By Tom Dowd
The Brooklyn Nets were blitzed to start the second half at Madison Square Garden Friday night, outscored 23-8 over the first seven minutes of the half to fall behind by 20 points on the way to a 107-86 loss against the New York Knicks.
“They were the more energetic team,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “They were denying us left and right. They got into the ball-handler and didn’t let us run our stuff. Obviously it’s on us too. When teams are playing like that you’ve got to screen better, you’ve got to cut better. We were lethargic and we paid for it.”
The Nets had built a 10-point first quarter lead behind three 3-pointers by Quincy Acy, outscoring the Knicks 24-6 after falling behind 8-0. But after shooting 55 percent from the field (10-of-18) and 3-point range (5-of-9) in the first quarter, they couldn’t sustain their offense the rest of the way.
Over the final three quarters Brooklyn shot just 35 percent from the field (20-of-50) and 30 percent from 3-point range (6-of-20).
“We just weren’t in our rhythm,”
“They took us out of our rhythm. Took us out of our offense. Took us out of things we do well.”
Spencer Dinwiddie had 11 assists for Brooklyn, more than half of the team’s total of 18.
SECOND QUARTER STRUGGLES
The Nets were still leading 38-37 midway through the second quarter before things went awry. They were outscored 10-4 over the last 5:10 going into halftime, beginning with a driving dunk by Kristaps Porzingis and a 3-pointer from Courtney Lee.
“We started missing shots, then we weren’t getting stops,” said DeMarre Carroll. “They just took off. We were not getting back in transition defense, they were getting wide-open threes. They were getting offensive rebounds. They were basically getting whatever they wanted.”
After turning the ball over just three times in the first quarter, the Nets gave it up eight times in the second. Though they still trailed just 47-42 at halftime, they never got back into an offensive flow.
“I think the second quarter things changed,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “They really got into us. I think we had (eight) turnovers in the second quarter. That changed the game.”
PORZINGIS LEADS KNICKS
Kristaps Porzingis led all players with 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds. The 7-foot-3 forward shot 13-of-24 from the field, even while going 1-for-6 from 3-point range. So inside the arc, Porzingis was 12-for-18.
“Obviously Porzingis is a great player,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “I think it was everywhere. We were porous in the post against (Enes) Kanter, porous in the post against Porzingis. They got middle on us in the post a bunch of times. And then when they did miss, we couldn’t get the offensive rebound. They’d get the offensive rebound, throw it out and get a 3-point shot. I don’t know how many more shots they had than us, but it was a ton.”
BEAT ON THE BOARDS
The Nets were outrebounded by the Knicks, 55-34. And that’s after they were even on the boards at 13 apiece after the first period.
The Knicks’ 19 offensive rebounds contributed to a huge advantage in shot attempts, 98-74. The Knicks finished with 31 second-chance points. Kyle O’Quinn led the Knicks with 12 rebounds.
“You’re really not giving yourself a chance when they shoot 20-plus more shots than you,” said Allen Crabbe. “So just give them credit on the effort tonight and we’ve just got to bounce back and be ready for Sunday.”
After missing Wednesday’s win against Cleveland with a knee sprain suffered the night before against Orlando, point guard D’Angelo Russell returned for the Nets and led the team with 15 points, shooting 6-of-10 in 17 minutes.