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Carmelo returns against soft Nets defense, sparks Knicks win

Dec 19, 2012, 11:58 PM EDT

New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony keeps ball away from Brooklyn Nets Deron Williams in NBA game in New York Reuters

We’ve got a way to go before this “battle of the boroughs” resembles a real rivalry. Or maybe even a fair fight.

After Wednesday night, the once-hot Brooklyn Nets are 2-8 in their last 10 games, and it all comes back to defense. Which we thought would be a weakness before the season even tipped off and it has been a trouble spot lately.

It showed up again Wednesday night facing the best offense in the NBA in the New York Knicks — and on a night they got Carmelo Anthony back. ‘Melo went for 31 points and the Knicks pulled away in the fourth quarter on their way to a comfortable 100-86 win at home. Comfortable as in this didn’t feel like a rivalry. Or a huge challenge. The Knicks are now up 2-1 in the season series on the Nets.

In their three meetings this season, Anthony has scored a combined 110 points.

The outcome here shouldn’t be a shock. In the Nets 10 games prior to this, they had given up 108.6 points per 100 possessions, which would be worse than the Hornets or any team has given up all season long. Then the Knicks came through and put up 114.3 on Wednesday night.

Antony was at the heart of it, putting up 17 points in the first half and being a key part of the 18-6 run where the Knicks took control of the game in the third quarter.

It was a night where the Madison Square Garden fans and the Knicks bench seemed flat, with the exception of J.R. Smith. The Knicks gunner sixth man had 19 points, five rebounds and three assists.

For the Knicks, this felt like a professional win. The kind really good teams have — they were not spectacular or dominant in any one area, they just executed when they had to and were better than their opponent in pretty much every category.

For the Nets, they got a close look at how far they are away from elite right now.

There is a lot of talk about the Nets offense — Deron Williams 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting Wednesday — complained before the game and Joe Johnson said after the game there is too much isolation. Normally I’d say a coach as tied to management as Avery Johnson is safe, but the Nets have pretty much locked themselves into this roster for a couple years. If the players can’t change…

Johnson needs to get them to. He needs to get them to defend, first, find some direction in the offense second. Because things are starting to go bad in Brooklyn and it could get a lot worse. Especially when they have to watch that team in Manhattan continue to look like a contender.

  1. badintent - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    Coach A was complaining about their defense in pre-season, Hell Kurt, you wrote the article . What’s changed ?

  2. fanofevilempire - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    The Knicks are better right now, the Nets have some nice back court is not playing as well
    as they should. I think maybe D-Williams has a point about the ISO and the offense.
    Nets are still at the very least a second place team in the division and they should be playoff
    team too.

    Go Knicks!

  3. nbascreed - Dec 20, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    If Carmelo can stay focused and Stat can find his own role (100% up to him) and Woodie can continue to coach his tail off and motivate I think the Knicks can give the Heat all they want in a championship series.

  4. barkley4life - Dec 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Simple game, was close to mid 3rd and then the two best players were Melo and Chandler. Williams is struggling mightily and instead of running offense through the paint they played perimeter ball. Even with the second unit they had an advantage with Blatche(can’t believe I am saying that after watching him in D.C.) but never went to it.

    Gerald Wallace has been a disappointment so far. The Nets don’t match up well with the Knicks at the 4. Once Wallace goes out Melo can have his way with Humphries and Evans.

    Just like in Chicago, Keith Bogan’s is a nice player but should not be on the floor for heavy minutes.

  5. cantonbound13 - Dec 20, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Starting a petition to have Kurt no longer write about the Knicks. He never has a positive thing to say. If you agree that Kurt should no longer write about the Knicks than reply with a thumbs up.

    • dysraw1 - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      it doesn’t matter the media will always put their own spin on things

      • cantonbound13 - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        Please don’t include Kurt when you talk about the media. You’re giving him too much credit. He’s probably some middle aged man still living at home with a LeBron poster over his bed.

      • dysraw1 - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:53 PM


  6. dysraw1 - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    my BK. brethren. are experiencing a lot of growing pains i am sure they are gonna figure it out. third not so stellar performance against the Nets by Ray, im just a wee bit concern

  7. revischrist16 - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Especially when they have to watch that team in Manhattan continue to look like a contender.

    …look like a contender, or you can just they are a contender based on their record and their dominance, without Shumpert or Amare.

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      At this point in the season, the only two teams to me who get to be seen as sure fire contenders are the two teams in the finals last year. Every other team has to prove it for more than 25 games.

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