Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.Y. Shows Spark, Nets Show Little

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.Y. Shows Spark, Nets Show Little

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The crowd was hostile, angry and on edge, loudly voicing venom even before the game began. The black adorned not just the colors worn by the Brooklyn fans, but also the mood. And the two desperate teams were willing to play in that foul mood, too.

Fans of both the Knicks and Nets filled Barclays Center, neither fan base particularly thrilled with the team it supported. The nationally televised game was supposed to be a battle for New York - - but it was really a fight for what little pride was left -- and with a 113-83 win, the game showed that for a night the Knicks at least had that.

They had fight. It wasn't exactly Ali-Frazier -- and maybe not even enough to elicit anything other than laughter from boxer Zab Judah at courtside. But in his own way, Andrea Bargnani stood up for himself, trying to stand as Kevin Garnett pushed against him.

The soft-spoken, soft-playing 7-footer and Garnett, the surliest, Honey-Nut Cheerio-touting, trash-talker in the NBA, each drew a technical for their confrontation early in the fourth quarter. Less than a minute later, after Bargnani drained a corner jumper over Garnett and started jawing at him as the two headed to the other end of the court, Bargnani was ejected.

Garnett said he wasn't sure what Bargnani said, noting, "I don't speak Italian." Bargnani wouldn't explain, other than to note, "I wasn't speaking Italian." But it was the first time in his life that he was thrown out of a game, and was a fitting symbol for the spark and fire that the Knicks showed with their backs against the wall.

"With a win like this, we definitely get our confidence back and get our mojo, our swag back," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "Which would be great for us."

If the Knicks were laughingstocks, as Carmelo Anthony characterized them a day earlier, for one night they at least got the last laugh at the expense of the Nets. Brooklyn, on the other hand, was left with no fight and nothing to smile about.

When the teams were introduced the home crowd reserved its loudest voice for the introduction of Nets head coach, Jason Kidd. The boos echoed through the cavernous arena: some from Knicks fans as payback for his abrupt retirement, but also undoubtedly from Nets fans as a payback for the miserable start to the season and also for the ugly divorce with associate head coach Lawrence Frank.

While Kidd openly recruited Frank, his former coach, the pairing ended in a way that it might have been hard to imagine -- although it's not over with lawyers readying to negotiate a buyout and Frank left with a role just short of firing (filling out daily reports). If Kidd is reading them, he might not want to open the one on this game -- and Frank might want to point out that the defense has been more dreadful since he was thrown off the bench. …

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