The Knicks-Nets will be a real rivalry with more games like this
Here is a game worthy of the city, worthy of New York, worthy of the boroughs that have contributed so much to the City Game over the decades. It was, in its own way, all the grieving minions of basketball jones ever really dreamed of: Knicks vs. Nets, Manhattan vs. Brooklyn, played at a mind-blowing level.
It was all that. There is something too bad that such a night, such a game, was decided by free kicks (although from there it looked like a legitimate call to Mitch Robinson), but it was part of a wonderful tale that James Johnson – who earlier had hit a killer 3 for the Nets – drained both free throws with 2.2 seconds left.
It ended 112-110. He’ll have legs, that game. We’ve wanted the Knicks-Nets to count for so long, and that’s only been provided to us occasionally. This time he provided.
“I thought the atmosphere was great, it was like a barn burner,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “It was like a big college or a big high school game.”
Back and forth, the teams clashed, throwing hay, punches and punches, with the Nets taking control with a 14-0 run to start the third quarter that pushed them to a 16-point lead, the Nets Knicks finished the quarter with a 14-2 push, with both teams back and forth throughout a scintillating fourth quarter.
When the Knicks continued their runs – when Evan Fournier hit a late 3 that tied the game at 110 in particular – it looked like Barclays Center had become an annex to Madison Square Garden. In the end, it was the Nets fans who came away happier.
“We know it’s going to be a pro-Knicks crowd,” Nash said. “The Knicks have been around for 75 years.
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On the other side of the arena, Tom Thibodeau wasn’t in the mood to throw adverbs and adjectives at a great basketball show. He was too busy looking at the stats sheet, 21 fouls whistled against his Knicks (14 for the Nets), 25 free throws taken by the Nets (12 for the Knicks). There were also two missed Kevin Durant dunks that looked like they had been bailed out by a whistle.
“Something’s wrong,” Thibodeau hissed.
“I’m looking at what’s going both ways, it’s a good team and they played well. But Jules [Randle] was also driving the ball strong enough, ”he simmered.
“I’m pissed off,” he spat, and walked out of the interview room, and that will probably lighten his wallet on Wednesday morning. But even that’s part of it, isn’t it? In a backyard basketball brawl, the home gym almost always receives the friendly whistle.
“It’s on the road,” said Randle, who shot a late technical foul, likely the result of two free kicks all night long despite constantly carrying it to the basket. “It will happen.”
“It doesn’t matter who is on this team or who is on this team,” said James Harden. “The energy will always be there. There will always be fans for their respective teams. “
Harden had unwittingly added some kerosene to the proceedings on Tuesday night through no fault of his own. Prior to the game, Knicks’ nemesis Reggie Miller – calling the playing field for TNT – gave Harden what Miller described as a “pep talk” after reading Harden’s comments after a loss to the Suns that he was not quite comfortable.
“What do you mean by you don’t know when to score and when to pass?” Miller said. “You never had this problem in Houston. You are James Harden!
Harden scored 27 in the first half. He finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists. He understood that quite early on.
(Sixteen years after taking his last jump, Reggie still knows how to slip a rock into the Knicks’ shoes, damn journalism ethics!)
If this was a game that had to satisfy both fan bases – beating the Knicks is always a boon for the Nets, and staying in stride with the Nets on a lineup night was a step. forward certain for the Knicks – it left the participants feeling less that way.
The Knicks growled all the way back to Manhattan about the whistles, and while Randle did his best to bite his tongue and concentrate on the game, he said, “You all saw what went wrong. has passed. Everyone saw what was going on. [The refs] clearly don’t understand the game, ”adding that he was told Tuesday night that sometimes his strength is against him.
The nets? They just played well enough, which Nash freely admitted: “On the one hand, I felt it was closer than needed. On the other, we found a way and we got one.
New York has one too. Next chapter: February 16, in the Garden. Two and a half months ? Can’t we have another one tomorrow?