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(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks crossed the river and visited the Barclays Center to face the Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn Nets.

New York City takes rivalries personally, and rightfully so.

Everyone’s always got a better recommendation for something. A better pizzeria, a better breakfast, a better neighborhood for a new apartment. I’m dead serious, hands have been thrown over lesser matters in the Big Apple.

This was the exact energy the New York Knicks needed in Monday night’s tilt with the Brooklyn Nets. Even without Kevin Durant, Brooklyn still had James Harden and Kyrie Irving to prove they were the real New York team.

Julius Randle and the Knicks, meanwhile, were more than happy to show the Nets and their skinny jean-clad fans the truth: New York is and always will be Knicks country.

It was an intense game, and how.


1st quarter: Coming out fast

The Nets are a fast-paced team, but the New York Knicks did a good job keeping up with them. Brooklyn led 35-30 after one, shooting an astounding 70.1% from the field. The Nets were in such strong sync that, of all players, Jeff Green led the team with 14 points.

The Knicks, meanwhile, tried too hard to keep up with Brooklyn, and it showed. New York shot the three well, posting a mark of 54.5% from long range, but that was about it. The Knicks had trouble taking good shots otherwise and often looked overmatched.

If they were going to win the game, they’d have to refocus and just play their game.



Halftime report: Long game coming

Oof. Well, this was NOT the second quarter the New York Knicks needed. The Nets started on a 14-2 run and outscored the Knicks 32-25.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn entered halftime shooting 64.1% from the field compared to New York’s meager 37.5%. The Knicks continued to struggle with shot selection and just couldn’t get into a rhythm on either side of the court.

Throw in James Harden being three rebounds away from a triple-double, and I think I speak for all New York Knicks fans at halftime tonight.



3rd quarter: Constant catch-up

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets each scored 29 points in the third in what was a very frustrating quarter of basketball. Every time New York went on a small run, Brooklyn would widen the gap. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Think of it this way. Imagine riding the downtown Q train as it crosses the Manhattan Bridge toward DeKalb Avenue. For some reason or another, the train starts and stops across the entire bridge, and each pause is at least three minutes.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was the New York Knicks’ third quarter in a nutshell. Even though they entered the fourth down 96-84, the signs weren’t exactly encouraging.



4th quarter: Not quite enough

Well, at least the New York Knicks managed to make the game interesting. They outscored the Nets 28-21 in the fourth quarter and were in a position to tie the game with seconds remaining.

Unfortunately, Julius Randle was called for traveling on a highly controversial whistle, and the Nets pulled off the 117-112 win.

And now, local New York Knicks fan Jake Peralta with his thoughts on the game:



Player of the Game: Julius Randle

Randle continued his MVP-caliber season with 33 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists.



Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.