[Video] Knicks End Losing Streak By Destroying Nets 113-83

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It feels so good to be back in the win column. After a nine-game losing streak, the New York Knicks were due for a good game, and it came at the expense of their equally struggling little brothers in Brooklyn, whom the Knicks lit up for 16 three-pointers (59%) in route to a 30 point thrashing at the Barclays Center. New York put together their first complete game of the season and unquestionably the best performance as a team we’ve seen all year. Is this a taste of things  to come or just a benefit of playing the lowly Nets?

FIRST HALF CHARGE: The Knicks came out on fire, drilling 12 of their first 14 shots and shooting at 78% for much of the quarter. The defense was strong as well, with Andrea Bargnani pestering Brook Lopez with two blocked shots. Garnett got a nice dunk only to be one-upped on the next play by Bargs driving past him and slamming home a one-handed stuff. Melo played the background (no shot attempts over the first 5 minutes) while others like Raymond Felton (3/3, 8 points) kept the floor spaced with their offense.

The Knicks lead 30-23 after one, and continued their momentum with the second unit (Prigioni, Hardaway Jr., Stoudemire, JR and K-Mart) holding serve with the guards covering much of the scoring slack despite Stat struggling at times with KG offense. Melo and company returned at the 7:31 mark and quickly pushed the lead up to 10 (42-32) courtesy of a sweet Melo pass to an open Shumpert for a trey. A 22-6 edge in rebounding allowed Brooklyn to the trim the deficit to 50-43 at halftime. However, the Knicks were  shooting 58% with the balanced scoring, giving you the feeling the Nets were just delaying an inevitable blowout.

3RD QUARTER PILLAGING FROM MELO AND SHUMP: The 18-5 run that closed the book on this game was ignited by the hot three-point shooting of Iman Shumpert. After weeks of trade talk and his standing with Coach Woodson, it was great to see the assertive, sharp-shooting, and highly confident Shump we’d d been expecting all season. His five three-pointers were a career-high, along with his 17 points being a season-high. Outside of a verbal squabble with Andrey Blantche that earned them double technicals, and being a litte too aggressive early with his defense, Shump was pretty much flawless last night.

Melo (19 points on 8/12 shooting, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) had the prototype game of how he should play when the team’s outside shots are falling. He made sure everyone got involved early on (namely Bargnani), made quick decisions out of double teams, and abused Alan Anderson on the block and on the boards. By not having to carry the offensive load in the first half, Melo had more than enough energy to put the finishing touches on the end of an awesome third quarter with several jumpers and passes to a rolling Stoudemire for quick scores. By the time the smoke cleared, the Nets found themselves in a 84-59 hole with the entire fourth serving as extended garbage time.

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NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MAN TRASH TALK: Andrea Bargnani had what I’d like to call a “good ejection” in the fourth after getting a second technical for getting into it with Kevin Garnett. Earlier, both had received double technicals for getting tangled up after a rebound. Bargnani didn’t back down and got ejected for talking trash to KG after draining a three in his face. It’s much easier to deal with KG’s mouth when your mopping the floor with him and his team.

MOVE THAT BALL: New York had 24 assists to Brookly’s 11. It should come as no surprise that the Knicks shot 57% for the game while the Nets could only muster 39% on repeated isolation and broken plays.

The Knicks will be back at it tonight to prove they’re on the road to turning it around as they face the Orlando Magic. The Knicks have lost seven-straight at home, so that’s another losing streak the squad should be motivated to snap.

BK Draws First Blood: Nets Down Knicks in OT 96-89

The bragging rights on the historic first “Battle for NY” goes to the Brooklyn Nets, who showed poise and efficiency down the stretch to overcome big efforts from Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to take a 96-89 overtime victory in a highly entertaining game last night from the Barclays Center. The game had me on the edge of my seat and pacing all night. Of course, not seeing a Knicks victory was highly disappointing, but everyone will agree this is the start to what will be an amazing rivalry over the next few years. Here’s what stood out to me last night.

Melo and Tyson Beast…Everyone Else Falls Short: Melo dropped 35 points and Tyson contributed a career high 28 points. Outside of that, the state line is abysmal with the next highest scorer being Raymond Felton with 8 points on 3-19 shooting. I was especially impressed with Tyson meeting the challenge of guarding Brook Lopez and drawing a key offensive foul in the last-minute that unfortunately couldn’t pull out the win. Our bench was invisible and got outscored solely by Jerry Stackhouse (15 points) of all people. No way we win with just two guys showing up on offense.

