So much for a close borough battle. After an ugly start, the Nets buried the Knicks, firing from long range to push the lead in the second and third quarters and kept the Knicks at bay throughout the entire second half. The Nets forced the Knicks into bad shots (or, at the very least, the Knicks shot themselves in the foot with confused offense), spread the floor with nearly impeccable efficiency, and dropped a season-high in three-pointers without many contested looks.
There weren’t as many expectations heading into this game, and the Knicks did nothing to suggest that these two teams belong in the same conversation. This game wasn’t as close as the score might indicate, and the Nets still won by double digits. Even if you don’t buy the cross-town rivalry stuff, this is how you take care of a rival on your home court: dominate early and never give them a shot to recover.
The stats: 20 PTS, 6-10 FG, 8-10 FT, 9 REB
Ugly and effective is still effective. Came out with an impressive start after Wednesday night’s stinker, getting good position inside and drawing fouls. Left the game with a game-high nine rebounds, though that was a bit inflated by him corralling his own missed shots. Nonetheless, this is the kind of game Lopez needs to have on a nightly basis at a minimum for the Nets to succeed in the Eastern Conference.