Things have not been looking up for either the Knicks and Nets of late, and it didn’t improve last night either.
The Knicks suffered their second straight loss, and fifth defeat in their last six games after the Heat dominated 110-96 on Wednesday night in South Beach. The Knicks never led, and found themselves behind by double-digits are early as the first quarter when Miami built a 30-16 lead.
“We got in the hole early and it’s hard to get out of that,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They put a lot of pressure on us. When you give a team confidence like that early, especially a team as good as this, you pay for it. And we did.”
Pay they did. The Knicks shot only 42 percent from the floor, and 34 percent from downtown, while Miami was consistently shooting around 50 percent overall for the night. Obi Toppin led New York with 18 points in 21 minutes off the bench, while Julius Randle struggled, scoring 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting.
At 23-26, New York has now fallen totally out of playoff contention, even for the wild card play-in. Things will not get any easier for New York when they travel to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Friday night.
As for the Nets, they suffered their third consecutive loss after getting clipped 124-118 to the Denver Nuggets. The already shorthanded Nets were without James Harden, who was sitting due to a hamstring injury. With Kevin Durant out with a MCL Sprain, and Kyrie Irving unavailable because of his vaccination status, the Nets were relying mostly on their bench Wednesday night.
For the most part it was working. The Nets used a 17-4 run to end the first half to carry a 65-54 lead into halftime. Brooklyn would lead by as many as seven points, 77-70 midway through the third quarter before Denver’s offense woke up.
Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 26 points and ten rebounds. Austin Rivers score 25 points for Denver, with 22 of those points coming in the second half. Will Barton added 21 points, and DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins had 13 for Denver in their victory.
As for Brooklyn, rookie Cam Thomas led the way with 25 points in 26 minutes off the bench for the Nets. Brooklyn is now under .500 at home (12-13) and stands at 29-19 on the season.