Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/19/12
NEW YORK -- The battle for New York is in danger of becoming lopsided. The New York Knicks again asserted themselves over their new neighbors, topping the Brooklyn Nets, 100-86 Wednesday night in the teams' first matchup at Madison Square Garden since the Nets' move to the outer borough. Carmelo Anthony returned from a sprained left ankle to lead the Knicks with 31 points while Tyson Chandler continued to contribute offensively, adding 16 points and 12 rebounds. J.R. Smith added 19 for the Knicks. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 17 points while Brook Lopez had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Deron Williams had 16 points and 10 assists. The Knicks (19-6) moved six games up on the Nets (13-12), who have followed up a red-hot November with a slide that's seen them lose eight of 10 this month. Unlike the games the teams split in Brooklyn, when the crowd featured fans of both teams, there was little representation of Brooklyn in the Knicks' building, a point the Knicks might have attempted to emphasize with a Knicks cap giveaway that colored the crowd orange. The teams had played a pair of tight contests in Brooklyn and did so for most of the first three quarters on Wednesday, but the Knicks pulled away at the end of the period and the beginning of the fourth and led by double-digits for most of the final quarter. That helped the Knicks win their ninth game in their past 11 and improve to 11-1 at home. Anthony didn't appear to miss a beat in his return, again earning "M-V-P!" chants from the fans at the Garden as he looked fine from the start, putting up 17 points in the first half. While the Knicks' biggest star has produced one of his best all-around seasons so far, the Nets' star point guard, Williams, is having one of his worst. Williams, averaging fewer points and assists and hitting on a lower percentage of shots than he has since his first couple of years in the NBA, scored just two points in the first half and three in the fourth quarter. Williams showed a flash of his scoring potential as he heated up to start the third quarter. He scored nine points to help turn a 52-48 halftime deficit for the Nets into a 61-57 lead with 6:54 to go in the period. But New York responded with an 18-6 spurt to end the quarter, as Chandler and Anthony combined to score 15 points and put the Knicks up 75-67 entering the fourth. New York then opened the fourth going on a 7-1 spurt, behind four points from J.R. Smith to go up 82-68 with 8:10 left. With Williams held to just the three points and two assists in the fourth, the Nets never got within single digits the rest of the way. Earlier in the week, Williams had acknowledged he was more comfortable in former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's system and that he was still "adjusting" to Nets coach Avery Johnson's offense, which is focused on isolations and post-ups with less ball movement. Johnson responded by saying coaches and players don't always agree and that they should be able to work it out. NOTES: Anthony was announced as ready to go shortly before tip-off. He had missed two consecutive games after spraining his left ankle against the Los Angeles Lakers last Thursday. Before the Knicks made an official announcement, the Nets' Johnson smiled when asked about Anthony's status for the Knicks, who were without several other key players. "He's playing," Johnson said. "He's playing." ... Knicks guard Steve Novak was out with flulike symptoms. ... Knicks forward Rasheed Wallace was out for the third game in a row with a sore left foot. ... Nets veteran Jerry Stackhouse missed his fifth consecutive game with a sore right knee. Johnson said Stackhouse would be monitored during Saturday's practice and, if all goes well, could return Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers. Josh Childress was also out with a sore left foot for the Nets.
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