Kidd Missed…Felton is Horrid: You never want to place blame on one guy for a loss; we win and lose as a team. But damn it, Raymond Felton contributed heavily to this defeat. I sincerely believe he got too caught up in the atmosphere and trying to “win” his matchup with Deron Williams. Felton had 5 turnovers and even more disastrous kept bricking jumpers and airballing floaters during the crucial fourth quarter. The value of Jason Kidd cannot be overstated. Not having his outside shooting to the space the floor and court generalship really hurt us. There’s no way with Kidd on the floor that Melo gets frozen out of getting solid looks over the last 6-7 minutes of the game.

Melo’s Free Throw Irony: The cruel irony last night is that Melo, who’s been rightly complaining about not getting fouls, finally got them last night in shooting 16 free throws. And of course, Melo only goes 10-16 from the line. Make about three more and it’s likely this game doesn’t see overtime. But in his defense, Melo played a total of 50 minutes and had no rest in the second half. Fatigue likely played a huge part.

The Knicks have to jump right back on the saddle tomorrow when we head to Milwaukee to face the Bucks, whose backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are sure to give us fits. All of our losses have been on the road this year, so getting this one would bode well for our confidence with a winnable stretch of games following against Washington, Phoenix and Charlotte.

The Battle for NY: Knicks vs. Nets Preview

Tonight it finally goes down. Hurricane Sandy delayed for several weeks the much-anticipated season-opener that was supposed to be the Knicks taking on the Nets at the Barclays Center. In retrospect, the delay is probably for the better. Both teams have had roughly 10 games to get familiar with personnel changes and get some chemistry down. Each has played well and sit atop the Atlantic Division, but there’s been recent streakiness in their last handful of games (both squads are 2-2 over their last 4 games). Nonetheless, even with the injuries (Deron Williams’ ankle, Stoudemire and Shumpert still out), there should be no excuses from either side come Tuesday morning. Let’s break down a few fun and key matchups for tonight.

Raymond Felton vs. Deron Williams: You could argue this is the most important matchup. Felton has all but quieted critics who said the Knicks made a mistake picking him over Jeremy Lin. While Deron Williams has struggled the last few games, you know he’ll be up for tonight’s contest. Felton will have to make Williams work hard on both ends by attacking the basket and playing tight defense. I don’t expect Williams to go off scoring-wise, but his rhythm needs to be disrupted because his passing, in particularly yesterday late in closing out the Trailblazers, will give the Knicks fits.

Tyson Chandler vs. Brook Lopez: This is not the game for Chandler to not come with it. Tyson has had a few horrid games were he was destroyed by his man like the recent one in Houston (Omar Asik) and a few weeks back against San Antonio (Tiago Splitter). Chandler needs to contain Lopez offensively: no lazy closeouts on Lopez’s jumper and no weak boxing out. Lopez has been beasting offensively in Brooklyn, scoring over 20 in three of their last four games. Tyson needs to be very smart with his fouls because should he go to the bench early, the Knicks will be in trouble down low.

Melo will be Melo, but Protect Him Woody: If anything is a sure-fire thing tonight it’s that Melo will get his on the offensive end. Last time he met the Nets he torched them for 21 points in the first quarter.

The concern is on defense, as BK has physical, big forwards that can not only push Melo around, but get in him foul trouble. Tonight is not the time for Woodson to forget he has guys like Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas to help out  with rebounding. If he does, expect Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans to have a field day on the boards.

Defense: This is what this game comes down to. If the Knicks that started the season 6-0 show up tonight, they cruise to a comfortable win. If the streaking defense of the last few games rears its ugly head, the Knicks will be clawing from behind all game and likely lose decisively.

Prediction: It will be a playoff atmosphere with the Knicks fans taking over the arena early. For how long depends on the play. I think the refs swallow their whistles much to the continued chagrin of Melo and company. I don’t see either team taking  a commanding lead and this being decided in the fourth quarter, where I feel the Knicks experience and ability to get defensive stops leads them to a tight win and a great beginning to the NY rivalry. The game starts at 7 p.m. live on TNT.