- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: The New Jersey Nets failed to take advantage of the absence of All-Star power forward Amare Stoudemire in the New York Knicks' lineup. The Nets allowed a season-high 16 3-pointers in a 105-95 loss in front of the first-ever sellout crowd of 18,711 -- most of them 'Bockers fans -- on Saturday night at the Prudential Center.
Maybe the Nets and Knicks -- despite their close proximity to one another -- aren't rivals, but it certainly felt like a rivalry as the teams traded runs for most of the way. But the Knicks (27-26) were a more clutch team down the stretch. And that proved to be the difference as they were able to snap the Nets' (17-38) two-game winning streak. New Jersey, which outscored the Knicks 42-28 in the paint and 26-8 on the fast break, led by as many as 11. The Nets came in as the league’s 19th-best team in terms of 3-point field goal percentage. They fell to 0-2 against their foes from across the Hudson River in 2010-11.
TURNING POINT: The Nets trailed by nine with 8:57 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Brook Lopez ignited a 10-0 run with a hook in the paint and Devin Harris capped the burst with a 3-pointer to put the Nets up 84-83. The teams traded the next few baskets, before back-to-back 3-pointers by Wilson Chandler and Landry Fields put the Knicks ahead 93-89 with 2:51 left, forcing head coach Avery Johnson to take a timeout. Lopez split a pair of free throws before Russian Timofey Mozgov (yes, Mikhail Prohkorov, Russian) provided the backbreaker, a putback three-point play that gave the Knicks a 96-91 edge with 2:27 remaining. And Fields added even further insult, posing after he banged in a 3-pointer from the corner that furthered the Knicks' lead to eight.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Harris. The Nets -- as they always are -- were at their best when the 27-year-old point guard was driving into the lane and getting layups or getting fouled, which resulted in easy free throw opportunities. He finished with a game-high 22 points and three assists on 7-for-13 from the field and 7-for-9 from the free throw line.
ROOKIE WATCH: With Stoudemire out, Derrick Favors had his way on the interior. The 19-year-old power forward snagged a game-high 14 rebounds and added nine points. He would've had more if not for all his missed dunks.
ABYSMAL THIRD: After combining for 113 points in the first half, the teams combined for just 27 in the third quarter. The Knicks missed their first nine 3-pointers of the stanza, but the Nets were unable to take advantage, hitting just five field goals themselves. New Jersey did manage to outscore New York, 14-13, but Toney Douglas finally drained the Knick’s first 3-pointer of the quarter to put his team up 72-68 heading to the fourth.
UP NEXT: The San Antonio Spurs bring their NBA-best 44-9 record to the Prudential Center on Monday night.