In need of a victory to end a miserable 9-game losing streak, and possibly save their coach's job in the process, the New York Knicks woke up from their malaise to put together their best performance of the year, dominating the Brooklyn Nets 113-83.
Sure they took on a Nets team that has a lot of well documented issues, but this was a game the Knicks had to have to quiet the cat calls from the fanbase, and satisfy their owner, James Dolan for at least a minute.
Knicks fans have waited more than a month for the kind of offensive explosion that they saw on Thursday. The Knicks exploded from behind the arch, hitting 59 percent of their three-point attempts, led by Iman Shumpert who had his best night of the year.
Shumpert hit on five of seven three pointers for 17 points. He dominated the floor when he needed to, hitting a big three pointer to expand the Knicks lead to 42-32 in the second quarter; later drilling three consecutive three's in the third quarter to help push the Knick lead to 66-52.
His showcase became contagious, as just about everyone in a blue and orange jersey hit their shots. Raymond Felton hit a big three pointer to open the quarter, and Carmelo Anthony drilled a couple of buckets, including a back-peddling jumper to make it 63-52 Knicks. J.R. Smith, who had a quiet night added to the madness with a three of his own to push the lead to 71-55.
Even Andrea Bargnani dominated the boards. He out-schooled Kevin Garnett, playing him like a young gun going up against a frail old man. Bragnani hit 7-of-13 for 16 points, before getting ejected for taunting Garnett.
The Knicks totally dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Nets 34-16, and hitting 12-of-19 shots in the period.
The Nets had no answer for the Knicks, suffering one of their worst losses in years, and second blowout loss in a row. Perhaps they are still hampered by the losses of Deron Williams and Paul Pierce; but this team still had Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Garnett on the floor and they couldn't get it done.
While Lopez had 24 points, it was mute since Garnett (6 points) and Johnson (13 points) contributed nothing to the game. So much for Jason Kidd putting the blame of his teams woes on Lawrence Frank and his management of the defense. This team is even worse defensively without Frank around.
For the Knicks, the talk of the week has been the status of coach Mike Woodsen. Some thought he needed to win this game to keep his job, after the team went through a 9 game losing streak. Allen Houston had been linked to taking the job from Woodsen, but the Knicks issues go beyond the head coach. Woodsen deserves to keep his job -- he's too good of a coach.
Both teams still have a long way to go, but for the Knicks, this game could be the beginning of a turnaround. We shall see.