Brooklyn at the Buzzer Again. 5 Reasons Why Nets 114 Knicks 112 on 4-5-21

Julius Randle just can’t get that last-second jumper to go down. Last time against Brooklyn, Randle couldn’t get the game-tieing 3 off (he felt he was fouled); this time, he got the game-tieing jumper off from 18 feet, but missed. Another game against Brooklyn, another loss.

Reasons why:

1. Even Without Harden & Durant — Kyrie, Harris, & Nets Still Good

James Harden left this game 4 minutes with injury, and Kevin Durant didn’t play. The Knicks had a 10-point lead at the half and were looking to get a win. But the Nets charged back in the 3rd led by Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Jeff Green, Alize Johnson off the bench, and newcomer LeMarcus Aldridge.

Irving was extremely tough down the stretch — he finished with 40 points. Joe Harris is tough — he had 16. And Alize Johnson was all over the place, scoring in the paint, pulling down key rebounds. Johnson finished 6-10 for 12 points, 7 rebounds and a +11 in 17 minutes.

Steve Nash had the Nets playing excellent team defense in the 4th quarter.

2. Payton Excelled

Elfrid Payton was terrific down the stretch leading the Knicks. He played as good a defense as could be played on Kyrie Irving, and penetrated and scored key buckets on the offensive end; passed for other ones. He had 8 pts and a +3 on 4-10 shooting.

Payton’s pressure D combined with a Knick double team caused Kyrie Irving to throw the ball out of bounds for a key turnover with 37 seconds left, giving the Knicks the ball down 3 — and allowing Alec Burks to hit a big at the time — game tying 3.

Derrick Rose got his turns trying to guard Kyrie; Rose was 6-14 for 16 points and a -8.

3. Barrett Big Buckets

RJ Barrett teamed with Payton in the 4th to get most of the Knicks key buckets.

Barrett hit several key jumpers down the stretch — huge for the Knicks in the long term as well as short term. These weren’t his usual drives to the hoop — these were JUMPERS; clutch JUMPERS that he hit.

Barrett led the Knicks with 22 pts, on 7-13 shooting, 4-6 from 3, and 4-4 from the free throw line. You have to love those shooting percentages as that has been the one question mark on whether he becomes a big time star or not — he’s got everything else to his game on offense and defense.

4. Burks Big 3

The Knicks were down 3 with 37 seconds left after Kyrie threw the ball out of bounds due to NY’s pressure D. After a timeout Alec Burks dribbled them up court then took a 3 from the right side and hit it for a tie game.

Unfortunately at the other end, the Knicks played great defense but Jeff Green corralled an offensive rebound and was fouled with 3.7 seconds left; he made the free throws for the Brooklyn 2-pt lead and victory.

5, Bullock Shooting Star

Reggie Bullock was a shooting star for the Knicks with 21 points on 6-11 shooting, 5-10 from 3. He gave the Knicks solid, dead-eye shooting all night and the usual excellent man-to-man defense, finishing with a +7.

6. Randle Intense

And Julius Randle led the Knicks with intensity, rebounding, and passing — he had a triple double: 19 points, 15 rebounds, 12 assists — although his shooting late wasn’t efficient — he had 7-19 shooting (0-4 from 3) and that final missed jumper.

Other Knicks

Taj Gibson played with his usual grit and defense — 25 minutes. Nerlens Noel played well in 22 minutes. Obi Toppin hit a huge 3 in the 3rd. He played well and had 5 points (on 2-3 shooting) in 9 minutes. Immanuel Quickley didn’t shoot well (1-4) but had a +6.

The Boxscore

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