It’s starting to look like the Brooklyn Nets have their own little version of March Madness.
Brook Lopez scored 24 points as the Nets defeated the New York Knicks 121-110 on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, beating their crosstown rivals for the second time in five days.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Nets, who earned the victory by scoring a whopping 67 points in the second half. New York led by as many as 11 points during the first half and took a lead into the break, but it was all Brooklyn after that. Jeremy Lin (15 points, 8 assists), beautifully facilitated the offense in the third quarter, helping the Nets outscore the Knicks 38-26 in the frame.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson matched his career high with 20 points, while also grabbing 10 rebounds. Rookie Caris LeVert (13 points) made some big shots as well, scoring in double figures for the third consecutive game. Both LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson are only 22-years-old. Their defense and athleticism stand out most, but it’s their offensive abilities that have shined over the past several games. They have significantly improved as the season has gone on, and both players are looking like huge building blocks for the Nets moving forward.
The Nets (13-54) defeated an Eastern Conference opponent on the road for the first time since January 2, 2016, snapping a 33-game road losing streak. They are now 11-9 against the Knicks since moving to Brooklyn back in 2012.
Kyle O’ Quinn led the Knicks with 23 points off the bench. Derrick Rose added 22, while Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points on 6-18 shooting. Credit Hollis-Jefferson for his relentless defense on Melo, forcing him into taking tough shots all night.
The Nets were without Joe Harris (concussion), Sean Kilpatrick (hamstring) and Trevor Brooker (rest). Kristaps Porzingis sat out for the Knicks with a bruised left thigh. The Nets return home to face the Boston Celtics in the second half of a back-to-back on Friday night. The Knicks are off for a few days before flying to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers.
Winning games has not been easy for the Nets this season, but with each victory they eke out, the future for Brooklyn looks slightly less bleak.