October 19, 2019

Nets win 2019 NBA Free Agency with the acquisition of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan; lose D'Angelo Russell, Ed Davis, and other players

The Brooklyn Nets have been struggling to obtain top-tier NBA players in what seems like forever, and shortly after 6:00 p.m. on June 30, 2019, as soon as the NBA Free Agency period opened, it was as if the Brooklyn Nets hit the lotto. For months, not only did New York City sports talk radio hype Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant going to the New York Knicks during free agency, but their national brethren also chimed in. So, when the news broke that the Brooklyn Nets signed Irving and Durant, radio personalities became punching bags and psychologists depending on the caller. Nets fans came out of the woodwork to express their joy and apprehension. Most were concerned about Durant’s Achilles injury. Some felt a little bit of trepidation about the age Durant will be when he can finally play again, losing D’Angelo Russell, and whether Irving is capable of leading. All are legitimate concerns. But when one looks at the landscape of top-tier NBA players who were free agents, it would have been malpractice for the Nets not to try to sign them. There are also reports that DeAndre Jordan will sign a four-year, $40M deal with the Nets and that Durant and Irving will both take less than the max so DeAndre Jordan can receive $40M. Jordan can also be a help to Nets center, Jarrett Allen, who is going into his third season with the team.

In the last decade, Nets fans have been on a roller coaster ride. They have watched the Nets move from New Jersey to Brooklyn. They were there when Nets management tried to reel in LeBron James, and then later, Dwight Howard in his last year with the Orlando Magic. And, no one can forget the Nets trade with the Boston Celtics for the Big 3: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. It was at that introductory press conference presenting the Big 3 that Brooklyn Nets principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov talked about being a championship contender.

 

At the time, most reporters expressed publicly and privately that Billy King did one heck of a great sales job. And, some even laughed, particularly as the Nets’ fortunes started sinking. Truthfully, it was no laughing matter. No business-minded person wants to see red ink on a balance sheet. And to a large extent, during that time, Brooklyn’s economy was tied to the Barclays Center’s profitability. Fortunately, Prokhorov moved quickly and changed the management of the Brooklyn Nets and replaced King with Sean Marks, who brought in Kenny Atkinson, who has a reputation for bringing out the best in players, particularly point guards, as the head coach to replace Lionel Hollins. Prokhorov also did one other thing to help Marks and Atkinson, he gave them the breathing room to right the sinking ship.

Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson 750x422Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks (l) and Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson

Nets fans already see big things in store for their team. Some are talking rings and others, see this team to be the next Eastern Conference Champions, particularly if Kawhi Leonard leaves the Toronto Raptors. If the Nets with this new composition of players get to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, this season, it will be considered a smashing success considering the Nets’ history. If it should win the East, and that is a big if, well let’s just say the City of New York will have to close down Flatbush Avenue because there will be dancing in the streets. And, some New Yorkers, because we are a bold bunch, may hold a simultaneous street party in front of Madison Square Garden.

The real NBA Basketball rivalry in New York City starts now.

D’Angelo Russell leads Nets win with 29 points against the NBA leader, the Toronto Raptors

For the Brooklyn Nets, the end to the long drought of wins came yesterday against the No. 1 team in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors. It took an overtime session to clinch the win, a third overtime game this season for the Nets by the way, but the Nets beat the Raptors 106-105.

This win, took down a number of demons, the first of which, the Nets ended a 12-game losing streak against the Raptors and the team’s season-worst eight-game losing streak. The win improved Brooklyn’s overall win-loss record so far this season to 9-18, and 4-10 at the Barclays Center.

The last time the Brooklyn Nets won a game this season was way back on November 20, 2018, against the Miami Heat on the road in Miami. The journey to get here was a bit tumultuous, as Brooklyn led so many games in the closing minutes only to drop the ball and allow the other team to win. Watching them give up double-digit leads and lose games in the closing minutes this season, gave many the feeling that perhaps, the team felt they were not worthy of winning. However, Friday night, Brooklyn pushed that monkey off its back and was justly rewarded by the basketball gods. Beating the Raptors should be a sign that this is a win they can build upon. And, don’t cry for the Raptors, they still hold the best record in the NBA.

