The New York Knicks have experienced both sides of the long-range game and figure to take advantage of what they have learned when they visit the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday in the first Big Apple showdown of the season.
The Knicks hit a season-high 19 3-pointers in a victory at Minnesota on Monday, two days after they allowed 27 made baskets from distance in a home defeat to the Boston Celtics.
Now the Knicks face the Nets, who entered play on Wednesday with the NBA’s second-worst team at defending 3-pointers at 38.9 percent allowed.
Brooklyn on Wednesday named Jacque Vaughn as its head coach. Vaughn, 47, has served as the team’s acting head coach since Nov. 1 after the Nets parted ways with Steve Nash.
The Knicks have split their first 10 games and enter Wednesday shooting 34.8 percent from 3-point range, which is 22nd in the NBA. Last season, the Knicks were 13th at 35.7 percent and two seasons ago the Knicks made 39.2 percent from 3-point range, tying them for second-best with the Nets.
In their five wins, the Knicks are averaging 121 points, and on Monday night they bounced back from the 133-118 loss to Boston for a 120-107 win at Minnesota.
The Knicks made 10 3-pointers in a 38-point opening quarter against the Timberwolves and led by as many as 27 in the game while also holding Minnesota to 11 of 41 shooting from distance (26.8 percent). Boston hit 27 of 51 3-point tries Saturday (52.9 percent).
The Knicks’ Julius Randle scored 31 points Monday and made a career-high eight 3-pointers after going 4 of 23 from long range in his previous six games.
“We’ve been emphasizing it all year,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The game tells you, but obviously that’s the way the league is going so we have to make sure we don’t settle. I don’t want bad 3s. I want good 3s. “
New York produced its best 3-point showing of the young season while starting center Mitchell Robinson sat out with a sprained right knee.
Brooklyn has been susceptible to opponents’ long-distance shooting, but since the Nets allowed the Indiana Pacers to make 23 3-pointers during an Oct. 29 defeat, they are allowing 28.3 percent from behind the arc.
In splitting the last four games under Vaughn, the Nets are allowing 96 points, down from the 120.3 allowed in their first seven games.
Brooklyn is returning from a modestly successful three-game road trip. After a 42-point victory at Washington and a comeback win at Charlotte, the Nets dropped a tough 96-94 decision at Dallas on Monday.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” Brooklyn forward Royce O’Neale said. “We lost this one. Like to have it, but I feel like the whole road trip we did a lot of good things.”
Kevin Durant scored 26 points against the Mavericks but missed a free throw with 5.6 seconds left when he was fouled on a 3-point try by Dorian Finney-Smith.
Durant had made 62 straight from the line before he missed the second free throw and then purposely missed the third. But the Nets wound up with their seventh loss in 11 games when O’Neale had the ball stolen after getting an offensive rebound.
Brooklyn nearly won after trailing by 11 with 3:50 remaining by holding the Mavericks without a field goal over the final 3:50 and holding Dallas to 44.4 percent from the floor overall.
“I think a lot of the defensive stuff is just effort,” Nets forward Joe Harris said. “Guys are flying around, we’re sticking to the game plan, covering for each other, and just playing really disciplined on that end these last few games.”
Brooklyn has won the past seven meetings against the Knicks and 12 of the past 15 since the start of the 2018-19 season.
–Field Level Media