The Garden was a sight for sore eyes on Tuesday night as the Knicks grabbed a win and sweep the season series against the Nets, assisted by a career-high six three-pointers made by Porzingis and a monster game on the glass by Kanter.
The New York Knicks (23–28) returned home this evening after a shaky road trip and came out guns blazin’ en route to a convincing 111–95 win over the crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets. Three of this seasons four victories against Brooklyn were by 15+ points and the win tonight caps off the Knicks’ season sweep of the Nets, their first since the 2010–11 season, when the Nets still played in New Jersey. An all-around terrific performance from the Knicks had Plaxico Burress, Tracy Morgan, and the rest of the MSG crowd on hand enjoying the victory.
No Net eclipsed the 13-point mark this evening as New York was able to do an excellent job containing Spencer Dinwiddie, holding him to only 11 points. D’Angelo Russell wasn’t much of a factor either, as he looked completely off of his game in only his fifth game back from an extended absence due to a knee injury. Taking care of business against teams New York should beat is going to be a major deciding factor if the Knicks make the playoffs this year. The Nets fall under that category of an inferior team, so it was refreshing to see the Knicks come out strong and prove who the better team was. Hopefully this can continue, and Jeff Hornacek and his squad can take advantage of a weak Eastern Conference to propel them back into the playoff picture.
Coming up BIG
The Knicks’ main bigs came up huge tonight and were able to set the tone early for a quality victory over the Nets. KP led the Knicks onslaught with 28 points, including a staggering 6-of-8 from behind the arc. Porzingis’ All-Star season continues, and he seems to have slowly but surely broken out of the slump he endured over the last month or two. Michael Beasley put in work, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds off the bench in another efficient and quality performance from your favorite player’s favorite player.
Last but not least, Enes Kanter was the man of the night, posting one of the best Knicks stat lines we’ve seen in recent memory. 20 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks for the big man in an absolutely stellar performance. Kanter was exceptionally active and locked in from start to finish, leading the charge both offensively and even defensively. Kanter has been an excellent fit here and seems to have found his comfort zone playing for the Knicks. We even saw him run the point on fast breaks this game and jokingly compare himself to Magic Johnson in a postgame interview with Rebecca Haarlow.
It’s this kind of night. Kanter coast-to-coast pic.twitter.com/mKpadvHE4Y
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) January 31, 2018
Say what you want about Enes Kanter; he trolls too much on Twitter, he is one of the worst pick-and-roll defenders in the league, whatever type of criticisms you can muster. He isn’t a perfect player by any stretch, but what you always get from Kanter is consistent production, a love for the game, and maximum energy on a nightly basis, something we haven’t seen from a lot of players to pass through New York.
Value of Courtney Lee
You wouldn’t be able to accurately gage the impact Courtney Lee had on this game tonight by looking at the stat sheet. In fact, his stats were kind of ordinary (12 points, 3-of-10 from the floor). However, watching tonight’s game you could see how vital Lee is to the Knicks’ success. As the Nets were making a late third and early fourth quarter push to cut the lead to 12, Lee drained a three to stop Brooklyn’s momentum, which marked a small but significant turning point in the game.
On a larger scale, Lee never seems to miss a free-throw and is always mentoring the younger guys like an extension of Hornacek on the floor. Lee is statistically having the best year of his career and his contributions are going largely unnoticed. Lee’s veteran impact, as well as his excellent intangible leadership qualities, have been tremendously beneficial for the organization and is something he needs to begin to receive more credit for.
The Knicks are back in action tomorrow night against Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum at the TD Garden against the 36–15 Boston Celtics.