Irving, Nets Rally Past Knicks After Harden’s Exit


Final: 04/05/2021

W 114 112

The Nets again found themselves trailing by double digits — but they were resilient.

In a game they trailed by as many as 14 points, Brooklyn used a second-half surge to defeat the Knicks 114-112 at home on Monday. Kyrie Irving put on a show with 40 points as James Harden exited early with hamstring tightness.

The final minute got interesting for Brooklyn. After the Nets led by as many as five points with a minute remaining, the Knicks managed to tie things up after Irving passed it out of bounds and gave them another possession.

On Brooklyn’s next possession, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot managed to tip an offensive rebound to Jeff Green, who drew a foul and drained both free throws. Julius Randle missed one at the buzzer, and the win was solidified. 

It was clear at halftime that the Nets needed some help if they were going to win this one. Irving had 23 of his points at the break, but Joe Harris was the next closest one with seven. The Nets needed a spark.

Enter: The bench crew. With options limited as Blake Griffin, Tyler Johnson and Landry Shamet were all out, it was a group anchored by Alize Johnson and Chris Chiozza that broke the barrier. The duo played a large part in pushing the pace, breaking the Knicks’ defense and allowing Brooklyn to retake the lead.

The Nets got their bread buttered in the paint. Brooklyn was able to break through thanks to a 58-40 advantage in points in the paint, led in part by Green, who recorded his third straight game with at least 20 points.

Brooklyn was able to quicken the pace as they scored 16 points off 12 forced turnovers. The Knicks cooled down after a hot first half as the Nets outscored them 57-45 in the third and fourth quarters. RJ Barrett led the way for the Knicks with 22 points as Julius Randle dropped a triple-double of 19 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists. 

It has not been an easy recent stretch for Brooklyn with injuries mounting, but the team proved their depth in a gritty win and completed a sweep of their crosstown rival (at least in the regular season). The ease and dominance have largely been missing without Harden and Kevin Durant, but the team is proving its chemistry nonetheless and bounced back after a loss to the Bulls on Sunday

This roster always has a surprise up its sleeve, and these close wins add up in the long run. Steve Nash said Harden’s scan was clear and he passed his strength tests, but if Harden misses more time, the Nets will need some more grit against the Pelicans on Wednesday.

Kyrie Irving


The stats: 40 PTS, 15-28 FG, 5-12 3PT, 5-5 FT, 2 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO, 37 MIN

One word for Kyrie Irving: Spectacular. 

Irving showed off an expansive offensive display, which Brooklyn greatly needed without Harden. He got his three-point shot going and steadily poured in the points throughout the night. 

Kyrie showed no fear in the paint and even went up with a purpose with a two-handed dunk. Kyrie has fun every night, but he might have just a *bit* more fun against the Knicks. 

Jeff Green


The stats: 23 PTS, 6-15 FG, 2-7 3PT, 9-13 FT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 36 MIN

Jeff Green is on a roll.

Uncle Jeff was a man on a mission in the second half as he remained aggressive and helped give the Nets an edge in the paint. He missed a few three-pointers, but he made up for it with his 13 free throw attempts — including the two made free throws that clinched the win.

The Nets needed someone to step up, and Uncle Jeff came up big. In his third straight game with 20+ points and with Harden out, Green has been a life-saver for Brooklyn.

Joe Harris


The stats: 16 PTS, 7-11 FG, 2-3 3PT, 8 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 2 TO, 34 MIN

Joe Harris crashed the boards with authority against the Knicks.

Not only did he get his buckets, but Joe grabbed four (!) offensive rebounds and nearly tallied a double-double. He was also active on defense with two steals. 

Joe did not see a barrage of looks, but he contributed big-time during Brooklyn’s comeback in different ways. It was a gritty win and gritty performance from Joe as he fills whatever role is needed. 

Alize Johnson


The stats: 12 PTS, 6-10 FG, 0-1 3PT, 7 REB, 1 AST, 17 MIN

The Nets likely don’t win this one without the boost from Alize Johnson.

Alize has been instant offense every time he has checked in, and Monday was no different. He saw increased minutes with Johnson and Shamet out and helped lead Brooklyn’s comeback in the third quarter.

Beyond his offensive production, Alize nearly tallied a double-double in just 17 minutes played. The Nets may want to seriously consider giving Alize a contract — he’s answered the bell at every call.

Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot


The stats: 9 PTS, 2-7 FG, 1-4 3PT, 4-4 FT, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 32 MIN

TLC did… good things!

Timothe got plenty of run time without Johnson and Shamet and was productive off the bench. His shot was still a bit off, but he provided good defense as the Knicks were largely held back during the second half.

TLC also got his fingers on the offensive rebound that helped lead to game-winning free throws by Green. He gave great hustle, and that was enough for Brooklyn to grind its way to a win.