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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Knicks 104, Nets 95

By Ian Begley

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks will leave New Jersey with fond memories.

In their final game against the New Jersey-based Nets, the Knicks jumped out to a 21-point lead early and hung on for the rest of the night for a nine-point win.

They were led by Carmelo Anthony's 33 points.

The win kept New York a game ahead of Philadelphia in the race for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks also gained a game on ninth-place Milwaukee, moving 3 1/2 games up on the Bucks with four to play.

How's this for a turnaround? The Knicks were six games under .500 when Mike Woodson took over as head coach on March 14. Since then, they've gone 15-5 and are a season-high four games over .500.

THE GOOD: Another big game for Anthony. The Knicks' small-forward-turned-power-forward poured in 33 points on 11-for-21 shooting, including 5-for-7 from beyond the arc, to lead New York (33-29).

Anthony had a triple-double against Boston on Tuesday, and picked up where he left off on Wednesday, hitting his first six shots of the game. Overall, he had 21 points in the first quarter, just one less than the Nets.

Anthony has scored at least 30 points in four of the Knicks' last five games.

TYSON'S PUNCHOUT: Tyson Chandler had another efficient game, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He went 5-for-7 from the field and 8-for-11 from the foul line. J.R. Smith had 15 points and eight rebounds. He shot 6-for-16 from the field.

BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: After he hit his sixth straight shot -- a three from 25 feet away -- Anthony hopped down the floor with his tongue out in celebration. The triple put the Knicks up, 24-11.

THE BAD: The Knicks had just one field goal in the first 7:49 of the third quarter. The Nets took advantage, cutting the Knicks' lead to five with 2:31 to play. Overall, New York shot 4-for-17 in the period and was outscored 24-14.

CROWD CONTROL: Plenty of Knicks fans came out for New York's final game against the New Jersey version of the Nets -- so many that the Prudential Center felt a little like Madison Square Garden South.

The most competition of the whole night may have happened in the stands; midway through the fourth quarter, Knicks and Nets fans started chanting for their respective teams. Still, it was easy to hear the Knicks fans over the Nets fans.

WHAT'S NEXT: If all goes well at practice on Thursday, the Knicks will have Amare Stoudemire back for Friday's game in Cleveland. Stoudemire has missed 13 games due to a bulging disk in his lower back.

Entering Wednesday's game, the Knicks had gone 8-4 in Stoudemire's absence. If Stoudemire comes out of Thursday's workout without any issues, he's expected to play -- and start -- for New York.