April 23, 2018

Brooklyn Nets Fall to New York Knicks 111-104

Caris LeVert scrambling on floor to grab ball from Enes Kanter (NY Knicks forward) to keep ball in play. Caris LeVert scrambling on floor to grab ball from Enes Kanter (NY Knicks forward) to keep ball in play. Photo Credit: AP

Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson score career-highs, Caris LeVert leads Nets 2nd Unit, but team could not capitalize on Porzingas absence

For this reporter, being at the Barclays Center last night watching the Brooklyn Nets get routed by the New York Knicks was a bit surreal. It wasn’t that the Knicks defeated the Nets 111-104, but the atmosphere didn’t feel like a Nets home game. The home crowd was overrun by Knicks fans. The Nets entertainment team was hard-pressed to get a response from Nets fans to engage in its usual t-shirt toss and other activities. Who turns down a free t-shirt? Even if the Nets isn’t your team, it’s the holidays, give it away to a Nets fan. Next, as I was checking in on Facebook, every business came up as if I was at Madison Square Garden. Seriously, Facebook; I’m in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.

Now back to the Nets game against the Knicks. Although the Nets seemed to be off-kilter, there were flashes of brilliance. Both Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson put in strong performances for the Nets scoring career-highs of 26 and 25 points, and seven rebounds respectively.

“I was just fortunate to hit shots,” Dinwiddie said about his performance against the Knicks on Thursday. “Last game, I couldn’t hit the side of a barn so today they went in and looked like a better game. That’s really it.”

Other Nets scoring leaders were Caris LeVert, who added 15 points, 5 rebounds, and five assists; and DeMarre Carroll chipped in 13 points. Tyler Zeller didn’t cross the double-digit line in points for the Nets, but he led the Nets in rebounds with eight.

The Nets’ bench is rated second in the NBA, but last night, the second unit just couldn’t find its rhythm, only mustering up 27 points. Meanwhile, the Knicks bench put up 45 points.

“I thought their second unit came in and just really took the game over,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media in his postgame presser. “Similar to the first game [against the Knicks], they turned up their pressure, their physicality really. I thought they were the much more physical team.”

Yes, the Knicks were very physical and proud of it.

Even the Nets three-point shooting was off as a result of the Knicks physicality. Brooklyn hit 12 of its 42 three-point shots partly because the Knicks’ physicality forced the Nets to take bad shots. Joe Harris, the Nets G/F, is a three-point specialist and Harris shot 1 for 7. Allen Crabbe, who has had a rough go of it lately, shot just 1 for 8, including 1 for 7 from behind the arc.

New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingas, who proved nearly unguardable, left the game in the second quarter with an injured knee and the Nets could not take advantage of his absence for a “W” mainly because of the Knicks’ physical play.

For the Knicks, Courtney Lee led all scorers with 27 points. Michael Beasley scored 15 points; both Porzingas and Enes Kanter had 13 points with Kanter putting up nine rebounds, and Kyle O’Quinn was the leading rebounder for the Knicks with 10 rebounds.

Up next, the Knicks will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night, which will be Carmelo Anthony’s first visit to Madison Square Garden since leaving the team this season.

The Nets will visit the Toronto Raptors today and it will mark DeMarre Carroll’s first return to Toronto since leaving the Raptors. The Nets’ next home game is Sunday, December 17, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. against the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center.

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