Knicks crush Nets in first meeting of Big Apple busts
The "laughingstocks" won in a laugher.
The Knicks resembled the division champions of a season ago rather than the biggest losers in New York, outplaying and even outtalking the Brooklyn Nets, who look like the real Big Apple busts.
Carmelo Anthony had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Iman Shumpert scored a season-high 17 points, and the Knicks ended a nine-game losing streak with 113-83 romp Thursday night in the first meeting of the season between the city rivals.
"I think everybody looked like they had that feeling that we were tired of losing," Anthony said. "It showed from the tipoff."
The Knicks (4-13) snapped a tie with the Nets (5-14) for most losses in New York, winning the game and the crowd with a dominant second half that had Spike Lee and the rest of the fans wearing blue and orange cheering perhaps the Knicks’ most complete performance of the season.
Andrea Bargnani scored 16 before he was ejected in the fourth quarter, Knicks fans roaring in support of him standing up to Kevin Garnett.
Brook Lopez had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who again played without Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, or much passion in the second half.
"We’re struggling but we’re going to come out of this, man, that’s the only way to think," Garnett said. "I’m not going to think anything else."
The game was nationally televised, as all four matchups are this season, but neither team had been giving fans much reason to watch. Nets coach Jason Kidd said Tuesday that both teams "stink," and Anthony not only agreed but added that the Knicks were the "laughingstock" of the league.
Nobody was laughing at the Knicks on this night.
New York made a season-high 16 3-pointers in 27 attempts (59 percent), rediscovering a stroke that has been missing all season after it set an NBA record for makes in 2012-13, and led by as many as 34 points.
Shumpert, who has been the subject of trade rumors and has struggled, hit five 3s and added six rebounds.
The Nets hung in while the Knicks made 16 of their first 21 shots overall and trailed by only seven at halftime
"You’ve got to give the Knicks credit. They came (for) the season shooting around 32 percent. Tonight they looked like the team of last year where they made a lot of 3s," said Kidd, who played for the Knicks last season. "When they started the game off it didn’t seem as if they were going to miss. But we stayed the course."
Until the third quarter, that is, when their season-long woes in that period returned and the Knicks outscored them 34-16.
When the public address announcer urged fans to stand and cheer before the fourth, they responded by booing, clearly sick of watching Brooklyn get hammered over the previous 12 minutes yet again.
Tensions rose a couple of times, chiefly in the fourth quarter when Bargnani and Garnett became tangled as Bargnani fell to the court while trying to box out. Both players, along with Amare Stoudemire, were called for technical fouls, and Bargnani was hit with a second and thrown out shortly after when he appeared to say something toward Garnett after making a jumper.
Garnett wouldn’t discuss the incident, saying "I don’t understand Italian" — though Bargnani insisted whatever he said was in English. He also downplayed the exchange.
"The most important thing is that we won the game, we played a great game and we’ve really got to start to build on this," Bargnani said.
There were also double technicals and words exchanged after Andray Blatche set a hard pick on Shumpert in the first half, but that was about all the fight the Nets showed on the way to their sixth straight home loss.
Both teams were booed during the introduction of starting lineups by split fan bases who are united in their early season disgust. The Nets believed they were a championship contender after acquiring Garnett and Pierce from Boston, the centerpieces of a roster that will cost more than $180 million in salary and luxury taxes. The Knicks are second to the Nets in payroll but had never gotten going after losing Tyson Chandler to a broken leg in their fourth game of the season.
But they were the better team right from the tip. The Knicks made 12 of their first 14 shots and were ahead 30-15 after Anthony’s 3-pointer with 2:36 remaining in the opening quarter.
NOTES: There was a moment of silence before the game for Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, who died Thursday at 95. Commissioner David Stern called Mandela "one of the most powerful and inspirational leaders in the world and a great friend of the NBA." … The Knicks will try to end their seven-game home skid Friday against Orlando.