Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis mostly have taken turns having big games this season. The thought of them doing it consistently on the same night is what the Knicks envisioned and gives them hope for the near future.
Anthony and Porzingis had it going last night and the Nets couldn’t stop them, although they probably could have tried a little harder. The Knicks got open looks all over the court, led by 31 and scorched the Nets, 108-91 at the Garden.
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Anthony and Porzingis were hot from the start and helped the Knicks amass 42 first-quarter points in a game Nets coach Lionel Hollins called “a nightmare.” They totaled 47 points and 17 rebounds.
“It’s proven that when we play the way we played and shoot the ball that well, it’s tough,” Anthony said. “It’s tough out there for teams to load up on me, or load up on him, and then you have a guy like Arron [Afflalo] who can score the basketball. It’s kind of coming at you in different ways, different waves. It can be tough.
“There will be nights when we both or all three of us have it going. Teams just got to pick their poison at that point.”
Anthony shot 5-for-8 from three-point range and 9-for-18 overall and had 28 points. Porzingis, the East Conference Rookie of the Month, was 3-for-4 from deep and had 19 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double.
The two have scored at least 20 points in the same game only once this season, and might have done it again if this hadn’t been such a lopsided contest. Anthony played 31 minutes and Porzingis 26.
When the two were on the floor together, the Knicks outscored the Nets 64-48. Porzingis had 10 points in the first 6:37, matching the Nets’ total at the time. He said the Knicks are tough to beat when they’re both on.
“For sure,” Porzingis said. “When Melo gets going, everybody’s focused on him and we can get wide-open looks.”
Porzingis has 10 double-doubles and became the first Knicks rookie since Willis Reed to have 10 in his first 20 games.
Brook Lopez scored 21 points and Thaddeus Young 18 for the Nets (5-14), who trailed by double-digits during the last 43:22.
“Well, that was a nightmare,” Hollins said. “I guess everybody can quit talking about rivalries. We didn’t come ready to compete early and they jumped on us and knocked us out early.”
The Nets cut it to 17 in the fourth, prompting Derek Fisher to reinsert his starters. But the Nets, who lost Joe Johnson in the fourth quarter to an ejection for elbowing Jose Calderon in the face, never threatened.
The Knicks assisted on nine of their first 11 baskets, and made the extra pass for much of the night. They shot 12-for-27 overall from three, many of them with no defender near them.
“The guys were very intent on playing together and really sharing the basketball and sending a message that they’re capable of doing that,” Fisher said.
The Knicks scored 21 points on threes (7-for-11) in the first quarter. The Nets scored 21 total.
Anthony connected on three threes and Porzingis two in the quarter. The Nets needed 7:29 to reach the 12-point mark and scored only 13 in the next 11:12.
“We wanted to prove to ourselves, not anybody else, that we have that level of focus coming into a game,” Anthony said. “That we have capabilities of playing the way we started the game off and maintaining that throughout the course of the game.”