create shots from all three levels the way he can."

Kevin Durant's absence cannot be used as an excuse by the Brooklyn Nets, insists head coach Jacque Vaughn.

Durant sprained the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee in the third quarter of the Nets' 102-101 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday, with reports suggesting he could be sidelined for around a month.

Brooklyn confirmed the result of scans a day later, saying the 12-time NBA All-Star would be "reevaluated in two weeks."

Durant is averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists this season.

Vaughn does not want his players to dwell on being without their star player, though, as they look to build on a fine record of 27-13, including a run of 18 wins from their last 20 games that sees them sit second in the Eastern Conference.

"That's the biggest thing. I'm not giving this group a chance to make excuses," he said on Wednesday.

"Here to play. Here to win. Here to compete. It doesn't change. Love them."

Brooklyn host the only team in the league with a better record than them, the Boston Celtics, on Thursday.

Brooklyn Nets coach Jacque Vaughn feels his side's focus on court matters alone is key to their form, after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving set up a ninth win in a row.

The pair posted 32 points each in a remarkable double act to ensuring a 125-117 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, which gave the Nets their longest winning streak since 2006.

It marks a sharp contrast from the early season blues the Nets suffered from, with Irving banned for a post that supported anti-semitism and prior head coach Steve Nash dismissed amid poor form.

Vaughn credits the turnaround to keeping his players tightly trained on their performances rather than matters away from the court, indicating that discipline has been the secret of the success.

"I am a simple person," he said. "[I] really try to keep things simple. We stripped our playbook down a little bit, we are simple in what we do.

"[We] have our guys play extremely free of mind. I think there's something important in that if you're going to ask your guys to play hard."

Durant concurred with his coach's assessment, noting the Nets feel like they are in a better headspace under Vaughn's command, while suggesting outside forces were played up in the media.

"To be honest, I think we've always been about ball," he added. "Everybody has a platform, so there are many voices speaking [about] what we do inside our locker room

"I think that's the noise that you hear. But from us, we've always been about the game. We struggled early on, we were always focused on playing basketball."

Kevin Durant says the Brooklyn Nets treated Friday's 118-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks as "bigger than a regular season" after extending their win streak to eight games.

The Nets claimed a confidence-boosting victory over the 2021 NBA champions, moving Brooklyn to a  21-12 record, while the Bucks are only slightly ahead in the Eastern Conference with a 22-10 record.

Durant scored 24 points, extending his run of games with plus 50 per cent field-goal shooting to 12, while Nic Claxton added 19 points with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

There were contributions all round for Brooklyn, with Kyrie Irving scoring 18 points with nine rebounds and six assists, while Ben Simmons had 12 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals. T.J. Warren chipped in 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.

All five Nets' starters reached double figures, marking the sixth time they have achieved that this season.

After a tumultuous start to the season where they commenced with a 1-5 record and had off-court issues involving Irving to deal with, the Nets have rallied to become genuine contenders.

"It's good for us," Durant told reporters. It's good for us to keep stacking days. We respect Milwaukee, we understand how dominant they've been this season.

"We wanted to come out and we understand everyone is watching this game, everybody looked at this as bigger than a regular season game, so I think we tried to approach it that way.

"I know those guys play extremely hard every night, we tried to match that. They play playoff style basketball every game so it was on us to match it and play our brand as well.

"We've been trying to stay at their level as consistently as we can. It's tough to do in the regular season with injuries and the ebb and flow of the season but we tried to stay locked in as much as we can."

Durant called the victory a "great team win" for the Nets given the raft of contributions, creating 30 assists compared to the Bucks' 17, and forcing 18 turnovers.

"We were locked in all night on both sides of the ball," Durant said. "We were able to get a nice cushion early.

"They're a championship quality team so they're going to fight back and get into the game. We were able to make big shots and get big stops. Great team win for us."

The Nets kept Giannis Antetokounmpo scoreless in the final quarter, led by Simmons, as they weathered any late challenge, pulling away to win by 18 points after leading 85-75 at the final change.

"I thought overall the mental approach from guys, we knew they'd make some threes and we didn’t panic," Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said.

"Giannis is going to get through us sometimes and we're not going to over-react. But we be steady throughout the night to put multiple bodies in front of him? That's tough to do, because he's coming downhill at you with force and you're going to get hit. I thought overall our guys responded extremely well."

Jacque Vaughn was unaware his Brooklyn Nets side had achieved a franchise record in their blowout of the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

The Nets routed the undermanned Warriors 143-113 at Barclays Center, putting up a whopping 91 points in the first half alone.

That tally was a record for the Nets and represented the third-best effort ever in the NBA.

