Tom Thibodeau made the comparison first, based on the work ethic and leadership his best players, Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, have displayed.
His rampaging team is reminding him of the late 1990s Knicks that were an annual playoff contender.
It certainly has felt like those halcyon days lately at MSG, when the Knicks were a force and the postseason was inevitable, and it sure had that kind of vibe Wednesday night.
The white-hot Knicks treated the Nets like a sparring partner, not at all allowing Monday’s big win over the Celtics to let them get ahead of themselves.
Newcomer Josh Hart has said the Knicks can make a postseason run, and the way they are playing right now, who’s to argue?
The Knicks equaled a franchise record with 14 first-half 3-pointers, shot a robust 60 percent from the field and annihilated the crumbling Nets, 142-118, at a joyous and sold-out Garden for their seventh straight win.
They also won for the sixth straight time at home, after struggling so much in their own building, and pulled to within one game in the loss column of the fourth-place Cavaliers.
After losing nine straight to the Nets, they have beaten their intracity rivals twice in a row, both in dominant fashion.
The Nets are obviously very different now, after trading Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and the Knicks reminded them of that painful fact with a thorough beatdown.
There was no letup. Hart was diving into the crowd and Brunson drawing charges with the game well in hand.
Thibodeau even challenged a blocking call with the Knicks up 26 and 4:58 left. He won the challenge.
It was that kind of night for the Knicks. Brunson poured in 39 points to lead six Knicks in double figures. Quentin Grimes added 22 and Randle notched 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Knicks made 20 of 35 from 3-point land.
Cameron Johnson had 33 points for the Nets, who have lost four in a row and six of seven.
Randle sank the Knicks’ first field-goal attempt of the game, a tough-angle right-corner 3-pointer deep into the shot clock.
It was a sign of what was to come in an electric night at the Garden. The Knicks hit six of their first seven 3-point attempts and sank nine of 11 after one quarter in which they piled up 47 points — the second-most in franchise history — and 10 assists.
The second quarter didn’t see much improvement for the Nets. The Knicks scored 34 more in that stanza, and produced their most points in a half since scoring 82 on Nov. 29, 2008, against the Warriors.
Brunson was basically automatic, scoring 30 points in the half on 12 of 14 shooting.
Every Knick besides Randle shot at least 50 percent from the field, as they hit 68 percent of their attempts in an awesome shooting display that saw all Knicks score.
The Knicks received an ovation from the crowd as Brunson dribbled at the top of the key in their final possession of the second quarter.
He then put an exclamation mark on the brilliant 24 minutes with a pretty floater in the lane. It was such a good night for the Knicks that they were only outscored by one in the third quarter despite committing four turnovers and playing sloppy and sluggish.