Knicks destroy listless Nets, 110-81

Maddie Meyer

Manhattan 2, Brooklyn 1.

Tuesday night at Barclays center was an emotional outing that capped a 30-12 run that saw the Nets go from the bottom of the Eastern Conference on New Year's Eve to clinching a playoff spot on April Fool's Day.

Wednesday night in Madison Square Garden saw them facing a rested, desperate team that was one game removed from the final playoff spot and possess no first round pick in this year's draft.

And it went about how one might expect it to go.

The Knicks scored 63 points and shot 69% in the first half against a flat Nets squad that left their defense and their intensity back in Brooklyn.

And even though the Nets turned up the defensive intensity in the third, they never got close enough to really scare the Knicks. An 8-0 home team run near the end of the quarter led to extended garbage time.

The Knicks were led by J.R. Smith, who showed his full skillset - shooting 9 for 16 for 27 points and adding 8 rebounds and 6 assists.  They also got a big contribution from Tim Hardaway, Jr., who put in 12 on 5-7 shooting and keyed the Knicks' initial run to the lead.  Amar'e Stoudemire was an early focus for the Knicks as well, and he came through with 13 points on only six shot attempts.

The only bad news for the Knicks was the possible loss of PG Raymond Felton, who took a scary third quarter fall on his right arm and shoulder that culminated in a sickening thud that echoed throughout the Garden.  However, even that turned out well for them as Felton returned in the fourth and seemed OK.

The Nets were led by nobody.  Deron Williams and Joe Johnson put up 12 and 16 respectively, but shot poorly.  Williams had zero of the Nets' 11 total assists.  The bench contributed only 36 points and that is with an entire quarter of garbage time and no starter playing more than 27 minutes.

MSG fans ended the game with a hearty "Brooklyn Sucks!" chant, which was accurate in regards to today's game but must have felt strange for some in the crowd as the Knicks remain 10 games under .500.

Next up for the Nets is a home date Friday with the Detroit Pistons and a Saturday trip to Philadelphia to take on the reeling 76ers.  They will be big favorites in both contests, and they will need to play well to gain back the ground they lost to the Toronto Raptors, who beat the Houston Rockets to go up by 2.5 games in the Atlantic Division.

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