Knicks Rip Brooklyn — Dec 26, 2019: NY 94 Brooklyn 82

Photo by Rob Perez @WorldWideWob

It felt like a playoff win. For Knicks fans, it was that Intense. It was a Must win — for coach Mike Miller and “the plan”. And the Knicks won. They dominated the Nets in the 3rd quarter in route to a thorough beating, leading by as many as 23 points and maintaining a 17- to 22-point lead for most of the 4th quarter. At the heart of it was point guard Elfrid Payton, penetrating, orchestrating, and playing an excellent man-to-man defense against Spencer Dinwiddie. The Knicks laid down a torrid defense throughout the game, and on offense the Knicks spacing was excellent — with each player in position to play to their strength — the clear handiwork of coach Mike Miller.

Julius Randle is no longer the point forward, spinning relentlessly the same move against double teams — instead he is being fed by Payton and others with passes in the lane where he executes his mid range game, or finds himself open for a 3 which he hits. Randle executed his mid-range-jumper game all night — made it look easy — $ Money in the paint — for 33 points on 14-26 shooting (5-9 from 3) and 8 rebounds. It is hard to imagine that if Kristaps Porzingis was playing in his stead, how the Knicks would have won this game.

Marcus Morris was the other front court assassin, operating from the corners, with his mid range jumpers or 3’s and tough play. And Mitchell Robinson, with proper spacing underneath — for the alley oop slams and put-backs. Robinson had 10 pts (4-6 shooting), 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks — one against Spencer Dinwiddie on a key momentum play in the 3rd. If Payton got switched off Dinwiddie, Mitchell Robinson often switched on him, and gave Dinwiddie more trouble.

Dinwiddie got his 25 points, but most of it from the line — he was 5-15 from the floor, 12-17 from the free throw line. Some of that came against Frank Ntilikina, who did his best but had a hard time staying in front of Dinwiddie, and fouled him often as Dinwiddie got just past him into the lane. Payton did a better job on Dinwidde, and coach had Payton on Dinwiddie for most of the game. Ntilikina got 14 minutes.

Only RJ Barrett did not shoot well amongst starters — he is spaced out at the 3-pt line most of the time, and needs to start hitting the 3 more. Barrett was 2-10 (1-4 from 3) for 5 points but a +20 so no one’s complaining. Barrett played a heady Defense along with the other starters in the 3rd quarter.

Miller played a tight rotation for most of the game. He did not allow the bench to screw things up — Kevin Knox had a poor shooting night, at one point missing 3 shots in a row — somehow the boxscore only had him down for 2 missed shots — but he was soon to the bench. His boxscore (1-3 shooting, 2-2 from the free throw line, 4 pts in 14 minutes) showed better than his play.

A Game of Runs Before Knicks Took Control

The two teams slugged each other back and forth in the first half, each making runs while the other team went thru a cold shooting streak.

  • The Knicks went on a run to take a 28-20 lead.
  • The Nets then went on a 9-pt run while the Knicks missed 12 straight shots; the Nets took a 29-28 lead.
  • The Knicks went on a run to end the half with a 46-41 lead. Had the Knicks been shooting better, it seemed they would have had a 12 to 15-pt lead — that is by how much they seemed to be outplaying the Nets.

The Knicks took control in the 3rd quarter, building a 22-pt lead. When Frank Ntilikina subbed Payton at the beginning of the 4th, the Knicks lead quickly started to dissipate down to 15 points. Ntilikina was not penetrating, so the Knicks became a pass-the-ball-around-the-perimeter team, and Ntilikina was not hitting his jumper. He missed an open 3 and was soon out of the game replaced by Payton. Immediately there was a sharp pass inside for a score, and a Payton penetration and the Knicks were back in business.

Damyean Dotson played excellent defense as well.

Knicks’ Record-Setting Defense

The Knicks limited the Nets to the least 2-pt field goals in the history of the NBA or something like that. They were 21-78 (13-50 from 3) — so doing the math — they were 8-28 from 2.

Some of that was due to Mitchell Robinson playing center for the Knicks, the Knicks in general defending the paint, and relentlessly getting after the Nets on the 3 causing them to miss, then scrambling for loose balls.

In the center matchups:

  • Mitch Robinson: 28 min, 4-6, 10 reb, 10 pts, 2 blocks, +12
  • Jarrett Allen: 27 min, 0-2, 6 reb, 4 pts, 1 block, -16
  • DeAndre Jordan: 18 min, 2-6, 6 reb, 8 pts, -1
  • Bobby Portis: 18 min, 0-6, 8 reb, 2 pts, -7

At one point Mitchell Robinson went up against DeAndre Jordan and got the put back and the foul. Young grasshopper taught the teacher.


Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant did not play. They looked on from the sidelines (see main picture for this article).

The Boxscore

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