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The Hangover: Nets hand Knicks first win with 107-86 loss at MSG

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Back to reality.

Call it a hangover, call it a humbling loss... call it whatever you’d like. The Nets were dominated by the Knicks in every aspect of the game, 107-86, Friday night at MSG. The Nets came off a thrilling 112-107 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and hoped the momentum would carry over, but it was actually quite the opposite.

“We have to play better and we have to handle success a little better,” Kenny Atkinson said. “That is the next step for this team. We have good leaders. We will bounce back.”

“They basically just kicked our butt, said DeMarre Carroll. “They threw it up at the goal, knocked us out the way and got the rebound.”

Brooklyn looked out of sync early, turning the ball over 11 times to just seven assists in the first half. Zero players were in double figures, while Kristaps Porzingis was dominating with 14 points. The Nets scored 14 points in the second quarter, the lowest they’ve scored in a quarter through six games thus far.

Things only got uglier.

The Knicks turned a 47-42 halftime lead into a 17-point lead entering the fourth. They scored 36 points in the third quarter and simply dominated the Nets in every aspect of the game. The Nets trailed by double digits the rest of the way and never really made a game of it.

The Nets didn’t look like themselves one bit. The defense has been atrocious in all six games, but the putrid offense was the surprise. There was very little off-ball movement, which led to a ton of forced shots. There was essentially no penetration from anybody, which made it tougher to find open looks from the perimeter. Allen Crabbe attempted only two shots, for example. They failed to do the simple, fundamental things like box out and as a result, they were out-rebounded 55-34 on the night.

“It’s basic. Once you beat a good team like Cleveland, you gotta come back out and put the same effort you put against Cleveland the next night and I don’t think we did that tonight,” Carroll told reporters after the game. “One through 15 nobody did it, so at the end of the day we gotta look in the mirror and say, ‘hey we gotta do better.’”

He continued...

“We weren’t moving the ball, but that wasn’t what beat us. Offensive glass, defense, easy layups, out-running us… they were just the more aggressive team.”

The Nets coughed up the ball 16 times and dished out only 18 assists. The starting lineup only had three, D’Angelo Russell only one! Spencer Dinwiddie had 11 of them, a new career-high.

If we’ve seen anything from the Nets this season, it’s that they compete and play their game. For a team that ranks first in pace, this was an awfully slow game.

Give credit to the Knicks. Porzingis dominated them with 30 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes. Four other players finished in double figures.

“[Kristaps] Porzingis is a great player. We were porous in the post against [Enes] Kanter. We were porous in the post with Porzingis. When they did miss, we couldn’t get the rebound,” said Atkinson.

For Brooklyn, Russell was back in the lineup after missing the last game with a right knee strain. He led the team with 15 points in 18 minutes. Quincy Acy scored 12 points and nailed a career-high four 3-pointers on the night.

“As a team we went away from what we do,” Russell said. “We didn’t move the ball.”

***

The Brooklyn Nets have not been two games above .500 since November of 2014. They’re now 3-3 with a game Sunday at home against the Denver Nuggets. Brooklyn is 3-0 at home, 0-3 away. The Knicks, meanwhile, won their first game of the season.

It’s early, again, but it appears this team plays to the competition. They will win games they have ‘no business’ winning, and they will lose games that they simply shouldn’t lose. Like Friday.

STRUGGLE FOR STARTERS

Brooklyn’s starters had their worst game of the young season, totaling eight turnovers and just three assists on 14-of-35 shooting. Russell was the only player in double figures, followed up by Caris LeVert who scored seven points on 2-of-8 shooting.

For a different perspective on the game, go to Posting and Toasting, SB Nation’s Knicks blog

Next Up: Sunday vs. the Nuggets at Barclays Center. 6 p.m. start