The New York Knicks defeated the Brooklyn Nets 124-106 on Monday, marking the team’s first win over their crosstown rivals in three years.
Jalen Brunson led the way with 40 points and newest Knick Josh Hart added 27 off the bench. New York overcame trailing by three at halftime and finally beat the Nets in front of a rowdy Madison Square Garden crowd.
The Knicks have won four of five and trail the rival Miami Heat by just a half-game for the No. 6 seed in the East. The Nets, by comparison, have lost four of five. They’re still fifth in the Eastern Conference, but just traded both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Suddenly, the Knicks and Heat nipping at their heels is a much more daunting prospect.
But for the Knicks, they finally seem to be in sync. They shot almost 55% from the field for the game and 44.1% from three. Keep in mind New York has shot 34.4% from long range all season long.
Even better is that the streaky Knicks made the most of an opportunity. Remember, the last time they beat the Nets was on Jan. 26, 2020, and Irving didn’t even play. In fact, the only Nets players tonight who also played in that game were Nic Claxton, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Joe Harris.
And because basketball also loves irony, Dinwiddie was just reacquired when the Nets traded Irving to the Mavericks.
The best news of all for the Knicks is that the season series with Brooklyn can be salvaged. A win at the Garden on Mar. 1 means a 2-2 series split. These new-look Brooklyn Nets played well Monday and even led at halftime, but still seem almost toothless without Durant and Irving.
In the meantime, the Knicks will look to keep rolling and extend their winning streak to three. Next on the docket are Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. They host New York on Wednesday.