The New York Knicks handled the Brooklyn Nets in their return to MSG, 11-95. That’s two wins in a row for your Knickerbockers, as well as a season sweep of Brooklyn—their first season sweep of the Nets since 2010-11!
The affair was a pretty standard Knicks-Nets 2017-18 beatdown. Brooklyn likes to run and shoot a bunch of threes, but the Knicks kept the pace down and the Nets were cold from beyond the arc (9-36). Meanwhile, New York shot extremely well from downtown (13-26), got to the free-throw line a bunch (20-25) and grabbed a bunch of offensive rebounds (12). That’s what I call a recipe for success. To the notes!
— If ever there were a quintessential “Kristaps Porzingis should be used as a modern stretch 4/5 instead of a traditional post player” game, this was it. Kristaps’ 28 points were more a testament to his otherworldly talent than the Knicks’ out-of-date offensive game-planning. The Unicorn had it working from downtown, dropping a career-high 6 threes on Brooklyn. Once he stepped inside the arc, however, he was mostly ineffective, shooting 3-11 on two-pointers, most of which were—you guessed it—mid-range post ups. Kristaps is now shooting 40.3% from three for the season, which is awesome. He should be shooting more of those. He also extended his streak of games with at least one block to a career-high 15 straight. Mike Breen was openly worrying that the streak would end midway through the fourth quarter, when former No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor made the mistake of clumsily taking the ball up in Kristaps’s vicinity.
— You know what impressed me? Michael Beasley’s...rebounding. Walking Bucket didn’t exactly set the Nets ablaze with his buckets, shooting a mere 4-11, but he grabbed 13 boards, including 4 off the offensive glass. He’s never going to wow you with his defense, but he’s at least contributing in other ways.
— Knicks who have put together 20-point, 20-rebound, 5-assist games in the past 50 years: Enes Kanter on Tuesday, David Lee and Willis Reed. That’s an interesting list! The Big Turk did a fantastic job of facilitating, finding the open man out of the post and occasionally even running the break! (Please don’t do that anymore, Enes.) He also got primo time to ham it up, as P&T’er felinequickness pointed out. Kanter’s haminess is his greatest quality, in my opinion.
— Man am I ever sad I won’t get to see Frank Ntilikina play against the Nets again this season. The Frenchise really comes into his own whenever he plays against Brooklyn. His Tuesday numbers won’t exactly blow you away—8 points, 5 assists, 1 steal—but that doesn’t truly cover the effort he put in on defense, shutting down D’Angelo Russell and the Nets’ reserves. For the first time in a while—since the last game against the Nets, if I recall correctly—Frank played with the starters in the fourth before Jeff Hornacek called off the dogs.
Anyhoo, the Knicks face a much stiffer test Wednesday night in Boston. But no matter what happens, we’ll always have fond memories of beating up on the Nets this season.