Shorthanded Nets Take Down Knicks Amid Eventful Day

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Final: 01/13/2021

W 116 109

The Nets spent their Wednesday by picking up an All-Star and a W. 

Hours after agreeing to trade for James Harden, Brooklyn rode a nine-man rotation on the way to a 116-109 victory over the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The Nets largely won comfortably, holding a double-digit lead for the majority of the game. 

Brooklyn first broke the game open with a 35-point second quarter and pushed the pace all night against the Knicks. The Nets held the 53-49 advantage on the boards and turned over the ball six times — including just one giveaway in the first half. The team had great chemistry, registering 29 assists on 44 field goals and having seven players notch double-digit contributions. 

The Nets were without the majority of their rotation after Wednesday’s multi-team trade that sent Caris LeVert to the Pacers, Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to the Cavaliers and Rodions Kurucs to the Rockets. Kyrie Irving also missed his fifth straight game due to personal reasons.

Oh, and did we mention they traded four first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps?

Though undermanned, the Nets looked spirited against the Knicks. Brooklyn continued its hot shooting from Tuesday night with a confident 48.4% from the field and 16-of-40 from three. 

Outside a late run by N.Y. that cut the lead to five, the Nets were able to contain a Knicks team that has struggled on the offensive end. Brooklyn led by as many as 19 points while limiting points off turnovers and second-chance opportunities, both of which have been recent struggles

Julius Randle led the Knicks with 30 of the team’s points, while RJ Barrett heated up with 20 of his own. 

Kevin Durant impressed in his first back-to-back showing for Brooklyn this season, putting up 12 of his 26 points in the third quarter. The bench also provided an important boost as Durant took his rest, totaling 40 points.

Reggie Perry brought good production off the bench with 11 points and five rebounds, while Bruce Brown led the Nets on the glass with 14 boards to go along with 15 points.

The Nets have some difficult goodbyes to make, particularly to LeVert and Allen, who grew through Brooklyn’s system and became key rotation players. Wednesday night was the Nets’ first step of a new era, and they will take another leap once Harden is able to join the lineup.

On a day of mixed emotions, Brooklyn was able to keep its composure and put together a win — and a confident one at that. It is the first step of what the Nets hope is a long period of contention.

Kevin Durant

A+

The stats: 26 PTS, 10-18 FG, 3-5 3PT, 3-4 FT, 3 REB, 6 AST, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 30 MIN

Eight straight games with 25+ points for KD. The numbers speak for themselves (and this awesome play).

Durant looked great in his first back-to-back appearance post-injury. He pushed the pace, connected with his teammates and took care of the ball, registering just one turnover after notching seven on Tuesday.

Durant’s best quarter came in the third, where he flexed his offensive muscle and notched 12 of his points. KD continues to be fun to watch and can be even more so in the future alongside Harden.

Bruce Brown

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The stats: 15 PTS, 6-13 FG, 0-2 3PT, 3-4 FT, 14 REB, 2 AST, 2 TO, 30 MIN

As Ian Eagle said on YES, Bruce Brown is oozing with confidence.

One day after an all-around performance against the Nuggets, Brown stepped up in LeVert and Allen’s absences and again pitched in with a little bit of everything. Brown was especially impressive with his floaters and on the boards, tallying six (!) offensive rebounds and recording a double-double in just 16 minutes of play.

Brown continues to supply the energy and hustle, and Brooklyn needs every bit of it — especially in an undermanned lineup.

Joe Harris

A-

The stats: 15 PTS, 6-13 FG, 3-8 3PT, 2 REB, 3 AST, 26 MIN

Joe Harris was not red-hot from three, but Mr. Reliable delivered just what is expected from him each night.

Joe was having fun in the fast-paced contest, cutting to the basket and driving to the rim. Joe’s scoring opportunities may be reduced once Harden arrives, but he will be able to space out the floor — and he continues to show how he can make opponents pay in a variety of ways. 

Landry Shamet

B+

The stats: 13 PTS, 3-9 FG, 3-7 3PT, 4-5 FT, 1 REB, 5 AST, 1 TO, 23 MIN

A Landry Shamet breakout game? Sure, why not!

After struggling to find his groove throughout the beginning of the season, Shamet got his shot to fall in his opportunity on Wednesday and even added five assists. His performance was a great boost for the Nets’ bench, especially without LeVert. 

DeAndre Jordan

B+

The stats: 9 PTS, 4-4 FG, 1-1 FT, 12 REB, 2 AST, 2 BLK, 29 MIN

It was great to see DeAndre Jordan show some energy against the Knicks.

After struggling to get involved in the early part of the season, DeAndre was active in his starting role. Jordan helped protect the paint with two blocks and added three offensive boards, an area the Nets have needed help in.

A lot will be expected from DeAndre as he likely will reenter the starting lineup with Jarrett out of the picture. It was great to see their relationship develop over the past two seasons, but it is Jordan’s time to show he can be an impact center on a championship-caliber team this year.

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