By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
KNICKS 110, NETS 81 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it Happened:
With just over six minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Knicks ran one of their most effective sets, a scissor action at the top of the key aimed to find Tyson Chandler diving to the hoop for a lob. It's worked hundreds of times, and it did so again on this play, as Raymond Felton lofted it up and Chandler threw down the reverse dunk with authority.
With a comfortable 29-point lead, coach Mike Woodson decided it was time to call his starters to the bench. The Knicks had taken care of business by soundly beating the playoff-bound Nets, improving their own playoff odds in the process.
New York played with superior energy from the opening tip, jumping out to a 29-20 lead after Tim Hardaway Jr. nailed a 3-pointer to beat the 1st quarter buzzer. J.R. Smith made 4-of-6 field goals in the quarter for 11 of his game-leading 24 points on the night.
By halftime, the Knicks had put the game out of reach, taking a 63-38 lead into the break. Four Knicks were already in double-figures by that point, and they'd finish with five: Smith (24), Carmelo Anthony (23), Hardaway (17), Amar'e Stoudemire (13) and Iman Shumpert (10), who also had five steals.
Knick of the Night:
Smith continued his string of great play of late, sparking the Knicks right out of the gate and contributing an all-around effort to help sustain the victory. His eight rebounds were second on the team behind Anthony's 10 and his six assists led New York and helped create ball movement.
The Knicks face Washington on Friday at the Garden. If Atlanta loses to Cleveland that night, the Knicks would move ahead of Atlanta for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.