By Kristian Cuaresma
Both NetsGC and Knicks Gaming took turns simply just watching the throne after the teams split their two-game set. While the ‘King of New York’ will have to wait until July for another opportunity to be crowned, the inner state matchup finally moved one step closer to being a proper rivalry. NetsGC had won all previous meetings, and though that trend looked like it may continue, Knicks Gaming put together a strong opening half in game two to claim its first victory over Brooklyn.
NetsGC moved away from its double lock experiment after seeing mixed results the previous night against 76ers GC, giving Faiz a more expansive set of handles and offensive attributes, while in turn creating more room for point guard Choc to work with. NetsGC would finish the first quarter with six made three pointers, a considerable improvement over the 10.5 threes the team averaged in its two-game set with 76ers GC.
Not surprisingly, Brooklyn’s defensive struggles would again resurface, with the team giving up 13 points in less than three minutes to begin the second quarter, forcing the group to call a timeout. Knicks Gaming point guard Duck would finish the half with 23 points, leading his team to a total score of 49 headed into the virtual locker room.
To begin the third, NetsGC attempted a full court press, but Knicks Gaming quickly broke it for an easy dunk. Further defensive missteps would lead to easy threes and second chance opportunities. Fortunately for NetsGC, its offense would help the group keep pace.
Headed into the fourth quarter, Brooklyn finally found the defensive spark it was looking for, coming up with three consecutive stops. After an offensive rebound by Knicks Gaming center Glo, Shotz would poke the ball loose and Faiz – who often leaves an impact on the offensive side – would later come away with a huge off-ball steal. With a missed jumper by the Knicks Gaming, NetsGC found itself in the lead. The game turned into a free throw battle in the closing minutes, but NetsGC would hold on for the win.
Outcome: NetsGC win 90-83
Like in its previous three matchups, NetsGC failed to reel together a strong opening quarter, with Knicks Gaming coming out firing to a 13-4 run. Credit goes to New York for applying full court pressure early and forcing Brooklyn to speed up its offense. With less room to breath, the team relied more on Faiz to initiate the offense, and while the rookie did enough to quickly get his takeover badge, he would unfortunately go on to miss two reasonably open looks. Shotz was a bright spot early on, with the big man corralling two offensive boards on one possession before throwing it down for two himself.
Knicks Gaming’s early success would lead to a team takeover late in the second quarter, which then bled into the second half. NetsGC’s defensive issues were further complicated by its sudden lack of offense. Fortunately, Choc would cap the third quarter with a dramatic and-1 from outside the arc with 0.7 seconds on the clock.
NetsGC would use that momentum to a mirror image of game one by getting three consecutive stops to begin the final quarter on its way to a 10-5 spark. Sensing a swing in momentum, Glo would come up with an important offensive rebound leading to a New York timeout. On the ensuing play, NetsGC played tight defense but would give up a baseline dunk to NateKhal in the dying seconds of the shot clock. Brooklyn would not go away quietly, this time applying a more consistently successful press and quickly turning New York turnovers into buckets. After yet another free throw battle that extended the final minute of the game, NetsGC would draw within two but that would be the closest it would get.
Outcome: Knicks Gaming wins 82-80