On Tuesday night, the Nets were defeated by the New York Knicks by a final score of 100-97.
The Skinny: The Nets started the game red hot from the field, making nine of their first 11 shots to open a 21-5 lead. Though he picked up two early fouls, Andray Blatche couldn’t miss in the opening quarter, scoring 12 points in less than eight minutes of action. Reggie Evans was active on the glass, grabbing nine rebounds in the quarter. Brooklyn’s interior defense stifled any potential Knicks’ attack, though Carmelo Anthony scored eight of the Knicks’ first 11 points. New York went on a 7-0 run late in the quarter, but the Nets still led by 14 after one.
MarShon Brooks kept up the Nets’ offensive pace to start the second quarter, pouring in seven points in first six minutes. Melo re-entered the game and continued his hot shooting, hitting on back-to-back three-pointers to cut the deficit to 11. An 18-6 extended Knicks’ run made this a four-point game at the break, as the Nets’ defense began breaking down. Melo had 22 points in the first half.
A Jason Kidd three-pointer and Raymond Felton jumper to start the third quarter gave the Knicks their first lead of the game. The teams traded buckets, but Deron Williams took over the game offensively to help the Nets go back up by 10. The Knicks kept chipping away as the quarter came to a close with the Nets up five.
J.R. Smith was on fire to start the fourth, as the Knicks gradually kept cutting into the lead. Melo made a huge three to cut the lead on one, and Kidd drained a three to tie the game at 91 with just fewer than four minutes to play. Blatche was then called for offensive goaltending, and at the other end, Melo tipped in his own missed layup to give the Knicks a two-point lead – their largest of the game to that point.
After a Williams free-throw, Gerald Wallace hit 1-of-2 free throws and then suffered a knee-on-knee collision with Smith. He stayed in the game and, following a Melo jumper at the other end, tipped in a Williams miss to tie the game again. A few possessions later, Kidd drilled a clutch three and was fouled but missed the free-throw. The Nets had a chance to tie, but Wallace and Williams missed late threes to end the game.
High Scorers: Anthony led all scorers with 45 points on 15-of-24 shooting. For the Nets, Blatche led the way with 23 points on 9-of-13 from the field.
Key Stats: The Nets outshot the Knicks from the field (53 to 46 percent), but the Knicks made 50 percent of their three-point attempts (14-of-28) compared to 22 percent (4-of-18) for the Nets.
Who Was Hot: Kidd shot 6-of-8 from three-point land, accounting for all 18 of his points. Smith added 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting off the bench. Williams finished with a double-double (18 points and 10 assists), and Evans pulled down a game-high and season-high 18 rebounds. Wallace hit 5-of-8 shots and 7-of-8 free-throws for 17 points.
Who Was Not: Tyson Chandler was in foul trouble all game, finishing with just five points and seven rebounds. Felton alone accounted for seven of the Knicks’ 10 turnovers. Jerry Stackhouse, who had been shooting lights out from three, took only one shot in 21 minutes and was held scoreless.
Fun Fact: The Knicks are now 86-83 all time against the Nets, but the 83 Nets’ wins are the most against any opponent in team history.
Jim Mancari, ContributorThis one hurts badly.
Leading by 17 in the first quarter, the Nets had this game in their control, and the defense looked great. But Brooklyn’s defense just collapsed, especially the perimeter defense in defending three-pointers.
Melo was off the hook in this one. He’s now scored 80 points in two games at Barclays Center. The last time a Nets’ opponent scored 40-plus points was back on March 13, 2010, when Luis Scola dropped in 44 for the Houston Rockets.
How fitting that Kidd makes the huge shot in the huge spot against his old team? The Nets’ losing streak is now five games, and the “Battle of the Boroughs” sits at one apiece.
Since the Nets beat the Knicks back on Nov. 26, Brooklyn is just 2-5, while the Knicks are 7-1 in that span.
Brook Lopez wasn’t necessarily missed, as the Nets won the battle in the paint. But the perimeter defense must improve for the Nets to get back on track.
Again, this is a brutal loss, but luckily Brooklyn (11-9) gets a chance to recover quickly as the teamheads north of the border Wednesday night to take on the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. The 7 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.