Knicks-Nets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 18, 2012
For the last 35 years, the New York Knicks have had to cross the Hudson River to play road games against the New Jersey Nets. When the series resumes next season, they'll be crossing the East River. Hoping to build on an impressive offensive showing, the Knicks will make their final trip to New Jersey to face the Nets on Wednesday night. After falling 93-85 to Miami on Sunday, New York (32-29) bounced back Tuesday with a 118-110 victory over Boston to keep alive its slim hopes of winning the Atlantic Division. The Knicks, who are in sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference, trail the division-leading Celtics by 3 1/2 games with five remaining. Boston could have clinched a fifth straight division title with a victory, but instead New York came out inspired, erupting for a season-best 72 first-half points while shooting 14 of 21 from 3-point range. The Knicks finished 19 of 32 from beyond the arc, falling one short of their franchise record for 3s, set last season. Carmelo Anthony had 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double, while JR Smith and Steve Novak each scored 25. "Our bench was great,'' Anthony said. "Novak and JR, them guys combined for 50 points off the bench. When they get hot like that, it's hard to deal with.'' Typically, it's Anthony making things difficult on opponents. Anthony is averaging 30.4 points on 50.4 percent shooting in the 12 games since Amare Stoudemire (back) and Jeremy Lin (left knee) were sidelined. Stoudemire could return Friday in Cleveland but is not expected to play in New York's last game in New Jersey. The Nets (22-40) have called the Garden State home since 1977, but will move to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season. Monday's contest against Philadelphia will be their last in New Jersey. The Knicks are 33-48 as the road team in the series, but are 2-0 at New Jersey's current home, the Prudential Center. This will be New York's first visit of the season after splitting the first two meetings between these clubs at Madison Square Garden. Anthony struggled in both games, finishing with 11 points in each while shooting a combined 7 of 26 (26.9 percent). Deron Williams led all scorers with 38 points and made a career-high eight 3-pointer in New Jersey's 100-92 win over New York on Feb. 20, but won't be available this time because of a sore right calf. Williams sat out Monday's game against Miami, and the Nets nearly pulled off the upset. LeBron James, however, proved to be too much. New Jersey led 89-84 with 4:48 to go, but then James took over, scoring the Heat's final 17 points to hand the Nets a 101-98 loss. Miami took its first lead with 51 seconds remaining. "(Monday) was the first time since we've been here where we've actually looked like an NBA team," second-year coach Avery Johnson told the Nets' official website. "We didn't win the game, but that's a small victory for us. That's what I'm trying to push. Winning spirit." Kris Humphries scored 29 points and MarShon Brooks had 24 for the Nets, who were also playing without Gerald Wallace (hamstring) and lost Shelden Williams to a hyperextended right knee. Both are questionable for this game. Humphries is averaging 17.0 points and 13.0 rebounds against the Knicks this year. Brooks is averaging 19.7 points in his last three games overall after averaging 8.7 over his previous seven. He had 18 points in the Feb. 20 victory over New York.
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