“For whatever reason, we had a few guys fighting and a few guys who weren’t fighting,” Johnson said.
The Nets (40-34), who had just clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday night, didn’t show up against their East River rivals -- and got buried as a result. They trailed by as many as 33 and Knicks fans chanted “Brooklyn Sucks!” in the fourth quarter.
“You lose by one, you lose by 100, it’s just a loss,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “And you move on.”
Nets forward Paul Pierce, who scored just eight points on 2-for-7 shooting, was disappointed with how the team defended. Brooklyn allowed New York to shoot 60 percent from the field -- 66.7 percent in the first half.
“When you allow teams to shoot 60 percent -- close to 70 at the half -- you’re not going to win many games,” said Pierce, adding that he felt this game was just a “hiccup” -- nothing more.
“On the defensive end, we just had a lot of breakdowns,” said guard Deron Williams, who was held without an assist for just the second time this season. “We weren’t shooting the ball well, it wasn’t going in the basket, and because of that we weren’t getting back on defense.
The Nets have now lost three straight road games and are 14-22 away from home this season. They are 5-12 in the second game of back-to-back sets.
Toronto and Chicago won, so Brooklyn fell 2 1/2 games back of both teams in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. Their hopes of winning the Atlantic Division are fading fast.
“It’s definitely a missed opportunity for us,” Johnson said. “We’ve just got to move on from here.”
A 15-0 run bridging the first and second quarters allowed the Knicks to turn a one-point deficit into a 34-20 lead. They rolled from there, as the Nets shot just 40 percent from the field and hit on only eight of their 26 3-point attempts.
“They switched it a lot,” Williams said. “Offensively we got stagnant and they took us out of our sets with their aggressiveness. We weren’t moving the ball around like we normally do.”
Pierce summed it up.
“Right now it’s about us getting better, win or lose, and tonight we didn’t get better,” he said.