A good fight, but the superstar wins in the end. The Brooklyn Nets faced a tall task on Tuesday night against the red hot Milwaukee Bucks, and played well for a good portion of the game. However, they couldn’t complete the task and wound up losing by 14 points at home. The road doesn’t get any easier from here.
For the second straight night, the Nets will be facing one of the hottest teams in the NBA. The New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics on Monday night to push their current winning streak to six straight games. And with these Ws, the Knicks have vaulted back into fifth place of the conference standings and have a great chance of avoiding the play-in altogether. Impressive work.
Where to follow the game
Doubleheader coverage tonight. YES Network and MSG on TV. WFAN and ESPN 98.7 FM on radio. Tip after 7:30 PM.
No Ben Simmons. Yuta Watanabe was a late scratch last night with back soreness. No word on if he'll be available tonight. Edmund Sumner is out as he is with his wife as she gives birth to their child.
All clear for Thibs and friends.
The Nets took game one in December and game two in January while the Knicks took game three in February. This is the last regular season matchup between the two teams.
Last night, the Nets faced the second best rebounding team in the NBA and lost the rebounding battle by 17. Tonight, they face the third best. The Knicks have been outstanding on the glass and have two top 20 rebounders in the league this season. The Nets only have one reliable big man in Nic Claxton, and he’s doing all he can to handle frontcourt responsibilities. Clax had 9/7/4/3/3 in 30 minutes last night and was everywhere on defense. When he sat to get some rest, the Nets fell apart on defense. Brooklyn does not have a backup big man and the team has mentioned that they want to try and sneak Claxton some more rest here and there. That’s damn near impossible when the options on the team are as limited as they are right now.
Since the Durant trade, Jacque Vaughn has wanted the team to take a lot more three pointers than they did at the beginning of the season. There’s some logic to that as since they don’t have a superstar who can get their own shot whenever they want, you have to move the rock and hope you can bomb away from deep. I get it. However...
That can’t happen. With the score at 102-90 midway through the fourth quarter, the Nets took seven straight three point shots. They missed all seven and the little bit of opportunity they had to come back was gone. All the numbers say trade midrange jumpers for threes, but that was just bad basketball. No movement, the rhythm was gone, and just bad stuff all around.
The Nets will try to figure out how to stop Jalen Brunson tonight. They failed at that mission last time out as JB sliced and diced them to the tune of 40 points on 15-21 from the field and 6-9 from three point range. Brunson was able to make life hell on the Nets in part by forcing Joe Harris to guard him on switches. The Nets coaching staff will have to figure out a way
Battling Julius Randle will be the thing to do for Dorian Finney-Smith.
Player to watch: RJ Barrett
So I’m not quite sure what to think of Barrett. It’s his fourth year in the league and he’s had his fair share of great moments, but it feels like he hasn’t taken that next step. With Randle and Brunson playing at All Star levels, they may not need it. But still, he hasn’t put it all together yet. His shots at the rim have decreased again, his three point shot isn’t super consistent, and there have been moments when he’s been benched down the stretch of close games.
Mikal Bridges will look to keep on keeping on tonight. One great thing about Bridges is that he’s always on the move and makes himself available to his teammates by making timely cuts. He’s getting more and more comfortable being the focal point of the Nets attack and he’s been impressing everyone across the league in the process
That’s the good stuff. This is night two of a back-to-back for the Nets and they have another battle on Friday vs the Celtics, so normally this would be an occasion where a team would try to lessen their best player’s workload a bit. However, the Nets fell apart when Bridges sat so they’re gonna have to climb on his shoulders and hope he can pull them back into fifth place in the standings. With a raucous MSG crowd awaiting him, tonight would be a perfect chance for him to have another All Star caliber performance.
From the Vault
The NCAA Tournament is right around the corner, so this one’s for all the Villanova Wildcats in the house tonight
More reading: Posting and Toasting
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- New York Knicks Game Notes - New York Knicks
- Rising Knicks square off with sinking Nets - STATS
- Brooklyn takes on New York, aims to stop 3-game skid - AP
- Nets have no timeline on Ben Simmons’ return - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau won’t be pegged as just a defensive wizard - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Mitchell Robinson’s dominant return helping spur Knicks’ surge - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Revisiting Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving free agency, how it affected Knicks-Nets rivalry - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- It’s not just the Julius Randle & Jalen Brunson Show for the Knicks - Steve Popper - Newsday
- Nets fall to Bucks as newcomers continue to learn the system and each other - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic