Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK — An outstanding basketball game deserved an outstanding finish and Jason Kidd was the one to provide it.
The New York Knicks guard and ex-New Jersey Net buried his sixth and final 3-pointer of the game to break a 97-all tie with 24.1 seconds left and lift the Knicks to a 100-97 win over the Brooklyn Nets in a game the Nets controlled throughout.
Carmelo Anthony was tremendous all night finishing with a season-high and Barclays Center record 45 points, while Kidd finished with 18, was 6-for-8 from 3-point range and added six rebounds and six assists against zero turnovers.
The Nets were paced by a season-high 23 points from Andray Blatche, who led four players in double figures. Deron Williams finished with 18 points and eight assists for his eighth double-double of the season.
Kidd was fouled on the aforementioned go-ahead trey, but missed the free throw and failed to make it a two-possession game. Still, the make gave the Knicks the lead, but on the game’s final possessions, Williams and Gerald Wallace both missed clean looks from 3-point range that would have tied the score at 100-all.
But neither could convert.
The Nets have now lost five straight games and are 1-5 without Brook Lopez. Lopez missed his sixth straight game with a sprained right foot and the 7-foot center has already been ruled out for the Nets Wednesday night game in Toronto versus the Raptors.
“We were in a situation where we wanted to stay matched up with their shooters and we got into a scramble situation,” Nets head coach Avery Johnson said of the play that led to Kidd’s game-winning trey. “Normally, we wanted to live with them maybe trying to make some 2-point buckets over us in the paint and we kind of got sucked in. Once we got sucked in, Kidd was able to get open and make a 3.”
The stretch run
The Knicks were down by as many as 17 points in the first quarter and 10 points in the third quarter, but clawed back and tied the game at 91 on a Kidd on a 3-pointer with 4:00 to play.
From there, things got wild.
Anthony followed his own miss with 2:45 to go for a 93-91 Knicks lead, that two-point was the Knicks biggest lead of the night at the time. However, before that bucket, the most controversial play of the night occurred.
With the score tied at 91 and 3:02 remaining in the game, Blatche was called for offensive goaltending on a ball that appeared to be on its way out of the cylinder. Making such a call on a go-ahead basket in the game’s final minutes was critical, but referee Bill Kennedy didn’t blow his whistle and make the call until three or four seconds had elapsed. By the time the basket was waived off, the Nets and Nets fans in Barclays Center were too busy celebrating it to recognize it.
After another two or three seconds, the announcement was made and many of the Nets players were livid.
“I thought it was a clean put back, but a lot of my teammates said it was still over the rim,” Blatche said. “We’re just taking it one game at a time. We’re in a drought right now, we’ve lost five straight, we’ve just got to get over this mountain, continue to fight and bring it every night.”
“Once that ball went in, we were getting back in transition and all of a sudden, there’s a call,” Avery Johnson said. “I’m sure they’ll check it out and see if it was the correct call or not. I just think there was a little indecision there and we just thought the play should’ve kept going.”
With the game tied at 93, Anthony and Wallace traded jumpers, then two Anthony free throws were followed by a 6-footer in traffic from Joe Johnson to make it 97-all with 1:11 to play.
Kidd’s tie-breaking three and missed free throw were not followed by Avery Johnson calling his final timeout. On the ensuing possession, Wallace missed his 3-pointer from the right wing, but the Nets got a second opportunity after the ball got tipped out to Williams on the left wing. He got a second look, but missed it.
“Sometimes, it’s better to just go up and try to get something instead of letting the defense set up, and we had a couple of good looks, we just didn’t knock them down,” Williams said. “The shot felt good, a lot of my shots have felt good, but they’re just not going in. It was a good look.”
The final possession
Williams gave his thoughts on that final possession not coming after a timeout and Avery Johnson was asked the same thing during his postgame press conference.
As one would imagine, he defended the move after the fact.
“That’s something that we talked about and we spent a lot of time talking about it,” Johnson said. “We got the ball up the floor, ran something we were familiar with and we were able to get couple of good looking threes. Sometimes, in those situations, you can get better threes than if you call a timeout. We’ll live with our guys that took those threes.”
Fast starts and then…
On Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Nets raced out to an 11-2 lead, only to give it all back. They eventually fell behind by as many as 29 points and ended up losing, 97-88. On Monday, the Nets raced out to a 17-point lead at one point of the opening quarter, and once again gave it all back.
Not only did they give a double-digit lead back once on Tuesday night, they gave it away twice.
The Nets led by as much as 17 early at 26-9 with 1:57 to go in the opening quarter. That lead was sustained throughout the second quarter, but finally disappeared when Raymond Felton hit a long jumper for a 54-53 lead within the first two minutes of the second half.
The Nets followed Felton’s go-ahead jumper with a 19-8 that put the Nets back up by 10 points, but the Knicks continued to chip away before those frantic final few minutes that resulted in them stealing the victory.
The record will show Anthony dropped 45 points on the Nets, but it wasn’t because of poor defense. The early MVP candidate shot 15-for-24 from the field with many of those makes coming on long, contested jumpers and fadeaway jumpers from various distances.
Long story short, it was one of those nights where no one on the Nets was going to do anything to stop him.
“He made some tough shots, that’s what great players do,” Avery Johnson said. “He’s having an MVP-type season and the main thing is, even when we were going over there to double team, he was shooting the ball quickly before our coverages got there.”
Anthony’s 45 points marked the seventh time this season and third time in the last four games he has gone for at least 30 points.
“He’s an MVP guy,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said. “He’s playing at such a high level. He got double-teamed and he sacrificed the ball when that happened. To me, it says a lot because he’s got to do that. What can you say, I just think tonight, Carmelo wanted it so badly.”
With Lopez out the last six games, reserve guard MarShon Brooks has begun to see the light of day in the rotation.
After a four-game stretch which saw him play just 12 total minutes including a DNP-CD, Brooks has is now 8-for-10 from the field with 23 points in his last two games.
On Tuesday, he played 13 minutes, scored nine points and shot 4-for-7 from the field.
Evans continues to shine
Reggie Evans‘ promotion to the starting lineup at power forward in place of Kris Humphries on Sunday has looked good thus far.
Evans, who entered the night second in the NBA in rebounds per 48 minutes, hauled in a season-high 18 rebounds in 32 minutes of work. The 18 rebounds is his eighth double-digit game on the boards and his sixth in the last nine outings.
The absence of Lopez in the paint has killed the Nets defensively as they have now yielded at least 100 points in four of their last five games….Despite reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler lurking for the Knicks, the Nets outscored them, 48-20, in the paint….Williams has led the Nets in assists in all 20 games this season….The Knicks and Nets will meet for the third this season on Dec. 19, as this budding rivalry shifts to Madison Square Garden… The sellout on Dec. 11 was the Nets’ seventh of the season.
“I haven’t had a good game yet this season.”–Deron Williams after his 18 points and 10 rebounds gave him his eighth double-double of the season.