“Obviously, it’s a great win for us just to get off of the losing streak, the skid that we were on,” Nets forward Joe Harris said about finally getting a game in the win column after a long drought. “We’ve been playing great basketball, and we just haven’t been able to execute and finish down the stretch. Tonight it was with our defense. Big plays. Big possessions. Winning plays all the way around. Obviously, Rondae did a hell of a job individually, defensively, but it was a collective effort for sure.”

Harris also felt this Nets win against the Toronto Raptors is better than other wins this season because the Raptors are number one in the league.

“Yeah, I think it just kind of validates what we were already feeling,” Harris continued. “We’ve obviously been able to compete night in night out with everybody that we’ve played against. Toronto up to this point, even now, has been record-wise the best team in the NBA, and they really have been playing the best basketball. For us to come in and get some validation that our process, we’ve been sticking with it, staying consistent, and we were finally able to execute and finish one off.”

To say that Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was elated with this win would be an understatement.

“I think that stop at the end of the game was indicative of who we were all night,” Atkinson said about his guys. “We fought, we clawed and the basketball gods shined on guys that have been playing good basketball and guys of high character and guys that are together and spirited. So it’s just nice to see those guys in that locker room rewarded for their efforts.”

Leading the way in points for the Brooklyn Nets were D’Angelo Russell with a team-high 29 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench and registered 17 points and eight assists; Jarrett Allen scored a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and added two steals and two blocked shots; both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Allen Crabbe tallied 11 points and four rebounds, while DeMarre Carroll chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Nets forward Ed Davis led the way in rebounding with 15 rebounds, of which 13 were defensive rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 32 points for the Raptors; teammates Jonas Valanciunas added 24 points and eight rebounds, while Pascal Siakam contributed 16 points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots.

Toronto returns home to host the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow, Sunday, December 9, 2018, at 6 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Nets will travel across the East River to Manhattan to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden tonight, Saturday, December 8, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

Can the Nets make it a two-game winning streak?

Only time will tell.

Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito were at the top of their boxing games when they met three years ago. Who will be victorious when they meet in December?

New York, NY - The most anticipated rematch in recent years will take place December 3rd at Madison Square Garden when WBA Super Welterweight World Champion Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KO's) defends his title against 3-time World Champion Antonio Margarito (38-7 27 KO's). When they faced each other for the first time in July of 2008, both fighters had been at the top of their games and dominating their divisions. Cotto was undefeated coming off impressive, convincing wins over Zab Judah, Sugar Shane Mosley and Alfonso Gomez. Margarito rebounded after losing the WBO World Title in a unanimous decision to Paul Williams. He captured the vacant WBO Intercontinental World Title by knocking down Golden Johnson three times in the first round on the undercard of Cotto/Mosley, setting up the IBF Welterweight World Title against Kermit Cintron. Margarito stopped Cintron in the 6th round thus setting up the fight with Cotto.

No one thought the outcome of their fight would have lasting effects on both fighters. Neither has been the same since. Cotto had established himself as a fighter who could not only take a punch but could inflict damage as well. He showed that he could adjust to his opponent, evidenced by how he out jabbed Mosley the entire fight. Even though many questioned Margarito's chin, his relentless style and punching power was something to watch.

The fight turned out to be one of the most action-packed fights of 2008 with Cotto taking the early rounds. Margarito's patience paid off as he pressed Cotto with powerful right uppercuts sending Cotto to the canvas twice in the 11th round. Cotto's corner would throw in the towel as a bloodied and swollen Cotto would lose for the first time in his career.

Thinking and hoping that win would catapult Margarito to the next level, he faced Mosley in what would be the start of controversy regarding the wrapping of Margarito's gloves. Prior to the fight, members of Mosely's team discovered Margarito's gloves were wrapped with illegal substances. No one knows if that gave Mosely added incentive, but Mosely went on to knock Margarito down in the 8th round and ended the fight in the 9th on a TKO. Cotto went on to win 4 of his 5 next fights but just as Margarito took a beating against Mosely, they both took a beating against Manny Pacquiao.

