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Enes Kanter, Knicks bully little brother Nets in fresh uniforms, 111-95 (Highlights)

Enes Kanter and the New York Knicks extinguish the Brooklyn Nets, earning the clean four-game sweep while honoring New York’s Finest. 

“Bravery, toughness and no excuses,” said Lance Thomas of the New York City Firefighters prior to his New York Knicks playing their first game at Madison Square Garden in quite some time. Unfortunately for the road team, the rival Brooklyn Nets, the Knickerbockers played with a purpose all night long.

The Knickerbockers, unveiling their City Edition Jerseys which honor fallen heroes of the FDNY, dispatched the crosstown-rival Nets in finest form, 111-95. The Knicks notched a season sweep of the Nets for the first time since 2011 while earning back-to-back wins and stopping a four-game home losing streak.

The Nets scored the game’s first three points. The Knicks immediately answered and never looked back, leading the rest of the way as they held opponents under 100-points in consecutive wins for the first time this season.

Enes Kanter showcased his quintessential New York toughness, dominating the game with the squad’s first 20-point, 20-rebound, five-assist game since David Lee. He also accomplished the feat after taking seven stitches the previous day after cutting his lip in practice. To back-up Thomas’ pre-game talk, Kanter paid homage to the New York’s Finest after the game, noting that the Knicks showed true “New York grit.”

Kristaps Porzingis hit a career-high six three-pointers en route to a game-high 28 points while Michael Beasley had 12 points and added 13 rebounds of his own in just 22 minutes.

The Knicks dominated on both ends of the floor in the first half, leading 61-41 at halftime. Porzingis hit on all four of his threes and piled up 18 points while Kanter chipped in 10 points and 12 boards in the first half. It was the defense, however, that set the tone as the Nets, who take the second most threes in the league, went cold, ending the half shooting just 38 percent from the field and 6-19 from three-point range.

The Knicks, coming off their best defensive performance of the season in Phoenix where they allowed a season-low 85-points continued their solid defense, stopping the Brooklyn ball movement and forcing poor outside shots.

After the two teams exchanged baskets through much of the first, the Knicks defense kicked in and the Knickerbockers went on a run. The Knicks extended a 26-22 in the first to 42-24 five minutes into the second quarter with a 16-2 run that included 10 straight Knick points which included seven quick points by Michael Beasley with the second unit in the game.

Brooklyn then went on a 10-0 run of their own to cut the lead back to eight as the starters re-entered the game. The Knicks then turned up their defense once again and extended the lead from 42-34 to their 20-point halftime lead against Brooklyn who was without both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert.

After the Knicks lead ballooned to 25 in the third, the Nets tried to dent into the Knicks lead chipping away and cutting the lead to ten early in the fourth quarter. However, the Knicks defense was too much for the Nets and they were never able to get closer than that. The Nets ended the game shooting just 42 percent from the field.

Engine No. 1

The Knicks went with Frank Ntilikina as the primary backup point guard to starter Jarrett Jack midway through the first, but Trey Burke quickly entered the game alongside him and played much of the second quarter after the gritty Ron Baker, who entered the game midway through the first quarter, left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return. Thus far, while Jack has opened games, both point guards have ceded minutes to Burke, whose penetrating ability and on the ball defense has opened eyes.

Draft Battalion

The game featured three of the top four picks in the 2015 NBA draft. Jahlil Okafor, taken second overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, and D’Angelo Russell, taken third overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, played for the Nets, while Porzingis was taken third overall by the Knicks.

Next up for the Knicks will be the road again when they turn around quickly to take on the Celtics in Boston Wednesday night.

Joshua Casper is a New York based Sportswriter who has written for both local and national publications. He also has broadcasting experience with MSG Networks and has worked in sports media relations. Mr. Casper resides in Brooklyn, NY.