Andray Blatche, Joe Johnson come up big, as Nets blow out the Knicks in The Garden, 103-80

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Broook-lyn, Broook-lyn.  The chant filled Madison Square Garden Monday afternoon as the Nets piled it on the Knicks. How sweet it was!

The Nets returned home from London to take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden for a MLK Day matinee. The good news for the Nets, prior to the game, was that their start point guard Deron Williams was ready to return to the lineup. He wasn't starting, as Jason Kidd wanted to ease him back into the rotation, but he did come off the bench with a 30-minute cap.

Last time these two teams played, the Nets lost by 30 points at home against a struggling Knicks teams. New York, however, entered the game riding a three-game losing streak, while Brooklyn had entered having won six of their last seven games. And, today, the Nets returned the favor, led by Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche, as they blew out the Knicks in front of their home crowd, 103-80.  At game's end, with the Knick fans exiting, the Brooook-lyn chant broke out in the upper level, engulfing the renovated Garden.

Even NBA.com took note...

Nets get off to a 14-10 lead, when Deron Williams checked in with 5-plus minutes remaining in the first. His first possession, he drive to the basket for a score. Shaun Livingston continued his strong play on both sides of the floor, turning a Raymond Felton blocked jumper into a fast break dunk.

Joe Johnson, once again, had another strong first quarter. He scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, hitting two threes. As a team they shot 52 percent in the first and carried a 27-16 lead after one. They forced the Knicks to turn the ball over seven times in the quarter.

Brooklyn did have trouble dropping some open looks early, especially from beyond the arc. They hit just 6-of-17. But Johnson continued to have the hot hand in the second quarter -- he scored 20 points in the half, the third time in the last four games.

“He’s been telling me: ‘Be ready. It’s coming to you early, every game,’ ” Johnson said of Jason Kidd. “It’s not necessarily for me to score, but if the double team doesn’t come, he knows I’ll make the right play. And early in games, when they do come, we’re making them pay, and guys just get wide-open shots.”

The Nets defense also stepped up, was really active. They held the Knicks to 33.3 percent shooting and forced 11 turnovers, carrying a 52-38 lead at the half.

The Nets continued to roll in the second half. The third wasn't necessarily a pretty quarter, but they still laid on the defensive effort and held the Knicks to just 17 points in the third. Brooklyn had a 14-point lead heading into the fourth, and Kidd was able to run Williams out there to start the quarter against the Knicks' second unit.

From there, the Nets built up a 21-point lead and put the game to rest. Blatche hit his open jumpers, Williams moved really, really well, Mirza Teletovic stretched the offense; it was great ball movement.

Williams finished with 13 points and three assists in 27 minutes, while Johnson had a team-high 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while Andray Blatche went for a double-double, 19 points and 12 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points for the Knicks.

The Toronto Raptors loss this afternoon moves the Nets to within 2.5 games of the Atlantic Division lead.

For more on the Knicks, see: Posting and Toasting

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