The Brooklyn Nets may have the best record since New Years, but that didn’t stop the rollercoaster Knicks from blowing them out in a 110-81 final on Wednesday night. And while the Knicks surely will look for any opportunity they can to prove that they are the kings of New York, the win was also enough to sneak them into the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference, as the edged ahead of Atlanta with just weeks remaining in the season.
The win for the Knicks is certainly impressive, but how they did it may be equally as much to notice. This is a team that has been touted for the stars they have, yet it seems like they have a hard time coming together on a nightly basis in order to get wins. On Wednesday, it wasn’t just Carmelo Anthony dropping buckets for the Knickerbockers. Instead, JR Smith bested Anthony with 24 points, to Melo’s 23. Amare’e Stoudemire also pitched in with 13 points and added 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.
As impressive as the starters were on Wednesday, Madison Square Garden also was pleased to see the efforts of the Knicks bench. Every player that came off the bench for the Knicks had a positive-point differential, including Tim Hardaway Jr, who was +33, Iman Shumpert, +29, and Pablo Prigioni, +17.
If the Knicks can get this type of full-tilt effort for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs, they could be a dangerous matchup for any team in the East. Then again, we’ve said that at least a few times before.
As for the Nets, you could tell things were bad when they were down by 25 at halftime. And while they outscored the Knicks in the third quarter, 23-19, New York finished it off with a 28-20 fourth quarter. The poor play and lack of execution was enough for Jason Kidd to get his first technical of the regular season.
It was hard to find a bright spot for the Nets on Wednesday. Joe Johnson led the team with 16 and Deron Williams added 12. But unlike the Knicks starters, who were all positive in the plus/minus category, every single player for the Nets was outscored while they were on the court.
The Knicks have now won two of the three games that these two teams have played. The final game will take place in Brooklyn on April 15th. The Knicks now have one win on the road and one win at home, while their loss came at home on January 20th. Will the Nets be able to even things up with a win of their own at home in two weeks? You can check back with sportspicks.com handicappers to find the odds to that game when it gets closer.
In the mean time, the Knicks still sit at 300/1 odds to win the NBA Championship and the Nets find themselves at 45/1. If you think the Knicks can keep it up now that Phil Jackson is in the front office, this could be a prime option to get in on while they still offer huge returns.