Both fighters attended the press conference last month at the Edison Ballroom in midtown and the focus of the questions was about the first fight and whether or not the outcome had to do with Margarito's gloves possibly being doctored. Said Cotto, "the only people that can tell you if they use it (illegal wraps) that is him and the people on his team." Cotto refused to use that as a possible excuse for his loss but at one point, he showed a picture on his i-phone. One that was very revealing. In it, clear as day, is a picture of Margarito's hand without the glove on. The wrapping appears worn and chipped across parts of the knuckles. Cotto was incredulous in describing the picture as it was shown to the media. "I'm a boxer and I have never seen broken gauze broken like that. You don't have tape over your knuckles."

Antonio Margarito has always maintained his innocence going back as far as the first match with Cotto. After the revelations came to light in the Mosely match, he was suspended for 1 year by the California State Athletic Commission. He claims to this day that he had no knowledge that the substance his trainer was using was illegal. The trainer, Javier Capetillo, took the blame claiming Margarito had nothing to do with what the gloves were wrapped with. Still, the damage had been done and many questioned Margarito's victories after the Cotto fight, especially after getting hammered by both Mosely and Pacquiao. "The people have the right to their opinions but I know that I am a clean fighter," he said. When asked if he took this fight to prove that his gloves were not tainted, he said, "not at all. This is a great fight for the fans. This is an opportunity for myself to become world champion again."

Miguel Cotto has never seen the first fight against Antonio Margarito in its entirety. He plans to sit down and watch the fight during his training camp in order not to make the same mistakes. He never used the fact that Margarito's gloves may have been doctored as an excuse for losing the fight. "I never said anything about it. I just accept my defeat as a true defeat."

Antonio Margarito admitted that the beating he took at the hands of Pacquiao was the worst of his career. "He fractured my eye socket, he was the cause of me having me to stay out such a long time. I had to have surgery on my orbital bone." Still, he believes he can win another championship. "I've had some time off. I've been back in the gym. I feel mentally strong and physically strong."

Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito were at the top of their boxing games when they met three years ago. No one could have ever imagined the paths their careers would take after the outcome of that fight on that July night. One is fighting for revenge and the other is fighting for his reputation.

New York, NY - It was a very, very bittersweet night at Madison Square Garden Saturday night when Miguel Cotto stepped into the ring against Austin Trout for the WBA Super Welterweight title. First, a final 10 count was given to Hector "Macho" Camacho who was shot in his hometown of Puerto Rico on November 20th. Camacho was taken off life support four days later losing his life at only 50 years old. Then, Cotto who had never lost at MSG could not add another belt to his illustrious career losing a unanimous decision to Austin Trout that was much closer than the scoring indicated.

Two judges, John Poturaj and Steve Weisfeld scored in favor of Austin 117-111. The most lopsided score came from Adalaide Byrd who scored it an obnoxious 119-109 giving Austin the first 10 rounds. This reporter had Austin winning 8 rounds to 4 or 116-112. Perhaps the judges were swayed by how both fighters looked as the fight went on and ultimately ended. Austin did not look like he was in the ring with a five-time World Champion coming away virtually unmarked. Cotto, on the other hand, looked like he was in a street brawl as his face had several red bruises and a welt under his left eye.

"I was blessed with good skin that doesn't swell up," said Trout after the fight about coming out of the fight with no telling marks.

Cotto clearly had trouble with Austin's southpaw style as the former world champion had a hard time getting inside. Cotto did most of his damage when he pinned Austin against the ropes but to the surprise of many, the man they call "No Doubt Trout" was able to get out of any serious trouble by taking the fight to the middle of the ring.

"I think the left hand was a big factor," Trout said. "I caught him with some good left hands, overhands. Stepping around him to my right countered with my jabs was a big thing."

