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Knicks 121, Nets 102: “Masterful and dominant win“

Bridges crossed, Brooklyn conquered.

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Four years in the making, yes, but the blockbuster victory finally in hostile territory arrived on Wednesday, Dec. 20, as your New York Knicks (16-11) crossed the bridge and defeated the Brooklyn Nets (13-14) inside a Barclays Center filled full of ladies and gentlemen clad in Orange and Blue threads.

The result? A no-contest 121-102 dub. “Everything’s back to normal, I guess,” Julius Randle said after the game.

Following a 2-2 trip out West, the Knicks came back to the other side of the nation and made Brooklyn home by beating the Nets without giving them a chance. New York took the lead after bagging the first basket of the evening and went as many as 11 points clear on the scoreboard with six minutes left in the first frame, and that was only a glimpse of the final story of this game.

“When they tell us the ball’s going up at this time, we’re ready,” Tom Thibodeau said. No excuses for the Knicks nor the Nets on this day with both squads returning to the cold East Coast following a week-and-change spent far from home and on the road.

Before the game, we came to know about Jericho Sims’ return timeline: one-to-two weeks recovering from an ankle sprain, Woj said.

After the game, we went to bed knowing the Knicks campaign is now in danger of being over not even a third through it: season-ending injury and surgery expected for Mitchell Robinson, Shams reported.


Isaiah Hartenstein started in replacement of Sims and for the first time this season, logged 30 minutes, scored two points, grabbed 10 rebounds. I-Hart swatted two shots and dished three assists out. He was forced out of the game for a brief period after eating elbow, but he returned without much trouble.

The main beneficiary? The only possible one, as the Knicks, simply don’t have anyone who can naturally slide into the four, let alone the five position other than Grandpa Taj.

Gibson got 13 minutes of run off the pine. That’s the most minutes he’s played in a non-pro-am game since last April when he was with the Wiz... and faced the Knicks at MSG! That’s a fluke, mind you. Since the start of last season, Taj has played more than 13 minutes only 11 times compared to fewer minutes in 42 occasions.

The artist known as Hard Hat, as things stand and for the next two weeks at least, is New York’s second-string center/power forward. Sheesh.

“I was tired. I ain’t gonna lie,” Gibson told reporters after the game. “The young guys were laughing at me.”

Other than Gibson, your usual suspects went to cook. Randle led the team with 26 points in 34 minutes. Jalen Brunson added 16, RJ Barrett finished with 14.

The low-maintenance and reserve mob did more than enough.

Donte DiVincenzo, still in possession of the starting spot at the two, dropped 23 points in 23 minutes finding the net on 9-of-15 shot attempts to go with a nice 5-of-10 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“We did exactly what we needed to do tonight,” DiVincenzo told Rebecca Haarlow in his on-court postgame interview. “We have two days off, so take care of our bodies, and come back ready to go.”

Immanuel Quickley, once more, took advantage of his reserve playing time posting a 19-0-2-1-1 line in 24 minutes.

Josh Hart beat him on the minutes ticker, bagging 31 rounds of the clock and earning his first dub-dub of the year, 10 points and 13 rebounds (with three assists and a steal).

“It’s about damn time. Isn’t that what we paid him all that money to do?” asked Randle when presented with Hart’s stat line. “Rebound the basketball.” (Friendly) shots fired!

There were fears about facing the Nets on Wednesday if only because they have an offensive profile that could give fits to these Knicks.

The Nets boasted the 12th-best scoring offense and the 2nd-best shooting prowess from behind the arc. All they could do in front of their fans was shoot 36.6 from the field and 31.9 from three. The Knicks? Posted 46/39/80 splits, hitting 13 treys on 33 attempts to BKN’s 15-of-47 and ridiculous 37-of-101 from the floor.

“We started off with good energy, and usually games like this, end of a road trip, there’s fatigue, and it’s easy to give in,” Randle said (ask Taj). “We had good energy from the start and it carried us through.”

Only two starters on the Knicks side scored a three-ball (JB and DDV), but Hart, IQ, and Quentin Grimes combined for seven and more than made up for that.

The Nets missed 11 of their first 13 shots, went down 60-51 at the half, and allowed the Knicks lead to balloon all the way up to 25.

The Knicks lost the assists (25-24), blocks (9-7), and most notably offensive boards (17-12) battles. That said, New York pulled down more total rebounds than their crosstown opponents, 54-49, which they will need to keep doing somehow if they want to dominate and win more games than not with Mitch out for the season and Sims till New Year’s.

Dec. 26, 2019. Knicks 94, Nets 82.

Dec. 21, 2023. Knicks 121, Nets 101.

Cheer up, fam. With KD, Kyrie, and all faith lost and gone from the BKN faithful, your Knicks might never cross a bridge and lose again.

SagaciousNLoquacious said it yesterday: “Masterful and dominant win.“