D-Will's free-throw streak ends

Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams' streak of consecutive free throws made ended at 52, when he missed the front end of a pair at the stripe with 5.7 seconds left on Monday afternoon.

Williams made his next one, and New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith missed a game-tying 3-pointer as time expired.

“I am mad that I missed. It felt and looked good,” Williams said after scoring 14 points on 3-for-10 shooting and adding 12 assists and 5 rebounds in his team’s 88-85 victory.

“This is a big win for us. To tie this thing up, the series, is huge for us.”

D-Will’s free-throw streak began on New Year’s Eve and spanned nearly 11 games.

Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo explained that he would’ve liked Williams to foul Smith before he could hoist the 3, but didn’t want to disrupt his point guard’s concentration at the line.

“We wanted to foul. I didn’t want to take a timeout, because they didn’t have any, and I didn’t want to yell at D-Will when he was shooting,” Carlesimo said.

The Nets did elect to foul Jason Kidd with 7.5 seconds left, and he missed the first of two at the line.

• The Nets and Knicks are done facing one another during the regular season, but Carlesimo said he would like them to meet again in the playoffs.

“I think it’s a good rivalry right now,” Carlesimo said. “It has the potential to be even better. And that’s with a lot of friendships among the players and the coaching staffs too, but it’s really good for New York basketball.”

Added D-Will: “There is still a lot more basketball to go before we get there.”

• Smith noticed that the Nets (25-16) are responding better to Carlesimo (11-2) than they did under Avery Johnson (14-14).

“I honestly just think the players want to play for P.J. more,” Smith said. “They seem more enthused. They seem, coming out of timeouts, they're listening to what he said, what he drew up. Once you feel confident in your coach, that's the best thing ever.”