People aren't exactly coming up to Lionel Hollins in restaurants these days the way they did months ago, declaring their affinity by saying they want the Nets to beat the "other'' team in town, the one that plays across the East River in Manhattan.
But it's not as if the brutal temperatures these last few weeks have cooperated.
"Well, since the weather has gotten cold, I haven't spent a whole lot of time walking around, so I don't run into a lot of people," Hollins said Friday night. "But I'm sure people would still say it. I think it's still a rivalry for the fans. I mean, it's New York and everybody has their allegiances to one team or another in the city, and it's pretty strong regardless of what the record is for the teams. But they are still out there."
It didn't appear that way at first Friday night, not with the sellout crowd of 17,732 barely registering a decibel level of a library reading room.
Then things got hot and heavy in the second half. That's when Jarrett Jack helped the home team avert what would've been a loss, coming up with a clutch three-pointer and a pair of free throws in the waning seconds to lift the Nets to a 92-88 victory over the Knicks at Barclays Center.
The Nets are 3-0 against the Knicks this season.
With the shot clock set to expire, Jack canned the three-pointer with 13.8 seconds left to put the Nets ahead for good, marking the second time this week he has nailed big shots at the end of the game.
Jack's sharpshooting -- he finished with 20 points, 7-for-12 shootiong and eight assists -- vaulted the Nets (21-28) to their third straight victory.
"To be honest, going through the losing, all of us got to a point where we were fed up with our performance individually and collectively," Jack said, "and sometimes in order to get to the top, you've got to visit the bottom a little bit."
Brook Lopez had 22 points, nine rebounds and six blocks to pace the Nets, starting the second half alongside Kevin Garnett as Hollins looked to ride the 7-footer's hot hand.
Carmelo Anthony had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Knicks (10-40), who trailed by 17 points in the first half before taking their first lead in the third quarter. They hung with the Nets until Jack's big shot.
Joe Johnson was essentially a decoy, driving to the middle of the floor as Lance Thomas guarded him. Jose Calderon left Jack and started chasing Johnson, who found Jack for the wide open three-pointer. Ballgame.
"It was a miscommunication if there was communication at all," Anthony said. "It's one of those things where all we had to do was communicate during that moment."
So the Nets are streaking at the moment. Garnett, who had 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, partially attributes the Nets' inspiring play to an incident involving advance scout Jim Sann, who collapsed at the Nets' practice facility Sunday after having a heart attack but is recovering.
"You know what? I'll be honest," Garnett said. " . . . I think guys kind of reviewed life and put priorities where they should be when it comes to the word 'life.' And I think we have just been coming out playing with no-nonsense confidence, playing with each other, and we are just riding the momentum right now and it feels good."