Led by Jason Kidd's 4th quarter heroics, the New York Knicks got revenge against their cross-river rivals with a hard-fought 100-97 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night at the Barclays Center.
Rallying from an early 17-point hole, the Knicks only led four times throughout the night—and by no more than the three points they won by—but they were ahead when it counted as Jason Kidd drained the game-winning three-pointer with 24-seconds left. Kidd finished with 18 points against his former team, as New York tied up the season series with Brooklyn at one game apiece.
"This was a winnable game," Nets coach Avery Johnson said after the game, "but we just couldn't close it."
There was a much different vibe to the start of game two between the Nets and Knicks. With the game delayed for roughly 15-minutes as fans filed into the Barclay's Center late due to smoke conditions on the 2/3/4/5 at Atlantic Terminal, a nervous energy filled the arena. The home team hadn't won in four games and was still without their star center Brook Lopez. The crowd also seemed a bit more Knick-friendly than round one, a ratio we would guess to be close to 50-50.
All of that nervousness was quickly dispelled by a fast start for the Nets, who ran out to a 17-5 lead before the Knicks showed any life. Even then it was in the form of a chippy foul as JR Smith laid out a streaking Gerald Wallace. It did little to slow the Nets down, who were in the midst of a 16-2 run, leading 21-5 with just over four minutes to play. Andray Blatche would account for 12 of the team's points as the Nets finished the first quarter up 30-16 on 63.2% shooting.
Like their first meeting, Carmelo Anthony single-handedly kept the Knicks in the game. At one point, with the Nets leading 26-11, Anthony was the only Knick on the floor with any points (8). Jason Kidd, who was on the floor for all but two-minutes of the second quarter and over 37-minutes for the game, provided some relief, helping spread the ball around, as Anthony was able to get more open looks as the game progressed.
A defensive battle this was not: the Nets made 52.9% of their shots in the game and dominated the boards by a 48-20 margin, while the Knicks drained 50% of their threes. The lack of any true center in the game was evident, and the pace was furious throughout.
The Knicks would take their first lead of the game 1:40 into the third quarter quarter, 54-53. It would be their last until 2:47 left in the game, when a controversial goal-tending call on Andray Blatche gave the momentum to the Knicks. They would never give it back. The Nets were able to tie it up three more times, but never led again, with Gerald Wallace and Deron Williams both missing potential game-tying 3-pointers as the buzzer sounded.
"It was tough. It was a tough game for us," Deron Williams told reporters. The Nets, losers of five straight and two weeks removed from a first-place tie in the division, are now simply trying to stay above .500. "We need to win tomorrow," Williams admitted. "I have to play better."
Game Notes: Chants of "MVP" filled the arena every time Carmelo Anthony touched the ball. Though to be fair, they could've been chanting "Our Whole Team" considering Anthony's 45 points accounted for 45% of the Knicks' scoring.
The Nets are still desperately missing Brook Lopez as they needed two players to make up for his production. Andray Blatche had a season-high 23 points, but only four rebounds. Reggie Evans grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds (three off my prediction), but only scored five points. Deron Williams had another double-double with 18 points and 10 assists.