Update: Brian Lewis of NYPost (@NYPost_Lewis) is reporting “Jeremy Lin & Luis Scola will sit out tonight against the #Knicks. Atkinson said it has nothing to do w/ playing at the Garden.”
After an impressive preseason opener win over the Pistons, the Nets will be hoping to keep the good vibrations flowing. Their next opponents are the New York Knicks, who allowed 130 points against the Rockets on Tuesday. It seems reasonable to assume that the crosstown rivals will be entering this game with a very different mindset.
The one thing that became obvious during the Detroit game was that the Nets players were ready to hustle. Sean Kilpatrick was 0-7 from the field, but he set the example by diving for every loose ball in his way. The rest of the team followed suit, and the Nets managed to force 29 turnovers throughout the game. We should see this kind of effort continue against the Knicks.
With Lopez playing a mere 13 minutes on Thursday, we didn’t see much of his pick-and-roll shenanigans with Lin. The Nets focused on moving the ball around and shooting from the three-point line, which didn’t leave much space for the Brook-Lin combo. Expect to see more of it on Saturday.
Beech and Mockevicius were the only two players on unguaranteed contracts to not get any playing time against Detroit. They will probably get a chance against the Knicks. Bojan Bogdanovic is available, but the Nets are reportedly limiting his minutes. He is also likely to take a small part in the Saturday game.
In addition to recovering from a 27-point loss against the Rockets, the Knicks have some non-basketball troubles to worry about. Derrick Rose is still in LA for his trial, while Joakim Noah is dealing with a hamstring injury. If they don’t make it, Kristaps Porzingis is likely to be a focal point of the Knicks offense. He scored 22 points while shooting 5-of-6 from downtown on Tuesday.
Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks 10-8-16 Game Recap
While everyone was getting ready for Lin’s triumphant return to the Garden, Kenny Atkinson had other plans. He decided to bench Jeremy Lin and Luis Scola – two of the Nets’ best players against the Pistons – thus giving a chance to players from the far end of the bench. During his post-game press conference, Atkinson mentioned that he’ll continue to rest his veterans for the rest of the preseason. The Lin-less Nets fell 116-98 to the Knicks.
The first half went by with neither team able to make a bigger lead. The Nets got close just before the end of the first period, but Sasha Vujacic made an out-of-balance three-pointer to tie the game up. The second quarter was more of the same. Joe Harris hit 3 three-pointers off the bench, but the Nets were shooting noticeably worse than two days ago. At the end of the first half, the Knicks held the smallest of leads: 49-48.
The Nets opened the second half with an 8 second turnover, and things just rolled downhill from there. Kristaps Porzingis made 8 points early on, with Ron Baker and Chasson Randle catching fire and pulling the Knicks away. Meanwhile, the Nets continued to be inefficient from deep, hitting only a single three-pointer for an entire period. By the end of the quarter, the Knicks had a 13-point advantage.
Much like the last game, the final period was an opportunity for the younger players. The Knicks started off with three consecutive turnovers, but the Nets failed to capitalize on it. As it would soon turn out, that was their last chance to catch up. The Knicks’ lead soon grew to 20 points, and the Nets never managed to recover.
Anthony Bennett had an impressive showing, leading the Nets with 15 points and 5 rebounds in 21 minutes. He was especially deadly from the free-throw line, making 11 out of 14 shots. Sean Kilpatrick also improved dramatically compared to the previous outing, adding 13 points on 5-10 from the field. Harris continued to make a strong case for becoming a full-fledged rotation player by scoring 11 points (3-of-4 from 3). Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring, making 16 points in 19 minutes.
Bojan Bogdanovic and Isaiah Whitehead clocked their first minutes this preseason, though Randy Foye started at the shooting guard position. Atkinson continued to make full use of his bench, with fifteen players getting a run out.
The Nets didn’t move the ball as well as in the previous game, recording only 13 team assists. Lin’s absence was felt on the offensive end, as the Nets couldn’t get as many clean looks from the outside. As a result, their outside shooting fell apart: the team made only 27.3% of its three-pointers (9-33). Atkinson acknowledged the poor performance, adding that he was trying out new combinations and different players. This might explain why Brook Lopez played only 13 minutes – the coaching staff already knows what he can do.
On Tuesday, the Nets will face the Miami Heat in their third game this preseason. Jeremy Lin and Luis Scola will be back in the rotation.
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