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Brooklyn Nets earn first Summer League win over New York Knicks, 98-80

2023 NBA Las Vegas Summer League - New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Brooklyn vs Manhattan — in Las Vegas? Why the hell not? I mean, “New York, New York” is one of the city’s biggest attractions.

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets did battle again Sunday afternoon, this time on the other side of the country and with some newer faces on display in the 2023 NBA Summer League. In the end, the Nets outclassed the Knicks, 98-80, with Armoni Brooks, the veteran shooting guard, leading both teams with 21 points and for the second straight game hitting five 3-pointers.

Like most Summer League contests, this one started off on a somewhat sloppy note . New York passed the ball well early on, navigating around Brooklyn’s blitzes on defense to find the open man. The Nets surrendered too many good looks from beyond the arc as a result. New York failed to cash in early, but closed the period with a few hits. They finished the first going 4-13 on triples and went on a 15-4 run to seize the lead.

Kennedy Chandler and Jalen Wilson carried Brooklyn early on offense. Chandler provided the game’s first highlight. You would have thought there was an invisible trampoline on the court with how high the former March Madness standout got up on this one-handed jam...

RaiQuan Gray’s sequel dunk might have been better in the second period though. The big man went coast to coast and then flushed the ball home. It would be no surprise if someone detected some seismic activity on the desert with how aggressively he rocked the rim...

After the Nets came out of halftime down 49-47, things changed dramatically. Chandler sparked a run to begin the third. Following a few scoreless sequences for both teams, he poked the ball away from Michael Foster Jr., saved it from going out of bounds, and then flicked it down the court for an easy layup by Brooks.

A few plays later, Chandler corralled the ball after a Brooks poke-away steal. Once again he orchestrated the fast break to perfection. This rendition had some fireworks at the end, as Chandler lobbed the rock up to Clowney for the perfect flush.

On the other end, the Nets held the Knicks scoreless for the third quarter’s first four minutes going on an impressive 10-0 run. The Knicks shot just 5-of-20 from the field in the third and the Nets ultimately outscored them 24-15. Brooklyn stopped over-helping on defense and improved pressure in the interior went a long way in forcing New York’s offense to run dry.

Brooklyn kept that effort up in the final period, opening it up on a 7-0 run. The Nets conducted some nice drive and kick sequences to get good looks early on in the period. They inflated their lead to 20 points and never looked back, coasting to a 98-80 victory.

Brooks led the way in the scoring department, dropping 21 points on 8-of-15 from the field and 5-of-10 from deep. The 25-year-old also came away with three steals. Wilson and Duke Jr. followed closely in the scoring column. Wilson added 18 points and hauled in eight boards. He shot 5-of-10 from the field and dropped two dimes, including this slick toss leading to a Duke Jr. flush.

Duke Jr. struggled from the field early on but eventually found his groove, tallying 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He nailed two triples on five attempts and came up with three steals and four assists.

From start to finish, Duke Jr. did especially well getting downhill to help initiate an early Brooklyn offense that often looked out of sync especially in the half court. Chandler also helped out in that department. His ball-handling, speed, and knack for posterizing his opponents put constant pressure on the Knicks defense. He scored 11 points and added a game-high seven assists.

After the game, Duke Jr. said he was surprised that the Nets hadn’t picked up his qualifying offer but emphasized that he’s still hopeful of working something out with Brooklyn.

For the Knicks, Isaiah Roby resembled their best player today by my standards. While Charlie Brown Jr. (16 points) and Jaylen Martin (15 points) led as scorers, Roby flashed an ability to score at all three levels, dropping 12 PTS while shooting 5-9 from the field and 2-4 from deep. That’s a nice pickup for the Knicks with Roby signed to a small deal, possessing some NBA experience, and clearly the skills to make it in the league.

A few other new and familiar faces were in the building for the Nets as well. Dennis Smith Jr. made an appearance in Las Vegas Sunday one day after signing his contract in Brooklyn. Talking with beat writers on hand in Vegas, the new Nets ball-handler expressed his excitement regarding Brooklyn’s defensive potential while cracking some jokes regarding the New York media.

Smith Jr. also called him and Brooklyn a “hand in glove fit” when speaking with the writers.

“It was communicated to me that I was a priority, and the direction they were trying to go in was also on the same trajectory that I am in my career,” he added.

“They all reached out and was like man we’re excited to have you, this, that, and the third, he said of his reception in Brooklyn. “So I feel like we’ve got a good group of guys. We’re not too young, not too old, and I don’t think it’s gonna be an ego problem for our team this year. Everybody sounds like they’re committed to winning and playing the right way.”

He’ll also be joining one of his best friends in the NBA, Dorian Finney-Smith. The two played together in Dallas.

“Yeah, for sure. For sure. I talked to Doe. Before I made the decision, I talked to Doe and he’s on board with it too. So it was an easy choice for me.”

Last year, the hyperathletic Smith racked up 8.8 points, 4.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals with the Charlotte Hornets while also establishing himself as one of the game’s better point-of-attack defenders.

Next Up:

Two days from now the Nets will be back on the Summer League stage to take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee has yet to lose this summer, defeating the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns thus far.

MarJon Beauchamp is player to watch on Bucks. He’s dropped 20 points or more in both his Summer League contests. Keep an eye out for Andre Jackson Jr. as well. The second rounder this year was arguably the draft’s best dunker this year. His high-flying skills paired with those of Chandler should make for an entertaining summer bout.