Who Wins the Chemistry Battle Among Knicks, Nets?

Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) shoots against New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) and New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) shoots against New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) and New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

While the New York Knicks may have routed the Brooklyn Nets in their first meeting of the season at Madison Square Garden, the Nets are still superior in some ways to their cross river rival.

Last Wednesday, after jumping out to a first half lead, the Nets collapsed in the third quarter as Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks to a 110-96 victory in a nationally televised game. The Knicks flashy offseason acquisitions also contributed as Derrick Rose provided 14 points and 4 assists, along with Courtney Lee chipping in 13 points.

However, the Nets still competed very well considering that they came into the game as heavy underdogs along with their lack of a legitimate point guard available on the roster. Their offseason acquisitions played just as well, if not better than the Knicks new pieces.

Justin Hamilton contributed a whopping 21 points and 13 boards, compared to the Knicks new big man, Joakim Noah who only put up two points on the night. Noah has looked off for New York this season while Hamilton appears to have found a nice fit with the Nets. It can’t be forgotten that Hamilton’s Nets contract is for nearly $15 million per year less than Noah’s Knicks contract.

In addition, the Nets looked very cohesive and unified when they hit their stride in the first half during the Knicks matchup. The game simply came down to runs with the Nets finding their touch early on and the Knicks getting hot in the second half.

It took the Nets going cold on offense and Anthony taking over the game offensively for his team to claw their way back to the lead.

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Despite this, Brooklyn handled adversity well and kept their heads held high after the loss. They went on to make adjustments, and put on an impressive showing in their next game as they went on to blow out the Phoenix Suns 122-104.

This difference in demeanor while facing adversity is likely due to expectations, most of the which the Knicks brought upon themselves this past summer. After calling the Knicks one of the NBA’s  “super team” over the summer, Rose continued to stand by the comment even while he was on trial during training camp. Rose, along with others on the team, would then go on to almost completely contradict that statement by complaining about the complexity of the infamous triangle offense and taking jabs at the Knicks new “defensive coordinator” Kurt Rambis. These type of comments are certainly not issues that a “super team” would experience.

A varying level of chemistry among New York’s NBA teams may also result from differing margins for error. Brooklyn is free to take time to develop a system, and players such as Caris Levert and Chris McCullough due to the fact that nobody is expecting a playoff appearance from the Nets. Contrariwise, if the Knicks finish outside of the playoff picture, then this season will be called a huge failure by fans and the media.

In some smaller markets, it may be possible for players to say that they ignore the media, but any Knicks player who says that media criticism is a non-factor is simply lying. It is impossible to avoid the Knicks’ constant headlines and controversies featured on news outlets such as the New York Times and the New York Post. All major media outlets in the New York area have a beat writer assigned to cover the Knicks; making every wrong move highly scrutinized for the plethora of Knicks fans around the country to see.

The Nets, on the other hand, have a much different level of media coverage. In contrast to the Knicks several controversial storylines coming into this season, one of the Nets biggest continuous headlines pertained to Jeremy Lin’s varying hairstyles.

While many newspapers in New York have been sparse in their coverage of the Nets, this allows the team to fly under the radar and work together to fix mistakes instead of having dozens of reporters breathing down their neck to fabricate a quick solution.

This Spurs-esque style of flying under the radar among the media will continuously build a firm trust in teammates and management on and off the court. This trust to work issues out as a team and not in the media will build a strong chemistry among the Nets.

In fact, this is already seen heavily in Kenny Atkinson‘s offensive system. Every player who is on the court is expected to shoot three’s whenever called upon. Even alleged “non-shooters” such as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Trevor Booker have had the confidence to fire away. This demonstrates a clear bond and trust among teammates in allowing each player to shoot threes, even if they are having an off night. If Atkinson and Justin Hamilton‘s teammates had cut him off from the behind the arc after his 1-6 performance from three point range against the Indiana Pacers, then he never would’ve achieved a 5-7 night from behind the arc against the Knicks.

Meanwhile, Phil Jackson is attempting to shoehorn the triangle offense on a team and coach who simply don’t fit the system. A forced system, and more importantly, a lack of results on the court, are essentially setting up the Knicks to ultimately have chemistry issues this season.

Next: Nets vs. Clippers Pregame Report

Despite the Nets loss to the Knicks last Wednesday, their hot shooting has led them to a better overall record of 4-5. New York is currently 3-6 on the year. The teams will matchup next on February first at Barclays Center.