Around the fourth round, the swelling around Cotto's left eye became a target for Austin. He used it to his advantage throwing the hook and uppercut that Cotto could not see. It was at that point that the fight started to sway in his direction. Still, the warrior that Cotto is pressed forward spurred on by the more than 13,000 fight fans in attendance.

When the decision was announced, Austin Trout was not quite sure the result would go in his direction knowing it was a pro-Cotto crowd.

"When I heard unanimous, I was a little nervous." Then he heard "and still and my heart dropped."

Miguel Cotto appeared afterward without sunglasses many fighters wear to hide the results of the fight.

"I was a little surprised at the decision of the judges," he began. "I have to accept it."

He will take time off and spend the Christmas holiday with his family before deciding what he will do next. In his customary class, style, he did not offer any alibis or excuses for his performance.

"I accept my defeat, I learn from them and I'm going to continue."

Knicks Cage Bobcats

March 30, 2013

New York Knicks Keep Winning Streak Alive Beating Charlotte Bobcats 111-102

Riding the current longest NBA winning streak (6 games) after the Heat streak was broken at 27 by the Chicago Bulls this past Wednesday, the New York Knicks faced a Charlotte Bobcats team that had only won 17 games when they stepped on the Madison Square Garden hardwood floor Friday night. Head coach Mike Woodson was not concerned about getting his team up against a club that had lost 54 games up to this point.

"They're next in line," Woodson said prior to tip-off. "It doesn't matter who we play. It's all about what we do as a team. We've been playing some pretty good basketball as of late. We're trying to stay at the top of our division. This is an important game. Every game from here on out is important for our ball club."

Right from the start, New York treated Charlotte like the team with the worst record (Orlando started the night with 18 wins) in the league. Like they did Wednesday night against Memphis, the Knicks jumped out to a huge first-period lead (38-20) behind 13 Carmelo Anthony points. J.R. Smith continued his scorching play. He chipped in 9 points (4-6 shooting) looking to score more than 30 points for the third straight game. Iman Shumpert, who hit his first 3-pointers against Memphis, picked up right where he left off. Eight of his points came from behind the three-point arc. Shumpert has converted 6 of 8 three-pointers in the last two games.

By halftime, the contest (if that's what you want to call it) resembled the latest NBA video game, as the Knicks lead ballooned to as many as 30 points (58-28) with Smith adding 14 more points. As a team, New York shot a blistering 62% from the floor including an eye-opening 75% from 3 point land. The Bobcats never had a chance as they were in the crosshairs of the Knicks all night.

Unlike the Grizzlies game, when the Knicks saw its 30 point lead dwindle to five, Charlotte really never made it a game even though they did outscore the Knicks 31-22 in the final period. The Bobcats managed to close the gap to 7 (104-97) but Smith did it on the defensive end with a steal, leading to free throws by Anthony sealing the game.

The streak extends to seven games with Smith scoring 37 points and pretty much locking up the NBA's 6th man award. Something his head coach said was a reasonable goal at the start of the year. His teammates have been impressed.

"He (Smith) is focused," said Anthony. "He is dialed in, locked in. His confidence is sky high. We are following his lead."

Knicks guard Jason Kidd, who began the year starting but now is coming off the bench, compared Smith to a golfer saying "he's putting well. He hasn't hit a bad drive. He's playing as well as anybody right now."

It's been a long time in the memory of Smith since he can recall playing this well.

"I haven't been on a streak like this since high school," he said.

The New York Knicks went on their customary west coast drought (1-4) dealing with injuries and could have easily fallen off the top of the division. Smith found his game at the right time becoming only the second player since 1990 to score more than 30 points in 3 straight games coming off the bench. The Knicks winning streak extends to seven games when they host the Boston Celtics Sunday night.

New York Knicks Defeat Charlotte Bobcats 91-87

It wasn't pretty. In fact, it almost turned out to be worse than the last time these two teams played each other. In the end, it was the New York Knicks making 30 of 40 free throws in escaping with a 91-87 over the Charlotte Bobcats in their second meeting in less than a week at Madison Square Garden.

