The Knicks continued their trend of playing flat in early tip-offs as they were hammered by intracity rival Brooklyn, 103-80.
Brooklyn (17-22) was led by swingman Joe Johnson’s 25 points, as he had his way with whichever Knicks’ defender had the misfortune of defending him. Johnson had 12 points in the first quarter — at one point equaling the entire Knicks’ output — and never looked back as he shot an efficient 8-of-15 from the field.
The Knicks (15-26) were led by Carmelo Anthony’s 26 points, but he received next to nothing from his supporting cast. J.R. Smith and rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr. were the only other teammates to surpass double figures in scoring, adding 15 and 11 points, respectively.
The Knicks shot a paltry 33.8 percent from the field and showed little effort, as they suffered through their fourth straight loss.
Brooklyn’s supporting cast, however, had a combined 50 points, led by forward Andray Blatche’s 19 points, as every Nets player who checked in registered a point.
The Nets dominated their rivals so badly that future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett weren’t even needed. Pierce tallied just three points on in 27 minutes, while Garnett recorded just six points in 17 minutes. Both were long stapled to the bench for needed rest, as the Nets upped their lead to as much as 23 points early in the fourth quarter.
New York’s sluggish ways aren’t uncommon in matinee affairs, but their collective assist-to-turnover ratio of 13 assists to 16 giveaways was a great indicator that nobody was fully engaged.
Not even the return of their usual sparkplug, point guard Pablo Prigioni, could help the Knicks. Prigioni, who missed weeks with a foot injury, got the start alongside Raymond Felton but was equally ineffective registering just two points to go with two assists and three turnovers in 19 minutes of action.
What we saw …
1. Anthony got next to nothing from his supporting cast, but the biggest culprit might’ve been Felton, who has struggled mightily lately. Felton was roundly outplayed by his Nets’ counterparts, as he registered just nine points on 2-of-11 shooting and also added a meager six assists to go with his three turnovers.
2. Felton wasn’t the lone problem, as the Knicks as a whole failed to execute the simplest of tasks. New York collectively produced just 13 assists on their 24 made field goals and committed 17 turnovers — including an alarming seven in the opening quarter — to set the futile tone. Felton’s assists actually led the way for the Knicks to give an indication of the lack of sharing and ball movement.
3. Brooklyn received a little bit of something from everyone who checked in the game, as each participant who played registered a point and rebound. While it wasn’t an overwhelming all-around effort for the Nets, they showed they have quality depth to get back into the Atlantic Division race. The Nets’ bench outproduced the Knicks’ reserves, 50-33, led by Blatche’s 19 points. Usual starting point guard Deron Williams came off the bench in his first action in five games and added 13 points in 27 minutes of action.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.