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Jalen Brunson scores 40 points in the Knicks’ first victory over the Nets in three years.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s departures left a void in New York.

Jalen Brunson has filled that role.

The point guard continued to show why he was passed over for the NBA All-Star game, dissecting the Nets defence and leading the Knicks to their first victory over their crosstown rival in over three years, 124-106.

Brunson finished with 40 points and is averaging 31.9 points over his last nine games, helping the Knicks (32-27) close in on the top-6 in the East as the All-Star break approaches.

“MVP, MVP,” the Garden crowd chanted as Brunson went to the foul line for his 40th point, his third in the last 18 games.

The presence and energy of newcomer Josh Hart helped the Knicks bulldoze through the fourth quarter, snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Nets. Hart scored 27 points in 28 minutes off the bench, thrilling the crowd with his pace and animated celebrations.

Brunson finished with a 15-for-21 shooting percentage, zero turnovers, and five assists. Julius Randle had 18 points and 10 rebounds in his All-Star debut. With seven minutes remaining, the Knicks took a double-digit lead and never looked back.

The main difference in Tuesday’s game was who wasn’t playing for the Nets. The rivalry was more lopsided than the sugar-veggie ratio on a 7-year-preferred old’s plate, with Durant in the outer borough. Durant hasn’t lost to the Knicks since he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2013.

So it’s safe to say the Knicks were overjoyed to see Durant return to the Western Conference, where he’ll only face them twice a year (or probably fewer based on his injury history). Tom Thibodeau would never admit to being happy.

“Against them, we’ve had some really good games,” Thibodeau said. “Most games have come down to the final shot. They make an excellent team. They have very talented players and will continue to have very talented players. We must be prepared to play aggressively on both sides of the ball.”

Indeed, the Nets (33-24) are more of a restocked roster than a rebuild. With a surplus of 3-and-D wings (Mikal Bridges, Royce O’Neale, Dorian Finney-Smith), a rim-protecting centre (Nic Claxton), and a few scorers, they appear to have playoff potential (Spencer Dinwiddie, Cam Thomas and Joe Harris).

Ben Simmons lingers as the stench of Sean Marks’ great blunders.

None of the current Nets players can match Irving’s offensive prowess or Durant’s greatness. They’re not going to win a championship. Could they, however, make the playoffs? Sure. Could they keep the East lead over the Knicks? Yeah.

So the Knicks were no slouch on Tuesday. They dominated a good team.

Brunson also demonstrated why he is the new toast of the basketball world.

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