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Friday, Dec. 21, 2012

Knicks ease to victory over local rival Nets


NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks know they can't entirely dismiss the rivalry talk, not with the Nets just a few miles away.

News photo
Hardwood showdown: Brooklyn's Kris Humphries (43) and New York's Ronnie Brewer (11) fight for a loose ball during the Knicks' 100-86 win on Wednesday. AP

On the court and in the standings, the distance keeps growing.

Anthony scored 31 points in his return to the lineup, and New York beat Brooklyn 100-86 on Wednesday night in the third meeting this season between the city rivals.

After two tight games in Brooklyn, the Knicks turned the first one at Madison Square Garden into a rout by dominating the second half. Anthony, who missed two games with a sprained left ankle, moved fine and shot well, though his scoring average against the Nets this season actually dropped to 37 points per game.

"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 Jeremy Lin and Houston, improving to 11-1 at MSG.

Chandler scored 12 on 6-of-8 shooting in the second half.

"I just wanted to close the game. I wanted to make a statement," Chandler said. "Tonight was a big game for us, a game in our division, an opportunity to gain a full game as far as the lead goes, and we have to make statements like that."

Joe Johnson scored 17 points for Brooklyn, which has lost three straight and eight of 10. What once was a deadlock for the Atlantic Division lead after the first meeting is now a six-game advantage for the Knicks.

"We have a lot of season left. We'll get it turned around," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "We're going to get back in the lab on Friday and work on some parts of our game and get this bad taste out."

Deron Williams and Brook Lopez each had 16 points for Brooklyn.

The Nets won 96-89 in overtime on Nov. 26 in the rescheduled season opener that was postponed after Superstorm Sandy, and the Knicks pulled out a 100-97 victory Dec. 11 behind Anthony's 45 points and Jason Kidd's tiebreaking 3-pointer with 24 seconds left.

This one was only close for a half with the Knicks outscoring the Nets 48-38 in the final 24 minutes.

"Once they started hitting the way they did, it's kind of deflating," Williams said. "It takes you away from your game. You try to get it all back at once instead of being patient and executing like we did in the first half."

Thunder 100, Hawks 92

In Atlanta, Kevin Durant set a season high with 41 points and had 13 rebounds as Oklahoma City held off the Hawks for its 12th straight win.

Celtics 103, Cavaliers 91

In Boston, Paul Pierce scored 25 of his season-high 40 points in the second half, hitting 10 of his 11 shots after halftime.

Grizzlies 90, Bucks 80

In Memphis, Zach Randolph had 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Marc Gasol had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies over Milwaukee.

Pacers 104, Jazz 84

In Indianapolis, reserve guard Gerald Green scored a season-high 21 points, and Paul George had 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to help Indiana beat Utah.

Rockets 125, 76ers 103

In Houston, James Harden had 33 points and seven assists to lead the Rockets to a victory over Philadelphia.

Suns 121, Bobcats 104

In Phoenix, Shannon Brown scored a season-high 26 points and the Suns hit a season-high 17 3-pointers to send Charlotte to its league-worst 13th straight loss.

Raptors 97, Pistons 91

In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Alan Anderson scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and the Raptors beat Detroit to extend their winning streak to four games.

Magic 90, Wizards 83

In Orlando, J.J. Redick scored 17 points and fellow reserve E'Twaun Moore had 15 to lead the Magic to a win over Washington.

Clippers 93, Hornets 77

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin scored 18 points and the Clippers beat New Orleans for their franchise record-tying 11th consecutive victory.

Kings 131, Warriors 127

In Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points, Aaron Brooks added 23 and the Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Golden State.

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