BROOKLYN, N.Y. — During the inaugural year in Brooklyn, the Nets and Knicks were set to open up the Barclays Center. That was up until Hurricane Sandy hit and postponed the game to a later date. Five years later, both teams are below .500 with the Knicks holding onto playoff hopes and the Nets simply hoping to get a win.
Call it a perfect storm.
Regardless of what you might call, perhaps an omen, Nets and Knicks remains a special rivalry game between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The two teams faced off and boy was it ugly. The Knicks (22-29) extended the Nets (9-40) losing streak to seven, 95-90, Wednesday night at Barclays. FINALLY the Nets gave a gritty, gritty defensive effort, but like usual they collapsed late in the game.
“They picked up their intensity, picked up their heat, picked up their heat on the ball,” Kenny Atkinson said of the fourth quarter. “It’s tough to give any team in the NBA multiple shots at the rim, multiple possessions, and so I think that’s the story of the game really, story of the fourth quarter — us turning it over, and then not being able to control the defensive boards.
“I’d say we’re off-Broadway right now, and we’re trying to get on,” Atkinson added. “We know it’s a long road and a difficult road, but we’re trying to get in that conversation, in the New York conversation.”
They held the Knicks to season-lows through the first three quarters, but surrendered 31 points in the fourth quarter while scoring only 21. Believe it or not, the key to their loss was STOPPING Carmelo Anthony.
That doesn't make sense, right?
Well, he was 6-of-22 through three quarters when Knicks Coach Jeff Hornacek decided to bench him for the fourth. It helped the Knicks and their offense, namely guys like Kristaps Porzingis who scored 12 in the final frame. As a team, they shot 11-of-22 in the fourth.
It was just two games ago that Kenny Atkinson emphasized the importance of increasing the defensive intensity and potentially adjusting some rotations.
The Nets may not have snapped their losing streak, but they snapped their 24-game streak of allowing opponents to score 100 or more points, dating back to December 14.
Here it is. Read at your own risk…
What a start for the Nets. They came out inspired and held the Knicks to a season-low 15-first quarter points and led 27-15. They carried the effort and finished the half strong, containing the Knicks to another season-low 38 points in the first half. The Knicks shot just 29.8 percent and Anthony was 3-of-12 from the field.
It was an ugly, ugly first half as both teams committed 10 turnovers each, but the Nets led, 45-38, behind 10 points from Caris LeVert.
The issue all season has been sustainability. We’ve seen the Nets play well in the first half of games, but finishing has been the issue.
This time, the Nets looked like they could pull this one out. They held the Knicks to another season-low 64 points through three quarters and led 69-64. They eventually led 76-66, but the Knicks answered with a 16-2 run and took its first lead of the night with 5:42 left in the game (82-78).
It was a typical Nets game: play well in the first half, but collapse down the stretch.
“We played together,” Rondae Hollis-Jefferson said of the third quarter. “We played smart basketball. We were poised. We were in control at the end of the day and I felt like that’s what we needed and it just helped.”
But on the fourth quarter...
“We could’ve done a better job of coming together, staying poised and doing what we did in the third quarter.”
Meanwhile, Anthony, who was 6-of-22 through three quarters, sat the entire fourth quarter and the Knicks were better from it. They outscored the Nets 30-21 in the fourth. Kristaps Porzingis (19 points, 12 rebounds) hit the dagger to go up by six with 30 seconds left.
The Nets turned the ball over 21 times, which led to 27 points for the Knickerbockers. Along with that, they shot an ugly 5-of-25 from deep and 7-of-24 in the fourth quarter.
Not to mention, Brook Lopez was held to one point in the final frame. Like I said, typical Nets game.
Hollis-Jefferson played his heart out but had four turnovers and committed five personals. He finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Trevor Booker chipped in 12 and eight and LeVert 10.
“Listen, we were 1-15 in January. I felt like we needed to make a change.”
The Nets have lost way too many games like this. Blame it on what you’d like, but they need a leader down the stretch. I think that guy has been in a suit for quite a while...
For postgame audio, click HERE.
Next up: Indiana Pacers @ home this Friday.
- Box Score: New York Knicks 95, Brooklyn Nets 90 - NBA.com
- Highlights: Knicks vs. Nets (Video) - NBA.com
- Porzingis with clutch three (Video) - NBA.com
- Porzingis flushes (Video) - NBA.com
- Vujacic hits plus one (Video) - NBA.com
- LeVert hits the floater (Video) - NBA.com
- Lopez throws it down (Video) - NBA.com
- Vujacic’s four-point play (Video) - NBA.com
- Defense leads to offense (Video) - NBA.com
- Bogdanovic scores plus one (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: NYK at BKN - Bob Lorenz - YES Network
- Atkinson before game vs. Knicks (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson on tough loss to Knicks (Video) - YES Network
- Porzingis, subs rally Knicks to 95-90 victory over Nets - Briaan Mahoney - AP
- Knicks Subdue Last-Place Nets for a Needed Win - Mike Vorkunov - New York Times
- Carmelo benched in fourth as Knicks barely beat pitiful Nets - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- The Knicks dominated ‘off-Broadway’ Nets in one key area - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Why Nets’ Kenny Atkinson made good on this threat - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Knicks dominate ‘off-Broadway’ Nets on the glass - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- This game shows harsh reality of pro basketball in New York City - Mike Vaccaro - New York Post
- ‘I wasn’t shaking anymore’: Kristaps Porzingis comes up big - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Cavaliers interested in Carmelo — but not for Kevin Love - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks bench key comeback win over Nets - Laura Albanese - Newsday
- Nets deliver on defense . . . until Knicks run away in fourth quarter - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Kristaps Porzingis returns from illness to rally Knicks - Al Iannazzone - Newsday
- Knicks still trying to deal Carmelo Anthony for Kevin Love, report says - Al Iannazzone - Newsday
- Kristaps Porzingis' triumphant return to Knicks was much needed - John Healy - New York Daily News
- Willy Hernangomez continues to prove worth with another strong effort for Knicks - John Healy - New York Daily News
- Kristaps Porzingis comes up big as Carmelo Anthony sits late in Knicks’ 95-90 win over Nets - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Bench lifts weary Knicks to win over Nets - Steve Popper - The Record
- Latest turn for Carmelo Anthony is cheering during the fourth quarter - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN
- Knicks-Nets, A Tale Of 2 Boroughs With Flawed Priorities - Steve Lichtenstein - WFAN
- Promise, optimism, and another late-game loss for Nets against rival Knicks (Game Grades) - Benny Nadeau - The Brooklyn Game
- Knicks win the fourth, top Nets 95-90 - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Gallery: Nets vs. Knicks - Nathaniel S. Butler - Brooklyn Nets