Knicks destroy Nets from downtown

NEWARK, N.J. -- Late in the fourth quarter Friday night, a fight broke out in section 226 of the Prudential Center.

Did New Jersey Nets head coach Avery Johnson see it?

“No,” Johnson said. “But I did see all those 3s they hit on us.”

The “they” Johnson was referring to were the New York Knicks, who connected for 15 3-pointers on 36 attempts (41.7 percent) in their 116-93 rout of the Nets. The Nets ended up going 0-4 against the Knicks this season; it was the first time the Knicks swept the season series since the lockout shortened 1998-99 campaign, when they beat the Nets in all three of their meetings.

“We didn’t do a good job of guarding the 3-point line tonight,” Johnson said. “We had a couple of breakdowns defensively in terms of closing out shooters. When they penetrated we helped with too many guys and didn’t get backside rotations to their 3-point shooters. We went under on screens when we were supposed to go over; we just had a couple of breakdowns there that led to their high percentage shooting.”

The Knicks, who had eight different players hit 3s, went 9-for-17 from downtown in the first half alone, which helped them establish a 68-51 lead heading to the break, and they rolled from there. They came in ranked seventh in the NBA in 3-point shooting (37 percent).

“They have the ability to get hot,” small forward Sasha Vujacic said. “And tonight we just didn’t execute against them defensively.”

The 15 3-pointers the Nets allowed were the second highest total they’ve allowed all season. They gave up 16 against the same Knicks team on Feb. 12.