Even a New York Knicks team that lost a 19-point lead the night before and has dropped four of its last five games was too much for the Nets to handle. In a matinee Martin Luther King Jr. Day matchup, the Knicks improved to 3-0 against the Nets this season with a 119-104 win at Barclays Center.
The Knicks have Brooklyn’s number, and the Nets have not been able to touch their crosstown rivals yet this season.
From the start, this was a game where Brooklyn’s frontcourt dominated. DeMarre Carroll, who put up 22 points and seven rebounds in the game, set his tone and versatility early with a drive to the rim and three-point shot. In addition, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made things happen with his 16 points and six rebounds.
With the guards struggling, the Nets failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities that came their way. A dismal showing from the three-point line with 34.4 percent shooting (11-of-32) left no room for error, and Brooklyn struggled with finishing shots inside as well. After scoring just 42 first-half points, the Nets continued to search for answers.
Trailing by as many as 21 points during the game, the Nets seemed most likely to break through when they came within two points at the end of the third quarter. While the third quarter was played at a snail’s pace and included 36 combined free throw attempts, Caris LeVert helped boost the Nets by scoring five straight points in a 39-point third quarter for Brooklyn that brought some welcomed momentum. Carroll ended the quarter by hitting a buzzer beater to cut the deficit to two, seemingly setting up for a competitive fourth quarter.
From there, though, the Knicks took complete control. The fourth quarter quickly became Brooklyn’s headache as the Knicks went on an 11-0 run and ended up out-scoring Brooklyn 36-23 in the final frame. Hope dwindled quickly for a Nets team that did not show much life all game.
Almost all of New York’s production in the fourth quarter came from its bench, an area in which Brooklyn usually holds the strong suit. Michael Beasley came alive for the Knicks in the fourth quarter, putting up 23 of the Knicks’ 70 (!) total bench points compared to Brooklyn’s 47.
Overall, the Nets shot 36.8 percent (32-of-87) from the field compared to New York’s 51.2 percent, with many of the misses coming from Brooklyn’s guards and poor shot selection found all over the court. Spencer Dinwiddie shot 2-of-14 on the night and Allen Crabbe shot 1-of-7. Kristaps Porzingis, meanwhile, put up a strong game with 26 points and nine rebounds.
It was an uneventful evening for a Nets team that has lost five of its last six games and still has not notched a divisional win (0-8).
The Nets get two nights off before returning to the court Wednesday night to face the San Antonio Spurs at home. If that turns out to be D’Angelo Russell’s first game back from injury, it could not come at a better time.
The stats: 22 PTS, 6-13 FG, 2-5 3FG, 8-9 FT, 8 REB, 3 AST, 1 TOV, 1 STL, 30 MIN
Carroll was Brooklyn’s closest thing to a consistent scorer against the Knicks, showing his versatility in the paint and beyond the arc. He did not give up on his misses, working to rebound one and put it back up for a bucket.
The effort always matters from Carroll.
The stats: 20 PTS, 8-20 FG, 3-5 3FG, 1-2 FT, 7 REB, 1 AST, 3 TOV, 1 STL, 30 MIN
After putting up a career-high in field goal attempts for the second straight game, LeVert made the most of his opportunities. He was Brooklyn’s most consistent guard and gave the Nets life in the third quarter to cut the deficit to two. At the end of the day, the load to carry the team all the way back was too much to carry.
The stats: 8 PTS, 2-14 FG, 0-4 3FG, 4-4 FT, 4 REB, 5 AST, 0 TOV, 28 MIN
I’ll give him credit for the five assists and zero turnovers, but where did Dinwiddie’s shot go? When he’s not hitting his shots, it’s hard to feel Dinwiddie’s impact on the game, and the Nets need that impact especially if the bench is not on.
The stats: 16 PTS, 5-9 FG, 6-7 FT, 6 REB, 1 AST, 4 TOV, 26 MIN
There was good offensive production from RHJ, but his four turnovers led the team. He struggled a bit against Porzingis even though he contained him at times. RHJ fouled out in the fourth quarter while the Nets fell apart, but if he did not put up good numbers early in the game, Brooklyn would have never had the opportunity erase the deficit.
Brooklyn’s strength was its frontcourt, and if not for RHJ, the Nets would have been dead in the water much earlier than the fourth quarter.