0.9 seconds away. On Saturday night, the Brooklyn Nets trailed the Philadelphia 76ers by three with a chance to get the game into overtime. Spencer Dinwiddie threw up a prayer from deep that was answered, but it came a bit too late and the Nets suffered a tough loss to their division rivals.
We don’t have to travel far for this one. The New York Knicks are back in playoff contention after a crappy 2021-2022 season. They helped the cause with a solid win over the Utah Jazz at home on Saturday night. The Knicks are knocking on the door of the sixth seed, and an extended run of great play will ensure they make it back to the postseason.
Where to follow the game
Doubleheaders on both sides. YES Network and MSG on TV. WFAN and ESPN 98.7 FM on radio. Tip after 7:30.
No Seth Curry.
No Mitchell Robinson.
It feels like the good ole days seeing so many Big East players in the house at MSG...
Both teams are looking different these days. The Knicks acquired Josh Hart from the Portland Trailblazers for Cam Reddish. Reddish was buried in Tom Thibodeau’s rotation, so getting a good player like Hart for him is a win. Over at Posting and Toasting, Kento Kato described Hart as such:
The former Villanova Wildcat is as Thibodeau as one can get. First off, he’s a high-energy competitor who defends. Hart is a versatile wing who can guard multiple positions and does so at a high level. And he does it without the elite athleticism that some of the great defenders in the league possess. Instead, Hart uses his 6’9” wingspan along with an incredibly high motor and high IQ to fuel his defense.
There are still questions as to how he will be best utilized, but you can figure that out as time goes on and we draw closer to the playoffs.
Another former Wildcat made his debut in New York over the weekend. Mikal Bridges made his Nets debut and was absolutely outstanding, scoring 23 points, going 3-of=5 from 3-point range, grabbing six rebounds, and collecting two steals in 34 minutes. Bridges got the James Harden assignment and made things difficult for the future Hall of Famer. The big question the Nets will have to figure out is who will the offense run through late now that Kevin Durant is elsewhere. Bridges has taken on more shot creation responsibilities this season with the Phoenix Suns, so it’s going to be interesting to see how that will work here on the Nets.
The threes will be flying tonight. The Knicks are seventh in the NBA in threes attempted per game this season, and the Nets have made it a point to take more threes now. The Knicks are 24th in efficiency while the Nets are second. Joe Harris in particular has heated up from three, going 12-of=18 from downtown over the past two games. He’s also shooting 55.6% from deep in February. He and Cam Johnson will make a great 3-point shooting team even more dangerous.
The Nets will try to speed the pace up, but the Knicks won’t make it easy. The Knicks rarely turn it over and allow the fourth fewest opponent’s points off of turnovers. When the Nets get those few opportunities, they’ll have to cash in.
The Nets have a ton of rangy, athletic defenders, and Jacque Vaughn will throw all of them at Julius Randle. Royce O’Neale got the Randle assignment last time and help him to only 7-16 from the field. Dorian Finney-Smith will likely get the initial assignment in trying to slow the All Star forward down. Nic Claxton and Ben Simmons will be there to provide extra help and another set of arms to make life difficult on Randle.
Player to watch: Jalen Brunson
Brunson has been the sparkplug to the Knicks’ turnaround. In all honesty, he should be heading to Utah for this year’s All Star Game. He’s fully embraced the increased responsibilities on his shoulders to the tune of career highs in points (23.6) and assists (6.2) a game on .479/.407/.846 shooting splits. Brunson is hell on wheels and is fourth in the league in drives to the basket per game at 20. For the Nets, they hope that their cast of rangy defenders can do enough to keep him from the defense and into heavily contested jumperes.
Hey man, we keep trying to tell the league that the last two minute report is completely useless and only manages to piss people off more. The latest instance comes courtesy of Spencer Dinwiddie
The NBA's Last Two Minute Report states that this drive from Spencer Dinwiddie should have been ruled as a blocking foul on James Harden. Nets would've had the opportunity to go up three at the free throw line. pic.twitter.com/d7SfU1RwbT— Alec Sturm (@Alec_Sturm) February 12, 2023
Spencer took it philosophically...
Nets fans get used to it. We gonna keep fighting for y’all tho. https://t.co/lVikU8g05i— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) February 12, 2023
Such is life. Dinwiddie is never one to lack for confidence, so look for him to bounce back in a major way. In his two games, he’s done a good job of keeping the offense organized when he’s on the court. We mentioned earlier who’s going to be the focal point of the Nets offense late. From past experience, Din has been successful at it. Maybe the second run will be just as good as the first.
From the Vault
This was a good time
We got some sad news yesterday as Trugoy the Dove from De La Soul passed away at the age of 54. Do yourself a favor and give Stakes is High a spin
And tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so kick back, relax, and let Sade take you home
More reading: Posting and Toasting
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- New York Knicks Game Notes - New York Knicks
- Knicks seeking first win vs. Nets since 2020 - STATS
- Randle, Knicks to host Dinwiddie and the Nets - AP
- Mikal Bridges already being embraced by Nets fans, making strong impression - Dan Martin - New York Post
- Why Cam Thomas was taken out of Nets’ starting lineup - Dan Martin - New York Post
- 76ers’ Doc Rivers confident Nets’ Ben Simmons can regain old form - Dan Martin - New York Post
- Knicks’ Jalen Brunson dominates again after All-Star snub - Mark W. Sanchez - New York Post
- Josh Hart’s addition to Knicks lineup comes at expense of youngsters - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Mikal Bridges, new-look Nets making the switch to defense - Denis P. Gorman - Newsday
- Josh Hart’s competitive nature a great fit for Knicks - Steve Popper - Newsday
- Laugh at the Nets if you like, but unlike the Knicks they gave their fans a chance at a title - Mike Lupica - New York Daily News
- Josh Hart’s gritty Knicks debut garners standing ovation from MSG crowd - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Nets Injury Tracker: Seth Curry not ready to return - Danny Abriano - SNY