The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks have both made a bit of headway after their terrible starts to the season, but Brooklyn is clearly coming together more quickly. This was obvious in the Nets' 103-80 victory on Monday afternoon, where the eventual outcome became apparent almost immediately.
Brooklyn built an 11-point lead by the end of the first quarter and kept extending it after that. New York couldn't get anything going on either end of the court, shooting 34 percent from the field and allowing the Nets to shoot 49 percent. While the Knicks looked like they'd never played with each other before, Brooklyn finished with 25 assists on 37 made field goals. This was the kind of game you can sum up rather well with just one gif:
The Nets, now 7-1 in the new year, were led by guard Joe Johnson's 25 points, six rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes. Johnson shot 8-for-15 from the field and made four of his eight three-point attempts. Big man Andray Blatche added 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting and 12 rebounds off the bench. Point guard Deron Williams also came off the bench in his return from an ankle injury, only needing to play 25 minutes minutes and finishing with 10 points and three assists.
Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and 12 rebounds for New York, but no other starters reached double figures. J.R. Smith had 15 points off the bench. Pablo Prigioni, who had been out since mid-December with a fractured toe, was inserted into the starting lineup, with Andrea Bargnani going to the bench. No lineup that the Knicks tried on Martin Luther King Day found much success, though. There were boos for the Knicks and chants of "Broooooklyn" at Madison Square Garden.
New York has lost its last four and is 6-5 in the new year, 15-26 on the season. The Knicks have had a tough recent schedule and it will ease up as January comes to a close, but they will need to play with more cohesion if they are going to make some up for lost ground in the playoff race.