Coming off of a losing weekend, both the Brooklyn Nets (21-25) and the New York Knicks (19-29) looked to bounce back against mediocre opponents on Monday night. Brooklyn welcomed the Philadelphia 76ers (15-34) to the Barclays Center, while New York was on the road to take on the woeful Milwaukee Bucks (9-39).
Going into the game, the Nets were on a 3-game losing streak -- Paul Pierce and Deron Williams made sure that the streak would end there. Led by Pierce’s 25 points, the Nets defeated the 76ers 108-102. Williams contributed to the win with 21 points of his own. With this loss, the 76ers now lost 14 of their last 17 games.
A five-point lead at halftime (54-49) ballooned to a 19-point lead in the 3rd quarter for the Nets. With 4:21 remaining in the 3rd, the Nets led 78-59, then the 76ers began to chip away at the lead.
To begin the 4th quarter, the 76ers went on a quick 8-3 run to cut the Nets’ lead to nine (87-78).
With 2:24 remaining, Pierce made two free throws to give the Nets a 104-95 lead -- the 76ers then responded with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to two. Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner hit jumpers, and the run was capped off with a James Anderson 3-pointer.
With 12 seconds left on the clock, Pierce was fouled and he made two free throws to increase the Nets lead to four. On the next possession, Michael Carter-Williams threw a bad pass which was intercepted by Shaun Livingston. Livingston was then fouled, and he was able to make both his free throws to seal the game for the Nets.
Brooklyn still holds the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference; they trail the Chicago Bulls by 2 games for the 6th spot and they trail the Toronto Raptors by 4 games for the Atlantic Division lead.
Key Stats: Paul Pierce led the Nets with 25 points. More than half of Pierce’s points came from the free throw line, shooting a perfect 14-14. Deron Williams had 21 points and 6 assists. Shaun Livingston finished with 13 points, 8 assists, 7 steals, and 6 rebounds. Mirza Teletovic scored 20 points off the bench, shooting 5-9 from 3-point range.
Michael Carter-Williams led the 76ers with 21 points -- Carter-Williams also turned over the ball six times. Thaddeus Young had 17 points and 5 rebounds. James Anderson had 12 points and 5 rebounds. Troy Wroten scored 18 points off the bench and grabbed 6 rebounds.
Key Notes: Arnett Moultrie was out with a right ankle injury. Joe Johnson didn’t play due to tendinitis in his right knee. Andrei Kirilenko missed his third straight game with a right calf injury. Andray Blatche was out with a sore hip.
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After losing to Lebron James and company on Saturday, the Knicks looked to bounce back against the cellar-dwelling Bucks. Unfortunately, for the Knicks, the Bucks didn’t play like a team who are 30 games under .500.
New York suffered an heart-breaking 101-98 defeat to the Bucks. Brandon Knight hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining on the clock. Carmelo Anthony tried to tie the game at the buzzer off the inbounds pass, but he was closed out by two Bucks defenders and missed the shot. New York tied the game four times in the fourth, but the Bucks always found answers to take back the lead.
With 9:14 remaining in the 2nd, J.R. Smith hit a three from the elbow to give the Knicks a 29-22 lead. The Bucks, led by Knight, responded with a 12-0 run to take a three-point lead. Knight was the main catalyst for the run, finding Larry Sanders for a dunk and Khris Middleton for a three -- Knight also hit a straight away three during the run. The Bucks led 50-43 at halftime.
Early in the 4th quarter, after Amar’e Stoudemire made a hook shot; the Bucks scored six straight points to take a 81-71 lead. During that run, 19-year old rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo had a put-back dunk -- off of a Knight miss -- which ignited the crowd. After that basket, Anthony began to take over.
Anthony scored nine of the next eleven points for the Knicks to cut the lead to one (83-82). The Bucks responded with four points of their own, then Anthony was able to find Raymond Felton wide open in the corner for three to cut the lead to two. On the next possession, Smith hit two free throws to tie the game at 87. Anthony kept the Knicks in the game by responding every time the Bucks scored.
With 49.8 seconds to go, Middleton made two free throws to give the Bucks a 96-92 lead -- then five seconds later, Felton found Smith open on the elbow for three. Knight was then able to beat Felton back-door, and Zaza Pachulia made a precise pass to Knight for the lay up. The Bucks held a 98-95 lead after that basket, but Anthony responded with an off-balance three to tie the game again.
New York suffered a tough loss to the Bucks and the schedule isn’t going to get any better. The next two upcoming games will be against the Portland Trailblazers (34-14) on Wednesday and the Denver Nuggets (22-23) on Friday.
The Knicks currently sit 10th, 1.5 game out of the 8th playoff spot. With this win, the Bucks end their 6-game losing streak.
Key Stats: Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 36 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. J.R. Smith had a season-high 30 points -- Smith also had 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Tyson Chandler had 10 rebounds and finished with 7 points.
Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 25 points and 7 assists. Khris Middleton scored 19 points. Ersan Ilyasova had 13 points and 8 rebounds. Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 15 points off the bench. Zaza Pachulia had 12 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. Larry Sanders grabbed 11 rebounds and finished with 8 points.
Key Notes: O.J. Mayo missed his fifth straight game due to illness. Ekpe Udoh has a sprained left ankle and didn’t play. John Henson didn’t play due to injury. Iman Shumpert returned to the lineup after missing two games due to a bruised right shoulder. Kenyon Martin didn’t play due to a nagging left ankle injury.
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