Round Two in the heavyweight rivalry that is the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets goes the the ‘Bockers. After being down by as much as 17 in the first half, the Knicks clawed their way back and pulled out an improbable 100-97 victory. Carmelo Anthony scored a season and Knicks career high 45 points. Jason Kidd, who hit the game-winning three-pointer, had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists in his first game against his former team as a member of the Knicks. Andray Blatche led Brooklyn with 23 points while Deron Williams had a double double with 18 points and 10 assists.
Apparently the Knicks are so used to their regular 7:30 p.m. start times at Madison Square Garden, they figured since tonight’s game was still in New York that it would start at the same time. Game started at 7 p.m. boys. Meanwhile, the Nets knew the game began at 7 p.m. and came out on fire. Even before the sellout crowd filled out the Barclays Center, the Nets stormed out to a 21-5 lead. Andray Blatche, who has filled in for the injured Brook Lopez in the past five games for Brooklyn, got off to a hot start, scoring 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting. The other new addition to the Nets starting lineup, Reggie Evans, also had a strong start. In just the first quarter, he surpassed his season average of eight rebounds, pulling in nine boards and creating trouble for Tyson Chandler, sending him to the bench with two fouls. An 11-5 Knicks run cut the deficit momentarily to 10 but two free throws from Gerald Wallace and a Williams basket with 4.8 seconds left gave the Nets a 30-16 lead at the end of the quarter. For the quarter, the Nets shot 63% from the floor. Meanwhile, the Knicks shot a ghastly 30%, highlighted by missing 13 of their first 15 shot attempts.
The quarter began with MarShon Brooks and Rasheed Wallace each scoring five points to keep the Knicks deficit at 16. It was a back and forth affair, with the Knicks failing to get the deficit under 12. Then, after a Williams jump shot gave Brooklyn a 43-28 lead with 6:25 left in the half, Anthony transformed into Bernard King. Anthony would score 14 points in the rest of the half on a sizzling 5-of-6 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. The Knicks would end the half on a 21-10 run to cut what was once a 17-point first half deficit to just four at halftime, 53-49.
The second half began with five Knicks points on a Kidd three-pointer and a Raymond Felton jumper to give them their first lead of the game. However, the lead would be short lived. The Nets would go on a 19-8 run to regain a 10 point lead. Foul trouble caught up with the Knicks, as both Felton and Chandler were sent to the bench after each picked up their fourth foul. We also saw the return of the show “Knicks Complain to Refs,” as Felton jawed with officials on just about every call until he was pulled after picking up foul number four. Blatche continued his strong first half play, putting in seven points for Brooklyn while the All-Star backcourt combo of Williams and Joe Johnson combined for 14 points. With the deficit back to double digits, J.R. Smith finally found his shooting stroke, hitting his last three shots of the quarter to help the Knicks cut the Nets lead in half to head into the final quarter down 79-74.
The final quarter was set up to have another heart-racing finish as their first matchup did and the two teams didn’t disappoint. Two Blatche free throws to start the quarter pushed the Nets lead to seven. Anthony would answer with a dunk before Kris Humphries knocked down two more free throws for the Nets. Back-to-back jump shots from Smith cut the Knicks deficit to three. Wallace would extend the Nets lead to five with a dunk of his own. After Chandler converted 1-of-2 free throws, Williams scored his only bucket of the fourth quarter to give Brooklyn a six point lead. Then Carmelo Bernard Anthony King scored five straight on two free throws and a trey to cut the Nets lead to a single digit. Two free throws by Wallace pushed the Nets cushion to three before Anthony responded with a long turnaround jumper. A Blatche dunk gave the Nets another three-point lead but after missing three straight shots, a long tap out by Chandler led to a Kidd three-pointer that would tie it up. After having a Blatche tip-in negated due to offensive interference, Anthony missed a layup attempt but scored on his own rebound. Williams would get fouled on the Nets next possession and make 1-of-2 but on the second miss, Anthony would foul Wallace on the box out. Wallace would equal Williams’ 1-of-2 to tie the game up at 93. Another jumper from Anthony, this time a fadeaway, gave the Knicks at two point lead before Wallace would tip in a Williams miss to tie it all up at 95 again. On the Knicks next possession, Anthony would be fouled and unlike Wallace and Williams, he made his two shots to give the Knicks a lead. Joe Johnson responded with his only field goal of the quarter to tie it up again, setting up an epic finish.
On the Knicks next possession, Smith would miss a three-point attempt, but Anthony came up with the rebound. After swinging the ball around, Raymond Felton, dribbling into the paint from the corner, found Kidd open on the win and the former Nets great drilled a three-pointer while getting fouled. Kidd missed the free throw to give the Nets one last shot. With23 seconds left, Brooklyn looked to create a shot but the Knicks defense was up to the challenge. Wallace took a contested three-pointer that missed but Johnson came up with the rebound and found an open Williams on the wing. However, he was unable to match the Nets point-guard of old and missed his game-tying three-pointer attempt, to give the Knicks the victory.
- Despite being outscored 48-20 in the paint, the Knicks still found a way to win. Shooting 50% from beyond the arc (14-for-28) helped, in comparison’s to the Nets4-for-18 (22%) from beyond the arc.
- The Knicks won despite getting close to nothing from Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler and Ronnie Brewer. Felton finished with just eight points on 3-for-12 shooting and committing seven of the team’s 10 turnovers. Chandler had just five points and seven rebounds, although four of those rebounds came in the crucial fourth quarter. Brewer finished with no points and just a single assist and steal.
- Thankfully for the Knicks, Rasheed Wallace gave them quality big man minutes, finishing with eight points and five rebounds in his 14 minutes.
- J.R. Smith played a gritty game for the Knicks. Despite being fouled hard throughout, including crashing into Wallace as the Nets forward attempted to get a steal off an inbound, he finished with 16 points on 7-for-15 shooting.
- All six of Jason Kidd’s field goals came from beyond the arc.
- Reggie Evans was an absolute beast again for the Nets on the boards. He finished with 18 rebounds. In two games vs the Knicks this season, Evans has recorded 32 rebounds.
- The All-Star combo of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams combined to go just 2-for-8 in the fourth quarter for just five points. Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony went 5-for-6 in the fourth quarter for 15 points and had 23 in the second half after recording 22 in the first half. Whose the best player in New York City?