WHAT IT MEANS: Carmelo Anthony played on a bad ankle Wednesday.
And that was a bad thing for the Nets.
After a two-game absence, Anthony poured in 31 points in 36 minutes as the Knicks took Round 3 of the Battle of NYC, 100-86 over the Nets.
Anthony entered play averaging 40 points in two games against the Knicks' crosstown rivals. He had 35 in an overtime loss in Brooklyn, and 45 in a dramatic win at the Barclays Center earlier this month.
He was a game-time decision entering the game due to ankle soreness, but picked up right where he left off against Brooklyn, with 17 points in the first half. Anthony added seven in the third as the Knicks reeled off a decisive 16-6 run to close out the quarter.
Since Mike Woodson took over as head coach, the Knicks (19-6) have lost back-to-back games just once. They are 5-1 following a loss this season.
The Nets, on the other hand, have lost eight of their last 10.
Food for thought, from the Elias Sports Bureau: The Knicks have won 19 of their first 25 games for the third time in team history. Each previous time they won an NBA title.
TRIBUTE FROM SMITH: J.R. Smith had a fantastic floor game for New York. The Knicks' sixth man poured in 19 points and had five rebounds and three assists to lift a stagnant Knicks bench.
One of his biggest baskets came early in the fourth quarter -- with Brooklyn down 10, Smith drove hard on Nets big man Andray Blatche and converted a contested layup. The basket led to a Nets timeout and fired up everyone on the Knicks bench, Anthony in particular. The Knicks outscored the Nets by 24 when Smith was on the floor.
The guard wrote the letters "SHES" on the back of each of his sneakers, a tribute to the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
ALLEY OOOOOP: Before the game, Woodson called Brooklyn's Brook Lopez "one of the premier centers" in the NBA, but he's got a pretty good one on his side, too, in Tyson Chandler. Chandler finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Lopez had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Chandler also showed a little more flash than Lopez on Wednesday.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Raymond Felton and Chandler had hooked up for an NBA-leading 21 alley-oops entering play Wednesday night. That was eight more than the next-best duo. Chandler and Felton added three more to their total against Brooklyn, the most impressive of which came in the third quarter with the Knicks up two. Felton found Chandler rolling to the rim after a screen and Chandler finished with a reverse, sparking a 16-6 run to end the quarter.
Chandler also finished one from Pablo Prigioni later in the third quarter, highlighting the Nets' porous defense around the rim.
COPE-ING MECHANISM: Chris Copeland is quickly becoming a Garden favorite. He had 29 points in the Knicks' loss to the Rockets Monday, and scored eight points in 21 minutes on Wednesday. He hit two 3s, and the Knicks outscored the Nets by 14 when he was on the floor.
The Knicks, by the way, had just seven turnovers, and 19 assists on 38 makes.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks take on the Bulls on Friday, and then the Timberwolves on Sunday, to wrap up a season-high six-game homestand.
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