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Melo, Porzingis too much for Brooklyn in Battle of Boroughs: 110-96

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Did you have a tough day? Well, the Nets did too.

After declaring Isaiah Whitehead out with a concussion and dropping Grevis Vasquez because of persistent ankle woes, the Nets were left without an experienced point guard heading into their crosstown rival game with the Knicks. Jeremy Lin had already been deemed out at least two weeks with a strained hamstring.

ESPN televised the game,hoping for Lin’s return to the Garden, but they left like the Nets: disappointed.

They played well in the first half, but that was about it. The Knicks (3-4) defeated the Nets (3-5), 110-96, Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Nets came out firing like usual. They held a 14-point lead in the first half and controlled the tempo behind Brook Lopez (21 points) and Justin Hamilton (21 points, 5-of-7 3-pt). The five 3-pointers are a career-high for Hamilton.

Then the third quarter woes happened.

And so did Carmelo Anthony.

After shooting just 3-of-11 in the first half, Carmelo scored 14 straight points to put the Knicks up by one heading into the fourth quarter. He finished with a game-high 22 points. The Nets on the other hand, shot 3-of-19 and scored 16 points in the quarter.

The Knicks went on a 20-7 extended run from the end of the third quarter into the fourth and found its largest lead of the night at 14, then later 18. Kristaps Porzingis (21 points, 8 rebounds) feasted on the Nets every time they doubled the high pick and roll.

That’s when things got ugly. They were outscored 38-25 in the fourth quarter.

“Give them credit,” Kenny Atkinson said after the loss. “I thought Carmelo (Anthony) got going there. I thought their bench came in and got into us. We couldn’t stop them. Credit to their defense and energy. I thought our defense wasn’t bad except for that fourth quarter.”

The Nets live and die by the three. After nailing five 3-pointers in the first quarter, they finished the game just 6-of-22 from deep.

The Knicks on the other hand, shot 48 percent from the field compared to the Nets’ 41 percent. To make matters worse, Brooklyn had 19 assists and 18 turnovers.

The expectations weren’t very high coming into the game. Their backs were against the wall with the point guard debacle, along with playing the second night of a back to back. Growing pains are going to happen.

This will be the first game of a five-game road trip for a young Nets team.

Again, expectations aren’t very high. But if they finished games the way they start them, they might be a much more respectable team. Excluding Chicago, the five losses have all been winnable games… until the third quarter.

“We went away from what we know,” Sean Kilpatrick said after the loss. “We didn’t share the ball. The first half we did a great job sharing the ball. As soon as we got sped up, the ball was sticking a lot more.”

Kilpatrick also said the “mindset” has to be a lot different when playing point, and that it’s been an adjustment for him to make the correct decisions. Yogi Ferrell, signed as a back-up point guard earlier in the day, scored five points and handed out three assists in 14 minutes in his NBA debut.

They’ll have a chance to redeem themselves Saturday at Phoenix.