When they met last Wednesday, the Bobcats totally embarrassed the Knicks. This was after the Toronto Raptors did the exact same thing 2 nights earlier. Blame the early schedule, lack of a regular training camp and missing players due to injury. Still, New York had no excuse losing to two teams that didn't even qualify for the playoffs last year. The Knicks did regroup the last two games on the road defeating Washington and Detroit on the road to get their record back to .500 sitting in second place behind Philadelphia. Now it was time to get revenge against a Bobcat team that hadn't won a game since they left the World's Most Famous Arena.

Said head coach Mike D' Antoni before they faced Charlotte "the Bobcats played extremely well last game and we didn't. We didn't bring the defense like I hoped we would have."

With rookie Iman Shumpert (16 points, 4 assist) starting his second game in a row, the Knicks looked to get off to a strong start. Before you could say "Ground Hog Day" the Bobcats raced out to a 10-0 lead. With the "boo birds" out early, the Knicks regained their composure and with the help of 3 alley-oops, outscored Charlotte 24-11to take a 24-21 1st quarter lead.

"They responded well," said D' Antoni. "

The defense failed to play in the first game and at the start of Monday night's game quickly changed as New York contested more shots, limited second-chance opportunities and they did not give Charlotte carte blanche from 3 point land. Amar'e Stoudamire, (25 points, 11-13 free throws) who was torched by Boris Diaw for 27 points last Wednesday, scored 15 first-half points. Diaw did score 12 but no other starter hit the double figure mark. Shumpert contributed 12 points and 3 assists giving the Knicks a 5-point (50-45) halftime lead.

Tyson Chandler (20 points, 13 rebounds) led all scorers with 10 third-quarter points as New York took an 11-point lead (72-61) with less than a minute to play. Charlotte would not go away, as they battled back after falling behind by 8 points (79-71), the largest deficit of the quarter after watching Stoudemire hit a running hook shot. With 4:49 left, D.J. Augustin brought them within 1 (80-79) after nailing a jumper. He wasn't done, tying the game at 82 sinking a long 3-pointer, as the shot clock was expiring. D' Antoni then decided to put the ball in Carmelo Anthony's hands. It paid off as he scores 8 of the last 10 points leading to the 4 point victory. Melo was on shaky ground in the waning minutes as he played with 5 fouls down the stretch.

"I just didn't feel like anybody else could produce any points," said D' Antoni.

It wasn't pretty but the New York Knicks came away with a victory against the same team they lost to last week giving up 118 points.

"We seem not to shoot the ball well against them," said Anthony. "Tonight we won the game on the defensive end."

New York Knicks defeat the Philadelphia 76ers with the final score of 85-79

One of the hottest teams in the NBA came into Madison Square Garden Wednesday night riding a 6-game winning streak. With a 7-2 record and leading the Atlantic division, the Philadelphia 76ers had not given up more than 100 points during the streak. The New York Knicks meanwhile was riding a modest 3-game winning streak of their own after Monday's win against the Charlotte Bobcats. They began the night two games behind the Sixers and looked to close the gap before starting a two-game road trip against Memphis and Oklahoma City.

They faced each other four times last year splitting the series. Prior to the game, Knicks head coach Mike D' Antoni stressed the importance of limiting Philadelphia's fast break.

"We have to get back in transition," he started. "We can't feed their fast break."

New York caught a break when Sixers center Spencer Hawes, one of 7 players to average more than 9 points a game, did not play due to a strained lower back.

For the first time all year, New York came out with a purpose. They ended the 1st quarter on a 13-0 run and a 28-15 lead. Carmelo Anthony scored 9 points and rookie Josh Harrellson (7 points) came off the bench and hit his first two jumpers, the second a 3-pointer.

Tony Douglas continued the long-range assault burying his first jumper, another 3-pointer to extend the lead to 31-15. Defensively they limited Philadelphia to only 32% from the floor, as they missed 6 of 7 three-pointers.

