It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Knicks won their second game in a row, defeating the New Jersey Nets 120-116 in a wild affair Wednesday night. The Nets, who are 28th in the NBA in scoring, put up an astounding 68 points in the first half, but the Knicks came back behind Carmelo Anthony’s second straight 39-point, 10-rebound effort. It was the type of offense the team envisioned when it traded for Anthony and Chauncey Billups, as the Knicks "Big Three" of Anthony, Billups and Amare Stoudemire accounted for 95 of New York’s 120 points.
It was a near-perfect first half for the Nets, who the Knicks made look like a juggernaut. Over the past three games before Wednesday, the Nets had been held to under 88 points in each game. But they were able to run out to a 16-point lead, leading 50-34 at one point as a chorus of boos rained down from the Madison Square Garden crowd. The lead was ten at the half, and that’s when Anthony took over.
After being courted by the Nets all season, only to see him traded across the river to the Knicks, Anthony erupted in the third quarter to the tune of 20 points to pull the Knicks within one going into the final quarter. The fourth quarter is where the Knicks have stuggled the most over this current stretch, and there were some unlikely contributors over the final 12 minutes in this game. Shelden Williams scored six straight points to widen the Knicks’s lead to five with just over six minutes left. Seldom used Anthony Carter gave New York good minutes, dishing out four assists in the fourth quarter.
But when it came down to it, the Knicks needed their stars, and Anthony and Billups came through. Billups tied the game at 114 with three free throws just after the three0minute mark, and Anthony broke the tie with his only field goal of the fourth, putting the Knicks up for good.
The Knicks need wins in the worst way, and although they played a truly terrible defensive game, they’ll take tonight’s meager victory. Next up for the Knicks is the team they are thankful they won’t be matched up in a playoff series with, the 15-59 Cleveland Cavaliers. Three of the Cavs’ 15 victories this season have come at the expense of the Knicks. Hopefully for them and their fans, the Knicks can finally solve the NBA’s worst team. Tonight, they just barely solved the Nets.