The Knicks can claim the title of the least dysfunctional team in New York. Run of the mill.
If Wednesday night was any clue, they’re still below the Nets, which have been rejuvenated since Steve Nash’s removal and Kyrie Irving’s suspension.
Of course, the main reason for the chasm remains Kevin Durant, the greatest talent ever played in the NBA for New York (Dr. J would be number 1 but only played ABA for the New York Nets, and technically Long Island). The Knicks missed a game at the Barclays Center on Wednesday evening, losing to the outer quarter very early in a 112-85 wire-to-wire defeat.
The Knicks (5-6) folded to half-time when the deficit hit 25 points. It was never close in the second half. The networks have been in double digits for the last 42 minutes.
Julius Randle’s stats looked good enough (24 points, 11 rebounds), but he was lenient in the defense and outplayed Durant who scored his first triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
The Nets have now taken an eight in a row against the Knicks, an episode that began with Durant’s first game against a rival in Brooklyn outfit. On the other hand, we cannot call it competition.
Despite their encouraging play over the past week, an aura of unease and potential burning hovers over the Webs (5-7). Almost everything of it has to do with Irving.
For example, on Wednesday night, when networks introduced Jacque Vaughn as their permanent coach, a group of black Hebrew Israelites were in front of the Barclays Center protesting Irving’s suspension while distributing anti-Semitic brochures.
Irving was absent on Wednesday and GM Sean Marks admitted he did not speak directly to his quarterback about the suspension.
The Knicks don’t have that kind of drama, but they can’t be confused with the title contenders. Wednesday night was a reminder.
Brooklyn’s smashing blow came together in the first quarter when the Knicks awarded 38 points and lost by 16. From there it was a steady ride to the breakout.
The Knicks were dominated again, with Randle, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett finishing +/- 22 or worse. The Knicks scored only 32%, and their 85 points were below-season.
“We have our challenges,” said Tom Thibodeau. “We know how difficult this league is. I have to work every day. You focus on your own team and that’s what we tried to do. Every day is a challenge. Concentrate on improving, put in the work necessary to prepare for each opponent, go out and play your best. “
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