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Nets 88, Knicks 85

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson said his team owed the New York Knicks after dropping their last two games against their intra-city rivals. He helped pay off the debt with a huge basket late in Brooklyn's 88-85 victory at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

Johnson, who scored 25 points, hit a fadeaway jumper over J.R. Smith to give the Nets an 85-84 lead with 22.3 seconds left. Brooklyn then watched Nets-killer Carmelo Anthony put up an airball with about 10 seconds left, and Deron Williams followed with three free throws in the final seconds to give Brooklyn an 88-85 lead.

It held up as Smith's attempt at a game-tying 3-pointer bounced off the rim at the final buzzer.

The teams played their final game during the regular season, with the series ending in a 2-2 tie.

Johnson scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including the key shot late. Williams added 14 points and 12 assists, and Brook Lopez had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets (25-16), who moved to 11-2 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo.

Anthony, who entered the game averaging 37 points against the Nets this season, scored 29 to lead the Knicks, but had just two free throws in the fourth quarter. Smith had 16 and Amar'e Stoudemire added 15 for New York, which shot just 28.6 percent from 3-point range after entering the game leading the NBA in shots and attempts from there.

Down 83-82 with under two minutes to play, the Knicks had a chance to go ahead when Anthony drove, but Kris Humphries blocked his shot. Down at the other end, Humphries batted a miss by Johnson back to the Nets guard, allowing Brooklyn to eat up more time.

But Smith snagged a rebound of a missed layup by Keith Bogans with under a minute to play.

After a timeout, Anthony then drove on Johnson, who was called for a foul, and the Knicks forward hit both for an 84-83 lead with 40.9 seconds remaining.

Johnson scored eight of the Nets' 11 points during an 11-2 run midway through the fourth quarter to help them open an 83-77 lead.

The Nets scored on 3-pointers on three straight possessions, with C.J. Watson hitting the first and Johnson hitting the next two, then sinking a jumper for the six-point lead with 5:37 left.

The Knicks entered the final period with a 68-65 lead after going on a 10-0 run late in the third to earn their first lead since there was 9:46 left in the second quarter. Stoudemire and Smith scored four points apiece during the run, capped by Anthony's jumper to put the Knicks up 63-60 with 2:26 left in the third.

The Nets took a 47-41 halftime lead, with Johnson scoring 13 points and Lopez adding 11. The Nets held the Knicks to just 34.9 percent from the field before the break, including 23.5 percent on 3-pointers.

Notes: Knicks guard Iman Shumpert started in his Garden season debut. Before the game, coach Mike Woodson said Shumpert's minutes allotment would go up from 15 to 20 and he could play in five-minute intervals instead of three to four minutes at a time. ... Woodson said Raymond Felton (broken finger) was progressing "slowly and on schedule." He wasn't sure if he'd be able to engage in contact during practice this week. ... Before the game, Stoudemire bought Garden staff lunch, through his foundation, for the second straight year. Stoudemire greeted the employees, whom he said he wanted to thank for their service, and signed autographs. ... Carlesimo said he's not necessarily sure he'd like to play the Knicks more often as the budding intra-city rivals played their last regular-season matchup this year only halfway through the season, but "they're great games. I think it's always been a good rivalry. I think it's gone to another level. ... I think if the two of us stay as factors at the top of the East, it'll be an even better rivalry."
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