The New York Knicks fell just short against the Brooklyn Nets, who were lifted by a brilliant performance from Kyrie Irving. The Knicks led by as many as 13 points in the second half, but they were unable to sustain the lead towards the end of the third quarter. Brooklyn took the lead at the end of the third quarter and led by 8 at one point in the fourth quarter. However, the Knicks came back, and the score ended up being tied in the final minute. After Jeff Green nailed two clutch free throws, Julius Randle missed at the buzzer and the Nets escaped with a narrow victory.
Kyrie Irving And Julius Randle Duel
James Harden exited the game in the first quarter after aggravating his hamstring injury, meaning Irving had to step up. He did just that, scoring 40 points, and hitting a clutch three pointer with under a minute left in the game. Irving also dished out 7 assists, but it was his counterpart Julius Randle who had 12 assists. Randle came through with his 4th triple-double of the season in the losing effort. Randle struggled with his shot a bit, especially down the stretch, missing the potential game-tying shot at the buzzer. Irving was a scoring machine tonight, while Randle was overall dominant. Randle also had a fantastic block on a dunk attempt from LaMarcus Aldridge. The Knicks targeted Irving on the defensive end, but Kyrie held his own down the stretch as he was able to carry the Nets to a win.
Other than Randle and Irving, both teams received a huge offensive lift from their role players. Jeff Green scored 23 points for Brooklyn, including the game-winning free throws. It’s truly a luxury when your fifth or sixth option can go off for 20 or more points. Many fans questioned the Nets’ depth, but players like Alize Johnson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot contributed healthy scoring and defensive production. Joe Harris provided his usual 16 points, and Aldridge put up 8 points and 6 rebounds.
For the Knicks, Reggie Bullock scored 21 points. This was just the third time in his career that he has scored 20 or more points in two consecutive games. Bullock’s shooting is crucial to New York, considering he is Randle’s favorite passing target. After beginning the game hot, Derrick Rose slowed down and finished the game with 16 points. Alec Burks only scored 6 points, but he was responsible for the Knicks’ last field goal in clutch time. Taj Gibson and Nerlens Noel were steady as usual at center. The rookie duo of Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin struggled, only scoring a combined 8 points. The Knicks next play Wednesday at Boston, while the Nets next play New Orleans at home on Wednesday night.