KNICKS 104 NETS 95| PRUDENTIAL CENTER
How it happened:
Showing minimal hangover effects from the emotional destruction of the Celtics on Tuesday night, the Knicks dominated early and eventually pulled out a 104-95 victory over the Nets.
Carmelo Anthony continued his spectacular play in April by outscoring New Jersey 18-11 through the first 5 minutes. The Knicks All-Star posted 21 of the team’s 38 points as the “road” squad built a 16-point advantage and connected on 61 percent from the floor after 12 minutes of action.
Tyson Chandler attacked the paint throughout the first period, hitting all of his field goal attempts and sinking 3-of-4 at the charity stripe for seven points.
Interim head coach Mike Woodson sent Toney Douglas, Bill Walker, and Josh Harrellson on the floor for significant minutes in the second quarter. The Knicks relied on the bench to help counter the absence of Baron Davis (stomach illness) and Jared Jeffries (sore knee).
While Anthony rested on the New York bench, the Nets raced out to a 14-6 run and cut the deficit to just eight points. Anthony would quickly push the lead back to double digits after a bucket and foul with less than three minutes remaining in the first half. In a starting role, Mike Bibby drilled a 3-pointer in the midst of a 15-6 run for the Knicks as they closed the second period strong and took a 64-47 lead into the locker room.
New York endured a dramatic decrease in offensive efficiency in the third quarter by only scoring 14 points. At one point in the period, New Jersey outscored the Knicks 21-5 and only trailed 76-71 at the three minute mark.
In the final stanza, JR Smith and Steve Novak carried the offensive load with a combined 15 points. The two players delivered clutch buckets while New York’s defense shut the door on the attempted comeback from the Nets.
Chandler finished with 18 points and 10 boards to help lift the Knicks to their second straight win. New York improved to 33-29 on the season with a 7-3 record in its last 10 games.
For the fourth time in his last five games, Anthony scored 30 or more points with his 33-point outburst on Wednesday night. The All-Star dropped 27 in the first half of play and shot 11-of-21 for the game while smiling throughout the entire win. Anthony also hauled down seven boards and dished out four assists.
The Knicks first seven minutes were nearly flawless behind Anthony’s 15 points, ridiculous 82 percent shooting, and 24-11 lead.
State of the Playoffs:
New York now leads Milwaukee by 3.5 games and Philadelphia by one game in the Eastern Conference standings. After securing the road win, the Knicks currently sit at the No. 7 spot and would face the Miami Heat in the first round if the playoffs started today.
News and Notes:
Amar’e Stoudemire is close to returning to the floor as Woodson told reporters on Tuesday that the big man could suit up against Cleveland or Atlanta if he does not suffer any setbacks this week.
The Knicks will have the day off following the back-to-back set before hitting the road for a matchup against Cleveland on Friday night and against Atlanta on Sunday.