NETS 88 KNICKS 85 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
In another Eastern Conference nail-biter, the Knicks just came up short, suffering an 88-85 defeat to the Nets on Monday afternoon.
Deron Williams hit 1-of-2 free throws to provide a 3-point lead for Brooklyn with 5.7 seconds on the game clock. J.R. Smith raced down the floor and found ample space to rise up for the game-tying bucket but it bounced off the glass and off the left side of the rim.
The Nets effectively tied the season series at 2-2 while improving to 25-16 on the season. New York dropped to 25-14 in its return to MSG following the trip to London.
Carmelo Anthony hit two free throws and the Knicks led 84-83 with under a minute left in the contest. However, Joe Johnson connected on the crucial go ahead bucket as he elevated over Smith from 16 feet to flip the 85-84 advantage to the road team.
With 8.3 seconds remaining in the division battle, Anthony missed a potential game-winner and New York was forced to foul Williams, where he hit two big free throws.
New York turned the tide of the game in the third quarter after facing a six-point deficit at halftime. The home squad finished the third period strong on a 15-5 run over the final five minutes. In fact, the Knicks shot 13-for-22 from the floor and scored 27 points. Meanwhile, Brooklyn only registered 18 points in the third quarter and only hit 6-for-20 from the floor.
The second half performance from New York was simply not enough in the final contest between the two teams. Johnson scored 25 points for the Nets.
Smith finished with 16 points, Amar’e Stoudemire dropped 15 in 26 minutes off the pine, and Tyson Chandler grabbed 11 boards.
Knick of the Night:
Anthony registered his 26th straight game with 20-plus points. He scored 27 points on 11-of-29 shooting from the field and his seven assists were a season high.
The Knicks took care of the rock by only committing five turnovers in the loss. Rebounding was a major issue as the Nets outrebounded New York 52-37.
The Knicks will return to MSG Training Center for a couple days of practice before a crucial road game in Boston on Thursday night.