The Nets were able to overcome subpar 2nd and 3rd quarters to defeat the crosstown rival Knicks in the home opener. On a night where the Nets had an unprecedented negative nineteen (!) turnover differential (22 to 3), Caris LeVert’s heroics willed the team to victory. Coming into the game, rebounding was main focus for the Nets and they did well in that department, outrebounding the Knicks 55-36. Enes Kanter still dominated with 29 points and 10 rebounds, but the Nets did a good job to limit the other Knicks on the glass.
D’ANGELO RUSSELL (15 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds – 5/12 in 34 minutes)
D’Angelo Russell was once again quiet early in the game. As he has said, he’s letting the game come to him, focused on limiting turnovers and making the right plays. He played playmaker for much of the night, but in the fourth quarter, the ‘DLo’ Nets fans have come to know began to emerge. Russell poured in nine fourth quarter points as ‘Brooklyn’s Backcourt’ pushed the Nets through the finish line. A step in the right direction for Russell; still waiting for that offensive explosion.
CARIS LEVERT (28 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds – 8/13 in 32 minutes)
What more can we say about Caris LeVert; he has been ridiculously impressive. Highly efficient and highly effective. With the game in the balance, LeVert carried the team to victory, scoring FIFTEEN fourth quarter points. He looks like THE man and a player embracing that leadership role. Through two games, he’s the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
SPENCER DINWIDDIE (10 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds – 4/12 in 31 minutes)
Not Spencer Dinwiddie’s best game. Although effective at times, Dinwiddie had quite a few uncharacteristically bad turnovers (4 total on the night). Despite the turnovers, Dinwiddie played a well balanced game where most of his success came off the ball. With a talented guard trio of LeVert, Russell, and Dinwiddie, usually one guy will have to take a backseat each night; tonight it seemed to be Dinwiddie.
JARRETT ALLEN (15 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks – 6/8 in 34 minutes)
Much like his season opening performance in Detroit, Jarrett Allen once again flashed his shot blocking prowess (four blocks) and efficient offensive repertoire against the Knicks. Although statistically outplayed by his Knick counterpart, Enes Kanter, Allen helped lead the Nets in out-rebounding the Knicks overall, a point of emphasis for the matchup. Allen still lacks the bulk to bang with the big body centers around the league, but there’s no doubt Allen, too, took a leap this offseason. His rim-running and shot blocking ability is pivotal to what the Nets want to do.
JOE HARRIS (11 points, 1 assists, 4 rebounds – 4/6 in 23 minutes)
Marred by foul trouble for much of the night, Harris’ production was capped by his minutes. However, Harris still managed to be effective with the opportunities he had, shooting an efficient 4/6 and an impressive 3/4 from three-point territory. Tasked with guarding Knicks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. for most of the night, Harris struggled defensively, allowing 29 points in his matchup. In the end, it was a typical, reliable Joe Harris performance. With Allen Crabbe back, expect Harris’ minutes to now hover in the 23-28 minute per game range.
RODIONS KURUCS (11 points, 5 rebounds – 3/8 in 17 minutes)
With Joe Harris in foul trouble and Treveon Graham leaving the game early with injury, Rodions Kurucs stepped up huge for Brooklyn. Kurucs provided a jolt of energy for the Nets the second he stepped into the game. His defensive activity was contagious and offensively, he knew his role. Kurucs continued his strong play and once again looked like a second round steal for Sean Marks and the Nets.