Where Anthony left off in the initial quarter, teammate Amar'e Stoudemire took over in the second. He scored 9 points to lead both teams as the Knicks took a 10 point (45-35) halftime lead. The Sixers did not attempt a 3-point shot in the quarter but their overall shooting rose to a respectable 42%. When the Knicks defeated Charlotte two nights ago, they attempted 40 free throws making 30 of them. They only saw the free stripe 3 times in the first half converting all of them.

Philadelphia began the third quarter outscoring New York 10-4 narrowing the lead to 4 (49-45). Anthony extended the score to 8 (58-50) after two straight baskets. After the first basket (a driving lay-up), he got tangled underneath with Andre Iguodala and both are hit with technical fouls. It seemed to light a fire under Anthony as he hit his next two jumpers giving them a 62-56 lead. After two more Anthony free throws, that man Harrellson burns the Sixers again hitting his third 3-pointer of the game taking an 11-point (67-56) lead into the final quarter.

Said D' Antoni of Harrellson's play so far this year, "Josh played well a lot. Some of the things you don't see. He's very strong, very smart defensively. I just think he's going to keep getting better if he can consistently make that outside shot."

The Sixers dug themselves into a deeper hole at the start of the final quarter as the Knicks opened up a 17 point lead (78-61). The hot shooting that propelled New York suddenly went cold and the Sixers took advantage going on a 10-0 run to close the gap to 7 points (78-71). From that point, neither team could find the basket for the rest of the game. No field goals were scored in the final 5:51. In that span, Anthony missed 5 shots and turned the ball over 3 times. It caught the attention of the head coach, as he witnessed the offensive woes that kept the Sixers in the game.

"We'll talk about it," a giggling D'Antoni said. "Carmelo is very effective at what he does. You got to be careful about talking too much. He's a competitor and he knows how to play. We just got to get things straight with the whole team."

Philly wasn't much better as they missed their 6 shot attempts. New York hit 7 free throws, Philly hit 8 down the stretch, but could not get any closer than the final score of 85-79.

The New York Knicks have now played two division games and have won both of them. They have struggled offensively more than they would like to. Defensively, they seem to be improving.

"We added two really good pieces in Shumpert and Tyson (Chandler) when you have that, then they feel even more engaged. It's just contagious."

Lin-Mania Streak Hits 7

February 16, 2012

When Jeremy Lin came out of the game he sat next to Carmelo Anthony. Both had Cheshire Cat smiles on their faces

It was his first game back at Madison Square Garden since he torched Kobe Bryant and the Lakers last Friday to the tune of a game, season, and career-high 38 points. Add to that two come-from-behind road wins (including the game-winner against Toronto) and you knew why the sold-out crowd erupted when Jeremy Lin was introduced prior to the game against the Sacramento Kings. Given how the Knicks have fared against teams with losing records at home, the Kings and their 10-18 mark were no easy target. That was before Lin was propelled into the starting line-up.

Jeremy Lin rebounded from his 8 turnover night against the Raptors recording six assists to go along with five points and zero turnovers all in the first period alone as New York jumped out to a 12-point lead (25-13). They converted on 10 of their first 12 shots before Lin sat down late in the first quarter.

"I just thought we played really exceptionally well in the first quarter," said head coach Mike D 'Antoni.

The team didn't skip a beat while Lin rested. After a 3-pointer by Jimmer Fredette cut the lead to 5 (25-20) Iman Shumpert, Bill Walker and Jared Jeffries scored the next 9 points to extend the lead to 13 (35-22) before Lin returned with 7:38 in the second. Steve Novak, who has stepped up his game during the winning streak, hit his only basket of the half. After a Landry Fields rebound, he finds Novak in the corner who promptly steps up and drains a 3-pointer, getting fouled in the process. He calmly sinks the free throw giving the Knicks a 15 point (49-34) lead.

As well as New York did well offensively shooting 51% for the first half, they did better on the defensive end. The Kings shot only 33% and missed on 9 of 11 3-point attempts.

