WHAT IT MEANS: Joe Johnson is wrong.
The struggling Nets aren’t in the same stratosphere as their East River rivals -- at least as of right now.
They dropped six games behind the Knicks in the Atlantic Division standings after getting blown out by New York, 100-86, Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Nets (13-12) are 1-2 against the Knicks (19-6) this season.
Brooklyn, which trailed by as many as 18 in the fourth quarter, has now lost three games in a row, and dropped to 2-8 in December.
Mock “Brook-lyn!” chants filled the Garden in the waning minutes.
UNGUARDABLE: Carmelo Anthony lit the Nets up again, scoring a game-high 31 points. In the first two games of the new rivalry, he combined for 79 points, including a season-high 45 on Dec. 11.
D-WILL: Deron Williams, who came in shooting a career-low 38.9 percent from the field, scored 11 of his 16 points in the third quarter. He shot 7-for-12 overall and added 10 assists, five rebounds and five turnovers.
NETS > KNICKS: At least according to Iso Joe, anyway. Johnson, who had been averaging 20.8 points in his previous five games, posted 17 in this one. Brook Lopez added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
THIRD IS THE BAD WORD: The Nets took a 61-57 lead in the third quarter, but the Knicks closed the quarter on an 18-6 run. Only the Wizards are worse than the Nets in the third. The Knicks had four alley-oops in the quarter -- two on pick-and-rolls, two on drives.
TAIL OF TWO 3S: The Nets went 7-for-12 from 3-point range in the first half, but just 3-for-13 in the second half.
SHOW YA LOVE: The crowd booed Kris Humphries all game long. Some things never change. Humphries (nine rebounds) received a technical foul after getting tangled up with J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler with 4:32 left in the first quarter.
BAD START: The Nets started the game 5-for-21 from the field, but finished the first half shooting a respectable 44.2 percent. Keith Bogans drained three 3-pointers in the opening 24 minutes.
UP NEXT: Nets versus 76ers, Sunday at 3 p.m.