Harrington, Thomas lead Knicks' offense in victory over Nets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Mike D'Antoni joked that maybe the Knicks could get Seton Hall on their schedule.

The way his New Jersey guys played back in their home state, he should try for Rutgers and Princeton, too.

Al Harrington scored a season-high 39 points, fellow New Jersey high school star Tim Thomas also had his best game of the season, and New York rallied to beat the Nets 121-109 on Wednesday night.

"We were on our home soil, so we had to show up big," Harrington said. "I know Tim played a lot of games in here, so he's very comfortable here."

Harrington was a point shy of his career high, while Thomas scored a season-high 26. Acquired in separate deals on the same day last month, Harrington and Thomas were too athletic for the Nets' forwards, helping New York storm back from a poor start.

"Harrington, obviously, killed us," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said.

Thomas said he couldn't convince his mother to come to the game, and she missed him going 8-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, in 31 minutes off the Knicks' short bench.

"Any time you're home in New Jersey, get the chance to play in front of a lot of friends and family, it's always special, but it's just one of those things," Thomas said.

Harrington, who played at St. Patrick's in Elizabeth, was acquired from Golden State, and Thomas, who starred at Patterson Catholic, came over from the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 21 as the Knicks cleared salary-cap space for the summer of 2010.

Harrington hopes to stick around past then, and he's making a case with strong play since the trade. He was averaging 22.9 points in his first eight games as a Knick.

While they await Nate Robinson's return from injury and resolutions to the roster situations involving Stephon Marbury and Cuttino Mobley, the Knicks have mostly been using seven players. They were even shorter at the end when starting center David Lee missed the fourth quarter after bruising his lower back in a fall.

But they got by with huge efforts from their newcomers and a steady one from Chris Duhon, who finished with 10 points and 10 assists. Wilson Chandler added 24 points for the Knicks, who rebounded from a 105-100 loss in Chicago on Tuesday night and won for just the second time in six games.

Devin Harris scored 32 points for the Nets, but he couldn't sustain his blistering start and New Jersey was denied a third straight victory. Vince Carter had 18.

The Nets made four more field goals, but the Knicks were 32-of-35 (91 percent) from the foul line to New Jersey's 10-of-17 (59 percent).

"One stat that troubled us was 35 free throw attempts, their aggressiveness," Frank said. "There are three areas, tough in transition, middle penetration, high pick-and-roll defense, and then Harrington became the dominant player in the game, not having many answers. Defensively, giving up 121 points in your building, it's tough to overcome."

The Knicks never led in the first half and the Nets seemed capable of blowing them out early. But New York surged into the lead in the third quarter while Harris sat for nearly 7 minutes, then never let it get too close in the fourth.

The Nets led for the final time before Thomas had a dunk, 3-pointer and free throw to give New York an 83-78 lead with 3:32 left in the third. After a free throw by Carter, Thomas nailed another 3-pointer for an 86-79 advantage with 2:43 remaining, drawing some loud cheers from a Izod Center crowd that, as usual, featured plenty of Knicks supporters.

"When it comes down to it, we scored the normal amount of points that we normally do to win, but we gave up 121 points," Harris said. "Third quarter we kind of came up a little bit sluggish, but they shot the ball extremely well."

Harris was scoreless in the period, then helped New Jersey cut it to six with one final surge. However, Chandler converted a four-point play to make it 112-102 with 4:40 to play.

Harris made his first six shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and had 14 points in the first 4:20 as New Jersey took a 17-8 lead. He didn't score the rest of the quarter, and the Nets, who started 9-of-12, settled for a 33-23 lead.

The Nets extended their lead to 15 in the second quarter and shot 65 percent in the period, but the Knicks kept hanging around and were down only 63-57 at halftime.

The Knicks are 1-1 on a five-game trip that now moves to the west for the final three games, starting Saturday at Sacramento.

Game notes
Mobley will announce his retirement from the NBA on Thursday, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday. He hasn't played for the Knicks after his physical revealed a heart condition. ... The Nets fell to 9-1 when scoring 100 points. ... D'Antoni said the plan is for Robinson (strained groin) to practice Friday and play Saturday at Sacramento. ... Lee finished with 10 points and only one rebound, ending his streak of consecutive double-doubles at 10.