Aside from the Knicks’ own resident Brooklyn boy Carmelo Anthony, there was perhaps no other Knickerbocker looking forward to Monday’s matchup with the Nets more than Jason Kidd.
After being the leader of such New Jersey Nets squads that went head to head with the Knicks in the early 2000′s, Kidd understands exactly what the rivalry is all about. He understands how much pride is involved, and furthermore, what’s at stake when the now cross-bridge rivals take the court against one another.
Now on the other end of the rivalry, Kidd was hoping to help the Knicks assert themselves as the Big Apple’s team.
Unfortunately, the man arguably most embedded into the rivalry (due to his history) had to sit out. Kidd was a late game scratch with back spasms, and was reportedly advised not to venture out with his team to Brooklyn.
Still, the Knicks hit the hardwood on Monday night, hoping to come away with a win over the Nets. Expected to be out-rebounded by Brooklyn by a considerable margin, New York put forth one of its best overall team efforts on the boards, grabbing 50 rebounds. While that was only enough to tie the Nets in that statistic, the elevated effort did result in positive things for the Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler actually combined for a total of 13 offensive rebounds in the contest. As they both fought for extra opportunities, each player poured in the points around the basket.
For Anthony, it was about putting up the shots, and getting fouled to return to the charity stripe again and again. For Chandler, it was about aggressively attacking the Nets’ defense and thriving in the pick and roll. Anthony ended up finishing 35 points, and Chandler roared loud as he slammed home a career-high 28 points of his own.
The pair undoubtedly carried the team throughout the contest, but without Kidd, no one else was able to get things rolling on offense. No other player scored in double-figures for the Knicks, but perhaps what was more telling was the team’s abysmal shooting percentage.
Excluding Anthony and Chandler, the rest of the Knickerbockers shot 21% from the field. The ball movement wasn’t there, players weren’t in the right spots, and the shots weren’t falling. The lack of fluidity was evident.
While the Knicks struggled to find a rhythm offensively, the Nets didn’t appear to do much better throughout. There were patches of no scoring for minutes at a time. With things not going either team’s way, it was clear a gritty effort was going to be needed by whichever squad eventually came out on top.
In the end, that extra bit of fight is exactly what the Nets put forth as they gunned for the victory. Brooklyn allowed the Knicks to hang on and stick around all the way to make it to an overtime period. It was then that the Nets turned up the intensity, and the Knicks did not.
The “home” team outscored the Knicks 12-5 in the game’s extra period. The Knicks had a lot of fight in them last night, but clearly, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t as much as a Brooklyn squad that was led by Deron Williams’ masterful playmaking. The star guard added 16 points and 14 assists.
Such a steady effort from a floor general was exactly what the Knicks needed, but with Kidd out, they didn’t get it. Raymond Felton struggled, logging his worst outing to date as a Knickerbocker. The guard shot 3 for 19, and only managed to dish out 5 assists.
The Knicks were killed by Reggie Evans’ season-high 14 rebounds off the bench, and were undoubtedly sink by old-timer Jerry Stackhouse’s late game heroics. Hitting a couple of big shots down the stretch, the veteran added 14 points.
This was a disappointing loss for the Knicks, but as it’s been said before, this season is a long journey. Such a journey will only be made a successful one if New York can prove they can get back up and fight back after falling down hard. With a 9-4 record, the team will look to bounce back against the Bucks on Wednesday night.