Nets Gameday: Brooklyn takes its ‘great vibes’ to Manhattan for clash with Knicks

Nets New York Knicks
New York Knicks guard Alec Burks passes the ball while defended by Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas and forward Bruce Brown during the third quarter at Barclays Center.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets are in the final few days before the NBA All-Star break and ending on a positive note would be an imperative step for them to turn their season around. They continue that push on Wednesday with a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge to face the New York Knicks (7:30 p.m.).

The Nets are coming off of a much-needed win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday when Seth Curry and Andre Drummond made their debuts for Brooklyn. The victory was the best the Nets have looked in sometime after not having won a game since Jan. 21 in San Antonio.

The win and departure of James Harden appeared to take a lot of the pressure off the players’ shoulders and Bruce Brown described a much more pleasant atmosphere around the team.

[READ: Ben Simmons fixed on Nets future with Sixers drama firmly in rearview]

“Yeah, the locker room it’s just a great vibe in there right now,” Brown said on Monday. “It’s just, I don’t know what it is. Everything just shifted after the trade deadline. Everybody likes everybody. So it’s just great.”

The Nets had one of their best defensive performances of the season in the win over the Kings, holding them to just 85 points and a 34.4 shooting percentage.

Curry and Drummond played a key role in the win as well in their first game in Nets uniforms. Curry had a team-high 23 points that helped lead Brooklyn’s offense, while LaMarcus Aldridge and Brown each put up 19 points.

The Nets will look to them for another strong performance when they tipoff against the Knicks on Wednesday night.

It is the Nets’ first trip across the East River to Madison Square Garden this season and their first time facing the Knicks on the road since Jan. 13, 2021. Brooklyn has won four straight games against New York, including their game against one another earlier this year on Nov. 30.

The Nets managed to squeak by with a win on that night off a pair of James Johnson free throws that broke a 110-110 tie with 2.2 seconds left in the game.

The Knicks enter the game trying to turn their fortunes around before it becomes too late for them for any hope at the postseason. New York is coming off a 127-123 overtime loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, which saw them fall for the second consecutive game after blowing a double-digit lead.

The Knicks have been gone 3-12 over their last 15 games and are two games back of the Atlanta Hawks for 10th in the east and the final play-in round spot. Julius Randle has been the Knicks’ best player of late, putting up 30 points on Monday and going six straight games with at least 20 points.

“We just have to find a way to be more conscious and aware of playing at a faster pace,” Randle said about the Knicks’ recent effort. “Especially off of misses and off of makes. We got to play, maybe not race it up, but we got to play at a faster tempo at the half-court.

“I’m never going to blame it on fatigue. I train myself every day to be prepared for those situations. I’m not going to blame it on legs.”

Nets Notables

The Kings’ 85 points marked the fewest points tallied by a Nets opponent this season, with Brooklyn improving to 9-0 this season when holding its opponent under 100 points. … Andre Drummond ranks first in the league in rebound % (.232), first in the league in defensive rebound % (.317) and second in offensive rebound % (.146), trailing only Steven Adams (.160). … The Nets have used a league-high 32 different starting fives, with 18 Nets drawing at least one start. Last season, Brooklyn used franchise-record 38 different starting lineups. A franchise-record 19 players drew at least one start.

Nets Injury Report

  •  Kevin Durant (left knee MCL sprain) — Out
  • Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) — Out
  • Kyrie Irving (ineligible to play) — Out
  • Ben Simmons (return to competition reconditioning) — Out

Kings Injury Report

  • RJ Barrett (left ankle sprain) — Out
  • Nerlens Noel (left foot soreness) — Out
  • Derrick Rose (right ankle surgery) — Out
  • Luka Samanic (G League — two-way) — Out

How To Watch

Michael Grady and Sarah Kustok will have the call of Wednesday’s game on YES Network locally.  Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Lisa Salters will be on ESPN’s national telecast.

Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw will be on WFAN 101.9 FM / 660 AM calling the action.