Post Game Recap
Final Score: Nets: 88 Knicks: 85
If the regular season teaches us anything, it is that the Nets are much closer to the Knicks in every aspect of the game than Knicks fans and personnel are willing to admit. With Monday afternoon’s victory in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee at Madison Square Garden, the Nets leveled the season series at 2-2. The Nets came out ready to go, playing the game with playoff intensity while the Knicks looked as though they didn’t want the game as badly as the Nets did. With the loss, the Knicks sit only one game ahead of the Nets for first place in the Atlantic Division. The rest of the season will be entertaining for New York basketball, as both teams will be jockeying for playoff position and the division title.
With it being a Knicks, Nets game, this will be a combined post game; positives highlight what the Knicks did well and the negatives will be what the Nets excelled at; sticking to the normal format but changing up the content.
- Amar’e Stoudemire put in yet another strong effort for the Knicks as he continues to strengthen himself up and work towards being full strength. Stoudemire is heading in the right direction, as he is looking to be regaining some of his athleticism with every passing game and has had his minutes restriction lifted, giving head coach Mike Woodson free reign to use Stoudemire as he sees fit. Woodson still makes the mistake of playing Stoudemire as the lone big man on the court at times, leaving the Knicks very vulnerable on the inside due to Stoudemire’s lack of rebounding currently. Monday afternoon, Stoudemire had strong game in most areas, as he scored 15 points on six of 10 shooting from the field and pulling down six rebounds, second most on the team in the game in 27 minutes played.
- Jason Kidd looked like Jason Kidd from earlier in the season, giving the Knicks good effort across the board. Kidd shot four of five from the field, including two of three from the three point line, en route to 11 points. Kidd would add three rebounds, one assist and six steals as he was in the passing lanes of the Nets all night, also playing good defense on Deron Williams, who shot only three of 10 from the field. We should start seeing more games like this from Kidd, as he will have his role cut back to where it was originally when the season started as the shooting guard, not the point guard, with Raymond Felton set to return to action later this week.
- The ball security from the Knicks was on point Monday afternoon, as they turned the ball over only five times. On the other hand, they forced 19 Nets turnovers but still came out on the short end of the stick as they did not capitalize on all those turnovers as well as they should have. The Knicks managed only 17 points scored off those 19 turnovers, leaving golden opportunities to go on runs on the table as the Nets were able to make up for the turnover differential by hammering the Knicks on the boards.
♦ Joe Johnson killed the Knicks Monday afternoon, as he was the main catalyst of the Nets offense. Johnson scored 25 points, including five three pointers, and was the leading scorer on the afternoon for Brooklyn. Johnson also added three rebounds, five assists and a steal, as he had a solid game overall for the Nets. Johnson would also knock down the eventual game winning shot that gave the Nets an 85-84 lead that the Knicks were unable to overcome as Carmelo Anthony’s shot on the following possession did not even draw iron.
♦ The Nets destroyed the Knicks on the boards, offsetting any advantage the Knicks had gained from all the turnovers the Nets had committed. On the afternoon, the Nets outrebounded the Knicks 52-37, including 12-7 on the offensive boards as the Nets gave themselves multiple second change opportunities. The Nets were led by Brook Lopez’s 11 rebounds and 13 from reserve Reggie Evans.
♦ The defense for the Nets, especially in the fourth quarter, was a driving force in them coming into Madison Square Garden and leaving with the victory. On the afternoon, they held the Knicks to 40.5 percent shooting for the game and 28.6 from the three point line, as they shot 41.9 from the field and 50.0 from the three point line. They were able to bother the Knicks shooters on defense and had enough motion and movement in their own offense to make it easy on themselves. Their defense was especially good during the fourth quarter, where they held Carmelo Anthony without a basket for the whole period. It is defense like that that may have the Nets creeping closer and closer to the Knicks as they got the stops they needed and the Knicks were unable to.
♦ Next up for the Knicks is a matchup with the Boston Celtics on Thursday in Boston, as the Nets will take their show on the road to Minnesota with a matchup against the Timberwolves Wednesday night.