If their respective performances against the Golden State Warriors are any indication, the New York Knicks are in for a world of hurt on Monday night as they host Brooklyn Nets at 7:30 p.m.
After the Knicks were demolished, 128-100 against the Warriors in a game that featured a 47-16 fourth quarter for the Dubs the Nets took Golden State down to the wire in a 120-114 loss on Sunday.
The difference between the two games, and the two cross-town rivals?
Brooklyn's offense showed up against the Warriors, particularly in a 37-27 fourth quarter, when the Nets' comeback barely fell short. Allen Crabbe had three 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the fourth and the Nets cut it to two with 1 minute, 55 seconds left before Kevin Durant hit a pullup jumper and Stephen Curry a 3-pointer down the stretch.
"I felt like we did get stronger as the game went on," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "I thought that the guys really made a second push. I thought it was a good effort in the second half. Listen, I don't think the crowd was pleased with our first half, the coach wasn't pleased, the players weren't pleased, so we were - at halftime it wasn't pleasant in there because I don't think we played up to our capabilities. So, just to see us play Nets basketball in the second half, that gives us some encouragement going in to tomorrow night's game."
The Nets stayed true against the Warriors in the first quarter, staying within three as they opened the second, but then they laid an egg with 20 points as Golden State stretched its lead to 14 points at the break.
But the Nets were respectable in third quarter, as well, as Golden State only managed a 30-28 edge.
"I felt like the effort - the defensive effort - especially on the boards," Atkinson said. "This team, you can't give multiple shots. I know they didn't have a ton of offensive rebounds but I thought they had three or four that they just outhustled us and you're just not going to have a chance - you're going to be down 20 - against a talented team like that."
The Knicks learned that the hard way in the fourth quarter of their 28-point loss on Friday, when Kevin Durant had 25 of his game-high 41 points.
"He's special. I don't have to describe it to understand what you just saw," Knicks coach David Fizdale said after the game. "There's one guy maybe in the world that does that at that level. The shot he makes. The places he can get. It's special."
After falling to Golden State's terrific twosome of Durant and Stephen Curry on Friday, now the Knicks have to handle Brooklyn's one-two punch of De'Angelo Russell and Chris LeVert, a duo that poured in 48 points on Sunday.
"I think we complement each other," Russell said after the game. "I think we are both able to play off the ball. We just flow. We have a chemistry that's connecting well together. I think our next step is getting other guys involved and finishing games at the same point at the same time. Yeah, it's early, but I think all summer we got that vibe. We watched film. We break it down together. We see the same things, so it allows us to connect on the court."
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