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Kristaps Porzingis, Enes Kanter lead Knicks to sweep of Nets

Enes Kanter of the Knicks reacts after a

Enes Kanter of the Knicks reacts after a basket in the first half against the Nets at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The battle of New York was no battle. Again.

The Knicks completed a four-game season sweep of the Nets on Tuesday night with a 111-95 victory at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks led by as many as 25 points in the third quarter and held off the Nets behind 28 points from Kristaps Porzingis and 20 points and 20 rebounds from Enes Kanter.

“The boxscore says it all — 20 points and 20 rebounds,” Tim Hardaway Jr. said. “Doing the dirty work.”

Said Porzingis: “Kanter was a monster.”

Hardaway added 15 points and Michael Beasley had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks (23-28). The Knicks shot 13-for-26 on three-pointers, with Porzingis hitting a career-high six on eight attempts.

“I have been shooting threes since my rookie year,” Porzingis said. “I was open. Enes found me with great passes out of the post. I was able to knock them down.”

Kanter put up a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) in the first half alone as the Knicks raced to a 20-point halftime lead.

In going 4-0 against Brooklyn, the Knicks won by an average of 14.8 points. The closest game was the Knicks’ 111-104 victory on Dec. 14 at Barclays Center. The Knicks hadn’t swept a season series from the Nets since 2010-11.

The Nets, who lost their fourth in a row, were led by DeMarre Carroll’s 13 points. Four other players scored in double digits. Brooklyn (18-33) was again without the injured Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (strained right groin) and Caris LeVert (sore left knee).

The Knicks lost guard Ron Baker to a right shoulder injury with 2:46 to go in the first quarter after he was inadvertently kicked by Carroll while defending the leaping Nets’ forward. X-rays were negative, but Baker will not travel with the team for Wednesday’s game in Boston.

The Nets scored the first points of the game when former Knick Quincy Acy hit a three-pointer 39 seconds into the game. It was Brooklyn’s only lead of the night.

Porzingis scored eight points in the first quarter and Kanter added six as the Knicks established their dominance early. They led 30-22 after one quarter and quickly watched that lead balloon to 20 by the end of the first half.

The Knicks led 42-24 when Nets coach Kenny Atkinson called a regrouping timeout with 7:48 left in the second after a virtually uncontested floater by Trey Burke.

“I am shocked we gave them the freedom out there,” Atkinson said. “I think their post game, their inside game, drew a lot of attention. Then you start digging and they throw it out to shooters. I thought we got sucked in too much, but obviously Kanter was a load in there.”

The Nets went on a 10-0 run over the next two and half minutes, but the Knicks got the lead back up to 13 before scoring the final seven points of the half.

First, Porzingis hit a three-pointer off a feed from Kanter. Then Porzingis hit a pair of free throws to give him 18 points for the half. Jarrett Jack hit a jumper with 8.4 seconds left to make it 61-41.

The final first-half ignominy for the Nets was Kanter blocking Acy’s jumper with one second left.

“Every time we made a run they answered back,” Atkinson said. “We couldn’t get over the hump all night. I did think our compete level and basketball was better in the second half.”

Still, it was more of the same in the third quarter: The Knicks led 86-69 entering the fourth before the Nets made the final score closer than the game really was.

On Wednesday, the Knicks take their two-game winning streak to Boston. The Nets will play their first home game since Jan. 19 when they host the 76ers.

New York Sports