Yi Jianlian had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets (0-5), who were without All-Star point guard Devin Harris because of a strained right groin. Rookie Terrence Williams also scored 21 points and Courtney Lee had 17.
New York bounced back after miserable offensive performances while losing its last two games. The Knicks shot under 38 percent in each, including a 31 percent showing in 93-85 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday.
But after shooting 9 of 27 from the field and falling behind 29-23 after one quarter, they hit 22 of 40 shots over the middle two periods, repeatedly confusing the Nets with pick-and-rolls.
"The big change tonight was that we hit some shots from the outside and that opened up things in the pick-and-roll," Lee said. "It opened up the whole rest of our game."
New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank burned two timeouts in the first 5 minutes of the second half, looking disgusted following defensive breakdowns that led to layups by Jared Jeffries.
Playing without leading scorer Al Harrington (bruised left knee), the Knicks outscored the Nets 29-15 in the second quarter to take an eight-point halftime lead, then used a 13-2 spurt midway through the third to extend it to 73-54.
"I thought we played pretty good defense the whole way through," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They didn't have Devin Harris and we hit a spurt where we made shots and that's what we were talking about. We just hung in there defensively until I guess it was probably second quarter with about 5 or 6 minutes where we made about five or six in a row and got an eight-point lead and held it there afterwards."
The Knicks led 75-59 after three but went cold again in the fourth as the Nets pulled within single digits. New York finished at 40 percent after struggling with mostly reserves on the court in the final period.
Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 13 points for the Nets before leaving with a strained neck. X-rays were negative.
"I'm going to ice it down, do what I have to do tonight, see how it feels in the morning, but I don't want to be missing anything," Douglas-Roberts said.
The Knicks beat the Nets 115-107 on Oct. 4 in Albany in both teams' preseason opener. They meet again next Wednesday in Newark.