Kidd's Heroics on a New Side of Rivalry
My brother is a clever one. He sent that single text after witnessing the stunning finish to Tuesday's "Clash of the Boroughs."
Jason Kidd -- of course Jason Kidd -- swished a three while being fouled with 24.1 seconds remaining to give the New York Knicks their largest lead of the evening at 100-97. A missed free throw and two errant threes later, it proved to be the final margin.
"I hate him," Deron Williams joked afterward (the point guards are good friends). "I didn't even see it. I saw the tail end of it, saw the ball go in here and heard the whistle and saw Stack on the ground. It was a big shot. Huge shot for them."
That the former Net, who will surely make a post-career trip to Barclays Center so that No. 5 can rise to its rightful place in the rafters, hit the game-winner turbo-charges the budding Brooklyn-New York rivalry into a gear that should crescendo for the eight days preceding Round Three, set for December 19 at Madison Square Garden. And that's to say nothing of the 45-point performance (15-24 FGs, 10-11 FTs) by concert-master Carmelo Anthony, who clearly fancies himself at home in the borough of his birth, averaging 35 points on .530 shooting (.666 3P%) and nine rebounds in the two games.
But the Knicks represent only one half of this awesome outcome, and the Nets applied themselves to an inside-out attack, despite the absence – for a sixth-straight game – of center Brook Lopez. With a tip of a stylish cap to Clyde, the Nets were driving and thriving in the early going, connecting on eight of nine shots before even attempting a three, racing out to a 21-5 lead that settled at 30-16 behind Andray Blatche (1Q: 12 points, 6-7 FGs) and Joe Johnson (7 points, 3-6 FGs).
Producing so many points in the paint ultimately offered a healthy 28-point advantage (48-20), but defensive breakdowns during the course of the game allowed the Knicks to rack up a 30-point edge on three-pointers after outshooting the Nets 14-4.
"The main thing is, we just didn't do a good job of controlling the three-point line," said Nets coach Avery Johnson. "Every time we kind of had control of the game, they would make a three. And some were really uncharacteristic of us. We talked about it at halftime, watched it at halftime and unfortunately, we made some of the same mistakes (again)."
The Nets now head to Toronto aiming to snap a five-game slide, and Lopez didn't make the trip. Though Brooklyn will be coming off its first loss to an Atlantic Division rival, following a 4-0 start, the team will have a strong opportunity to win – the 4-18 Raptors are dealing with several injuries to key players and a five-loss streak of their own.
"The most important thing right now is for us to stick together," Blatche said. "We're going through these losses, and we've got to stay positive until the next one. The effort was there, the communication was there most of the time. They made big plays."
Visit the Nets vs. Knicks Game Center for a comprehensive recap.