Are we watching the Battle of the Boroughs slowly come to life?
After the Nets were blown out by the Knicks 107-86 on Oct. 27, Brooklyn used tonight’s rematch to create some competition and energy between the two teams. After a second-half effort, though, the Brooklyn Nets fell to the New York Knicks 111-104 and drop to 0-2 on the season series.
In the first half, the Nets let the Knicks get their shots easily. Brooklyn gave up two quarters of 30+ points as Kristaps Porzingis led the way with 13 points.
In the second quarter, the Knicks led the Nets by as many as 18 points. The Nets continued their three-pointer woes, shooting just 5-20 from distance in the first half.
To build on that, the Knicks went on three separate 8-0 runs in the first half as their offense rolled over Brooklyn’s defense.
Once the second half hit, the Nets were a different team.
Out of the gate, the Nets put up 25 points in the first seven minutes of play to take a two-point lead. After a dismal showing from three in the first half, the Nets shot 4-5 from distance in that 25-10 run.
The Nets extended their lead to four, but the Knicks got back into it, along with the crowd. It was a back-and-forth affair, and with a fair share of both teams’ fans in the crowd, the atmosphere had fans on the edges of their seats.
Brooklyn finished the third quarter down 87-82 after outscoring New York 32-24. Porzingis sat the third quarter, and the rest of the game, out with left knee soreness. He finished with his 13 points, but Michael Beasley stepped up off the bench to make up for his production, finishing with 15 points.
Once the fourth quarter hit, the Nets could not buy a three-pointer. They missed 10 in a row at one point, yet they stayed even with the Knick’s fourth-quarter production.
With the Nets down six with under two minutes ago, they had three straight chances to score on the same possession. Caris LeVert missed a three, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson couldn’t get it to go under the rim and LeVert couldn’t bank it either.
After that rough opportunity and a Lance Thomas three, the Knicks’ victory was all-but-secured.
The Nets were out-scored in bench production (45-27) and finished with 12-42 shooting from three-point land. Ouch. Shooting from distance continues to be an issue, and Allen Crabbe is not helping it.
And still, Nets fans await the debut of Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas.
New York’s record improves to 15-13, while Brooklyn’s drops to 11-16. Both teams have had surprising seasons, but New York now holds the edge on their neighbors, 2-0.
Both Hollis-Jefferson (25 points) and Spencer Dinwiddie (26 points) recorded career-highs on the night. They’re the first Nets teammates this season to tally 25+ points each in the same game.
The Nets could not execute late, but fans could (at times) feel the rivalry tonight. When competitiveness is there, even without Porzingis, fans have the chance to get into the matchup.
When’s the next contest? Jan. 15, back in Brooklyn. With some healthy bodies for both sides, the game might get even better.
For now, all the Nets have to hold on to is 0-2.
The stats: 25 PTS, 10-16 FG, 0-1 3FG, 5-7 FT, 7 REB, 3 AST, 4 TOV, 4 STL, 2 BLK, 37 MIN
The career-high man.
The hustle and tenacity from RHJ was Brooklyn’s X-factor for staying in the game in the first half and making big plays in the second half. He never gave up on the ball, was super efficient from the field and even forced four steals.
Highlights? He had those too.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) December 15, 2017
He didn’t get to see his matchup through with Porzingis, but RHJ is all effort, all the time, and his offense keeps getting better.
The stats: 26 PTS, 9-17 FG, 4-11 3FG, 4-5 FT, 7 REB, 7 AST, 2 TOV, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 35 MIN
Along with RHJ, The Mayor had a career night on offense. He put up 26 points and had his 14th straight game of 6+ assists, the longest streak in the league.
He was even in triple-double territory. No matter what Dinwiddie does, he can’t do everything on his own. He had Rondae’s help tonight, but all other help came in bunches.
With another game coming tomorrow night, Dinwiddie will have to get over any fatigue and get his team to a quicker start.
The stats: 13 PTS, 5-10 FG, 3-5 3FG, 3 REB, 3 AST, 3 TOV, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 32 MIN
Carroll came up big during Brooklyn’s third-quarter scoring burst, draining his shots from distance and remaining aggressive on the court. He was the most consistent from three tonight, with no other player’s percentage coming close.
With Quincy Acy struggling, Carroll putting in good minutes is crucial for Brooklyn as Acy finds his stride again and Okafor’s debut has yet to come.