With the departure of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets’ dominance of the basketball rivalry in New York has come to an end.
Josh Hart scored a season-high 27 points in his second game with his new team as the Knicks beat Brooklyn 124-106 to snap a nine-game losing streak. Jalen Brunson achieved a score of 40.
Julius Randle’s 18 points and 10 rebounds helped the Knicks overcome the Nets for the first game in three years. Brooklyn never suffered a loss against the Knicks while Durant and Irving were on the squad.
Giving them credit is crucial. They have been outstanding in the last few years, and they were outstanding today, according to Brunson, “but I think we just had the upper hand in the second half and we kind of just turned it up a little bit and came away with a win.”
The Knicks’ seventh-place finish allowed them to go within two games of the Nets for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. For the top six teams, playoff spots are guaranteed.
The Nets, who once again shown how tough scoring can be, earned 28 points from Spencer Dinwiddie after relocating their two All-Stars last week. Despite Mikal Bridges joining Cam Johnson in the Durant trade from Phoenix, who scored only seven points on 2-of-8 shooting, Cam Johnson still managed to score 14 points.
The biggest issue, according to Nets coach Jacque Vaughn, was the inability to put the ball in the basket. The group will concentrate on and work on it.
Durant had Achilles tendon surgery in the 2019–20 season, and the Knicks beat the Nets twice while he was out recovering. After missing one Knicks victory due to injury, Irving left Madison Square Garden on January 26, 2020, shortly after learning of Kobe Bryant’s demise.
Brunson never had a single regular-season 40-point game in his first four seasons with Dallas, but he had three this year after scoring 17 points in the pivotal third quarter.
“Obviously seeing him play in college and he was phenomenal, I believed he would have a long career in the NBA, but I didn’t think it was going to be like he’s playing now,” said Hart, Brunson’s Villanova teammate. Additionally, he is playing at an All-Star calibre and deserves to be an All-Star.
In the last seconds in the third quarter, when the score was tied at 80, Brunson gave the Knicks the lead permanently. With a 3-pointer from Brunson, the Knicks closed off the quarter on a 13-3 run, bringing the score to 93-83.
Hart, who the Knicks had recently acquired from Portland, hit a three-point play with 7:05 remaining in the game to expand the lead to 12, and the Knicks never looked back.
Joe Harris, who had made six 3-pointers and scored 18 points in each of the previous two games for the Nets, only took one shot. … Seth Curry missed his sixth straight game as a result of a left adductor issue. Curry could be able to play in the team’s last match before the All-Star break on Wednesday, according to Vaughn.
Knicks: Head coach Tom Thibodeau said that centre Mitchell Robinson, who had surgery Jan. 19 to heal a broken right thumb, should be able to participate in contact basketball drills during the All-Star break. … RJ Barrett failed to score in the first period, shooting 0 of 5 attempts. On 2 of his 8 tries, he scored four points.
NOVA IN NEW YORK
The trade-deadline week brought three members of Villanova’s 2016 national champion team to New York, with Hart joining Brunson on the Knicks and Bridges to the Nets. Brunson and Bridges added another title in 2018.
Bridges was unable to play in the Nets’ matchup against Chicago last Thursday, but his streak of straight games—at the time the NBA record—still stood at 367. Because Bridges’ blockbuster agreement with Phoenix for Durant’s permission was delayed, the league concluded that he shouldn’t be penalised for skipping a game for which he wasn’t eligible. As a result, Bridges missed the game. Bridges has never missed an NBA or collegiate game.