Nets get swept away by East River rivals
Suffer Yet Another Blowout Loss to Knicks at Madison Square Garden
The Nets are in the same division as the archrival New York Knicks.
But during this season, they weren’t in the same league.
“They’re better than us right now,” Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson conceded following Tuesday night’s 111-95 loss to New York in front of a crowd of 19,505 at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s great motivation for us. When we look at the scores for the season, they’re just better than us right now. We got a lot of catching up to do.”
The numbers will back that up.
En route to suffering their season high-tying fourth consecutive loss, the slumping Nets (18-33) also endured their first season series sweep at the hands of the Knicks (23-28) since the 2010-11 campaign, when the franchise was still based in New Jersey.
Making matters worse, Brooklyn lost the four regular-season matchups by an average of 14.7 points per contest as each game featured a large early deficit for the Nets, including a 61-41 halftime deficit Tuesday.
“First half, it’s tough to get into a 20-point hole on the road,” Atkinson noted. “First half was not Nets basketball, that’s not how we want to play. I kind of gave it to the guys at halftime and again, I thought we competed better in the second half.”
DeMarre Carroll led Brooklyn with 13 points and seven rebounds and rookie center Jarrett Allen, making his first career start, added 12 points as the Nets remained winless since a 101-100 victory at Detroit on Jan. 21.
“We couldn’t get stops,” said Brooklyn point guard D’Angelo Russell, who finished with seven points on 3-of-11 shooting off the bench as he resumes his steady return to form following knee surgery.
“We struggled to get stops and get out on transition. They capitalized.”
And the Nets didn’t.
Brooklyn went a dismal 9-of-36 from 3-point range while allowing the Knicks to knock down half of their 26 attempts from long range. Also, New York’s big-man tandem of Kristaps Porzingis (game-high 28 points) and Enes Kanter (20 points, 20 rebounds) controlled the game from start to finish.
Nets center Jahlil Okafor continued to show signs of improvement since his acquisition from Philadelphia on Dec. 7, grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds in a season-high 25 minutes.
“It’s very encouraging,” Okafor said. “I’m doing the right thing every day and doing what is asked from me. Hopefully, I can stay on the same trajectory.”
The Nets hoped to change their downward trajectory last night here against Okafor’s former team, the 76ers, in the opener of a four-game homestand.
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