Nets drop preseason finale to Knicks in OT
Playing without three key forwards, the Knicks outlasted the Nets, 97-95, in an overtime thriller at Nassau Coliseum that closed out both teams’ preseason slates. New York got 16 points from reserve Chris Copeland, and Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton scored 15 apiece.
It was a game played with regular-season intensity, and one that had a bizarre atmosphere for the Nets. Despite it being a “home” game for Brooklyn, the capacity crowd of 15,957 was predominantly comprised of Knicks supporters who vociferously booed the boys from Barclays while rabidly cheering their MSG heroes.
“It was a good atmosphere because the crowd was into it,” Johnson said, “and that’s the way it’s going to be all year whenever we play the Knicks, but I thought our guys were focused.”
Deron Williams led the Nets with 22 points, scoring 12 of those in a first quarter that saw the Nets take a 23-16 lead and the Knicks lose Tyson Chandler on a knee-to-knee hit less than a minute into the game. However, the Knicks used a 30-point second to turn a seven-point deficit into a three-point halftime lead. They extended their advantage to six heading into the fourth quarter.
The Nets would not go quietly as MarShon Brooks and the bench led a furious fourth-quarter comeback. Brooks had a chance to win the game in the waning seconds, but his first shot was blocked and his second attempt rolled off the rim to leave the game tied at 86-all at the end of regulation.
In the extra session, the game continued to go back and forth until the final possession. With Brooklyn down a pair, Brooks had a second chance to be the hero; however, he missed a driving layup with just a few ticks left on the clock, and New York grabbed the rebound to cement the win.
“Coach drew up a play to clear out the right side, and I got a good look at it, but it just didn’t fall,” Brooks said of the final play. “I think I can make those shots if I tried again now, but they didn’t go down tonight…all I can do is put it behind me and move on.”
After the game, Avery Johnson also chose to praise his team’s efforts down low rather than to dwell on Brooks’ final shot.
“I think we were 19-for-43 in the paint? I’ll take 43 shots in the paint,” Johnson said, “but unfortunately, that shot didn’t go down. We liked the shot, we liked MarShon taking that shot for us, but it just didn’t go down. … He’s still a young player, and whatever the good or bad was, we got him more minutes than we planned and that’s a good thing.”
Brooks was second on the team in scoring with 11 overall, and rookie Tyshawn Taylor also finished in double-digits with 10. Andray Blatche had a team-high 10 rebounds to go with his six points, and C.J. Watson added nine on 4-of-7 shooting.
Overall, the bench outscored the starting five 46-45, and Johnson said after the game that was somewhat by design.
“We had a plan to play our starters just the first and third quarters, and we did that for the most part,” Johnson said. “We had to use Joe (Johnson) a little bit more because (Josh) Childress tweaked his ankle again, so we had to use Joe a little longer before we got to our young guys.”
For the Knicks, five players reached double figures. Mychel Thompson had 13 and starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer finished with 12. Anthony had a game-high nine rebounds in his 32 minutes, and Argentinian rookie Pablo Prigioni led all players with 11 assists.
The Nets and Knicks both finished the preseason with matching 3-3 records, but now the focus shifts to the season opener on Nov. 1, when the first regular-season battle for the Big Apple takes place at the Barclays Center.
“By the time Tuesday comes around, I know the guys will be ready to go, and we’ll try to prepare the best we can,” Johnson said. “Obviously we didn’t throw our whole playbook out there, and they didn’t either, but we’ll look at the film and go through our practices and do whatever we can do.”
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