WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets (22-41) have a long road to travel before they can start winning over Knicks fans -- even if they are moving to Brooklyn. The Rock sounded like Madison Square Garden during introductions and during the fourth quarter of the last meeting between these two teams in New Jersey, while a Knicks-heavy crowd chanted “M-V-P” with Carmelo Anthony at the foul line late. Anthony was the main attraction Wednesday night -- the way LeBron James was on Monday -- putting on another incredible display with 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Anthony has scored more than 30 points in four of his last five games.
SHOWING SOME FIGHT: The loss against Miami on Monday was a growing experience, and Avery Johnson said it was the kind of loss that his young team could build on. They certainly could have folded tonight when New York went ahead 31-13 in the first quarter and led by as many as 21 in the first half. The Nets chopped the lead to five in the third, led by Gerald Wallace, before New York put the home team away in the fourth.
WALLACE RETURNS: Wallace didn’t show any ill effects from missing five games with a hamstring injury. Johnson said before the game that he would watch Wallace closely, but instead he watched the forward serve as the catalyst for New Jersey on offense. He scored 21 points with five rebounds, and spent most of his time trying to contain Anthony, although Anthony torched him for 27 first-half points. Wallace scored nine points during a stretch in the third where the Nets outscored the Knicks 19-8.
BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: The Nets trailed by as many as 21 points in the first quarter and were down 17 at halftime. But after DeShawn Stevenson blocked Anthony on his way to the basket, Sundiata Gaines (18 points) turned a fast break into a spot-up 3-pointer from the right wing to cut the lead to 76-71 with 3:01 left in the third, the closest the Nets would get.
UP NEXT: New Jersey will head to Milwaukee on Saturday to face a Bucks team still fighting for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
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