Andray Blatche came right out and said it: No, this wasn't any ordinary game for the Nets.
Their 103-80 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday afternoon exacted some revenge over their crosstown rivals, making amends for the Knicks' 30-point drubbing early last month in Brooklyn.
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"It's simple payback," Blatche said after contributing 19 points and 12 rebounds off the bench in his second straight strong game. "They came in our place and embarrassed us, so we wanted to return the favor."
It sure looked that way from the opening tip. The Nets led by as many as 18 points in the first half, shooting 21-for-41 from the field and holding the Knicks to 11-for-33 shooting.
"Obviously when we first played them, they embarrassed us," Kevin Garnett said. "So obviously, we wanted to come back and get sort of a payback and kind of redeem ourself. I think lately we've been playing better basketball, and today was a great job of what we have been doing lately."
Johnson making All-Star case
Another game, another 20-point first half for Joe Johnson.
Johnson scored all but five of his 25 points before halftime and recorded at least 20 points in the first 24 minutes for the third time in his last four games. He shot 7-for-12 in the half, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, and provided more reason to believe that he should be considered as an All-Star reserve.
"I think he's an All-Star," Nets coach Jason Kidd said, "and hopefully he'll be there representing Brooklyn."
If anyone is familiar with Johnson's talent, it's Knicks coach Mike Woodson. Johnson played four seasons under Woodson when the two were with the Hawks, so he's seen Johnson torch plenty of defenders.
"When I had him, he was our main focal point in terms of scoring the basketball," Woodson said. " . . . We had some pretty good offensive firepower, but Joe was our main focal point that we featured. I speak highly on Joe. He was good for me. And I think he's been pretty good for their ballclub as well."