Last night, both the New York Knicks (21-37) and the Brooklyn Nets (27-29) had nationally televised games. New York traveled to Miami to take on their rivals, the Heat (41-14); and Brooklyn traveled to Denver to take on the Nuggets (25-32).
New York, who has been struggling in the month of February, tried to get their season back on track; but failed miserably. Miami, who have been hot as of late, took care of business and throttled the Knicks 108-82. With this loss, New York is now on a 4-game losing streak and their playoff hopes seem to be slipping away.
Miami opened up the 2nd quarter on a 15-5 run to take a 43-27 lead with 6:05 remaining. The Knicks began the quarter lethargically, but they began to pick up the pace afterwards.
Following that run by the Heat, the Knicks responded with a 12-4 run of their own. Carmelo Anthony got into the groove and scored 11 of the Knicks 12 points during that run. Anthony scored a total of 16 points in the 2nd quarter.
With less than 20 seconds left, Anthony grabbed the offensive board off of a Tim Hardaway Jr. miss and put it back in to cut the lead to three; but at the buzzer, Shane Battier found Lebron James off the inbounds pass for a lay-up. Miami went into the break with a 55-50 lead.
In the 1st half, the Knicks dominated the offensive boards 10-0; but they couldn’t convert a lot of their second chance opportunities. The Knicks only had seven second chance points.
Anthony led the Knicks with 24 points and 6 rebounds, and Dwayne Wade led the Heat with 15 points at the half.
At 9:19 in the 3rd, Pablo Prigioni fed Tyson Chandler in transition for the dunk. At that moment, the Knicks were behind 61-59 -- that’s as close as the Knicks would get.
After that basket, the Heat closed the quarter on a 26-5 run. Lebron James helped propel the Heat with 12 points scored in the 3rd. The Heat finished the game shooting an extremely efficient 61%.
The Knicks are now 5.5 games out of the final spot in the playoffs, and they finished the month of February with a 2-10 record.
Key Stats: Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 29 points and 7 rebounds. Tyson Chandler had a double-double, 19 points and 16 rebounds. J.R. Smith finished with 11 points and 5 assists.
Lebron James led the Heat with 31 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Dwayne Wade finished with 23 points. Mario Chalmers scored 11 points. Norris Cole and Ray Allen both had 11 points off the bench.
Key Notes: Lebron James started after missing one game due to a broken nose. James wore a black protective mask which made him look like a superhero. Iman Shumpert and Kenyon Martin are out for the Knicks with injuries. Shannon Brown and Earl Clark both had their debuts for the Knicks.
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On Wednesday, Brooklyn suffered an humiliating defeat against the Portland Trail Blazers (124-80); and they looked to redeem themselves against a Denver team, who are riddled with injuries. Brooklyn took advantage of Denver’s sluggish start, and led from start to finish -- Brooklyn destroyed Denver 112-89.
Denver had one of the most embarrassing 1st quarter performances of the season, and they trailed Brooklyn 29-8 after one. Denver turned over the ball eight times which resulted in eight points off turnovers for Brooklyn. Denver also couldn’t buy a basket and shot 17% (3-18) from the field.
Brooklyn continued to pour it on in the 2nd, and increased their lead to 31 near the halfway mark. Shaun Livingston assisted Mirza Teletovic for the three which gave Brooklyn that lead. Denver outscored Brooklyn 18-10 in the last half of the quarter, and trailed Brooklyn 59-36 at halftime.
The 36 points scored in the first half is a season-low for the Nuggets. The Nets were excellent on defense, forcing the Nuggets into 15 turnovers (10 points off of turnovers) and holding the Nuggets to 32.5% shooting from the field.
The Nuggets, who are known for their fast break style of offense, managed no fast break points in the first half. The Nets, who are the older team, ran the Nuggets off the court and dominated 14-0 in fast break points.
No Nets players scored in double-figures in the 1st half.
Brooklyn held their largest lead of 38, 85-47, at the 1:34 mark in the 3rd quarter. Marquis Teague was able to find Andray Blatche at the elbow for three.
Brooklyn currently hold the 6th seed in the playoffs, and are two games behind the Washington Wizards for the 5th seed.
Key Stats: Paul Pierce led the Nets with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Joe Johnson scored 10 points. Mason Plumlee and Marcus Thornton both scored 10 off the bench. Plumlee also grabbed 9 rebounds.
Randy Foye led the Nuggets with 15 points. Kenneth Faried had 14 points and 8 rebounds. Aaron Brooks finished with 13 points. J.J. Hickson finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Key Notes: Darrell Arthur, Wilson Chandler, Nate Robinson (out for season), and Ty Lawson didn’t feature for the Nuggets due to injury.
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