Having had to come back from slow first-quarter performances in wins over the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons in their prior two games, it was a welcome change for head coach Vaughn.

"I did not [know it was a record], wow, nicely done huh?" Vaughn said.

"That's what happens when you come to work and you're ready to work from the beginning.

"I definitely consider it progress, it was definitely the message in our walk through."

Kyrie Irving was absent for the Nets due to tightness in his right calf. Vaughn was unsure if he would return on Friday to face the Milwaukee Bucks.

Vaughn said: "No update, he'll come in tomorrow [Thursday] and get assessed again, hopefully looking forward to him playing again on Friday."

Kevin Durant was in fine form against his former team, putting up 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Warriors were still without Steph Curry, while Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins did not feature, but Durant said Steve Kerr's side still had to be taken seriously.

"It's the Warriors - you always respect them whoever is on the floor," he said.

"They have a championship system, championship players. Steph, Klay, Wiggins out – they [still] have that next up mentality. You can't count them out, so we did a good job staying focused to start."

Kevin Durant was so "in the zone" against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday that he lost count of his shooting numbers.

Durant scored 43 points as the Brooklyn Nets won 124-121 at Little Caesars Arena, including a career-best quarter as he put up 26 in the third.

It was an important period of the game for the Nets, who trailed 71-54 at half-time, and Durant admitted he had struggled to keep up with his own statistics as he helped turn things around.

"I usually know how many shot attempts [I have]," he said. "But when I forget, that's when I really know I'm super, super in the zone.

"I don't know for sure what my shot attempts or my points [were]. I felt like the ball was coming to my hands so fast so I couldn't even process it in my mind and I looked up, 'Damn, I got 39.' I didn't think I had that much. But it was good to get back in the game and give us some momentum and energy."

The Nets sit on 19-12 after winning six in a row, and coach Jacque Vaughn described it as an "efficient night" after Durant also moved to 16th in the NBA's all-time scorers' list, surpassing John Havlicek and Paul Pierce.

"When the water started running, it started pouring," Vaughn said. "The teams throw everything at [Durant], so that piece of it, I think it warrants that conversation.

"Just because at the end of the night, you look at the stat sheet and it's an extremely efficient night... You just see it in a variety of ways, which means his game is getting better still, which is pretty difficult to say but there's some truth behind it."

Kyrie Irving also impressed, scoring 38 as the pair recorded a combined total of 81 for Brooklyn, and he credited Durant with being able to get the best out of him.

"Numbers show," Irving said. "When we're out there it doesn't necessarily feel like that because he makes it look so easy or he gets it in a myriad of ways -- when he gets on stretches like this, you want to play well alongside of him, that's really how I feel. I want to play well alongside him."

The Brooklyn Nets secured their third win from their past four games led by Kevin Durant and Seth Curry as they pulled away late to secure a 110-95 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.

Durant top scored with 27 points along with six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks, while Curry drained four three-pointers in his 22 points off the bench. Nic Claxton also had 13 points with 14 rebounds.

Curry scored 14 points with two assists in the fourth quarter as the Nets extended their four-point lead with a 35-24 final period.

The Nets, who confirmed the permanent appointment of Jacque Vaughn as head coach on Wednesday, were excellent defensively again, keeping their opposition below 100 points for the fifth straight game.

For the Clippers, who were still without Kawhi Leonard due to knee stiffness, Paul George scored 17 points with four rebounds and four assists, while Ivica Zubac added 16 points with 15 rebounds.

Nets guard Edmond Sumner (11 points, four assists and three steals) reached double-figure scoring for the third time in five games since stepping into the starting lineup in place of Kyrie Irving for a team-imposed suspension.

Irving's five-game minimum suspension has now ended but Vaughn confirmed he would not play in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The victory starts the Nets' four-game road trip in style, improving Brooklyn to 6-7 on the season, while the Clippers are 7-6.

Doncic responds after form dip

Luka Doncic responded to his drop-off in form with 42 points as part of a triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks won 117-112 over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Doncic had started the season with an historic run of nine 30-point games, but that was halted in the past two games, both where he scored less than 30.

The Slovenian guard turned that around on 13-of-22 field shooting, also making 15-of-18 from the stripe, along with 13 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals.

Tatum and Embiid both score 40-plus

Jayson Tatum reached 40 points for the 13th time in his career, the third most in Boston Celtics history, as he scored 43 points in their 117-108 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Tatum finished with 43 points, including seven three-pointers, along with 10 rebounds and three assists. The Celtics small forward scored 28 of his points in a dominant first half.

Joel Embiid produced a season-best scoring return of 42 points as the Philadelphia 76ers triumphed 121-109 over the Atlanta Hawks after a brilliant first-half shooting display.

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