When the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks clashed the first time in the second game of the season at Barclays Center, Caris LeVert and the Nets had the last laugh, as LeVert scored on a tough lay up over Tim Hardaway Jr, and the Knicks missed a desperation three that would have earned them the victory.
The Knicks avenged the loss in the first week of the season by going up by as many as 25 against the Nets at Madison Square Garden last night, cruising to a 115-96 victory on Monday night. Both teams are now 2-5 as of this issue going to print. (Unrelated, but the LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are also 2-5.)
Knicks head coach David Fizdale talked about the team earning their second win of the season.
“(The team) took it to heart, how hard you have to compete to get a win,” Fizdale said. “You can’t take a nap during the pockets of the game in this league.”
After the Knicks lost four of their first five games, they revamped the starting lineup. Rookie Mitchell Robinson, Noah Vonleh, and Damyean Dotson were inserted into the starting lineup, while Enes Kanter, Lance Thomas, and Trey Burke have now joined the second unit off the bench. Kevin Knox will surely join the starting lineup when he returns from injury (replacing either Dotson or Vonleh) and the Knicks will have an even more youthful starting lineup.
In the other locker room, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson ripped into his team.
“We can look for excuses (like) tough games, but this is game five, this is not game 74,” Atkinson exclaimed. “We should have been more ready.”
Both the Knicks and the Nets are in similar situations with young teams looking to improve on the court, but not necessary in the win column. Former Michigan Wolverines teammates Hardaway Jr and LeVert are emerging as stars in the city, and both could be NBA stars of the future.
Both the Knicks and Nets hosted the back-to-back NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Both teams stayed close to the Warriors, but the team loaded with all stars pulled away late in both games.
I don’t know what it was like to see The Beatles or Michael Jackson at their peak of popularity, but I would imagine it’s similar to the Warriors coming into town. The number of fans, particularly young fans of two-time MVP Stephen Curry has no NBA comparison.
Over a dozen boys and girls from the Digicel NBA Jumpstart Program traveled from the Caribbean to Barclays Center on Sunday to see the Nets battle the Warriors. The young ballers, who had a four-day stay in New York City, were able to meet NBA champion Klay Thompson, among others.