Knicks overcome poor first quarter to defeat Nets 111-107

The Knicks overcame a sluggish first quarter as they came back to beat the Nets, 111-107, on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Here are the takeaways...

-Friday was the second of a back-to-back for the Knicks and it showed early on as the Nets began the game with an 11-0 run. The Knicks looked sluggish and had a tough time making shots. They started 0-for-5 from the field and Brooklyn built a lead as big as 17 points.

New York was held to five points with 3:21 left in the opening quarter on 2-of-14 shooting (1-6 from three). The quarter ended with the Nets up 30-14, and considering how it started, the deficit could have been worse. Cam Thomas drove the Knicks defense nuts, scoring 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

The Knicks would go on a bit of a run in the second quarter but it was the third quarter where they turned the game around. They forced seven turnovers and held the Nets to 29 percent shooting to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish, en route to a 111-107 win.

-Jalen Brunson was off his game early. He didn't score his first points until the second quarter. But give Brooklyn credit, the Nets used their length and size to give Brunson fits and force him to pass the ball.

However, he wouldn't be held down for long. The All-Star point guard scored 30 points on 10-of-25 shooting with 11 assists.

-Josh Hart was the most consistent Knick on this night, especially when Brunson struggled early. Hart finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three steals. He also hit a buzzer-beating three to bring the Nets' halftime lead to 63-54, which the Knicks carried over into their second-half turnaround.

-OG Anunoby was a big reason why the Knicks turned the game around in the third quarter. He was involved in two of the seven Nets turnovers that sprung the run, which gave the Knicks their first lead of the game.

Anunoby also scored 15 points in the third and finished with that many. He also came up with two steals.

-Isaiah Hartenstein got the night off and Deuce McBride was dealing with a non-COVID illness so the bench was a bit squeezed on this night. Jericho Sims started at center and provided some good minutes. The Nets even tried the "hack-a-Sims" method when the Knicks started to roll late in the second quarter, but the young big man knocked down both free throws and put a stop to it.

Nets coach Kevin Ollie tried the same tactic against Mitchell Robinson late in the fourth quarter, but the big man hit 4-of-6 free throws.

Sims finished with two points, four rebounds and one block. Bojan Bogdanovic added nine points in 19 minutes while Alec Burks scored five points in 11 minutes.

-The Knicks had no answers for Cam Thomas. The guard scored 41 points on 15-of-26 shooting (4-9 from three) with six assists. Trendon Watford (17), Lonnie Walker (15) and Jacob Gilyard (11) all contributed double-digit points.

-In addition to their win, the Knicks got some help in their pursuit of homecourt advantage in the first round. The Magic fell to the 76ers while the Bucks and Pacers lost. That means the Knicks can be no lower than the No. 4 seed. If the Bucks lose Sunday to the Magic, and the Knicks beat the Bulls, they will take the No. 2 seed.


What's Next...

The Knicks stay at The Garden for the regular season finale against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday afternoon.

Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.