The Knicks and Nets entered play Thursday with terrible records.
So no one looked at the year's first Knicks-Nets game as some passionate game between rivals.
But it seemed to light a fire under Andrea Bargnani.
Bargnani scored 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting. He also had three blocks.
But all anyone wanted to talk to Bargnani about was his fourth-quarter run-in with noted bully Kevin Garnett.
Bargnani got tangled up with Garnett as a rebound came off the rim early in the fourth quarter.
Surprisingly, Bargnani appeared to be the aggressor in the dustup, grabbing at Garnett's jersey.
Bargnani was whistled for a loose-ball foul, and both players received technicals.
Minutes later, Bargnani received another tech for taunting Garnett following a made 3-pointer.
Bargnani was tossed from the game after the second tech.
When asked what Bargnani said, Garnett had a funny line.
"I don't understand Italian," the forward said.
Bargnani didn't want to get into specifics after the game but did say, “I wasn't speaking Italian but that's not important. The game is important. I'm happy we won.”
The Knicks' bench appreciated Bargnani's efforts, giving him a standing ovation as he walked off the court.
"That’s what we need from him," J.R. Smith said. "We need him to get upset like that, we need him to get engaged. I think he played great."
Melo night: Carmelo Anthony had a quiet night scoring the ball -- by his standards -- but was extremely effective against the Nets.
Anthony finished with a team-high 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting against Brooklyn. The Knicks had six players in double figures and moved the ball well, thanks in part to Anthony's passing out of double teams. New York hit 16 of their 27 threes and shot 57 percent from the field.
Ray's Day: Raymond Felton played through pain, but he did a good job of masking it on Thursday. The point guard hit three 3-pointers and had 13 points and four assists in 29 minutes. ... Amar'e Stoudemire had 11 points. He left the game early to get treatment on his knees to prepare for Friday's game against Orlando.
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