Everybody knows that Knicks-Nets is the lamest rivalry in sports...nay, in the history of sports. To the surprise of all, however, Friday night's clash turned into the closest thing this rivalry has had to a tight, intense game since in maybe two years.
The Nets stormed out to a 17-point lead in the second quarter, but New York absolutely terrorized them in the second half -- pushing the tempo and grabbing every rebound behind the manic effort of Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas. In the end, it was the ice-cold shooting of Carmelo Anthony and some vintage late-game Knicks defense that ensured a 92-88 Brooklyn win.
New York missed a metric buttload of open shots in this game, and the refs weren't exactly kind. Still, they turned a potential blowout into a genuine thriller. If this was a preview of what the Knicks will play like once Melo gets that surgery, let me be the first one to offer to drive him to the hospital.
- Langston Galloway has gone ice-cold from beyond the arc of late, shooting just 1-12 from three over his past two games. He was 1-7 tonight, with one of those being a game-ending prayer. I haven't seen enough of him to know whether this is just a slump or if he really needs to work on that shot in the offseason.
That being said...wow, this kid can play. I can't remember the last Knicks guard who could affect a game in so many positive ways even when his shot isn't falling. He dished four assists without a turnover, bringing his 2014-15 assist/turnover ratio to an absurd 3.15. He dominated the boards, pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds. He also ripped at least two boards out of the hands of Kevin Garnett, earning my eternal gratitude.
- Lance Thomas drew Joe Johnson throughout most of the second half and -- I kid you not -- won the scoring battle, 14-13. Nothing about this kid is pretty. Everything from his jumpers to his drives to his reverse-layups look labored. He pumps his arms running down the court like a mime running wind sprints.
But it's working, guys. It's really working. Thomas and Galloway turned the game around in the third period -- Galloway by pushing the ball up the court off Brooklyn misses, Thomas by skittering around the defensive zone, disrupting everything in sight. He gets miscast as an "energy guy," but I see some real talent (the ability to guard both forward positions) and a good awareness of defensive positioning. Keep it up, you magnificent gawky bastard!
- Melo...Melo, Melo, Melo. Why are we going through the motions, my man? The star forward shot a ghastly 6-23, and appeared lost in the fourth quarter.
- Amar'e Stoudemire played for the first time in a while...and perhaps the last time ever as a Knick. He scored nine points in 18 minutes and generally played well.
- The combo of Melo (3) and STAT (2) committed 100% of New York's turnovers.
- Brook Lopez dominated the Knicks, per usual. Deron Williams (five points on 2-9 shooting) did not. At this point I'd actually prefer both of them light up the Knicks, if only because it might convince Billy King to keep them around.
- Jarrett Jack is a broke-ass, "Snow Dogs"-era Cuba Gooding Jr. wannabe and I hate him.
- The YES TV "Wear Brooklyn At" segment focused exclusively on converted Knicks fans and Nets fans trying to convert Filipino villagers (who liked the Knicks) into Nets fans. I'm starting to think this franchise has a bit of an obsession with the Knicks.
- At one point during the second quarter a group of four, maybe five Nets fans started the weakest "Brooooooklyn" chant in history. It would have been less pathetic if the entire arena had maintained a bored and impartial silence.
Guess who's back...back in last pic.twitter.com/n8IIBvwDig
— Joseph Flynn (@ChinaJoeFlynn) February 7, 2015
The Knicks played interesting basketball and still managed to pick up a few ping-pong balls. That's what I call a successful evening.