In the battle of the boroughs, the Knicks were clearly the better team from start to finish, shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 59.3 percent from three, while Brooklyn managed to hit on just 39.7 percent of its field-goal attempts in the loss.
The wheels really came off for the Nets in the third quarter, the 12-minute stretch that has haunted Jason Kidd's team all season long. The Knicks outscored the Nets 34-16 in the third, and it was all over after that.
The Knicks finished the night with six players scoring in double figures, and Carmelo Anthony led the way with 19 points on a tidy 8-of-12 shooting.
Brooklyn now sits at 5-14 and has lost nine of its last 11.
Carmelo Anthony, Small Forward
While Carmelo Anthony's chucking ways have been a hot topic of conversation lately, the league's second-leading scorer deferred to his teammates throughout the first half, which came as a surprise considering he averaged 40 points per game in two games last season at the Barclays Center.
With the Nets constantly double-teaming Anthony, the Knicks' leading scorer helped to initiate some nice ball movement, freeing up shooters on the wings time and again with some solid passing. His six assists tied a season high.
For the Knicks, fewer shots from Anthony meant improved efficiency, as he also had 10 rebounds. He scored nine points on 4-of-7 shooting in the first half.
J.R. Smith, Shooting Guard
The pinnacle of J.R. Smith's night came in the first quarter when he crossed up Shaun Livingston, which should tell you all you need to know about his overall performance.
On a night when the Knicks were in a relatively strong groove from distance, Smith contributed two triples and eight points overall, but he was hardly a major factor in New York's offensive explosion.
Smith continues to fight through soreness in his surgically repaired knee, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that his struggles have persisted into December.
Iman Shumpert, Shooting Guard
Iman Shumpert came out with an ultra-aggressive attitude against the Nets, but that somewhat reckless style of play led to two early fouls.
Fortunately for New York, the early foul trouble didn't deter him, and he continued to find good looks from beyond the arc while pushing the ball effectively in transition.
In just 23 minutes, he totaled 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting (5-of-7 from three), six rebounds and two steals. He also showed a renewed energy (one that resulted in a technical foul late in the second quarter), which the Knicks can only hope that he sustains throughout the coming weeks.
Shumpert's fire and ability to capitalize on extra passes were exactly what the Knicks needed to breathe some life into their moribund offense.
Raymond Felton, Point Guard
The Knicks dropped in 30 points on 70.6 percent shooting in the first quarter, and a big reason why was Raymond Felton's play.
Felton, who totaled 13 points and four assists on the night, scored eight points over his first 10 minutes of action, converting on all three of his looks, including two three-pointers.
Although he cooled down as the game wore on, his steady shooting stroke and selfless distribution were constants on a night when the Knicks so desperately needed to rebound on the offensive end.
Andrea Bargnani, Center
With the ball moving and the Nets defense looking particularly porous, Bargnani went to work early, totaling a team-best nine first-quarter points on 4-of-4 shooting. He scored a team-high 11 first-half points.
The Knicks center finished with 16 points (7-of-13 shooting), three assists and three blocks in a solid showing on both ends of the floor, but Joey Crawford ejected him for jawing with Garnett in the fourth quarter.
Kenyon Martin, Power Forward
Per usual, there isn't much to report on Kenyon Martin's outing. A quiet presence on the offensive end, he finished with two points, one rebound and four assists.
It's worth noting that he did finish the first half with a game-best plus/minus of plus-14 and finished with a mark of plus-23 in the win.
The Knicks bench got plenty of work down the stretch on Thursday night, and Amar'e Stoudemire shined the brightest against the Nets.
STAT finished the night with 11 points (5-of-6 shooting) and four rebounds. He thrived in the third quarter while working a two-man game with Anthony and emphatically denying Joe Johnson at the rim in the first.
Pablo Prigioni added five points and three dimes, while Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 12 points and several fantastic bench celebrations. He earned an A+ in the enthusiasm category.
Brook Lopez, Center
With the Nets offense sputtering, Brook Lopez took it upon himself to carry the load early, which made for a rather bloated stat line.
He finished with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting, nine rebounds and a block. Interestingly enough, eight of his nine boards came on the offensive glass.
With Paul Pierce and Deron Williams out, the offensive onus will continue to fall on Lopez and Joe Johnson. Both players have to take 20-25 shots a game if the Nets are going to be even moderately productive on offense.
Joe Johnson, Shooting Guard
Although defense didn't reign supreme, Joe Johnson had a hard time getting going against the Knicks, hitting on just three of his first 11 shots. And to be clear, he hoisted his first 10 shots in just 13 minutes of action.
With offensive efficiency not being the Nets' forte, it was tough sledding for a team that entered Thursday night ranked 22nd overall in scoring.
Johnson's effort didn't do much to mask those inefficiencies, though, as he finished with 13 points on 4-of-15 shooting, three rebounds and two assists.
Kevin Garnett, Power Forward
It was an uneventful showing for Kevin Garnett, who finished out the season's first meeting between the Knicks and Nets with six points (3-of-5 shooting) and six rebounds in 20 minutes of play.
His biggest contribution was a scuffle with Bargnani in the fourth quarter.
It's sad to say, but Garnett looks like a shell of his former self, and his performance on Thursday further proved that point.
Alan Anderson, Small Forward
With Paul Pierce sidelined, Alan Anderson drew the start on the wing alongside Joe Johnson.
The former Toronto Raptor mustered just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting on a night when the Nets could have used his production.
Entering Thursday night, he had a history of stepping up offensively against the Knicks, but he didn't produce up to snuff on a night when he had a prime opportunity to do so.
Tyshawn Taylor, Point Guard
Starting once again in place of the injured Deron Williams, Tyshawn Taylor produced a meager four points (2-of-9 shooting) and two assists in his temporary role.
However, he was outplayed by Shaun Livingston early, which made the choice rather easy for Jason Kidd when it came to picking which point guard would see the bulk of the minutes early in the second half.
Shaun Livingston, Point Guard
Aside from the play of Brook Lopez, the bounce that Shaun Livingston showed in 23 minutes was rather encouraging for a Nets team that didn't have much else going on Thursday night.
Livingston was the high man off the bench with nine points, but he was unable to get the Nets offense flowing, which has been a consistent problem for the point guards all season long.
There's not much to write home about here.
Outside of Livingston, the Nets bench combined to score just 19 points. Andray Blatche managed just two points and three turnovers in the loss, while Mason Plumlee added eight points.
Considering this bench entered the night ranked No. 7 overall in scoring, according to HoopsStats, it was a disappointing showing for Kidd's second unit.
The Knicks will look to win their second straight game when they host the Orlando Magic on Friday evening, while the Nets have a chance to capitalize on a matchup with the hapless Milwaukee Bucks in Wisconsin on Saturday. That one should be a barn burner.
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