Friday, March 24, 2023
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NBA Preview: Brooklyn Nets (34-27) at New York Knicks (36-27)

The Brooklyn Nets’ rise to NBA title contention included a prolonged period of dominance over their closest rival.

There may not be a better time than right now for the upcoming New York Knicks to begin writing a script of their own.

When the Knicks play Brooklyn on Wednesday night in the final game of the regular season between the two teams, they will want to continue their upswing and put more distance between themselves and the Nets.

Monday, the Knicks defeated the visiting Boston Celtics 109-94 to record their sixth victory in a row.

After losing 118-104 to the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, the Nets will play a back-to-back set.

The Knicks moved past the Nets into fifth place in the Eastern Conference with their win on Monday, which brought an exciting month to a close. Brooklyn is one game behind New York and one and a half games ahead of the seventh-place Miami Heat, which holds the final playoff spot that is guaranteed.

The Knicks went 9-2 in February, losing only to the host Philadelphia 76ers (119-108) and the Los Angeles Clippers (134-128 in overtime).

The Nets, whose nine-game winning streak in the Big Apple rivalry came to an end on Feb. 13 with a road loss of 124-106, have been the sole opponents on New York’s winning streak, which has been built entirely against teams that will enter Wednesday in a playoff or play-in tournament spot.

Over the past seven weeks, the Nets’ potential for a championship run has vanished. Brooklyn has gone 7-14 since reaching a season-high 14 games over.500 on January 8, when it traded Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to complete the dismantling of its potential super team.

The Nets’ 2021 Eastern Conference semifinal defeat to the eventual NBA champion Bucks in seven games served as multiple reminders of what could have been. By making a game-tying jumper with his foot on the 3-point arc in Game 7, Durant forced overtime.

On Tuesday, the Nets took a 76-66 lead with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter thanks to a 10-0 run by Mikal Bridges, one of four starters Brooklyn got in the huge trades for Irving and Durant.

However, in a period-ending 25-9 run, the Bucks’ big three of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton scored 19 points together. Milwaukee won for the 15th time in a row, holding a lead of double digits for the final 8:56.

Leather Head Sports

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