The New York Knicks were beaten by the New Jersey Nets 100-92 as Deron Williams scored a season-high 38 points to outplay fellow point guard Jeremy Lin and overshadow Carmelo Anthony’s return.
Williams hit a career-high eight three-pointers, tying the most ever against the Knicks, as the Nets won for just the second time in their past 11 games to improve to 10-24.
The last time the division rivals met on Feb. 4, Lin came off the bench to score 25 points for the Knicks in a 99-92 win. He took over as a starter two days later and then carried the team to seven victories in the next eight National Basketball Association games. While Lin led the Knicks with 21 points and nine assists last night at Madison Square Garden, Williams said his performance had stolen the spotlight.
“We definitely had this one circled,” Williams told reporters. “I know I did because this was stuck in my mind, this all started on me. Even tonight he had a great game. It’s going to be overshadowed because of mine, but it’s definitely a great story.”
Anthony, back in the lineup for the Knicks after missing the previous seven games with a groin strain, finished with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting and had a team-high six turnovers in 37 minutes. Anthony was averaging a team-leading 22.3 points a game before the injury and Lin’s emergence.
“Sometimes when a guy comes back you stand around watching him,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, whose team was outscored 64-43 during the second and third quarters, said at a news conference. “We just lost what we were doing the last eight or nine games.”
The Knicks (16-17) were outscored 32-21 in the second quarter to fall behind 50-42 at halftime and never got closer than six points the rest of the way. D’Antoni said his team’s energy wasn’t where it needed to be after the opening quarter.
Nets guard MarShon Brooks, who added 18 points, said his backcourt mate was motivated by the attention focused on Lin, the Harvard University graduate whose rise from bench-warmer to international sensation has been dubbed “Linsanity.”
“We’ve been hearing a lot about Lin from across the river,” Brooks told reporters. “The difference was we just played with so much energy and Deron just took the game over. I knew he was going to come out like that. As a competitor, you really don’t want to hear about that no more.”
Kris Humphries had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, who led by as many as 19 points during the second half.
The Nets hit 15 of their 31 three-point attempts, with Williams making 8-of-14 shots from beyond the arc. Williams also totaled six assists before fouling out of the game with just over three minutes remaining. Lin also fouled out for the first time in his NBA career.
“We need to come with the same energy, the same passion against teams with poorer records than against the defending champions or the Los Angeles Lakers,” said Lin, who helped the Knicks to a win over the NBA-champion Dallas Mavericks two days ago. “It’s definitely a gut check.”
Lin scored at least 20 points for the eighth time in nine starts and had his second-fewest turnovers over that stretch for the Knicks, who host the Atlanta Hawks tomorrow.
“He had a good game and Deron had a great game,” D’Antoni said. “It’ll be that way sometimes. I’m not big on the matchups thing because it’s a team game and we didn’t play well as a team.”