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‘THIS IS OUR HOME!’ Kyrie gets redemption, leads Nets to 113-109 victory over Knicks

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New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Kyrie Irving had a chance to be the hero in Brooklyn’s season opener, but slipped and missed what would’ve been the game-winning shot. His 50 points were an incredible feat, but it seemed (somewhat) moot due to the loss.

Then, he got his redemption... against the Knicks.

With the Knicks leading by four with a minute left, Irving hit a 21-foot pull-up to bring the Nets within one. The Nets made a stop and down came Irving and his Nets with 36 seconds left. Irving let the lock wind a bit, crossed over R.J. Barrett and hit a step-back three-pointer to take a 111-109 lead with 22 seconds left.

Julius Randle turned the ball over and Spencer Dinwiddie sealed the deal at the line. Irving made sure Knicks fans knew where they were after the game, and what they missed out on this past off-season.

“I love this, man,” he told Michael Grady after the game. “This is our home. Our home.”

Irving finished with 26 points and five assists in 31 minutes. He shot the ball just 8-of-19 from the field, 2-of-8 from three, but caught fire and scored nine points in the fourth — five in the final minute.

So that’s 76 points in two games, an average of 38 points per game.

“That was a heck of a step-back he hit on the right side. It was some shot. Yeah, happy for him. I thought he played really well again, really well,” said Kenny Atkinson.

“It’s the same shot he hit to win the championship against Golden State,” The Knicks’ RJ Barrett said of Irving’s iconic game-winner for Cleveland in 2016. ”Man, it’s tough. I was right there. There’s nothing else you can do about that one.”

It was much more difficult than it needed to be, and Caris LeVert was benched for most of the fourth quarter. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but a win is a win.

Brooklyn led by as many as 19, but the Knicks came storming back in the fourth. Wayne Ellington nailed a three-pointer and Julius Randle converted an and-one to complete a 37-14 run since the Nets owned a 17-point lead with 2:15 left in the third quarter.

More than six minutes went by and the Nets had converted on just one basket. Ball movement was stagnant and isolation ball become heavy. They turned the ball over 26 times and scored just 19 points in the fourth.

“We allowed them to get to certain plays down the stretch and they played off their momentum and their physicality. The game was slowed down probably in the third and fourth quarter.... We just wanted to play through it and like I said, it’s just opportunities for us to get better from those empty possessions that we had,” said Irving.

And yet, they still escaped with a 113-109 victory, their first of the season.

“There are a lot of teaching moments for us to really take ourselves to the next level,” Irving said after the game. “As individuals, we’re good. As a team, we have to stay patient, build it step by step, 80 games left. 80!”

It may not have been pretty, but the Nets don’t appear to be the little brother at the moment.

Tempers flared, fans went back and forth. There were a few mini-scuffles in the game, including one where Taurean Prince took exception to Bobby Portis’ antics with Kyrie.

Down came the “Broookkklynn” chants as the Nets and Knicks were chippy all game.

And so, it may not have been a pretty night, but it was a good one for the Nets nonetheless. Dinwiddie scored 20 points off the bench, while Joe Harris chipped in 13. Caris LeVert was held to three points in the second half and scored just 12 on the night.

For the night, it’s a Nets city — and the player the Knicks missed out on, backed his worth with the game-winning shot.

HARRIS ON FIRE, ETC:

Joe Harris was 3-of-5 vs. the Knicks after going 4-of-6 vs. the Timberwolves. That’s 63.6 percent. In fact, with his hot start -- 7-of-11 in two games -- Harris has moved into the top 10 ALL-TIME in 3-point shooting. He is now ninth all-time, shooting 42.95 percent, having moved past both Steve Nash (42.78 percent) and Kyrie Irving (42.91 percent) with his hot shooting.

The Nets two bigs played 48 minutes between them, and combined for 21 rebounds and 11 points but no blocks. And after a few failed attempts, Spencer Dinwiddie hit DeAndre Jordan with two beautiful alley-oops. Rodions Kurucs had a much better game than he did versus Minnesota with nine points and four rebounds, hitting both his three’s.

For a second straight game, Dzanan Musa wound up with a DNP/CD.

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DINWIDDIE AUDIO:

NETS GIVE AWAY 10,000 KYRIE JERSEYS

The Nets gave away 10,000 Kyrie Irving jerseys — a tactic to get Nets fans in the building, and the ultimate troll job against the Knicks. Hey, it’s better than reversible jerseys with opposing teams on the back, right?

Anyway. cool gesture for Nets fans. Even better troll job against the Knicks and its fans.

And if you missed out, you can head out to Nassau Coliseum next month...

And while the Nets brass denied any connection between the Nets giveaway and all the failed Knick free agent hype last summer, Jarrett Allen didn’t step back.

“Getting the free T-shirts the Kyrie jerseys, that really helped a lot, too. Just having everything, almost throw it in the Knicks’ face,” Allen said with a laugh. “But I think it did add a little weight on their side, plus we got the win, too, so I think they’re going to be hungry next time.”

G LEAGUE DRAFT SATURDAY

The Long Island Nets will go into Saturday’s G League Draft with the 27th and next-to-last pick, a function of Long Island’s trip to the Finals last season. Our Chris Milholen will cover. Chris hears the Nets may try to move up.

KNICKS BEING TREATED LIKE YOUNGER BROTHER?

A few weeks back, Kevin Durant spoke on Hot 97 and said the Knicks aren’t the “cool” team anymore.

“Some look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players who, in their lifetime, don’t remember the Knicks being good. I didn’t grow up with the Knicks. I’ve seen the Knicks in the Finals, but kids coming up after me didn’t see that. So that whole brand of the Knicks to them is not as cool as, let’s say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now.”

”It’s like the cool thing right now is not the Knicks.”

Marcus Morris wasn’t happy about it when it happened.

“That’s just me personally. Me reading what KD said, or listening to what he said about the cool thing,” Morris said on Friday before the Knicks loss to the lowly Wizards at MSG. “I just never was a real fan of that. Being cool and being in the NBA. Me personally, I get what he was saying. I actually have a good relationship with KD. But the cool part about playing somewhere. Playing in all cities - playing in Utah. Is it cool to play in Utah? It’s cool to play in other places. It’s cool. I just never was a fan of the cool thing. Making a decision off of what’s cool.”

Oh well.

WELL...

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Next up: Nets at Grizzlies, 6:00 PM on Sunday.