Sports Update 

The Knicks and Nets are the hottest teams in the NBA

November 30, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Bronson (11) reacts after a basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

With just a few days until Christmas Day, the day most NBA fans take teams most seriously, the two teams outside of New York are the hottest teams in the league and are sending serious shock waves throughout the league: the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets.

Going into Tuesday, the Knicks were riding a seven-game winning streak in the league, while the Nets are currently on a six-game winning streak — the second-highest winning streak in the NBA behind the Knicks.

On December 3rd, the Nets were the only New York-based team in the field. More than two weeks later, both teams are now in playoff status, with the Nets the fourth seed and the Knicks sixth.

After both teams started out playing below par, they are now playing their best basketball all season, drawing attention from the national audience. So what has changed for these teams?

The Knicks have found a successful starting lineup

Thanks in large part to a major rotation change by Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, the newly formed Big Three of Jalen Bronson, RJ Barrett and Julius Randle dominated teams during their winning streak.

All threes average at least 20.2 PPG, shoot at least 42% from the field, and shoot at least 33% from three-point range over their last seven games. Julius Randle is the standout of the three, returning to his 2021 All-NBA form and putting himself in the running for another All-Star appearance.

The rise of Quentin Grimes to the starting lineup created a great scoring and defense balance for a rookie Knicks team that was looking for a spark.

The difference is so huge that the Knicks’ currently five-starter is second in the NBA with a +14 net rating, trailing only the Golden State Warriors as a starter.

The new changes have brought a cohesive new balance to a Knicks team that looks like a serious threat in the Eastern Conference, and they are now definitely a team others should keep an eye on.

The Nets became dangerous when Kyrie Irving returned

When Kyrie Irving returned to the Brooklyn Nets on November 20 after an eight-game suspension the team gave him, the Nets were 8-9 and struggling hard to win games.

Since his return, the Nets have gone 11-3 to vault to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, and much of that success is due to the stellar play Irving has displayed since his return.

Irving averages 25.7 PPG and 4.1 APG since returning and also shoots 51.3% from the field and 37.7% from long distance. His stellar performance demonstrated the almost insurmountable strength that his combination with superstar Kevin Durant provides when both are at their best.

Since firing former Nets head coach Steve Nash and hiring Jack Vaughn, Brooklyn is 17-7 and has improved defensively, with a defensive rating of 110.4 this stretch compared to a dreadful 119.1 defensive rating before the head coaching changeover.

The Nets are back as one of the top dogs in the NBA, and their stars, playing at their best, are now a legitimate threat to the Finals if that success can be maintained for the rest of the way.

New York is the epicenter of the NBA’s success at the moment

Both New York teams are clicking every aspect at the moment. This is one of the best times to be a fan of either of these two teams, as they both play some of their best basketball in a long time, and the fact that they do it simultaneously makes for an exciting sporting time in the Big. an Apple.

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