Early on in the first quarter it was a battle of tag teams between the duos of J.R. Smith and Amare Stoudemire, and the combination of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. Smith and Stoudemire combined to score the first 16 points for New York, with each scoring eight points to help keep pace with the Brooklyn Nets, tying the game up at 16-16, eight minutes into the game. Deron Williams answered with a driving layup, giving him nine points in the opening quarter, who was one-half of the Net’s tag team attack, with Joe Johnson scoring seven points to compliment his backcourt-mate.
You don’t have to be an expert oddsmaker to understand the Knicks chances of winning these days. For example, one look at these official lines for NBA betting tell that story. But we could all tell that the Knicks, Shumpert in particular, wanted this one. With both teams exchanging punches, Knicks tagged in Iman Shumpert. Shumpert came off the bench, giving the Knicks a huge spark with his defensive intensity. Shumpert stole the ball twice within the last 17.9 seconds of the first quarter, leading to a Carmelo Anthony dunk, and then a Tim Hardaway Jr. buzzer beating three, giving the Knicks a 29-20 lead at the end of the first quarter. This run bridged into the second quarter, where it was extended to a 20-2 run, giving New York a 39-22 lead with 8:29 left in the first half.
Shumpert continued to put his imprints on the game, when he grabbed an offensive rebound, taking the ball back out to size up Mirza Teletovic, where he then put the moves on Teletovic, going behind the back on him for a reverse layup! This gave New York a 45-30 lead with 6:16 remaining in the quarter. A minute later Shumpert would disrupt Marcus Thornton’s pass to the post, collecting his fourth steal in the first half, and then running out for an and-one opportunity. Although Shumpert missed the free throw, his hustle gave New York a 47-32 lead. A minute later Shumpert showed his defensive prowess, shutting down Net’s star point guard Deron Williams, staying in front of Williams every step he took, leading to a wild attempt, which lead to a Amare Stoudemire touchdown pass to Carmelo Anthony for an easy slam dunk. Shumpert helped New York gain full control of the game, holding Brooklyn to 41.9% shooting in the first half. The Knicks lead 63-38 at the half. New York had four players in double figures scoring by half time, making 66.7% of their shot attempts.
New York got a scare, when Raymond Felton fall down hard early in the third quarter, when he went up for a rebound, and was brought down hard from behind, but could not brace his fall. Felton was reported to have contused ribs and back, but was able to comeback in the game later in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand. Felton received a loud applaud from the Madison Square Garden crown (which rarely occurred this year) for his toughness to stay in the game. Felton was also a semi victory cigar too, as Brooklyn never really threatened in the fourth quarter, with the bench getting early fourth quarter minutes.
J.R. Smith has been knocking it down from downtown with great consistency lately, and was able to knock down six three-pointers Wednesday night. Smith finished the game with 24 points 8 rebounds and 6 assist. Tim Hardaway Jr. was another sparkplug off the bench, scoring 17 points.