From the desks of:
THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH & DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY
BATTLE of the BOROUGHS - V
Nets and Knicks End Series 2-2
I - Hurricane Sandy
II - BK 96; NY 89 *
III - NY 100; BK 97
IV - NY 100; BK 86
GAME FIVE FINAL
GAME FIVE FINAL
GAME SUMMARY - Nineteen Turnovers Prevent Nets From Cruising To An Easier Victory. Without Ray Felton On Floor, Carmelo Anthony Could Not Beat Brooklyn By Himself.
The Brooklyn Nets made things significantly more difficult for themselves by turning the ball over nineteen times. Otherwise, this afternoon they rode Deron Williams' ball distribution, Kris Humphries' and Brook Lopez' strong rebounding, and Joe Johnson's clutch buckets to victory over the New York Knicks before a festive Martin Luther King Jr. Day crowd inside Madison Square Garden. The Flatbush Hoops owned a 26-24 lead after the first quarter, and took a 47-41 advantage into the break.
Even though Melo dropped his obligatory eighteen first half points, offensively the Knicks remain a team out of sync. A compare and contrast will bare that out. After Pablo Prigioni got wiped out on a pick and left the game, Melo was forced to play the fourth quarter as a point/forward. But that only compounded the Knicks greater problems without Ray Felton on the floor.
First lets talk points. After Melo's eighteen, Chris Copeland and Jason Kidd were the Knicks next high scorers with five and six points respectively. Amare Stoudemire did not factor into the game until the second half. For the Nets, scoring was more balanced. Joe Johnson scored thirteen points, Brook Lopez eleven, and Kris Humphries dropped nine first half points. Lets talk assists now. Melo was also Knicks high man with three first half assists. Chris Chandler and Ronnie Brewer had one apiece. Deron Williams had seven first half assists for the Nets alone. Now lets talk rebounds. The Nets really excelled on the glass. They held a 27-16 advantage after two quarters. Twenty one of the Nets boards came on the defensive end. And that has nothing to do with Ray Felton being injured. Tyson Chandler led the Knicks with six first half boards. Kris Humphries pulled down eight. Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez pulled down five apiece. For the Knicks, all that adds up to a six point deficit at the half. All didn't go perfectly for Brooklyn however. The Nets turned the ball over eleven times in the first half versus just two times by the Knicks.
Brook Lopez opened the third quarter with a jumper. Crash Wallace then gave Brooklyn a nine point lead by nailing a three-pointer, and shortly followed with another layup to make it a 54-45 game. Midway through the third quarter, Tyson Chandler ripped through the lane for a dunk to get the Knicks within three. Deron Williams responded with a pair of three's. But with 3:32 left in the quarter, J.R. Smith helped reduce a 60-55 Brooklyn lead to one point with consecutive buckets. The Knicks completed a 10-0 run with 2:20 left, and owned a 63-60 lead. With 0:52 on the clock, Joe Johnson hit two free throws to tie the game at sixty three all. By this time, the Nets had committed fifteen turnovers and were paying a price for repeated miscues and losing the defensive bearing they adhered to in the first half. A Melo three-pointer, and Amare Stoudemire's closing dunk gave the Knicks a 68-65 lead after three quarters.
To open the fourth quarter, and to the chagrin of Brooklyn fans, Marshon Brooks and Kris Humphries joined forces to execute and score on a fast break. The Nets scored exactly zero fast break points in the first half, and only two all game. Keith Bogans helped Flatbush regain their lead with a trey to make it a 70-68 game. But Amare's dunk at 10:23 tied the game again at seventy all.
Fresh off two more Brooklyn turnovers (#16 and #17), J.R. Smith nailed a three pointer to give the Knicks a 75-72 lead, then headed back the other way while he mimicked spinning his still smokin' six-shooters back into their holsters.
With 8:09 left in the fourth, C.J. Watson came off Brooklyn's bench and tied the game again at 75-75 with a three. Then Joe Johnson took over. A three pointer at 7:20 gave Brooklyn a 78-75 lead. After a J.R. Smith basket, another Joe Johnson three pointer gave Brooklyn an 81-77 lead. And yet another Joe Johnson jumper gave the Nets an 83-77 lead, and completed an 11-2 Flatbush run.
The Nets continued turning over the ball until they reached number nineteen halfway through the quarter. Brooklyn was leading 83-77 with 5:30 left in the game. And then their scoring stopped. A series of key blocked shots by Brook Lopez and continued tenacious rebounding kept the Nets going until the clock read 0:52 seconds, with the score reading 83-82 Nets. After a foul, Melo completed two free throws to complete a 7-0 Knicks run, giving Manhattan an 84-83 lead again.
Later with 22.3 seconds left, Joe Johnson popped from outside again. At the other end, Brook Lopez pulled down another huge rebound off a Melo miss. After Deron Williams nailed two free throws, the Nets were up by an 87-84 score with 8.3 seconds to go. P.J.Carlesimo perhaps made the call of the night in deciding to foul Jason Kidd, putting him at the line with 7.5 seconds. Kidd hit his first shot, then fouled Deron Williams with 5.7 seconds left after the Nets guard drew the rebound and tried heading the other way off the miss. Deron hit one of two. After J.R. Smith's last attempt at a three pointer missed, Brooklyn walked off the MSG floor with an 88-85 victory.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with twenty nine points. Next high man on the Knicks was J.R. Smith with sixteen points off the bench. Amare Stoudemire scored fifteen mostly second half points. Jason Kidd kicked in eleven, and Tyson Chandler contributed seven points in the Knicks losing effort.
The Knicks shot 40.5% from the floor. That's not the Knicks main matter as the Nets shot at a 41.9% clip. Brooklyn wound up beating the Knicks at their own game, outscoring them 36-18 from three point land. The Nets shot 50%, hitting twelve of twenty four from behind the three-point line. The Knicks only shot 28.6% from behind the arch, making only six of twenty one shots.
Joe Johnson was the Nets high man with twenty five points. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez each dropped fourteen. Off the bench, Kris Humphries kicked in eleven points, and Keith Bogans added eight. Deron Williams led all players with twelve assists. As a team, the Knicks totalled fourteen. Seven assists came from Melo.
Brooklyn dominated the boards. Brook Lopez (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Kris Humphries (11 points, 13 rebounds) are the Nets double-doubles. For the game, Brooklyn out-rebounded Manhattan by a wide 52-37 margin. Both teams were actually sub-par from the free throw line.
The 2012-2013 inaugural battle for the city ends in a tie. Both teams won a game apiece. Unless these teams meet again in the playoffs, they will not play each other again this season. But with regard to the Atlantic Division standings, the Nets and Knicks now have an equal number of wins. Brooklyn improved to 25-16, while the team from Manhattan sports a 25-14 record. With Monday's win, Brooklyn moves to within one game of the first place New York Knicks. The Nets also improved their road record to a 9-9 mark. This was the Knicks sixth loss at Madison Square Garden.
This game marked the mid-point in Brooklyn's inaugural season. Forty one games are in the books. Forty one more games to go.