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Knicks still the loser of New York after blowout loss to Brooklyn

Knicks' RJ Barrett, right, drives past Brooklyn Nets' Nic Claxton, lef.
Knicks’ RJ Barrett, right, drives past Brooklyn Nets’ Nic Claxton, lef.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The Knicks took a trip across the East River hoping to establish their place as New York’s premier basketball team against the Nets while they remain in disarray — but Wednesday night proved that they’re still the same old Knicks. 

Brooklyn is dealing with scandals and distractions of all stripes through 12 games this season, with All-Star Kyrie Irving suspended for anti-Semitic comments, a new coach on the sidelines after firing Steve Nash, and a flailing Ben Simmons who still looks befuddled on the offensive end. 

Still, the Nets routed the Knicks on Wednesday at Barclays Center by a 112–85 margin

Putting up just 85 points against (arguably) the worst defense in the NBA was nothing short of embarrassing for New York, and showed why, despite the Nets’ cadre of problems, the Knicks are still plagued by their porous culture. 

The game marked former assistant Jacque Vaughn’s first game as head coach of the Nets, after the team’s management backed-off their plan to hire Ime Udoka, the Celtics coach who was suspended for the season for an inappropriate workplace relationship. 

Yet despite all of that, the Kevin Durant-led Nets were still clearly the better team. 

“It’s not okay,” said Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson. “I’m okay with missing shots. I’m okay with aggressive mistakes. But, effort and heart from all of us — that is what we need.” 

“We know we didn’t go out and play 100%, and that’s hard to live with.” 

Every single Knick who played double-digit minutes in the game saw a negative +/- rate, which measures the difference of their team’s scoring against their opponent’s while they are on the court.  

Julius Randle led the team in points with 24, along with 12 rebounds and three assists. 

Brunson had a terrible night, making just four of 14 shots, for a total of 14 points, four rebounds and two assists. The team’s biggest star, RJ Barrett added 16 points on 4–14 shooting. 

No one besides those three recorded double digit points. 

Cam Reddish, who has been given starting looks in recent games, managed to miss all seven of his shots, and his only contribution to the Knicks’ offense was a single assist in 18 minutes. 

Meanwhile, on defense, the team was completely unable to stop Durant, who finished with a triple-double — recording 29 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds.

“He got everything. He scored. He made plays. He got easy offense,” said head coach Tom Thibodeau. “So, we have to do better.” 

The Nets shot 48.3% from the field, including 41.2% of their three point attempts on 34 tries. 

Particularly bad for the Knicks has been Randle, who’s point totals this season have been somewhat masking his porous play. 

His RAPTOR statistic, which measures a player’s point totals relative to what he gives up on defense per 100 possessions, is now the worst in the NBA of all rotation players, according to the data-tracking website FiveThirtyEight.

The team collectively has allowed the fourth-most three pointers in the NBA this season at 159.

None of that is a good look for defensive-minded head coach Thibodeau, who has drawn the ire of many Knicks fans this year. 

For his part, Thibodeau pointed to the recent win against the Timberwolves on Monday, and attempted to brush off the loss to Brooklyn as a speed bump in the young season.  

“We played really well at Minnesota, and the next game, we didn’t play well. So we have to take a look at it, make our corrections and get ready for the next one,” Thibodeau said.

For more coverage of the Knicks, head to amNY.com.

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