Knicks rout Nets 115-96, end five-game skid
NEW YORK (AP) — His mouth bloodied, Tim Hardaway Jr. ran to the locker room shortly before halftime.
Then he came back and helped the Knicks run all over the Nets.
Hardaway scored 25 points and tied a career high with eight assists, and New York rolled to its second win of the season, beating Brooklyn 115-96 on Monday night.
Frank Ntilikina added 16 points and Enes Kanter had 15 points and 15 rebounds off the bench for the Knicks, who had dropped five straight since beating Atlanta in their first game under David Fizdale.
“He preaches competitors only when you step through these doors, so we can’t only preach it we’ve got to go out and do it,” Hardaway said after removing a blood-stained pad from his mouth so he could talk. “So we did it tonight.”
They ended their skid emphatically, outscoring the Nets 59-41 over the middle two quarters and leading by as many as 25 points.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 17 points for the Nets, who dropped their third straight. They were coming off a close loss to Golden State on Sunday, and either didn’t have legs left or didn’t put forth much effort, getting beaten to loose balls and unable to slow the Knicks in transition in the third quarter.
“We weren’t ready to play,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We can look for excuses, but this is game five (actually seven). This isn’t game 74. We should have been more ready.”
The Nets beat the Knicks 107-105 on Oct. 19 on Caris LeVert’s layup with a second to play. This time, LeVert was 2 for 11 for just four points.
The game began to swing just before halftime, when Hardaway had a couple baskets in an 8-0 spurt that pushed a two-point edge to 52-42. He also was hit in the mouth during that span while drawing an offensive foul and ran to the locker room to get his lip glued so he could return for the second half.
When he did, the Knicks put it away quickly.
Rookie Mitchell Robinson’s steal and dunk capped a quick run of six points that made it 58-44 and led to a Nets timeout that did nothing to halt the Knicks’ momentum. Hardaway made a 3 and soon after threw one of his best passes, a lob that Robinson slammed down to make it 69-48.
“I think Tim has always had the reputation that he’s just a gunner and so I want to break that stereotype of him,” Fizdale said. “And to be an elite player in this league you have to make other people better.”
The Nets took their third timeout of the quarter when Damyean Dotson made a layup while being fouled as the lead ballooned to 75-50.
Nets: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points. ... Brooklyn was 11 for 38 (29 percent) from 3-point range after making 44.3 percent over its last five games.
Knicks: Fizdale kept the same starting lineup he used Friday against Golden State, with Hardaway, Ntilikina, Dotson and Robinson joined by Noah Vonleh.
Rasheed Wallace, who finished his career with the Knicks in 2013, was in practice over the weekend and worked with rookie big man Robinson. Fizdale called Wallace one of the smartest players he’s ever been around and hoped he could teach the second-round pick how to be vocal on defense. Fizdale added that Wallace would be with the team a couple more days and he’d like to have other veterans work with his young team, saying the Knicks have talked to Chauncey Billups about coming.
LeVert had a career-high 28 points in the first meeting. He came in averaging 21.3 points and shooting 51.6 percent from the field.
“The good thing about the NBA is a day off and we play again on Wednesday and a chance to redeem myself,” he said.
Nets: Host Detroit on Wednesday.
Knicks: Host Indiana on Wednesday.
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