Both the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks are playing great basketball this year so it came as a surprise to no one that the stars were out when the teams faced off on Monday.
Some of the celebrities featured in the Barclays Center crows included Spike Lee, Michael B. Jordan, and Rowdy Rebel. The most popular star in the building was Brooklyn-based rapper Bobby Shmurda.
Shmurda, 26 who was just recently released from prison had one of the hottest songs in the country and his career was taking off before being arrested in 2014. Nets’ All-Star James Harden welcomed the Brooklyn native back home in a major way.
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James Harden Blesses Bobby Shmurda With His Jersey
Shmurda got to see the Nets beat the Knicks 117-112 in a thrilling game at Barclays Center.
Harden had a monster night as he finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists and blessed Shmurda with his game-worn jersey to welcome the platinum artist home per Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson.
Jason Kidd averaged many triple-doubles in his career as he has the most in Nets’ history with 61. However, Harden is the first player in Nets’ history to record a game with at least 15 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists.
He already has the second-most triple-doubles in Nets’ history with 10.
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The Nets Had Trouble Putting The Knicks Away
The Knicks have been one of the stingiest defenses all year under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau and it did not phase the offensive firepower of the Nets at all. Brooklyn was still able to score 117 points and their defense has picked up in the wake of Kevin Durant’s injury. The Nets have not allowed an opponent to cross the 120-point threshold in their last 10 games.
While the Nets were able to come away with a narrow victory, they had to scratch and claw until the very end as the pesky Knicks just would not go away. Harden knows that if the Nets hope to be the last team standing, they have to be more intentional about closing out games.
“We just got relaxed, we had a number of times where we can put them away. We just didn’t make the right plays, or they made shots,” Harden said via SNY.
Brooklyn led by as many as 18 points in the second half of the game and the Knicks fought all the way back to within three points. Knicks’ All-Star Julius Randle had a chance to tie the ball game in the final seconds and might have done it if not for a blown call by referee Scott Foster.
“They’re a feisty team. They’ve got some shot-makers. Obviously, we know how well Julius Randle’s been playing,” Harden continued.
“But we had a lot of opportunities to make shots and go up 20 and we didn’t do it, and they came and knocked down a couple of 3s, and then (Immanuel) Quickley got it going. So give them credit. They made shots, they played well, but when it was time to close out the game, we did what was necessary to win.”
Brooklyn Must Learn How To Close Games
After going 9-4 in February Nets’ head coach Steve Nash was awarded the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award. Despite a rocky start to the year, Nash has this team playing disciplined basketball and it starts with holding every man on the roster accountable. Nash was not happy about how the Nets let the Knicks back into the game on Monday.
“My only gripe was we had a chance to be up 20-25 in the first half, and we let them get back to I think … I can’t remember but they cut the deficit at halftime,” Nash said via NBA.com.
“That can come back to bite you, but it didn’t. We got it done in the end, and we’ll just have to learn from it, take a look at a few of the scenarios, and get better.”
The Nets hope to be better prepared when they take on the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.