Knicks stuff Nets, end nine-game slide

Joe Pantorno, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- On Wednesday, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony described his team as the laughingstock of the NBA.
After he helped the Knicks dismantle the Brooklyn Nets in a 113-83 win Thursday night, he might hear a few of those laughs muffled.
"That's society, that's just life," Anthony said after the Knicks ended a nine-game losing streak, their losing skid in nearly seven years. "We've been losing; guys have been laughing at us. We won tonight, that's all that matters."
Leading a balanced scoring attack, Anthony recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds despite sitting out a majority of the fourth quarter. Four other Knicks scored in double figures.
"Everybody had that look like we're tired of losing," Anthony said. "It showed from the tip-off ... overall we played a great game."
Known as a team that lives and dies by the 3-pointer, New York (4-13) shot 15-for-25 from long range. Guard Iman Shumpert made himself comfortable outside, scoring 15 of his 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.
"I don't know what we've been missing, but it came out tonight so I'm happy," Shumpert said. "We just have to play every game like it's our last."
With seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Knicks led 58-50. By quarter's end, an offensive surge put New York up 84-59 as the Nets' woes continued. Brooklyn (5-14) was outscored 63-40 in the second half.
"You've got to have a short memory in this league, that's part of it," said Nets guard Joe Johnson, who scored 13 points. "Obviously we're in a tough rut right now, and the only people that can get us out of it are the people in this locker room."
Ball movement was crucial for the Knicks. Reversing its recent pattern, New York utilized a quick pace and the extra pass to carve apart the Nets.
"We finally put up 48 (minutes) of basketball together," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "I thought tonight, across the board, everybody was tremendous. Everybody that played gave something when they were on the floor."
While the score line grew more lopsided, a newly divided city saw the rivalry grow. Knicks center Andrea Bargnani, who scored 17 points, was ejected after his second technical just moments after New York forward Amar'e Stoudemire's second technical was rescinded. In the middle of it all was Nets forward Kevin Garnett, who was one of five players assessed technicals on the night.
"(Garnett and I) were just talking, but it's OK," Bargnani said. "The most important thing is that we won the game and played great. I don't want to talk about the referees."
Anthony on the other hand, beamed with pride at his new teammate's grit.
"He knows that we have his back," Anthony said. "It was good that he stood up for himself. He'll get a pat on his back. ... He was the sacrificial lamb tonight, but it might have been worth it."
The Nets did everything they could to exploit their size advantage. Center Brook Lopez abused Bargnani down low, scoring 24 points and grabbing a team-high nine rebounds while leading a Nets effort that produced 38 points in the paint.
"I think we are up with the bigs in the pick-and-roll," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "We're trying to take care of the ball. With practice time, with injuries, we're not whole, so we are trying to do it through walk-through. But we'll get better."
With two struggling defenses facing off, good looks were plenty, but the Knicks began the game hot. Bargnani, the subject of criticism since his move to New York, started out 4-of-4 for nine points, stretching a physical Nets team outside.
"We were always looking for that next pass, and that was the most important thing," Bargnani said. "We finally put together a full game."
The Nets did not to go down low effectively enough to start, and they shot 6-for-14 in the first quarter. The Knicks' defensive pressure was doing a good job harrying Brooklyn into rushed possessions and turnovers.
"The 3-ball was falling and the ball was moving and the defense was clicking," Woodson said. "That's how we have to play."
NOTES: The Knicks endured a nine-game slide for the first time since March 19-April 4, 2006. That season, the team went 23-59. ... New York F Carmelo Anthony began the night ranked second in the league in scoring, averaging 26.3 points per game. Only Oklahoma City Thunder F Kevin Durant (28.5 ppg) had a better average. Anthony led the league in minutes played with 40.4 per game. ... Knicks G J.R. Smith played 25 minutes despite soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. He scored eight points. ... Nets C Brook Lopez ranked fourth in the league in blocks through Wednesday, averaging 2.27 per game. He blocked one shot against the Knicks.

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