The Brooklyn Nets will renew one of many league’s extra up-and-coming rivalries once more on Monday evening in a tussle with the crosstown New York Knicks, who’re enjoying some glorious basketball for the primary time in years.
Not solely are the Knicks constructing round a younger core of Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and Immanuel Quickley, however Tom Thibodeau has helped them grow to be the league’s finest protection by way of factors allowed per sport this season.
Though the Nets have gained 12 of their final 13 video games, the upset potential on this sport may be very actual. The Knicks have confirmed that they’ll take down among the finest groups within the league by grinding them down with stellar defensive play.
Whereas a daily season sport in opposition to a fringe playoff group won’t inform us an entire lot, this contest may reveal simply how good these Nets could be with out Kevin Durant bailing them out.
The Brooklyn Nets will likely be in for a dogfight in opposition to the Knicks.
KD will possible be out one other week attributable to his hamstring damage, which means the dynamic duo of Kyrie Irving and James Harden will likely be at it once more. Each stars are averaging over 24 factors per sport, with Harden’s triple-double tempo truly exceeding what Jason Kidd was capable of do in New Jersey.
The Knicks’ protection is buoyed by great particular person position gamers like rim protector Nerlens Noel in addition to Thibodeau’s emphasis on elementary basketball. Additionally they boast probably the greatest perimeter defenses within the NBA. Brooklyn is aware of that with or with out Durant, they won’t see a protection like this all yr within the East.
The Nets will possible select to remain out of the paint on Monday as a result of DeAndre Jordan and Nic Claxton may even have some issue in opposition to Noel. That is will likely be a real take a look at of ability for Irving and Harden. The Knicks understand how they’re going to assault them. If they’ll nonetheless succeed with out Durant within the lineup, that’s no small feat.
Whereas the nonstop, borderline nauseating “Who owns New York?” debate will circle over this sport, the matchup on the court docket is without doubt one of the finest stylistic showdowns of the yr. The league’s finest offense and finest protection will lock horns with each groups getting arguably the hardest take a look at for his or her greatest energy all yr.