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Knicks Cruise Past Nets, Claim 8th Place in East

Courtesy (USATSI)Courtesy: USATSI

By Wilson Caicedo
Last night’s interstate game between the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden was much more important than just a game for bragging rights. You see, Brooklyn is looking to continue climbing the Eastern Conference standings(currently 5th) as they trailed both, Chicago and Toronto by just a game and a half. New York on the other hand is in more of a dire situation, clashing with the struggling, Atlanta Hawks for the 8th and final spot.

Earlier in the day Hawks GM, Danny Ferry said “the 8th spot is not one of the teams goals but that the team would like to make the playoffs.” The contradicting statement left many puzzled, wondering if Atlanta’s recent run of poor play has anything to do with it.

New York received some good news prior to the game as Tim Hardaway Jr’s injured ankle had healed enough overnight to give it a go in this crucial game for the Knicks who came out of the gates running. Knowing they needed to seize the opportunity in front of them with Brooklyn coming off a hard fought win against Western Conference powerhouse, Houston. In the 1st quarter New York was led by JR Smith who connected on a set of trifectas and culminated with some timely defensive anticipation by Iman Shumpert leading to a Carmelo Anthony dunk and Hardaway Jr buzzer beater.

It wasn’t only Smith’s prowess scoring the ball but he was also setting up his teammates, which has recently become more of a staple in his repertoire. The Knicks continued the onslaught that concluded the first, finishing off a 20-2 run after a Hardaway Jr bucket. The Knicks received contributions up and down the lineup but more importantly on both ends of the floor as they turned defense to offense.

Before long New York would see its lead balloon to over 20 points and Brooklyn on this night would show very little fight. At one point the Nets would narrow the gap to 14 points but a late run to close the 3rd led by none other than Smith would push the lead back over 20. Brooklyn was lifeless whether it was more of the Knicks doing or if it had to do with the back to back scenario, Jason Kidd’s group didn’t deserve to be on the same floor as their city counterpart.

With his team leading by nearly 30 points and the game never really in doubt, Knicks coach Mike Woodson decided to empty his bench near the 6 minute mark while Kidd already had conceded the result. With the victory, coupled by another Atlanta loss, New York moved % points ahead of the Hawks for 8th place but Atlanta has one fewer loss than NY. Brooklyn on the other received no favors as both Toronto and Chicago both won their respective games.

Final
Knicks 110 Nets 81

Notes:
The Knicks shooting slash line was 60/44/75
Brooklyn was outrebounded 41-23
NY outscored Brooklyn on the break 13-2
NY scored 27 points off turnovers
Raymond Felton returned to the game in the 4th following a hard fall in the 3rd quarter

Wilson Caicedo: PureSportsNY

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