Have the Knicks Stolen the Nets’ Spotlight?by Ben Fadden January 7, 2021 0 comments
The New York Knicks are off to a better start than the star-studded Brooklyn Nets, and they have turned into the talk of the town early on this season.
Who could have imagined that the New York Knicks would have a better record than the Brooklyn Nets eight games into the season? Tom Thibodeau’s team must have, because that’s exactly what has happened.
The Nets entered this season as one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and were seen as the biggest threat to knock off the Los Angeles Lakers. However, things haven’t been so smooth early on. Spencer Dinwiddie, the team’s starting shooting guard, is likely out for the season with a torn ACL. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant will miss significant time after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Durant’s absence came at a time when the Nets were under .500 before they beat the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night. Until Durant comes back, there isn’t going to be the same attention on the Nets that there was when he was on the court.
And the Knicks are taking advantage of it.
The Difference of a Good Coach
Coach Thibodeau has made defense a priority and the whole team is buying into playing hard every minute that they are on the court.
Julius Randle didn’t look like the right leader in his first couple of years in New York, but he took his conditioning seriously in the offseason and displayed another 30-point night on Wednesday.
Rivers missed the first four games of the season, but he came to New York because he wanted to help build the Knicks back up to the team they used to be and believed the organization was creating the right foundation to have success.
It’s safe to say that he’s off to a great start.
The 28-year-old has been solid off of the bench and likely found a lot more playing time than he already had with his performance in the Knicks’ win at home versus Utah. Rivers made four three-pointers in the fourth quarter, becoming the first Knick to do so since Carmelo Anthony. One of those threes was a stepback dagger that put an exclamation point on the victory. His late fourth-quarter performance resembled when Stephen Curry gets in a groove as it seemed like he made every single shot he attempted.
Are the Knicks going to finish with a better record than the Nets? Probably not, but they are certainly more fun to watch right now. And when a team is this exciting, it’s impossible to take your eyes off of them.
Follow Ben Fadden on Twitter @benfaddensports