On Monday afternoon at Madison Square Garden the Knicks (25-14) were defeated by the Brooklyn Nets (25-16) by the score of 88-85. Box Score
Amar’e Stoudemire scored 15 points off the bench on 6-10 shooting with six rebounds. The Knicks bench only scored 31 points with Stoudemire and J.R. Smith (16 Points) being the only ones who scored.
Joe Johnson led the Nets in scoring with 25 points on 8-20 shooting from the field. Johnson also had five assists and three rebounds. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez each scored 14 points and had double-doubles with Williams having 12 assists and Lopez grabbing 11 rebounds.
Kris Humphries off the bench had a double-double as well with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Iman Shumpert played 20 minutes in his second game back from injury only scoring 2 points on 1-6 from the floor with four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
The Knicks were only 6-21 (29%) from three while the Nets were 12-24 (50%)
The Knicks had only 5 turnovers while the Nets had 19 rebounds. But the Nets out-rebounded the Knicks 52-37
The Knicks are now 4-6 in their last 10 games at home after starting the season 10-0.
The Knicks and Nets split the season series 2-2 and were only separated by seven points over that stretch.
The Knicks now only lead the Nets by one game in the Atlantic Division.
The Knicks record on Martin Luther King Day is now 18-8.
Well, this is a tough one to really go over because I really don’t think either team deserved to win this game. It was an ugly game with each team going through stretches of poor play, missed shots and plenty of mistakes. The Knicks looked like they lacked intensity for most of the game and almost just expected to turn it on when they felt like it and would be able to win. The Nets in the third quarter and for the final six minutes of the fourth tried their best to give the game away and in the end, the Knicks couldn’t take advantage.
The Knicks have played four teams, the Celtics, Pacers, Bulls and now the Nets the past two weeks, which could be teams they see in the playoffs and have not looked that good against them, losing each game. I’m of the opinion that no game is a must win unless it means being eliminated from the playoffs or playoff contention, but the game in Boston on Thursday looms pretty large right now.
- As Al Trautwig said during the post game on MSG, even great closers like Mariano Rivera can’t seal the deal sometimes and today was not Carmelo’s day. He was 0-6 in the fourth quarter and was off on his shot that would have given the Knicks the lead after the Nets went ahead on Joe Johnson’s shot. He did hit a couple of free throws to give the Knicks the lead with 40 seconds left, but unfortunately, that is mostly a side note now. 29 shots to get to 29 points is not a good day when you really think about it, and when the Knicks needed him with the offense not producing in the fourth, he could not come through. Now, this loss is not on Melo, but he picked a bad day to have a poor fourth quarter.
- Amar’e looked pretty good today and is certainly getting his game back as each game goes by. The one issue today was his defense at the Center spot, which was pretty horrendous to say the least. I’m sure it will improve as he plays more, but considering the improvement means going from horrendous to just bad, it may not be noticeable. His offense though is getting there and he even used some of his new post moves to get some looks at the rim. Amar’e is still rounding into form, but his game is still a little bit away from being at 100%.
- Sometimes, you don’t know what you got till its gone, and without Raymond Felton running the point, the Knicks are now 5-6. Now, I was certainly on board with having him sit after the Christmas day game against the Lakers, but the Knicks really need him back soon. Jason Kidd, who did a solid job defensively, is playing ok, but the lack of penetration from the guards hurts the offense and the ball movement stops more often because of that. Felton is also an option on offense where at times it only seems like Melo and J.R. Smith are the ones shooting. Felton coming back also re-shuffles the deck a bit in terms of putting players in spots they feel more comfortable in.
- Well, at least for the Nets sake, Joe Johnson decided to actually show up against the Knicks this season. He did take a bit of a sabbatical in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but opened the game and closed the game as the Nets best player. The Nets trailed 75-72 in the fourth and then went on an 11-2 run that really hurt the Knicks. Johnson was the catalyst hitting a couple of big threes in that stretch and it seemed to flip the game around after the Knicks looked close to taking the game over for good in the third and early fourth. Don’t look now, but the Nets are now only a game behind the Knicks and are playing better now that Avery Johnson was let go, going 11-2 since then.
The Knicks and the Nets played three entertaining games this season and have a rivalry that has room to grow. To play four games and be only separated by seven points is a good way to get the blood flowing among the Fans. If they meet in the playoffs, it will take it to another level, but that needs to happen first before you can definitely say we have a full blown rivalry on our hands.
What is a rivalry is Knicks-Celtics and after the first game those two teams played, the second chapter of this series this season, this time in Boston, could be as intense as it gets for a game in January. Like I mentioned earlier, this game is pretty important for the Knicks and a win in Boston would be great for their confidence and give them momentum after stumbling a bit today. The Knicks 18-5 start afforded them the opportunity to have a stretch where they struggle without paying for it too much. But, if the struggles continue, then things can get a little dicey as we head towards the All-Star break.
Coming up next, the Knicks will have two days off to prepare before another Atlantic Division battle, with revenge on their minds, against Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics. The game will begin at 8:00 pm on Thursday and will be shown on TNT.