Kevin Durant
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

How bout them Nets?

ESNY Morning Shootaround logo

Welcome to the Morning Shootaround!

Did you stay awake long enough to watch the Nets beat the Bulls? Or were you good with the early game on ESPN — the Knicks handling their business at home against the Mavs?

It was a late night for New York hoops fans, but it was a good night. Two wins against good teams in front of a national audience.

As we all grab another coffee or an extra shot in the latte this morning, let’s catch up on the night that was for our teams.


What we’re watching

  • CBB: Seton Hall @ DePaul — 5 PM ET
  • NBA: Warriors @ Bucks — 7:30 PM ET
  • NBA: Thunder @ Nets — 8:30 PM ET
  • NHL: Devils @ Islanders — 7:30 PM ET
  • NHL: Rangers @ Sharks — 10:30 PM ET

Blowing out the Bulls

Justin did a great job breaking down the Nets’ stunning win in Chicago, a game that started late enough that it required caffeine to watch a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview.

We stayed up. And we’re glad we did, because Kevin Durant’s third quarter was a clinic. He came out of the locker room at the end of the half, looked up and saw the Nets with only a two-point lead and said:

 

Barrett stays hot

RJ Barrett did the thing — again. He became the youngest player in Knicks history to drop back-to-back 30-point games in the Knicks’ home win against the Mavs.

Where there were concerns about his confidence earlier this season, it looks like he’s found his stroke. Which is a good thing for a Knicks team that has underwhelmed too frequently thus far.

We’re here for a Barrett mid-season renaissance.

Still hurts

Sports Illustrated has a terrific excerpt from Chris Herring’s upcoming book on Thursday morning about a painful moment in Knicks history.

John Starks. Game 7. We won’t say more, but we do encourage you to read it. The book sounds great.

No Joking around

Novak Djokovic is making the Australian Open into a full-blown clown show.

The world’s No. 1 player is now reportedly being investigated for conduct when entering Spain, he admitted to knowingly sitting for an interview while having COVID, and his draw for the Aussie Open — which was streamed on Netflix — was delayed 45 minutes on Thursday morning because they’re still sorting out his status for the tournament.

It’s hard to remember a player embarrassing the sport as much as Djokovic is to start 2022.

Islanders’ issues

The Isles will host the Devils on Thursday night, and they’ll do it without head coach Barry Trotz or defenseman Ryan Pulock, both of whom were placed in COVID protocol on Wednesday.

It’s been a brutally bad season for the Islanders, who started it with legit Stanley Cup aspirations. Between COVID issues, injuries and overall mediocrity, it’s been impossible for them to right the ship. We’ll see if a rivalry game with the Devils gets them excited. Their opponent should be ready after a long layoff.

 

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.