When the Knicks jumped out to a big first quarter lead, it looked as if they would help the Nets take one step closer infamy as having the worst record in NBA history. Someone forget to tell New York that the game is four quarters long.
The New York suffered their most embarrassing loss of the season in front of their home crowd as the Nets overcame a 16 point first quarter deficit to blow out the Knicks, 113-93. It was only the New Jersey’s seventh win but their second against the Knickerbockers. New York has now last 12 of their last 14. The Garden crowd booed multiple times during the second half and now have nothing to look forward unless King LeBron decides to bolt Cleveland to the Big Apple. But for now, New York has to deal with the reality as they joined Charlotte as the only teams with multiple losses to the Nets this season.
“ It feels bad losing but losing to a team that only has six wins is hard especially after playing a good game,” Wilson Chandler said.
The loss to the putrid Nets was bad enough but it deosn’t end there for the Knicks. New York had themselves the worst three point shooting night in NBA history as they missed all 18 of their attempts for the game. It was the first time the Knicks failed to make a three since March 29, 2006 in a loss to Boston. While New York failed to make a single 3-point basket, they allowed the Nets to shoot 14-for-24 from beyond the arc.
“They started making three’s and that gave them life,” said Mike D’Antoni. “ It seemed to take the life out of us. We started off playing well and our defense was good at first and then it went downhill.”
Devin Harris was a big factor in the win for New Jersey as he scored a game high 31 points, including 4 for 7 beyond the arc. Courtney Lee added 25 points and Brook Lopez had 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
David Lee led New York with 23 points but was hedl to only five rebounds as the length and size of Brook Lopez gave him trouble all night. Wilson Chandler added 20 points and 10 rebounds and Danilo Gallinari scored 15. Gallinari and Lee each got off to a hot start scoring 11 points in the first quarter but would be plagued by foul trouble in a momentum changing second quarter.
“ We got two guys in foul trouble, David Lee and Gallo and they were going really well at the time,”D’Antoni said. “ For whatever reason ,we gave them hope. They got hot, they got confidence and they just beat us.”
Things started out so well for the Knicks and so bad for the Nets. The Knicks jumped out to an early 18-4 lead just five minutes into the game. The Nets made the Knicks defense looked like it was from the Pat Riley days. The Nets missed 12 of their first 13 shots and had to sit Lopez and Harris due to foul trouble. New York was up 30-14 with under 1 1/2 minutes left in the period, but New Jersey would change the momentum of the entire game going on a 8-2 run to end the quarter including back to back 3’s by Keyon Dooling and Jarvis Hayes. After such a dominating start, New York took the foot of the engine after that and payed for it.
“They came in and played well,”Tracy McGrady said. “They hit 14 threes and we were 0-for-18. That was the difference in the game.”
The Nets would capture the lead midway through the second quarter and would enter the half with a 56-50 lead. New York would trim the deficit to two early in the second half but the Nets would go on a 14-4 run, highlighted by a beautiful reverse layup from Harris, that extended the lead to 70-58 midway through the period. Harris had himself a monster 3rd quarter scoring 13 of his 31 points.
“ Devin Harris is pretty good, D’Antoni said. “ When he is healthy, he is pretty good. He is hard to control. If he is making shots from the outside it is even tougher. But at the same time, you have to keep him in front.”
Trailing by nine points, 83-74, entering the fourth quarter, New York would try to back in the game with a 6-2 run to cut the deficit to five. That would be the closest the Knickerbockers would get as New Jersey ran off 11 straight points. After a Kris Humphries jumper to make it 87-80, the Nets would bang out three consecutive three point shots. After a Dooling three, Lee hit consecutive 3-pointers to make it 96-80 with 6:13 remaining. The Nets would go on to outscore New York 30-19 in the quarter.
“If you play like that, I can understand that, Gallinari said. “ We should not. We have to play hard and fight. We did not play the same level defense like we did in the first quarter. What made us go up was our defense. We didn’t do it in the last two quarters, especially in the last quarter.”
This was New York’s 10th loss of the season in which they held a double digit lead. They now fall 2-13 in the second games of back-to-back. New York is back in action Monday night when they host the Atlanta Hawks at the Garden at 7:30 pm.