What a difference when a franchise’s star player returns to the floor. It’s early to hold him too highly but we must welcome that quite frankly he makes the team better. Yes, the return of Deron Williams has been questionable with the recent wrist injury. It was indicated Sunday afternoon he would make his grand return to New York but remained a game time decision.
While the chemistry was evident it wasn’t enough as the New Jersey Nets lose down the stretch with a 120-116 loss to the New York Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony lit up the box score with a 39 point 10 rebound performance with a critical shot with under one minute to play in the final quarter, it was enough to hold off the Nets.
Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points and Chauncey Billups contributed 33 points sealing the deal in a game that offered all the necessary drama you could pay your money’s worth. However in the first half were no where near and it looked
New Jersey played stellar basketball in the first half playing tough defense, hurdling the boards, running the floor and scoring at will. The Nets took advantage of second chance opportunities leaving the Knicks frustrated and questioning their play once more. They led 68-58 and shooting 50% from the floor by the half.
The reason behind it was the aggressive play of Brook Lopez who scored 22 points in the first half and looked heading toward a 40 point scoring night.
Then again a basketball is a game played through four quarters not two. Seems like Lopez didn’t get the memo scoring only four points finishing with 26 points and nine rebounds.
The Knicks roared back in the second half as the Nets added three to open the quarter Carmelo Anthony’s hand was getting hot. He didn’t disappoint carrying the Knicks to keep the game close leaving it tied at the end of three.
Then the Nets defensive lapses continued in the final quarter allowing the Knicks bench behind Anthony Carter and Shelden Williams for key plays. Leaving Carter open on several plays only to find Williams outsmarting Lopez with several layups and slams to the basket.
The Nets did return and captured the lead, but the simple things seem to haunt the team with Jordan Farmar fouling Billups on a three point attempt. Billups didn’t disappoint swishing all free throws to tie the game. From there on it was back and forth and no clear winner to be decided.
The Nets began to get complacent with their shooting, attempting shots only to miss and the Knicks missing down the other end. A traveling call on transition by Travis Outlaw and Carmelo Anthony returning the favor. It seemed as the game would head to overtime at this rate.
Then it was Anthony with a repeat performance of his strong play against the Magic. It was the Knicks season on the line with seven games to play as Carmelo Anthony shook off an unmotivated Travis Outlaw pulling up for a 11 footer. The Nets attempted to return the favor but a Lopez layup missed.
A missed three pointer by Billups and Toney Douglas out of no where with the offensive rebound and only to get fouled. Bad timing for the Nets as Douglas delivered hitting both free throws, Williams looked for a layup miss but tip in by Kris Humphries closing the gap. Anthony looked to tack on to the lead but missed a close jumper. Nets last chance with 8 seconds on the game clock.
Williams drove with an open look jumper only to hit the front of the rim with Billups finishing it up. Game Over.
This game was a letdown for the team. The Nets have lost now eight of their last nine. Anthony Murrow scored 30 points, Williams who was quiet in the first half got it together finishing with 22 points. Kris Humphries added another double double with a 15 point 14 rebound performance.
The Nets move on to travel across the turnpike to take on Philly Friday Night who they haven’t had much success this season.
Game Time: 7:00 pm