Latest Installment Of Knicks-Nets Highlighted By Jalen Brunson’s Dominance

Julius Randle may be going to the All-Star Game, but after the recent seismic events in Brooklyn and his own recent performance, Jalen Brunson may just lay claim to being the best NBA player on the New York pro scene.

Nobody at the Knicks ever wanted to surpass the individual talents of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but time can speed up when certain events take place.

On Jan. 28, the Nets beat the Knicks for a ninth straight season, and it seemed like they were just biding their time until Durant returned from his sprained right knee. It also appeared that they were better equipped to weather Durant’s absence as Irving was fairly consistently available unlike previous seasons.

Everything changed on February 3rd. It was revealed mid-afternoon that Irving was seeking a trade with the idea of ​​joining the Lakers to reunite with LeBron James. Two days later the trade was in the works and last Monday it was official when Irving was sent to Dallas for Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith.

Then came the news that kept NBA fans awake until the wee hours on the east coast with reports that Durant was being sold to Phoenix.

And three games into the Nets’ new era, they were throttled by Brunson, who continues to show what a winner player looks like for a team looking to make more than a five-game playoff appearance.

There was a series of mind-blowing moves in the 15 shots Brunson made, marking the third time he had scored 15 field goals. All of this is in his 40-point game and some helped him be pro basketball’s best, most notably the crossover layup around Joe Harris with about two minutes left in the third.

“It’s pretty obvious to all of us because we see him every night,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after his team pulled off an impressive 124-106 victory highlighted by Brunson being the fourth Knick to go Bernard King, Gerald Wilkins and Carmelo Anthony came out to get a 40-point game against the Nets.

The Nets received decent returns for Durant and Irving, but neither is on the level Brunson is playing at. It’s similar to his performance last spring, when Brunson averaged 21.6 points in 18 playoff games, helping Dallas to an upset against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns and a trip to the Western Conference Finals while struggling through an injury to Luka Doncic navigated.

“I was keen to play with him last year, especially when Luka wasn’t on the pitch, he showed glimpses that he’s one of those guys (who can dominate)” said Dorian Finney-Smith.

Brunson’s performance on Monday came at a time when the nets seemed to mix and match with different rotations. In theory, the Nets can afford it based on the 12-game winning streak and 18 wins in 20 games they put together earlier this season when Durant was still healthy, and Irving hasn’t asked for a trade.

“The thing is, we have to do it,” Vaughn said. “We must do it immediately. So I need to get a pulse of what the new guys can bring to the team but also try not to break that rhythm. But this is what the group will look like at the end of the day. So we want them all to play well.”

Those alignments included playing Ben Simmons for 13 minutes with him as the third center. Simmons didn’t play the entire third quarter when the Nets could have used someone to stop Brunson, and a couple of times TV cameras panned to him riding an exercise bike next to the bench.

It’s been a long descent for just over three years as he produced a dynamic triple-double for Philadelphia in Brooklyn. There was his reluctance to shoot in Game 7 of the conference semifinals a day after Durant’s foot was on the line, which caused him to sit out the entire season with Philadelphia before being traded for Brooklyn to Harden, who said , he is not the “crazy one”. one” for finding a trade.

A lot is different now at the Knicks and Nets. Whether it’s a rivalry remains to be seen until they meet in a playoff series, according to both coaches, but one thing seemed obvious on Monday night.

And that was Brunson, who was the best on the New York NBA scene, and the Nets will apparently spend the rest of the season figuring out some rotations and where to pick points in key moments like the fourth quarter.

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