Porzingis, Beasley help Knicks beat Nets in opener of trip
NEW YORK (AP) Though it hardly appeared like it with thousands of blue-and-orange-dressed fans standing and screaming for them, this was a road game for the New York Knicks.
”It feels like we’re playing at home, so it was a good atmosphere for us,” Kristaps Porzingis said.
It gets harder from here.
Porzingis had 26 points and nine rebounds, Michael Beasley added 23 points and 10 boards, and the Knicks opened their longest road trip in nearly 30 years by beating the Brooklyn Nets 119-104 on Monday.
A day after blowing a 19-point lead in the third quarter of a loss to New Orleans, the Knicks lost most of a 14-point advantage heading to the fourth. But they opened the period with 11 straight points and went on to beat the Nets comfortably for the third time this season.
Though the game was only a few miles from their home arena, the Knicks will do plenty of traveling the rest of the trip. They play seven straight on the road for the first time since 1988-89, with the remainder coming against the Western Conference.
”I think it’s the beginning of an opportunity and they came out and responded after yesterday’s loss,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Rookie Frank Ntilikina finished with 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds as the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the third time in 13 games. They played without Tim Hardaway Jr., who was rested after playing 33 minutes Sunday in his second game back from a stress injury to his lower left leg.
DeMarre Carroll scored 22 points for the Nets, who shot 37 percent and lost for the fifth time in six games.
”To a certain extent, it’s a make-or-miss league. As a unit, we shot in the 30s. That’s not very good,” said point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who went 2 for 14.
The Nets were 14 for 44 in the first half and fell behind by 14 early in the third. They got back into the game mostly on the strength of their free-throw shooting during a foul-filled 12 minutes in which the teams combined to shoot 36 free throws. Brooklyn went 17 of 20 and trailed only 83-81 after Carroll’s jumper at the buzzer.
But Ron Baker and Ntilikina made 3-pointers, Beasley had a three-point play in the opening run that made it 94-81 and Brooklyn never challenged again.
”They took us out the beginning of that fourth quarter and then dominated us the rest of the quarter,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.
Knicks: Trey Burke made his Knicks debut after being signed Sunday from their G League team. Burke made a jumper on his first shot and had five points. … Hornacek said Hardaway hadn’t had any setbacks or recurrence of injury, but that he needed rest after playing more minutes than they’d planned on Sunday.
Nets: The Nets fell to 0-8 against the Atlantic Division. … D’Angelo Russell practiced with the Long Island Nets of the G League on Monday as he continues his recovery from left knee surgery. He was recalled after practice and sat on the Nets’ bench, where he was called for a technical foul in the third quarter. Atkinson said the point guard is close to returning from the injury that’s sidelined him for two months. … C Tyler Zeller was back in the starting lineup after missing a game with a sore left hip.
LONG ROAD AHEAD
The Knicks move on to Memphis on Wednesday before the rest of the trip takes them to the western half of the country. They will be gone nearly two weeks before returning home to host the Nets on Jan. 30.
LEE FROM THE LINE
Courtney Lee made his 44th straight free throw on a third-quarter technical, tying the Knicks’ record set by Chris Duhon in 2008-09. Lee came into the game leading the league at 96.1 percent after hitting 73 of 76.
The Knicks improved to 21-11 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. They had lost five of their last seven, including losses to Brooklyn in 2013 and ’14.
Knicks: Visit Memphis on Wednesday.
Nets: Host San Antonio on Wednesday.
More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball