Knicks rout Nets again to finish sweep of season series
NEW YORK — Enes Kanter thought it might be the nice new uniforms. Kristaps Porzingis thought it might have been Kanter’s ugly lip.
In reality, it didn’t matter what the Knicks looked like when they played Brooklyn this season.
Porzingis scored 28 points, Kanter had 20 points, 20 rebounds and five assists, and the Knicks completed a New York City sweep of the Nets with a 111-95 victory Tuesday night.
The Knicks returned home from their longest road trip of the season in new uniforms but their same old dominance of the Nets, with their fourth victory in four tries this season. They dominated the interior again and swept the series for the first time since 2010-11 — before the rivals shared the same city.
Kanter said he knew he and Porzingis had a chance to overwhelm the Nets’ smaller front line again.
“Especially KP, because we know they cannot guard KP 1-on-1 … so we know that they were going to send double-teams at me and KP, so we just made extra passes and won the game,” Kanter said.
Kanter was 8 of 10 from the field, a day after needing stitches when he was cut by teammate Doug McDermott in practice.
“Enes was a monster today, just bulldozer,” Porzingis said. “He did what he does and just great game for him, 20-20. Maybe he was mad from yesterday that he got hit in the mouth.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. added 15 points for the Knicks, who went 3-4 on their trip, which started with a victory in Brooklyn on Jan. 15. Michael Beasley finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
They kept up their strong offensive play since then after averaging 111.3 points on the trip, fourth-best in the NBA during that span.
DeMarre Carroll scored 13 points for the Nets, who lost their fourth straight game. They played their second in a row without starting forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (strained right groin) and reserve guard Caris LeVert (sore left groin).
“They’re better than us right now,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “It’s great motivation for us. When we look at the scores for the season, they’re just better than us right now. We got a lot of catching up to do.”
Brooklyn fell behind by 18 in the second quarter but cut it to 10 midway through the period before the Knicks opened it up again, building a 61-41 advantage at halftime.
The Knicks opened a 25-point lead that Nets trimmed it to 10 again, but Porzingis nailed a 3-pointer with 7 ½ minutes remaining to halt their push.
Nets: Atkinson said the Nets would determine Wednesday whether guard D’Angelo Russell, recently back from knee surgery, is able to play on the second night of a back-to-back. If not, and if LeVert remains out, he said Nik Stauskas and Isaiah Whitehead could be ballhandling options.
Knicks: The Knicks debuted their City Edition uniforms, which pay homage to New York’s firefighters and were designed in part by the Uniformed Firefighters Association. They’re a darker blue than the Knicks’ usual uniforms, a nod to the firefighters’ dress uniforms. … Guard Ron Baker left in the first quarter with a right shoulder injury. He appeared to be kicked by Carroll as the Nets forward jumped to take a shot. X-rays were negative but Baker won’t travel to Boston on Wednesday.
Joakim Noah remained out and won’t play Wednesday in Boston, coach Jeff Hornacek said. The backup center left the team near the end of the trip after getting frustrated with Hornacek.
Though he had just five points with his 13 rebounds Tuesday, Jahlil Okafor may have earned himself a larger rotation role with his season-high 21 points in a season-best 24 minutes Saturday in a loss at Minnesota. He plays Wednesday for the first time against Philadelphia, the team that took him with the No. 3 pick in 2015 but banished him to the bench before trading him to Brooklyn in December. “We told him when he came here you’ve got to earn it. There’s nothing given and that was a good showing in Minnesota,” Atkinson said. “I thought he’s getting in better shape, he’s understanding better what we’re trying to do. So yeah, he’s starting to earn more minutes.”
Nets: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Knicks: Visit Boston on Wednesday.