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Nets destroyed by Knicks for third time of the season, 119-104

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

We take a moment to appreciate everything Dr. King did and hope it can still be applied today. In sports, we’re fortunate to call it a rivalry, not hate. In this case it was the Battle of the Boroughs, edition no. 3.

The Nets and Knicks matched up for the third time this season, with the Knicks taking both games in convincing fashion. So, why would anything change?

They destroyed the Nets in a one-sided battle, 119-104, Monday afternoon at Barclays Center. The Nets were climbing up the hill most of the game, but cut it to two entering the fourth. Then, the Knicks unleashed Porzingis in the fourth and it turned into a blowout.

The Knicks had lost six of seven entering Monday, while the Nets (16-28) have now lost five of the last six. Moreover, this was the second night of a back-to-back for the Knicks, who lost in overtime Sunday night. Their physicality was their biggest advantage and Kristaps Porzingis’ length forced Brooklyn to shoot frim deep. They hit only 36 percent from the field and 32 percent from three.

“They always play aggressive and pressure the ball, so I would just say that’s being more in control of us, and drives and people staying in space. They’re a big team,” Rondae Hollis-Jefferson said after the game.

Added Kenny Atkinson: “I thought they did a great job waiting for us at the rim on our drives. But we do have to do a better job of kicking it out. If they have two guys waiting for us at the rim, we have to make that extra pass. I think we’ve regressed in our ‘making the extra pass’ philosophy and against this team, that’s flood the rim all the time with two bigs, you have to make that extra pass.”

Porzingis finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. He’s averaged 23 points and 7 rebounds in three games against the Nets this season.

And don’t forget, the second game he left early with an injury.

“I thought they did a great job waiting for us at the rim on our drives,” said Kenny Atkinson after the game. “We do have to do a better job of kicking it out. If they have two guys waiting for us at the rim, we have to make that extra pass.”

The Knicks played the Nets well and forced them inside the paint early on. After starting the game 7-of-14 from the field, the Nets missed 24 of their next 29 shots, which allowed the Knicks to take a 12-point lead in the second quarter.

The Knicks led the Nets, 52-42, at half and forced Brooklyn to shoot just 32 percent from the field.

With Porzingis sitting most of the third with foul trouble, the Nets were able to capitalize a bit. New York went up 14 early in the third, but the Nets got it within two entering the fourth, following a 39-point quarter.

Brooklyn had all the momentum and it was on them to finish it out, which they failed to do. Just the opposite. The Knicks went on a 24-7 run in the first six minutes and increased their lead to 17, with 5:33 remaining.

They outscored the Nets 36-23 in the fourth.

And so, for the third straight time this season, the Knicks beat the Nets in convincing fashion. The blue and orange took over Barclays with, “LET’S GO KNICKS” chants in the final minutes.

It’s an expectation for Nets fans at this point. Knick fans have dominated the scene at Barclays with almost no exceptions since the move to Brooklyn.

The Knicks, on the other hand, shot 51 percent – 56 percent from 3-point. Michael Beasley came off the bench and put home 23 points and 10 rebounds.

For the Nets, DeMarre Carroll was one of few to show up, finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Caris LeVert chipped in 20 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson stayed solid with 16 points and six rebounds.

The Nets hoped their pace and space style could outlast New York’s length, which it didn’t. Quincy Acy hit three 3-pointers, but the rest of the team struggled all night. Spencer Dinwiddie shot 2-of-14 from the field and Allen Crabbe shot 1-of-7. That’s the starting backcourt right there.

As for Jahlil Okafor – he got ONE touch the entire game. He played a total of seven minutes.

Oh well.

APPRECIATION FOR MLK DAY

Along with wearing T-Shirts that say, “I have a dream,” several players wore shoes that said “Equality” on them, namely Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of the Nets.

Then, before the game, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a message for the fans. “Whoever you come across man, give them love, embrace them, show them you care.” He walked back to a fired-up Brooklyn Nets bench, as Hollis-Jefferson has embraced a big leadership role on and off the court for the team.

JOSEPH TSAI IN THE BUILDING

Brooklyn Nets (almost) part owner Joseph Tsai was in the building for his first crosstown rivalry. NetsDaily spotted him before the game.

The Brooklyn Nets still have not officially announced the 49 percent sale to Tsai. The Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire has agreed in principle to pay Mikhail Prokhorov $1.1 billion for the stake.

***

So, five losses in the last six games and they haven’t felt good. It’s the second blowout in the last week surrounded by games that ended in heartbreak. Sometimes the matchups don’t work in Brooklyn’s favor, but... no excuses.

For a different perspective, head on over to Toasting and Posting.