Knicks 88 Nets 82 | Madison Square Garden
How it happened:
Once again, the Knicks bench turned a back-and-forth battle into a victory as New York topped New Jersey 88-82 in the preseason finale at Madison Square Garden. Fans at the transformed Garden watched the Knicks outscore the Nets 23-18 in the final stanza despite New Jersey’s Deron Williams and Brook Lopez playing until four minutes left in the contest. Carmelo Anthony finished with a team-high 21 points, Amar’e Stoudemire posted 15, and Tyson Chandler snatched 12 boards in New York’s second win of the preseason.
Devin Green drilled a 3-pointer to hand the Knicks an 80-77 lead and then a steal from Iman Shumpert led to an opportunity at the charity stripe on the opposite end. After the rookie missed his second attempt, he corralled the rebound and Renaldo Balkman hit a bucket in the lane to push New York on top 83-77. A Toney Douglas dribble drive layup provided the necessary separation with under three minutes left in the contest.
Anthony nearly had a double-double in the first half with 15 points and eight boards. The All-Star forward looked quite comfortable in his first game at the Garden this season. The array of offensive moves was on full display, including an impressive old fashioned 3-point play where Anthony navigated through a sea of defenders for a layup in the third period.
Josh Harrellson earned the support of the New York crowd with several hustle plays and a couple of treys. The former Kentucky big man finished with seven points and 10 rebounds. Shumpert was effective on the defensive end of the floor tonight with two steals.
“The moment I ran on the floor, I’m usually snarling and serious but I couldn’t help but smile. Running on the floor and being at the Garden -- fans just knowing I’m not on the opposing team and to come in here and actually represent the city of New York in the Garden was an amazing experience. It was hard for me to not stop smiling in the first couple of minutes.” -- Tyson Chandler
The team will have the day off tomorrow before returning to training camp on Friday afternoon. On Sunday, the Knicks host the Celtics in a highly anticipated matchup to jumpstart the 2011-12 season.