For the first time in history, the New York Knicks hosted a game against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks and Nets have faced off with each other twice this season, but both of those games were held at the Barclays Center. New York has gone 1-1 against Nets since the move to Brooklyn and both of those games have been closely contested.
Carmelo Anthony and his Knicks welcomed the Nets to the world’s most famous arena and the New York fans were ready to cheer on the city’s “original” team.
The Knicks and Nets went back and forth in the opening quarter and neither team was able to put together a meaningful run. The Knicks and Nets matched each other’s points and it looked like the game would remain fairly close for the entire 48 minutes. Still, the shooting percentages for both teams was quite low and the offenses were not running smoothly.
Even though the quarter was closely contested, that doesn’t mean the teams were playing their best on the offensive end. At the 3:09 mark of the quarter, the Knicks held a 17-14 lead on 39 percent shooting, whereas the Nets shot 25 percent at that point.
The Knicks closed out the period well and Raymond Felton headed back to the bench after scoring on consecutive possessions. After 12 minutes of play, the Knicks held a 26-23 lead after a contested quarter with eight lead changes. Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton led the Knicks with eight points each and they were doing a nice job pressing the Nets on defense.
The opening part of the second quarter wasn’t much different than the first quarter, as the Knicks and Nets traded baskets. The defense in the game was quite impressive and that had a major impact on the low shooting percentages. Nevertheless, neither team could create separation and the Knicks and Nets remained neck-and-neck.
J.R. Smith did a nice job carrying the Knicks in the second quarter and with Anthony on the bench, they needed him to produce on both ends of the court. With 7:20 left in the half, the Knicks had a mere 37-36 advantage.
The Nets went on an 8-0 run in the second period led by Joe Johnson, but the Knicks responded very well and put together a run of their own. It seemed like the Nets would develop a cushion heading into half-time, but New York did not let the Johnson outburst drain their momentum.
Through two quarters, the Knicks held a 52-48 advantage after their strong final minutes of the second period. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 17 points, and as a team the Knicks shot 48 percent from the field.
The Nets came out of the locker-room focused and they played well in the opening part of the period. The Knicks were on the verge of expanding their half-time lead, but the Nets fought to gain back the momentum. Joe Johnson continued with his hot hand and the Knicks had trouble limiting him on the offensive end.
Deron Williams was also hurting the Knicks with his skill-set as he was able to create easy shots for himself and his teammates. At the 6:42 mark of the period, Williams had nine early points and the Nets were up 61-57.
However, the Knicks got their act together after the timeout and the eventually regained the lead thanks to some incredible defensive possessions. New York relied on the three-point shot to erase the deficit and the Garden crowd never let the team get down or become uninspired. With 4:54 left in the third, the Knicks were up 62-61.
Heading into the final period, the Knicks took complete control of the game and went on an 18-6 run to open up a 75-67 advantage. Tyson Chandler dominated the paint for the Knicks and his incredible play allowed New York to claim the largest lead of the game.
The Knicks continued with their stellar play in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter and momentum was completely on their side. The Nets had no answer for New York’s outburst and the Garden crowd erupted after Smith gave the Knicks a 12 point lead at the 9:06 mark.
Brooklyn did make the game interesting and its three-point shooting allowed the team to remain in striking distance. However, the Knicks were not willing to relinquish their large advantage and they made plenty of timely baskets. Carmelo Anthony was reinserted into the game at the mid-way point of the quarter, and he was determined to guide the Knicks to victory.
The Knicks kept their foot on the gas pedal and there was no loss of focus on their part. Brooklyn was never able to get back into the game and New York dominated the final period.
As the final buzzer rang, the Knicks walked off the court victors, 100-86. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 31 points, followed by J.R. Smith with 19 points and Tyson Chandler with 16 points. As a team, the Knicks hit 11 three-pointers and shot 46 percent from the field.