Round One goes to Brooklyn. The Knicks lost their highly anticipated matchup against the Nets last night by a score of 96-89 in a game so tightly contested it had to go to overtime. The game was a makeup of both team’s regular season opener which had to be rescheduled after it was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. The Nets were led by the double-double efforts of their star point-guard Deron Williams (16 points, 14 assists) and Brook Lopez’s 22 points and 11 rebounds.. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 35 points while hauling in 13 rebounds. Tyson Chandler had his best game of the season for the Knicks with a career high 28 points and 10 rebounds but it wasn’t enough for the Knicks to pull out a win.
The first quarter almost felt like the first round of a boxing match were both fighters feel themselves out. Neither team led by more than four point early on. With the game tied at 18 and 2:19 left in the period, the Nets used a 8-1 run to take a seven point lead. However, the Knicks would get a floating jumper from J.R. Smith and an Anthony layup in the final 32 seconds to cut the Nets lead to three, 26-23. The Knicks held the shooting edge in the first quarter, shooting 48% compared to the Nets 43%. However, one more three-pointer and four more free-throw makes helped the Nets take the first quarter lead. Gerald Wallace and Lopez paced the Nets, combining for 17 points while Tyson Chandler helped keep the Knicks close with his eight first quarter points.
After a slow start to the game, Anthony began to find his groove in the second quarter. He scored 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting, including a three-pointer and two free-throws. The Knicks good shooting actually got better, as they shot 53% in the quarter. Meanwhile, after giving up 26 points to the Nets in the first quarter, they tightened up their defense, holding Brooklyn to 32% shooting. However, the Nets didn’t allow the game to get away from them as they hit the offensive glass hard. They collected seven offensive boards in the second quarter, four of them coming from reserve forward Reggie Evans, who had seven rebounds in the quarter alone. Joe Johnson almost matched Anthony basket for basket, as he scored eight points in the period on 3-for-5 shooting. Yet, the Knicks still managed to outscore the Nets in the period 24-19 and took a 47-45 lead into halftime.
Anthony kept his hot shooting going, scoring 11 points on 3-for-4 shooting and 4-of-6 from the foul line. However, the rest of the team went cold, as they shot just 2-for-10 and the team dipped to 36% shooting. The Knicks defense wasn’t much better, as they allowed the Nets to shoot 55% in the quarter. Even so, the Knicks managed to take their biggest lead of the night (seven) when with the game tied at 57 and 4:55 left in the quarter, they went on a 9-2 run. However, the Nets used a 9-1 run to to take all the momentum away from the Knicks and take a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 68-67.
If you’re a fan of bad shooting, then you were salivating during the fourth quarter. The Knicks shot a ghastly 25% in the quarter while the Nets “bested” them at 30%. At one stretch, the Knicks missed 13 straight shots dating to the end of the third quarter. However, the Nets failed to capitalize on the Knicks futility. The Knicks first make of the period came on a Chandler offensive rebound and put back which tied the game at 70 with 7:21 to go and they would take the lead on their next possession on an Anthony layup. The Nets scored the next five points to take a four point lead but the Knicks responded with four of their own to tie it again. A Jerry Stackhouse three-pointer and Lopez dunk gave the Nets a five point lead with four minutes left. Stackhouse killed the Knicks all night, connecting on 4-of-5 three-pointers, all from the corner, en route to 14 points off the bench. However, Anthony would answer with a three-pointer of his own and a 1-of-2 trip at the foul line to cut the Knicks deficit to 81-80. With 2:13 left in the game, Raymond Felton hit a 19 foot jumper to give the Knicks a one-point lead. Felton, though, had his worst game of the season, shooting just 3-of-19 and committing five turnovers, including a huge one on with the Knicks up one with 1:12 remaining. After an offensive foul call on Lopez, Felton missed another jumper. Then with 24 seconds remaining, Lopez was fouled by Ronnie Brewer and made one free-throw to tie the game up. The Knicks had a chance to win but Anthony missed a 16 foot jumper with 4.9 seconds remaining. Williams missed a 33 foot three-point attempt as time expired to send the game to overtime.
Things started out well for the Knicks, as they scored the first two points of OT on a Tyson Chandler dunk on a great feed from Felton. Then things crumbled quickly. An 8-0 run by the Nets gave them a 92-86 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Knicks would score just three more points in the OT session, missing five of their last six shots.
- Jason Kidd missed the game due to back spasms. His status for the Knicks next game on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks is uncertain. After watching the Knicks offense fail to muster up 90 points in an overtime game, it is safe to say Kidd was missed in this one and if out fore more time, could hurt the Knicks significantly.
- On top of the Kidd injury, Corey Brewer left the game late in the fourth quarter after dislocating his left ring finger. As he walked to the Knicks locker room, he told reporters he was fine. X-rays on the finger turned out negative. If he is out, expect James “Flight” White to see minutes in the coming games.
- Marcus Camby found himself on the court again tonight, playing five minutes after playing the same amount of time against the Detroit Pistons this past Sunday. Now if you take a look at Camby’s game log from this season, there is a trend. He missed the first three games of the season, played the next two, missed the next two, played the next two, missed the next two and has played the last two. So naturally, he’ll miss the next two, correct?
- J.R. Smith’s shooting slump has now reached four games. In the past four contests, Smith has shot just 12-for-41 (29%). His three-point shooting slump is even longer. In the past seven games, Smith has shot just 5-for-22 (23%) from beyond the arc. Forget about Good or Bad J.R. This year it’s Streaky J.R.
- The Knicks actually tied the Nets rebounding wise, as each team hauled in 50 boards. However, two alarming things. First, allowing Reggie Evans to grab 14 rebounds in only 18 minutes of playing time for him and second, allowing Brook Lopez to grab 11 rebounds. That is not a typo. Lopez, Mr. six rebounds a game this season and seven for his career, had 11.