The Skinny: Both teams only hit four of their first 11 shots, as they were jacking up deep outside shots, but the Nets held an early lead. Kris Humphries picked up a technical foul in the opening minutes after being too physical in battling J.R. Smith for a rebound. The Knicks took the lead on a 7-0 run and closed out the quarter with a three-point lead. Brooklyn shot just 35 percent from the field in the first quarter but started shooting better in the closing minutes.
The “Bench Mob” helped the Nets pick up the offensive pace to start the second quarter, with Keith Bogans knocking down two three-pointers early in the frame. New York went on another 7-0 run to go back on top, but Joe Johnson answered with all eight points of a Nets’ 8-0 run to regain the lead. With Carmelo Anthony, who was a game-time decision to play, heating up, the Knicks went on a 13-5 run to end the half leading by four. Melo had 17 first half points, and the game already featured 14 lead changes by halftime.
Deron Williams scored five straight points out of the break and 10 in the first six minutes of the third quarter to put the Nets back in front. But once again, the Knicks fought right back, and a Melo three-pointer gave New York the lead. An extended 18-4 run allowed the Knicks to open a 10-point lead, and they led by eight after three quarters.
New York increased the lead to 14 with just less than eight minutes to go. The Nets only scored one point in the first four minutes of the quarter. The Knicks increased the lead to 18, and the rest was pure garbage time.
High Scorers: Anthony led all scorers with 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting. For the Nets, Johnson led the way with 17 points on 5-of-14 from the field.
Key Stats: After opening the game 5-of-21 (24 percent) from the field, the Nets shot 30-of-57 (53 percent) the rest of the way. But Brooklyn lost the turnover battle 14-8.
Who Was Hot: Tyson Chandler was dominant in the paint, shooting 7-of-11 from the floor for 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for the double-double. Smith poured in 19 points off the bench. After just two first half points, Williams finished with 16 points and 10 assists for a double-double.
Who Was Not: Though he pulled down nine rebounds, Humphries had more fouls (two) then points (zero) in 17:38. Brook Lopez finished with a double-double (18 points and 10 rebounds), but he shot just 8-of-18 from the field. Raymond Felton was ice cold from the field, shooting 4-of-15 for eight points, all in the first half.
Fun Fact: This game was the first time the Knicks hosted a team from the state of New York since a 122-112 loss to the Buffalo Braves on Feb. 18, 1978. Bob McAdoo led the Knicks with 33 points.
Round three of the “Battle of the Boroughs” goes to the Knicks in dominant fashion. The game was close at halftime, but the Nets managed just 38 points in the second half. Brooklyn is last in the league averaging 43.5 points in the second half this season.
The Nets actually weren’t as bad early in the third quarter in this one but began to break down in the final minutes. They shot 9-of-18 from the field for 19 points but also turned the ball over four times.
Melo continues to own the Brooklyn Nets. He came into the contest averaging 40.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, and he poured in 31 in this one.
The first two games of this rivalry were decided by just 10 combined points, but the Knicks won this one on their home floor by 14. The Nets are now just 2-8 in the month of December.
Brooklyn (13-12) hosts the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center. Andrew Bynum has still yet to make his season debut from the 76ers as he recovers from a knee injury. The 3 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.