Many fans had questioned whether or not the Knicks would defeat the Nets, without the injured Carmelo Anthony playing. Well, last night, the Knicks won the city championship and gained bragging rights! Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points. Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith each added 14 points. The Knicks prevented the Nets from clinching the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and won their third straight in their “too-little, too-late strong” finish. Knicks guard, J.R. Smith, said “I mean, I’m cool with some of those guys over there, so I can still say something when we’re in the gym this summer. As long as I can say they didn’t beat us that many times, we’re good.”
Anthony had an MRI exam Tuesday which revealed a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He will not play Wednesday against Toronto. This is very unfortunate since it’s the final game of the first season in his 11-year career that won’t end with a playoff berth. It is potentially his last as a member of the Knicks. Anthony stated that he will become a free agent in July.
Marcus Thornton scored 24 points for the Nets, who weren’t sharp despite playing starters Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The other starter, Shaun Livingston, remained sidelined with a sprained right big toe. Although this win is great for bragging rights, it doesn’t change the fact that the Knicks aren’t going to the playoffs. Pierce stated “Tonight was an example of how not to take a step forward. We were off our game offensively, defensively, all phases of the game and that’s not how you want to go into the playoffs”. Coach Mike Woodson blamed himself for the team’s failure to make the playoffs on Sunday. He said “If we had handled our business early on and didn’t let some of the close games get away, we probably wouldn’t be standing here. We’d probably be preparing for playoff basketball, but that’s not the case.”
Their wasn’t much excitement in the game until the second half. Stoudemire delivered a powerful follow dunk over Mason Plumlee, screaming into the rookie’s ear afterward. Plumlee responded by dunking on the Nets’ next two possessions. Plumlee finished with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and grabbed 9 rebounds. The most “exciting” moments during the game were the occasional dueling chants between the split crowd. A “Goodbye Melo!” chant from a section of Nets fans was soon followed by a loud “Let’s go Knicks!”