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Nets dominate Knicks for third preseason win, 117-83

NBA: Preseason-New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Nets improved to 3-0 in the preseason with a dominating 117-83 victory over the New York Knicks Sunday night at Barclays Center. (We understand it’s preseason and do not want to get excited. However, any signs of hope are welcome in Brooklyn.)

Bottom line: They’ve been winning in the preseason because they want it more than the other team.

Preseason Game 3:

It was a good start for Brooklyn... again. They moved the ball around, and again, wore out the Knicks out with the fast-paced, three-point heavy offense. They looked like a team playing with a group of system-fits.

They hit seven threes in the first half and shot 14-of-33 on the night. They’re now shooting 42 percent from deep in preseason. They also scored 35 points off 25 turnovers – another sign of stellar, team defense from this unit. They didn’t allow more than 24 points in a quarter.

“I thought our defense was solid. I thought we were active. I think we turned them over a lot in the first half. That really started the ball rolling. Great activity, a lot of deflections, steals, high energy defensively, making some shots,” Kenny Atkinson said after the game.

“I feel like we’re playing the right way. We played a great defensive game, had a ton of assists and we moved the ball,” added Jeremy Lin, who had seven points and a team-high seven assists. “I felt like if we could draw it up that’s the way it would be: Gritty defense leading to unselfish offense.”

Allen Crabbe who missed the first two preseason games with a sprained ankle, helped set the tone from the beginning.

Crabbe didn’t start, but made an impact once he entered. He hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points (3-of-4) in the first six minutes of action. He exemplified what the Nets are trying to do with this offense: move the ball, find the open man, and take a ton of three-pointers. Crabbe finished with 14 points in 11 minutes.

“It’s a different feel here, when coach [Kenny Atkinson] is telling you to do more, to shoot more,” said Crabbe postgame. “It’s like the ultimate green light, so I’m out there just playing basketball freely, not thinking about anything, just letting the game come to me.”

He was one of six Nets in double figures. They asserted themselves and put up a 18-point lead at half. All 12 Nets that logged minutes in the first half scored at least one point.

It goes back to what Atkinson said last game.

“I think that speaks to when you have depth and balance,” Atkinson said after Thursday’s game. “I think that’s how we’re going to have to do it. It’s going to be a balanced effort.”

One of the most interesting things to watch is D’Angelo Russell’s activity in the passing lanes.

“I think everybody was just trying to take pride into it - trying to play team defense and then, at the end of the day, still guard your man individually,” said DLo.

The Nets’ balanced attack put them up by as much as 28 early in the fourth quarter. The biggest lead of the night was 38 late in the game.

It could’ve been because the Nets played the starters a lot. It could also be because they have depth this year. Maybe even, well, they’re playing harder than the other team. That last one sounds familiar.

Unlike the past couple of games, Atkinson rolled with the starters early in the fourth while Isaiah Whitehead and Sean Kilpatrick did not log any minutes. Jeremy Senglin, the undrafted rookie who led the NCAA in threes last season, did get minutes at the end, hitting two threes and setting up Jarrett Allen for a spectacular dunk. Akil Mitchell, who like Senglin is likely to wind up in Long Island, saw a few minutes as well.

D’Angelo Russell led the team with 16 points and seven assists. DeMarre Carroll had another solid game with 12 points, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who has played well of late, scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds. Lin dished out seven assists, but shot just 3-of-12 from the field.

All told, the bench provided 64 points, led by Crabbe, Caris LeVert (12 points), and Trevor Booker (10 points).

The Nets are quietly becoming a team to respect.

*History comes together...*

Next up: Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum vs. Philly.

Nets will play at the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum, owned by Mikhail Prokhorov’s Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. They Nets won their ABA championships the Coliseum in 1974 and 1976.