"Any time you play with good offense, you get excited, D 'Antoni continued. "Tyson (Chandler) anchors the whole thing. Then you have Shumpert who comes off the bench that you can put him on the point guard. With those two guys it's contagious. If you want to win, you play that way."

The Knicks began the third period up by 18 (54-36) and did not let up. At one point, they extended the lead to 25 points after a Fields layup. Walker added 8 more points, Fields 4 while Lin chipped in with 4 more assists. As a team, they increased their shooting percentage to 56 while the Kings dropped a point from the first half to 32%. It gave D 'Antoni a chance to rest not only Lin but Chandler as well. Neither played a minute in the last period. Lin had averaged 38 minutes in the last 6 games. Because of their lead from beginning to end, he only played 26 minutes. Important in that they will play 3 games in the next 4 nights. The scheduled amount of games and minutes do not concern D 'Antoni when it comes to Lin. "He's 23 years old. He should be able to go forever."

When Jeremy Lin came out of the game he sat next to Carmelo Anthony. Both had Cheshire Cat smiles on their faces, while they chatted and giggled as the reserves continued piling on points.

"We were just having fun talking about how we will be excited when he comes back," said Lin. He's looking forward to the first time they will play together. "He (Anthony) is a lethal scorer. Coming off the pick and roll, he can come off the pick and rolls too. We should be more dangerous offensively."

It's been 7th heaven for Lin and the Knicks since he came off the bench to score 25 points against the Nets in a win that may have just saved his head coach's job. The ride continues Friday night when they face a New Orleans Hornets team that had only 5 wins at the start of the evening.

Can anyone say the 8th Wonder?

In the win against the Orlando Magic, Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points in 26 minutes for the New York Knicks

For the second straight game, the New York Knicks took the floor without Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin. They were able to get a win against Milwaukee Monday night without them as Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, hitting all 12 of his free-throw attempts while battling a tender groin. But last night, it was the Orlando Magic with their 32-18 record taking the floor at Madison Square Garden.

Magic's guard Jameer Nelson took immediate advantage of the Knicks backcourt, scoring 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting. Orlando took an eight-point lead (24-16) with a little less than 3 minutes to go in the first period. New York finished the period outscoring the Magic 9-5 as Steve Novak scored 5 of those points cutting the deficit to 4 (29-25) as the period came to an end.

With Orlando's Dwight Howard on the bench to begin the second, The Knicks scored the first 6 points to take their first lead of the game (31-29). It started a spark that elevated New York to a shocking 16 point lead before halftime (57-41).

With crisp passing on the offensive end and suffocating defense, the Knicks finished the second period on a 26-12 run. It was capped by a Novak 3-pointer at the buzzer. Both Novak and Anthony finished with 13 points apiece to lead New York while Iman Shumpert, inserted into the starting line-up, contributing 10 points. They shot 54% from the floor while limiting the Magic to 40%. Orlando, who relies heavily on their 3-point shooting, missed 11of their first 13 half attempts (15%). Meanwhile, after a rough start themselves, where the Knicks missed seven of their first nine 3-point attempts, they made four of their last six. The momentum they took in with them carried over to the third period.

If this was a boxing match, the refs would have stopped it so Orlando would not have endured further damage. How good did it get for the Knicks? At one point, the Knicks scored 21 straight points, leading by as many as 39 points (88-49). How bad did it get for Orlando? They missed eight of their first 11 shots as they watched New York pull away.

Magic's head coach Stan Van Gundy was not a happy camper in trying to explain the lopsided loss.

"What's shocking to me is that a team that's playing over .600 basketball could get absolutely rocked by as many teams as we have been." On the 21-point explosion, he said, "we got behind, they hit a lot of shots, they got us down and then we just sort of died."

With the Magic having nothing to lose and Howard and Nelson riding the bench dumfounded by how the game got out of hand, the reserves came out and outscored the Knicks 19-8 to creep within 19 (93-74) to begin the final period. Shumpert scored six of the next eight points, putting Orlando out of its misery.

