By Tom Chilman: The New York Knicks managed to escape their second trip to the Barclays Centre with a 100-97 win over neighbours Brooklyn Nets.
Carmelo Anthony once again stole the show with a season-high 45 points, although it was a 3-pointer from ex-New Jersey Nets star Jason Kidd that clinched victory for the current Eastern Conference leaders.
The second round of the Battle of the Boroughs produced a tense finish as the score was tied at 97 going into the last 30 seconds, before Kidd found space outside the arc to sink his sixth 3-pointer of the game, whilst also drawing the foul from Jerry Stackhouse in the process.
But after Kidd missed the free throw, the Nets had a full 24 seconds to get back into the game. With the clock running down, the home team found themselves with two chances to draw level, but neither Gerald Wallace or Deron Williams could convert, handing the Nets their fifth straight defeat.
Anthony once again highlighted his credentials for this season’s MVP award with an excellent performance, grabbing 5 rebounds and 3 assists to go along with his 45 points. Kidd finished the game with an impressive 18 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. The pair ended up combining to shoot 11-for-15 from long range, a stat that led to the Knicks out-scoring the Nets by 30 points from behind the arc.
Yet, for long periods of the game, it looked as if it was going to be Brooklyn who would be celebrating their second straight victory over their local rivals.
The home team raced out to a 23-7 lead behind Andray Blatche’s 12 points in the first quarter. The big man was once again in the starting line-up for the injured Brook Lopez, who’s expected back for Friday’s game vs. Detroit, and delivered an impressive performance to finish with 23 points in just under 30 minutes.
The Nets continued their domination well into the second quarter before a 12-2 run for the Knicks brought the visitors within four points just before the half-time break.
It took the Knicks until the third quarter to take their first lead of the game following a Raymond Felton jump shot, although the point-guard once again struggled against the Nets scoring only 8 points off 3-for-12 shooting. But once more, the home team regained control under the guidance of All-Star Deron Williams and an 11-2 run left the Nets leading 79-74 at the end of third quarter. Williams finished the game with a double-double, following his 18 points and 10 assists.
Brooklyn held their lead in the fourth quarter until four minutes from the end of play following another Kidd 3-pointer to tie the game 91-91. The two teams then went back and forth before the stage was set for the old hero to break the hearts of his former franchise with the game-winning shot.
With the series now tied at 1-1, the stage is set for the next round of this fascinating city rivalry.