Here’s a game worthy of the city, worthy of New York, worthy of the cities that have given so much to the city game over the decades. This, in its own small way, is what all the minions afflicted by the basketball Jones have really craved: Knicks vs. Nets, Manhattan vs. Brooklyn, played on a breathtaking level.
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That was all. It’s a pity that on a night like this, a game like this should be decided by foul shots (though from here it looked like a legal call on Mitch Robinson), but it was part of a wonderful narrative that James Johnson – who had previously hit a killer 3 for the nets – finished both free throws with 2.2 seconds.
It ended at 112-110. It will have legs, this game. We wish nix-net had been important for so long, and only occasionally has it been taken for granted. given this time.
Nets coach Steve Nash said, “I thought the atmosphere was great, it looked like a barn.” “It felt like a great college or a great high school game.”
Back and forth teams went to each other, throwing heymakers, jabbing and slugging, as the Nets seized control with a 14-0 run and began the third quarter that pushed them to a 16-point lead, The Knicks ended the quarter with a 14. -2 push, both teams are going back and forth in a spectacular fourth quarter.
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When the Knicks went on their run – when Ivan Fournier hit 3 lates, which tied the game notably at 110 – it looked like Barclays Center had become the Madison Square Garden annex. In the end, it was the fans of the Nets who went away happily.
“We know this is going to be a pro Knicks crowd,” Nash said. “The Knicks have been around for 75 years.”
On the other side of the arena, Tom Thibodeau was in no mood to throw adverbs and adjectives at a spectacular basketball show. He was too busy looking at the stat sheet, on 21 fouls called against his Knicks (14 for the Nets), up to 25 free throws taken by the Nets (as opposed to 12 for the Knicks). There were also two missed dunks from Kevin Durant that sure looked like he bailed out with a whistle.
“Something’s not right,” Thibodeau steamed.
“I see what’s happening on both sides, they are a good team and they played well. But Julius [Randle] Was driving the ball too hard,” he succumbed.
“I’m so jealous,” he sputtered, and walked out of the interview room, and he’d probably lighten his wallet a little on Wednesday morning. But that’s part of it too, isn’t it? In the backyard basketball controversy, the home gym almost always gets the favorable whistle.
“It’s on the road,” said Randley, who made a late technical glitch, probably the result of taking two wrong shots all night despite his consistent takes to the basket. “It’s going to be.”
“It doesn’t matter who’s on that team or who’s on this team,” said James Harden. “The energy is always going to be there. Will always be fans for their respective teams.”
Harden, through no fault of his own, had inadvertently mixed a little kerosene into the proceedings Tuesday night. Before the game, Eternal Knicks nemesis Reggie Miller — calling the game courtside for TNT — was not comfortable enough with what Miller described as “pep talk” after reading Harden’s comments to Harden.
“What do you mean you don’t know when to score and when to pass?” Miller said. “You’ve never had this problem in Houston. You’re James Harden!”
Harden scored 27 runs in the first half. He finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists. He fixed it soon.
(Sixteen years after taking his last jump shot, Reggie still knows how to put a stone in the Knicks’ shoes, journalistic ethics be damned!)
If this was a game that had to leave both fan bases satisfied – beating the Knicks is always a boon for the Nets, and staying stride-for-stride with the Nets on a night of lineup flux was a surefire move for the Knicks. Next was – it made the participants feel less like that.
The Knicks grumbled about the whistle all the way back to Manhattan, and when Randall tried his best to bite his tongue and focus on the game, he said: “You all saw what happened. Everybody saw that’s what’s up. [The refs] Clearly don’t understand the game,” he said, adding that on Tuesday night he was told that sometimes his strength is against him.
Net? He played well enough, something Nash freely admitted: “On the one hand I thought it was closer than it should be. On the other we found a way out and got one.”
New York got one, too. Next Chapter: February 16, In the Garden. two and a half months? Can’t we have another tomorrow?