Carmelo Anthony made the most of his evening finishing with 25 points in 26 minutes, his best game so far this season. He rode the exercise bike to keep his tender groin warm when he wasn't in the game.

Said Anthony afterward, "I just wanted to come out with a focus. My shot was falling today."

The New York Knicks have now won eight of their last nine games and their last six-in-a-row at home. They will be without Stoudemire for at least the next 4 weeks and Lin and his tender knee is on a day to day basis. Interim head coach Mike Woodson has no choice but to go with a smaller line-up.

"We will stay that way for a while," he said afterward. "Teams have to match up with us." He hopes the team continues to not only rebound but to keep the turnovers to a minimum. The Knicks out-rebounded the Magic by 15 (49-34) and had seven fewer turnovers (7-18).

They travel to Atlanta Friday night before returning to the Garden to face Cleveland on Saturday night.

Nets get a new arena in Brooklyn, a city with a long history of basketball and across the river from the iconic MSG

Admit it. Most of you newly minted Brooklyn Nets fans were not shouting for Deron Williams and company in the Prudential Center when they ended their 2011-2012 NBA season, winning 22 of 66 games total.

But that's okay; new city, new team, new fans and oh... a new coach, right? You're entitled to jump on the bandwagon.

It may be too early to decide whether or not the city of Brooklyn has accepted the Nets as their home team. However, it's quite evident that the NBA has already made a rivalry between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks. The Nets continue to prove themselves as a lead contender in the Eastern Conference, with an even 2-2 record with New York. But in my opinion, the rivalry is a bit over-hyped.

Don't get me wrong, Brooklyn has raw talent; Joe Johnson is probably one of the most underrated and under-appreciated guards in the league. Brook Lopez, a great scorer, averaging 18.6 points this season so far, is still justifying Shaq's thoughts on him being better than Dwight Howard. Hopefully, if Deron Williams doesn't whisk away another coach, maybe he can lead this team to a Division championship.

MAYBE.

But for a Brooklyn girl, like myself, the tale of these two teams is more than just a bridge between boroughs; it's about two iconic territories: The Garden and The Barclays Center. Brooklyn has history, but Madison Square Garden is historic.

Every kid in New York City aspired to play at The Garden. Since 1903, The Garden has hosted the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) basketball championships. In New York City, Brooklyn is legendary for basketball, producing an epic list of high school basketball players, such as Lenny Wilkins; Fly Williams; Bernard King; Albert King; Connie Hawkins; World B. Free; Chris Mullins; Mark Jackson; Billy Cunningham; Mike Dunleavy; Stephon Marbury; Sebastian Telfair; Gary Forbes; Lance Stephenson; and Epiphanny Prince.

In a recent interview, Telfair said regarding playing for the Brooklyn Nets one day, "I would love to if the opportunity comes, I think I would, I'm from here. I think before I get out of the league, I think I'd give it a shot."

I mean, who wouldn't want to play for Brooklyn? More than just an NBA team, it is home for many of us. Smack dead in the middle of Brooklyn, Barclays is surrounded by at least 10 high schools that are within walking distance:

Brooklyn Technical High School
Brooklyn HS of the Arts
Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School
Pacific High School
ACORN Community High School
Metropolitan Corporate Academy High School
Berkeley Carroll School
Benjamin Banneker Academy
International High School at Prospect Heights
Brooklyn School for Global Studies

The Nets' new home has paved a path for a restructured city and bigger dreams for city kids. A dream for a city kid is right--you can even take in a view of the practice court by stopping into Starbucks at the Barclays Center.

Even "go-hard" Spike Lee, raised in Brooklyn thinks Barclays "is great for Brooklyn." (Don't count on him ever rooting for Brooklyn though.)

I'm actually looking forward to the future of Brooklyn and the Nets. Once the hype dies down between the Nets and the Knicks, hopefully, Brooklyn can re-establish a tone for basketball, and maybe even street ball.

Let's thank Jay-Z for that.

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