A personal rivalry is brewing inside the Knicks-Nets battle

Inside the Nets-Knicks rivalry, a mini-rivalry is brewing.

Forwards Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kristaps Porzingis, members of the identical draft class, will meet for the eighth time Thursday night time when the Nets host the Knicks at Barclays Middle.

“I do know [Porzingis] is my matchup,” Hollis-Jefferson stated after Nets follow Wednesday. “Each time we play towards one another, we all the time make one another higher.

“He is aware of what he’s going to get from me: gritty, going to play protection. And vice versa, I do know what I’m going to get from him. It comes right down to who’s going to compete more durable.”

Porzingis, the fourth decide in 2015, received the higher of Hollis-Jefferson, the twenty third decide, of their first conflict this season, dropping 30 factors and main the Knicks to a 107-86 victory on the Backyard on Oct. 27.

Requested if there ever is trash-speaking between them, Hollis-Jefferson, who’s averaging 14.5 factors and 5.9 rebounds, replied with a smile: “We give one another the look, however there’s not a lot speaking.”

Off the courtroom, the 2 are extra pleasant. Earlier than attending to know him, Hollis-Jefferson joked that he wrongly perceived Porzingis to be a “actual imply dude” based mostly on “how he appears” and “you realize, the language he speaks is aggressive.”

“I talked to him, I used to be like, ‘Ah, you’re sort of cool.’ So we type of clicked,” he stated. “That’s my man although.”

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson wouldn’t reveal whether or not Jahlil Okafor, who sat out Tuesday’s recreation towards the Wizards after being acquired from the 76ers, will see his first minutes on Thursday.

“We’ll consider it. Speak with the coaches. I simply assume it’s going to take time,” he stated. “I can’t offer you a timetable. We come to those selections as a gaggle. We’ll know when he’s prepared and we’ll provide the phrase.”

Okafor spoke extremely of his transition, and the reception from the group, thus far.

“Nice, I’m loving each second of it,” he stated. “It’s nice being right here. The workforce is nice. The employees is nice. So I couldn’t be happier.

“No matter they need me to do, I’m all in.”

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