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Nets fall to Knicks on Kidd's clutch 3-pointer

Veteran guard hits 6 of 8 from distance to sink former team
12/11/2012 11:16 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 45 points on 15 of 24 from the floor.(AP)

For seven seasons from 2001-08, Nets fans watched and cheered as Jason Kidd hit hundreds of big shots to lift his team to victory. On Tuesday night, they watched him do it again -- in the uniform of New York City’s other team.

Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 45 points, but it was Kidd’s 3-pointer with 24.1 seconds left that lifted the Knicks to a 100-97 win over the Nets at Barclays Center, extending the home team’s losing streak to a season-high five games.

The Nets got off to a roaring start, leading by as many as 17 in the first quarter and ending the period with a 30-16 lead. But the Knicks battled back to cut the deficit to four at halftime, setting the tone for a second half that produced some of the season’s most nail-biting basketball.

After 23 minutes of back-and-forth ball, Joe Johnson nailed a floater to tie the game at 97-97 with 1:11 to go. J.R. Smith missed a three on the next Knicks possession, but Anthony came up with the biggest of his five rebounds, and after moving the ball around the perimeter, Raymond Felton found Kidd beyond the arc. Jerry Stackhouse scrambled to try to alter Kidd’s look, but the veteran drained the shot, giving the Knicks their largest and final lead of the game.

“We were in a situation where we wanted to stay matched up with their shooters, but we got into a scramble situation and got sucked in,” Avery Johnson said after the game. “Once we got sucked in, Kidd was able to get open and make a three.”

The Nets chose not to call a timeout leading into their final possession, a move Johnson said the team talked about but felt would be counterproductive. The coach said he was happy with both of Brooklyn's looks but neither Gerald Wallace nor Deron Williams was able to hit a game-tying shot.

In the end, Brooklyn (11-9) shot 52.9 percent from the field but just 4 of 18 from beyond the arc; meanwhile, New York (16-5), which shot 46.2 percent from the field, upped that stat to 14 of 28 (50 percent) from downtown, and that was the difference according to Johnson.

“In the first game against the Knicks we guarded the 3-point line well. Tonight, there were just too many breakdowns with guarding the 3-point line,” Johnson said. “Every time we had control of the game, they would make a three. We talked about it at halftime, and it’s unfortunate that we made some of the same mistakes [in the second half].”

Kidd was the main contributor to that demise, scoring all 18 of his points on 6 of 8 shooting from beyond the arc. Anthony scored 15 of his 45 on 5 for 7 shooting from downtown.

“[Anthony] made some tough shots; that’s what great players do, and he’s having an MVP-type season,” Johnson said. “[Kidd], he’s important to their team, and I thought that when we were on him hard, he wasn’t as successful, but the few times we did lose him, he made us pay.”

 

 

For the Nets, Andray Blatche scored a team-high 23. He had a dozen of those points in a big first quarter, but picked up his second foul late in the frame, which Johnson attributed as a factor in the Knicks’ second-quarter comeback.

“He got off to a good start, but he got two fouls, and we knew we were going to need him and use him a lot more in the second half,” Johnson said. “He’s playing pretty good offensively, and he and Reggie [Evans] were both playing pretty physical inside. I know he feels bad, because he’s putting up decent numbers but we’re not winning.”

Blatche was one of four starters in double figures for the Nets, and Deron Williams notched a double-double of 18 points and 10 assists. Gerald Wallace and Joe Johnson added 17 and 16 points respectively, and Evans had 18 rebounds in just over 32 minutes, a total that could put him back atop the list as the league’s best rebounder per 48 minutes.

The Nets won’t have long to dwell on their losing streak. They will fly to Toronto and prep for a Wednesday night game against a 4-18 Raptors team that has also lost five in a row.

“I’m really proud of our effort; we were tough-minded, but I wish we could have scored a little bit more in the fourth quarter,” Avery Johnson said after the game. “We need to go to Toronto and play with this type of urgency and intensity, and see if we can get a win.”

And, one week after their trip to Toronto, the Nets will have another crack at the Knicks, as the two teams will meet for the third time on Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden.

“Hopefully, next time we play this team, we’ll see the difference in our approach in guarding the 3-point line from [Nov. 26] and tonight,” Johnson said. “But I’m proud of our guys, they played hard under a lot of adversity. This was a winnable game, and we couldn’t quite close it.”

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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