New York Knicks: Who Stepped Up Against The Brooklyn Nets?

A rivalry resumed on Wednesday, November 9 when the New York Knicks hosted the Brooklyn Nets. Who stepped up during the 110-96 victory over the rivals?


Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts after hitting a three point shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts after hitting a three point shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks returned home for the beginning of a rush of games against division rivals. The first team on the agenda was Kenny Atkinson’s Brooklyn Nets, which entered Wednesday’s clash at 3-4.

With the Knicks in dire need of a victory, head coach Jeff Hornacek led his crew to a 110-96 win over the cross-city rivals.

The Knicks entered Wednesday’s game with stalled momentum and rumors of a divide between the coaching staff and the players. The assignment of Kurt Rambis as the defensive coordinator wasn’t exactly met with warm responses.

Though it’s far too early to evaluate Rambis’ direct impact on the defense, the Knicks held Brooklyn to just 41 points in the second half.

Justin Hamilton and Brook Lopez stepped up to lead the Nets with 21 point apiece. The first battle for New York was decided more by team play than individual play, however, as evidenced by New York’s second unit coming to life.

The question is: which individual members stepped up for the New York Knicks during the 110-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets?

Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) drives against Brooklyn Nets power forward Trevor Booker (35) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony

At one point during the game against the Brooklyn Nets, Carmelo Anthony was shooting 3-of-13 from the field. He proceeded to make six consecutive shots and a pair of free throws to single-handedly bring the New York Knicks back into it.

It wasn’t a pretty performance early, but Anthony showed just how dominant he can still be when aggressive and focused on scoring.

Anthony finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one block, and a steal in 34 minutes against the Nets. He shot 9-of-22 from the field, 2-of-6 from beyond the arc, and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.

Without Anthony’s explosive third quarter and hustle on the boards, the Knicks may not have ever climbed back into this game.

Anthony still hasn’t found the form that the Knicks need to see from him during the 2016-17 regular season. His consistency will be the key to New York either becoming a postseason-caliber team or falling short of that distinction.

The crowd at Madison Square Garden was understandably disappointed with New York’s weak effort, but Anthony gave them reason to cheer.

Oct 8, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Anthony Bennett (13) drives to the basket past New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez (14) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Willy Hernangomez

The New York Knicks received a glimpse of the future during the fourth quarter of the victory against the Brooklyn Nets. He hardly played prior to the fourth quarter, but stepped up in a major way during the final period.

With the Knicks leading by just one point entering the fourth quarter, Hernangomez took over as a scorer and guided New York to victory.

Hernangomez finished with 14 points, six rebounds, two offensive boards, two blocks, and one steal in 15 minutes. He shot 6-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from the free throw line with a +/- of +15 during the 14-point win.

Most importantly, Hernangomez scored all 14 of his points during the fourth quarter of New York’s victory.

Hernangomez did an excellent job during the preseason, but struggled to find court time during the first six games. He made quite the statement against Brooklyn, however, and appears to have thrown his name into the mix for the backup center role.

Hernangomez was as influential as any player on the roster in the Knicks securing a big home victory over Brooklyn.

Oct 8, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (3) drives to the basket defended by Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 8, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (3) drives to the basket defended by Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings genuinely took over this game without hitting a single shot. His ability to create penetration and find the open man was the catalyst to the New York Knicks taking over the game in the fourth quarter.

Critics will point to his 1-of-6 shooting from the field, but Jennings may have been the best player on the floor during this game.

Jennings finished with three points, a season-high 11 assists, three rebounds, and a steal in 27 minutes. Beyond the numbers, he paced the Knicks to victory with his facilitating and stepped up defensively by applying full-court pressure.

The best evidence of how well Jennings played is the fact that he recorded a +/- of +24 in a 14-point victory.

Jennings, whose career-high is 21 assists in a single game, dished out seven assists during the victory against the Chicago Bulls. In turn, the Knicks have now won consecutive games during which Jennings has tallied at least five assists.

Jennings’ shot is still a work in progress, but he doesn’t need to shoot very often if this is the type of impact he’s going to make.

Oct 8, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee (5) drives to the basket past Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Courtney Lee

With the exception of the season opener, Courtney Lee has made a positive impact on the New York Knicks in every game he’s played. He isn’t a star or a conventional impact player, but he does a bit of everything for the Knicks.

Against the Brooklyn Nets, Lee proved his worth by stepping up as one of just two players to put up at least 10 points for the Knicks in the first half.

Lee finished with 13 points, three rebounds, and one assist in 31 minutes of play. He finished with shooting marks of 5-of-10 from the field and 3-of-4 at the free throw line, and had an even +/- to display the stability he provided.

It was a strong performance by Lee, who continues to be one of the few players whom the Knicks can rely upon on a nightly basis.

Lee’s 3-point shooting is a well-documented strength that he’s been able to trust in 2016-17. He’s done an under-appreciated job of creating off the bounce, which he turned into quality midrange jump shots and finishes at the rim.

Lee has helped the Knicks out of uncompromising positions throughout 2016-17, and tonight was no different.

Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) controls the ball against Brooklyn Nets power forward Trevor Booker (35) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kristaps Porzingis

Entering the fourth quarter, Kristaps Porzingis was shooting just 4-of-12 from the field. He had an essentially productive first half, but was a non-factor during the third quarter as he struggled to find his shot.

Porzingis proceeded to step up in the fourth quarter with a number of big shots that helped New York gain separation and close out.

Porzingis finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, one offensive board, one assist, two blocks, and two steals in 31 minutes. He shot 9-of-22 from the field, 2-of-6 from beyond the arc, and 3-of-5 from the free throw line.

More importantly, he was clutch in conventional and under-appreciated ways.

It wasn’t just that Porzingis stepped up with a number of timely shots in the fourth quarter; his 10 first-half points helped New York remain within striking distance. He hit a pair of 3s in a span of 24 seconds in the fourth quarter and never slowed down.

Porzingis still has work to do from within the 3-point line, but his shooting from beyond the arc has been crucial to team success.

It wasn’t the prettiest performance, but the Knicks got the job done behind the efforts of these players.

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