Amar’e vs. Lopez in MSG shootout; Kobe’s Lakers lose three straight

If you ever questioned the difference between a “quiet” basketball performance and a loud one, you wouldn’t anymore after watching last night’s Knicks/Nets game. The Dime crew was at MSG for the latest chapter of the renewed rivalry — OK, well, it’s getting there — and the duel between Amar’e Stoudemire and Brook Lopez. While Brook had the most quiet 36 points (14-24 FG) you could imagine, on a bunch of short jumpers and putback layups and simple hook shots, Stoudemire’s 35 points (13-22 FG) were loud as all get-out. Right before halftime Amar’e caught an ‘oop from Ray Felton and swung on the rim, then burst out of the locker room for the second half dunking everything he touched … Pretty soon New York’s halftime deficit turned into a double-digit lead in the third quarter, a cushion they maintained throughout the fourth. With Devin Harris having left in the first half with a leg injury, New Jersey simply didn’t have enough offensive firepower or defensive acumen to manage a comeback. By about the sixth easy bucket Amar’e got via the pick-and-roll, Avery Johnson wasn’t even yelling anymore … Derrick Favors is an impressive athlete in-person, but he still has a lot to learn. He made one solid move where he hit a turnaround jumper on the block, but otherwise didn’t make much impact … During pre-game warmups, Devin Harris did the obligatory “All-Star chucking shots from the ball rack at midcourt” thing. He made one, but reacted with all the boredom of somebody at a P.M. Dawn show … Ten years from now, be prepared for an “Outside the Lines” story on how former NBA No. 1 draft pick Joe Smith is courageously battling a sudden loss of hearing. We were in the locker room pre-game and Joe was BLASTING his Beats By Dre headphones so loud you could hear every word Lil Wayne said … Troy Murphy, Anthony Morrow and Kris Humphries had a funny conversation with us where they were sharing high school and NBA Draft stories. You would have thought Murphy was 60 years old the way Morrow and Humphries were asking him about when he got drafted way back in 2001. Then Jordan Farmar entered the room and got cracked on because he “fell into” a good situation with the Lakers. “Nah man, it wasn’t like that,” Farmar said. “I had to hustle for mine.” …

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