Hello Carmelo. You're good at basketball. Thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game, if not The Brooklyn Nets. Keep letting us do this thing and help us out by picking up a short-sleeved tee at The Brooklyn Game Store. Your support keeps us going and keeps you fresh.
Here's a roundup of last night's Nets festivities.
What happened: Bad things. On the second half of a back-to-back, the Nets lost to the New York Knicks in a 110-81 blowout that was over by the end of the third quarter.
Where they stand: The night couldn't have gone worse for Brooklyn in the standings: their loss, coupled with wins by the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls, puts them in a tough position to move any higher than the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. They're now 2.5 games behind both with just eight games left to play.
Meanwhile, the Knicks win, coupled with a loss by the Atlanta Hawks to the Bulls, pulls the Knicks to a tie with the Hawks for the eighth playoff spot.
That Was... Awful. Terrible. Disgusting. Rancid. The Nets played like it was 2013 again, with little ball movement, a lot of standing around, and an isolation-heavy offense that relied on one player to create instead of five players to synergize. The crowd chanted "Brooklyn Sucks!" in the fourth quarter, to no resistance.
The Knicks took advantage of some sluggish Nets offense and defense, hitting a flurry of three-pointers to close the first quarter and capping it with a Tim Hardaway corner 3 as time expired. In the second quarter, the Knicks remembered that Tyson Chandler can out-jump everyone in Brooklyn, running him inside and abusing some poor rebounding and help defense inside.
The Knicks kept the party rolling in the third and fourth quarters, and other than a brief run that cut the Knicks lead to 14 points in the third quarter, the Nets never stood a chance.
Game Grades: Read 'em here.
It didn't start out all bad:
This was an early favorite for my favorite moment of the day, until the Knicks swallowed Brooklyn whole. The ball gets loose near halfcourt, Deron Williams retrieves it, and the Knicks just gift him the shot. They run away like two court jesters shooed by the king.
My Thoughts At The Half: Why am I here? Why are any of us here?
The first half was so bad that... Jason Kidd and Joe Johnson both got called for technical fouls. Yes, Jason Kidd, who had yet to draw a technical foul this season, and Joe Johnson, who hasn't spoken above a mumbling whisper all season, both drew enough of officiating ire to get them T'd up.
Johnson's was especially interesting: it came right at the end of the first half as both teams exited the court, meaning Carmelo Anthony had to shoot the technical after halftime.
Even weirder: according to Johnson, the referees reviewed the call at halftime, recognized the call as a mistake, and apologized to Johnson for the bad call. But Anthony still shot the free throw.
Deron Williams, when asked about the officiating: "Come on, man. You guys want my money gone?"
Dick "Cal Ripken" Bavetta: Legendary NBA referee Dick Bavetta called his 2,633rd consecutive game, a milestone worthy of a pre-game announcement and an award from NBA VP of basketball operations Rod Thorn.
Shortly after the game started, Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz hit his 432nd home run, passing Ripken for 45th on the all-time list. Just a bad day for Cal Ripken records. (You know, if you count refereeing as "playing.")
This moment came at the end of the third quarter, all but sealing the win for New York. Alan Anderson released a pull-up jumper well after the buzzer, and Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler tag-team-taunted him: Anthony swatted away his shot at the rim, and Chandler clapped in his face as both teams retreated to their benches.
The block-at-the-rim tactic is a classic Kevin Garnett move, but the Nets were without Garnett for the 18th straight game as Garnett recovers from back spasms.
That's the first-half shot chart for the Knicks, who got 13 attempts from within five feet (which is bad) and hit all 13 of them (which is worse). The Knicks finished 19-23 from within 5 feet.
Injury notes: Jason Kidd said Andrei Kirilenko is feeling better and has not been ruled out for Friday's game. Paul Pierce said he "knows" that Kevin Garnett is feeling a lot better. He's slated to come back next week.
In attendance: Phil Jackson, Howie Mandel, Alec Baldwin, Biz Markie (seeing both games of the Nets back-to-back) Victor Cruz, Nick Cannon. Which reminds me...
Why Nick Cannon Got Booed Like Hell: At halftime, Madison Square Garden brought out none other than Nick Cannon, who was filming a scene for America's Got Talent where he throws the ball over his head and backwards from 79 feet away at the opposing foul like and swishes the shot. Of course, he doesn't swish it -- there's a person on the other side who makes a short shot right after Nick Cannon throws the ball over his head, and they splice it together with TV magic. Except TV magic isn't quite magical, because they had to shoot it three times.
This led to the best moment of the night: Knicks fans booing the living snot out of Nick Cannon. The crowd tore into him with loud vigor and anger, and though he pretended to like it, he was clearly rattled by the vitriol. Well done, Knicks fans.
Next up: The Nets take on the Detroit Pistons at home Friday.