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The Knicks, at Last, Have No Problem With the Nets

J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks grabs a rebound as Joe Johnson #7, and Gerald Wallace #45 of the Brooklyn Nets defend during their game at Madison Square Garden on December 19, 2012 in New York City.

There have been too many of these Nets-Knicks games, too quickly. Last night's game, a 100–86 Knicks victory, was the two teams' third matchup in less than a month. They only have one more game left, a month from tomorrow at MSG, and then this whole two-teams-in-the-city-playing-games-that-people-still-don't-have-a-catchy-name-for series is done for the season. It's happening too soon; these two teams are probably sick of each other already.

Anyway, of the three games so far, the first two of which were at Barclays Center, last night's was without question the least compelling, if just because it didn't go down to the final minute. The game was tight for the first half and a large part of the third quarter, but then the Knicks started to pull away, and by the time it was over, many of the fans had already left. Carmelo Anthony, back after missing two games with that nasty ankle sprain, was brilliant, scoring 31 points on just 22 shots, continuing to play some of his best games against the Nets. J.R. Smith was excellent as well off the bench, scoring 19 points and notching a +24 plus-minus, highest on the team. Looking back on the game now, it seems strange it was ever close in the first place.

As predicted, the Garden was 98 percent Knicks fans, and frankly we're being a little generous there. Eventually Knicks-Nets games at Barclays won't be 50-50 — Nets fans will ultimately prevail — but we don't think these MSG games are ever going to be much different than when the 76ers visit; the Nets have a long way to go to start invading opponents' arenas, even those just across the bridge. Heck, by the end, Knicks fans were chanting "Brook-lyn" in mockery. (At least they know exactly when to break that chant out.)

Of course, it's a lot easier to be a Knicks fan right now. As reported by ESPN New York, the Knicks are 19-6 for only the third time in their history; the first two times ended in championships. [Insert dramatic music.] Meanwhile, the Nets have now lost eight of ten and are only one game over .500 with a couple of home games against division rivals Philadelphia and Boston coming up. This series is settling in now and can comfortably survive a laugher like last night. Now, about finding a series name ...

Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images