By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets
Post Game Recap
The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets finished up their disappointing season series Tuesday night, as the Knicks defeated the Nets 109-98. It was the third win in the series for the Knicks, who defeated the Nets by 30 and 29 points earlier in the season, while the Nets lone victory came by 23. There was plenty of players not suiting up tonight, and veterans who did played very little as both teams had nothing to really play for. The play resulted in a game that looked more like a preseason game than a regular season meeting. Both teams will be playing their regular season finales Wednesday night, as the Knicks will take on the Toronto Raptors, and the Nets will be going against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
|Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports|
It was yet another solid performance for the Knicks tonight, even though they were eliminated from playoff contention Saturday night. Tonight they were without Carmelo Anthony, who it turns out, is suffering from a torn labrum. Several other veterans, such as Tyson Chandler, Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire came nowhere near to their regular minutes, as head coach Mike Woodson rolled with the reserves and younger players.
The player who performed best tonight in the extended minutes once again was Cole Aldrich. Aldrich came down with a season-high 13 rebounds to go with 13 points, one steal and one block. Aldrich has shown all season that he is capable of producing when on the court, and tonight was no different. He definitely deserves a shot at being Chandler’s backup next season, as he has proved himself a capable backup and spot starter when needed.
Another player who looked good tonight was Iman Shumpert. The much maligned shooting guard has had his struggles this season, but has been coming on since being moved to the bench. His defense has started resembling more of the lockdown performer he was before the knee injury and what he showed during last season’s playoffs.
|Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports|
He also had two highlight plays tonight, breaking Paul Pierce’s ankles with a crossover into a jump shot in the third quarter that he nailed, and finishing in transition with a dunk off a pass off the backboard from Toure’ Murry. Phil Jackson mentioned Shumpert as one of the players he was impressed with, and he has done nothing to change that thinking.
Tim Hardaway Jr. continued to score well off the bench for the Knicks. Tonight he scored a team high 16 points, making 5-12 from the field and 4-4 from the foul line. Hardaway Jr. looks like he is going to be a great weapon off the bench for the Knicks as a wing scorer. It would not be shocking to see Hardaway Jr. push his per game scoring up to the 12-13 point range as he becomes more accustomed to the NBA game. Where he needs to improve still is on the defensive end, as he offers very little outside of a scoring punch at this time.
It was a letdown of sorts for the Nets, who still had something to play for in the game, but did not look like it from how they played. The Nets still have not locked up the fifth seed, and do not look like they want to as it will result in a matchup with the Chicago Bulls in the first round.
Mason Plumlee was a bright spot for the Nets tonight. With Kevin Garnett missing so much action this season, Plumlee has really grown as a player. He now looks like an important piece for the Nets heading into the post season. He is a big that is active and can keep up with the talented front lines of teams like the Bulls and Raptors, something Garnett does not look like he will be able to do any longer. Tonight Plumlee finished with an impressive 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Marcus Thornton looks to have been a steal for the Nets and real weapon for them off the bench. Tonight he poured in 24 points, and has been much more successful and productive off the bench than Jason Terry was. He gave the Nets a little more youth, and at this stage of their careers, a more dangerous player. He may lack the experience Terry has, but he makes up for it with his explosiveness. It is possible he could lead the Nets in scoring any night off the bench, as he is capable of filling it up from beyond the three point line.