NETS 100 KNICKS 92 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
Deron Williams exploded for 38 points while lifting the Nets to a 100-92 victory over the Knicks on Monday night at the Garden. Just a day after New York celebrated a tremendous win past the defending champs, the team could not complete a fourth quarter comeback and dropped to 16-17 on the season.
New Jersey built a 14-point lead with 9:46 remaining in the fourth period. J.R. Smith drilled a jumper, Carmelo Anthony connected on a layup, and Amar’e Stoudemire threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk and completed a successful three-point play to close the gap to eight points.
The 7-1 run over three minutes mirrored the strong 11-3 start for the hometown team in the first period. However, the Nets quickly answered with an Anthony Morrow corner jumper and Kris Humphries three-point play to extend their lead to 90-77 with just five minutes left in the contest.
New York worked to find cohesion in the midst of two significant players returning to the lineup on Monday. Carmelo Anthony hit the floor for the first time since he suffered a strained right groin against the Jazz on February 6 and Baron Davis made his season debut. Not to mention the Knicks just added Smith to the mix yesterday in his first appearance of the year in the NBA after playing in China during the lockout.
All five starters for New York finished in double figures with Jeremy Lin leading the way, scoring 21 points, dishing out nine assists, grabbing seven boards, and snatching four steals in the defeat. Anthony scored 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting and Stoudemire registered 17 points.
The Knicks struggled from the three-point line, only hitting 23.8 percent in a stark contrast to their Sunday afternoon performance. On the bright side, New York doubled the Nets in the paint 40-20 and posted 20 fast break points.
“We have to get some things sorted out and we know that. We have to figure out the type of team and the identity we have to have. We have two more games (before the All-Star break) and we have to get them and retool and see what we got.” -- Mike D’Antoni
Lin was not as dominant on Monday night as seen in his previous outings. New Jersey was successful defensively by quickly converging on Lin inside the paint, making it hard for him to see shooters on the perimeter or receive easy looks at the rim. The second-year man fought through the difficult game and hit 7-of-18 shots from the floor. His near triple-double is a clear indication that he is prepared for the constant target on his back moving forward. By only committing three turnovers, Lin is attempting to take care of the rock, which is also part of his maturation process as the starting point guard.
The Knicks will have the day off tomorrow before returning to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night for an Eastern Conference showdown against the Atlanta Hawks.