Anthony Comes Back To Lead Knicks Over Brooklyn

Published on: 20th December, 2012

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New York – It seemed like old times for the Knicks when they welcomed Carmelo Anthony back to the lineup to play against their division and hometown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden, tonight.

Anthony, having missed the last two games with a sprained ankle, did what he’s been doing during this, his wondrous, big season of team-oriented contentment, posting 31 points in leading the Knicks to a 100-86 win over the Nets in the third meeting of the season between the teams and their first ever at MSG since the Nets moved to Brooklyn.

Anthony, who had injured his ankle in a nasty fall last week against the Lakers, didn’t know what to expect from himself prior to the game.

“I wasn’t too sure until I went out there,” he said.  It’s still bruised and throughout the game, I was feeling it. There were certain things I did early in the game that I didn’t think I could do but I told myself to get through it and play.”

And, play he did. Anthony ended up shooting 12 of 22 from the floor, including four of eight from beyond the three-point stripe as he lit up the scoreboard with his ninth 30-point performance of this still-young season. In his three games against Brooklyn, he’s averaging 37 points per game.

Anthony’s teammates know what they’ve got in the All-Star forward.

“He is a special player,” said Knicks point guard Raymond Felton. “He is one of a kind. He can really score the basketball. He is extremely focused. He took time off but he didn’t lose anything.”

“There are not many in this world who take four or five days off and then put up 31-points,” said Tyson Chandler. “He’s having an MVP-type season.”

Anthony’s return to the lineup didn’t come a day too soon. The Knicks had split their last two games without him, getting blown out of their home arena by the Jeremy Lin-lead Houston Rockets this past Monday while defeating the the Cleveland Cavaliers by just one point last Saturday.

“Over the last couple of of games, we’ve slipped a little defensively,” said Chandler. “The previous two games had been close with the Nets and we felt like we gave one away. So, it was more about what we wanted to accomplish than the Nets.”

Mission accomplished. The Knicks expanded what had been a close game into a 75-65 lead by the end of the third quarter, finally opening it up to a double-digit advantage with less than 10 minutes to go in the fourth.

“At the end of the day, these are statement games, these are big games, divisional games,” Anthony said. “They’re right across the bridge, so these games definitely mean a lot.”

J.R. Smith added 19 points and Tyson Chandler had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who bounced back from their first home loss Monday against Lin and Houston, improving to 11-1 at MSG.

As for the Nets, the once bright beginning to their maiden season in Brooklyn has devolved into a struggle. They’ve lost three in a row and eight of 10. What had been a deadlock for the Atlantic Division lead after the first meeting is now a six-game advantage for the Knicks.

Their best player, Deron Williams has lately been outspoken about the teams’ offensive system not being to his liking. Tonight, he didn’t hold back after the game.

“We didn’t do a good job of getting to the shooters,” said Williams. “We didn’t do a good job of keeping them off the three-point line. We were helping a lot at the basket and we were leaving them wide open.”

You could sense his frustration building.

“We are frustrated and we have to change some things,” he said. “We have to get better. It is on us as players. We have to come out with more energy and more focus.”

The Nets dropped to 13-12, and it is beginning to look like the highly-anticipated city rivalry between the two NBA teams, separated by only six miles, will be put on hold while the Nets get their house in order.

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