Knicks beat city rivals Nets to help playoff drive
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Knicks routed city rivals Brooklyn 110-81 to move a step closer to a postseason berth on Wednesday, a day after the Nets had celebrated clinching a playoff berth of their own.
The Nets (40-34) looked like they might have been nursing a playoff-clinching hangover as the Knicks (33-43) outhustled, outshot and thoroughly outplayed Brooklyn to the delight of the packed Madison Square Garden crowd.
The victory lifted New York into a virtual tie with Atlanta (32-42) for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth as the Hawks fell 105-92 to the Chicago Bulls.
Brooklyn are already safely into the postseason and are still within reach of overtaking Toronto for the Atlantic Division title.
They lost ground with the loss to the Knicks as the Raptors (43-32) gained a game on them with a 107-103 win over Houston.
Both the Knicks and Nets overcame dreadful starts this season to become relevant teams down the stretch.
Brooklyn began 4-12, going through a difficult adjustment period with a host of new players and a first-time coach in former standout point guard Jason Kidd.
The Knicks started 4-13, and after a seven-game losing streak stood at a dismal 21-40 before their current desperate surge of 12 wins in 15 games that was launched by an eight-game winning streak. Continued...