New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Postgame
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks start off their road trip with bounce back win. The bench erupted for 70 points to lead the way in Brooklyn.

The January road trip that Knicks fans have been dreading is off to a nice start. The Knicks bench led the way combining for 70 points, while Brooklyn’s bench only managed to score 47. The bench picked up the slack after Tim Hardaway Jr. was ruled out. He played 33 minutes in a loss to the Pelicans on Sunday and Knicks coach, Jeff Hornacek is trying to monitor his minutes until he is completely healthy.

But it was no Hardaway, no problem. Michael Beasley struggled a bit in the first half but found his rhythm as the game would progress. He finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds on 10-for-18 shooting. Beasley will probably be seeing a dip in his minutes with Hardaway healthy, but any time the Knicks need Beasley to step up, he does.

Frank Ntilikina also had one of the better games of his young career. His length and active hands caused problems for Nets guards all night. His unique skill set helped him fill up the box score in a number of ways. He finished with 10 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. This is why some people are so excited about Ntilikina. He only took six shots, but his imprint on the game was impossible to miss.

Doug McDermott and Kyle O’Quinn chipped in with 13 points and 11 points respectively, while Ron Baker played a scrappy game marked by harassing defense. Baker had three steals and a +/- of +16. That is second only to Ntilikina.

Trey Burke played eight minutes in his first appearance for the team. It’s obviously too early to say what his role is going to be, but he gave good minutes in the second quarter and could give Hornacek another option off the bench.

There was even a Willy Hernangomez sighting in the second quarter, so everybody seemed to be getting involved in this one.

Porzingis looking good

The Knicks struggles of late have coincided with Kristaps Porzingis‘ recent woes. But Porzingis put that behind him and really let the game come to him. He wasn’t forcing shots. He kept the ball moving which helped the offense remain fluid. And he got the ball inside and got to the free throw line. He finished the night with a game-high 26 points to go along with nine rebounds.

Lately, KP has had some pretty poor shooting performances so this game has to be a breath of fresh air for him. He was 8-for-14 from the floor and didn’t need to dominate the ball to get his opportunities.

Nets top performers notably absent

Spencer Dinwiddie has been great so far this season, but tonight was not his night. He couldn’t buy a bucket and finished the game shooting 2-for-14 from the floor. The Nets shot poorly as a team and only managed to shoot 36.8 percent from the field.

Fortunately for the Nets, the third quarter was marred by free throws and the Nets hung around due to their superiority at the line. The Nets shot 80 percent to the Knicks 70 percent from the charity stripe. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Nets had momentum and were looking to capitalize on the Knicks apparent inability to close games out down the stretch

Different Knicks team

Although the Knicks have struggled at putting teams away, they handled their business in Brooklyn. Despite giving up 39 points in the third quarter, the Knicks rallied in the fourth to outscore the Nets 36-23.

It’s not easy to close out games, but that’s one of the biggest things that is holding this team back. They’ve blown multiple games this season simply due to the fact that they let someone hang around long enough to make a run at the wrong time. But the core is extremely young and this game is a good sign.

It’s impossible to expect a young team to mature overnight, but it looks as though that’s exactly what they did.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.