The first game in the so-so Big Apple rivalry between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks went to the Nets, winning 110-99 behind a very good game from Deron William and Brook Lopez, while Carmelo Anthony put on his worst performance of this short season.
Anthony hit only 5-of-20 from the field en route to 19 points. The Knicks can succeed (to a point) this season, but it’ll take Anthony playing a lot better than this. There simply aren’t enough play makers and talented players to make such a bad game of his into something positive. The Knicks shot just 41.1% from the field and looked as bad as they have in most of their games this season. They got nothing from their inside players (Jason Smith and Samuel Dalembert) who struggled containing Lopez as well.
Deron Williams had his best game in possibly two years, scoring 29 points on 10-of-15 from the field, including two 3-pointers. Joe Johnson, playing as a small forward while Bojan Boganovic joins Williams in the backcourt, finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Lopez scored 20, grabbing nine rebounds and finishing with 9-of-10 from the line. Kevin Garnett spent only 13 minutes on the floor, scoring six points and getting plenty of rest.
Instead of Garnett, who hasn’t been efficient most of the time when playing as a Power Forward, it was Mirtza Teletovic, getting a bigger role to play in this season due to Garnett’s fading ability. Teletovic wasn’t consistent last season, but is off to a much better start this year, averaging 13.4 points per game. He scored 18 points with 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, and Alan Anderson was another bench player who got to help out, scoring 8 points.
Aside from Carmelo Anthony on the Knicks, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points, Amare Stouedmire added 14 and Cleanthony Early surprised with 12 points of his own. But this team is still lost when Anthony isn’t shooting well. Obviously, he can also move the ball around a bit instead of shooting it, but it goes through him nonetheless. Not all of those misses were bad shots – he was missing quite a few open ones as well, but in general, he simply wasn’t delivering the goods the Knicks have no way of making up for.
This isn’t going to be an exciting season of basketball for both New York teams, but the Nets a have a bit more going for them in terms of relying on more than one player. The Knicks have the superstar and nothing much else. Often it’s enough to at least make the playoffs, but that’s not so certain given their start, which is an indication of something. The Nets might make the playoffs again but beyond that, this team needs a bulldozer and young blood, which is going to take time to get in.