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Caris LeVert lay-up sparks giddy reaction from Kenny Atkinson

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YES Network

It was action and reaction ...

A sequence that made a coach smile. Oh, so broadly.

So post-game, I went over to LeVert’s locker and showed him the photos of Atkinson’s reaction, prompting laughter from the Nets’ rising star.

“Yeah, I definitely remember that. He was like, ‘I like that lay-up,’” LeVert recalled, grinning from ear-to-ear.

“It was just a wrong step lay-up, and I don’t really do those type of finishes, I like to go off of two feet,” he added. “I kind of just went off one, wrong leg, and I guess he liked it, I didn’t know y’all caught that.”

Atkinson himself didn’t quite remember the play post-game.

“Just excited that he drove the ball,” Atkinson said. “That we didn’t settle for a contested shot, that he drove and got to the rim. Can’t remember the particular play but that’s what I think.”

Total coach-speak. Keep it in check, if only after the game.

But Atkinson did praise LeVert for his early season play overall, which has CL Smooth averaging 20 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists through the first 10 games of the season. He’s also showed his mettle on defense, where Atkinson says he set the tone for the Nets’ 122-97 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. LeVert also had 18 first-half points, a personal best.

“I thought he was all over the place,” Atkinson said of LeVert’s effort. “He was getting deflections and he had a great rebound in the second quarter where he came across the court and grabbed it. I kind of talked to him before the game. The challenge for him is to be really good on both ends. We don’t want him to be a one-way player. He has a lot of talent, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that. I was really pleased with his defensive effort.”

And there’s photographic proof!