From Brian Lewis:
The Nets lost James Harden — again. But they dug down deep enough to win the game, and a season sweep of the cross-river rival Knicks.
Already without Kevin Durant, the Nets saw Harden go down after just four minutes. But Kyrie Irving led a huge comeback, and Jeff Green capped off a 114-112 rally before a mixed crowd of 1,773 at Barclays Center.
The last man standing of Brooklyn’s Big Three, Irving had a game-high 40 points and seven assists. Jeff Green added a season-high 23 points, including the tiebreaking points in the final seconds. Julius Randle’s miss at the buzzer sealed it.
After going just 1-for-4 from the stripe in the first half, Green went 8-for-9 in the second — including the game-winning pair with 3.7 seconds left.
I get it. I really do. It seems like we’re way too late into the season to still have moral victories, and once James Harden went down, I don’t know if you’d term the Nets all that good of a team with “just” Kyrie available of the Big Three, but whatever, I still think it was impressive to see the Knicks continue to battle. That three by Burks was awesome.
You know Thibs will always make sure that the Knicks fight at the end of the game. That’s always nice to see.
And luckily, the Raptors are still, what, four and a half games back with just 21 to play and two teams between the eighth-placed Knicks and the tenth-placed Raptors (and the Raptors not even seeming like they’re necessarily trying to win at this point, as they seem almost more interested in adding a top lottery pick to their OG/Siakam/VanVleet/Boucher core. Their win tonight against the Wizards was almost like “Who didn’t want it less?”)? It’s looking very good for the Knicks. The key, though, is the 1 1/2 game lead they have over the Pacers for the #9 seed. You definitely want to be playing in the #7/8 game and not the #9/10 game. It’s literally the difference between only having to win one of two games to make the playoffs and having to win both games to make the playoffs. That’s huuuuuuuge.