Nets Decimated by Timberwolves
The Nets were hoping to have caught a break in facing the Bobcats with two of their starters still out with injuries on Tuesday. Through the first half the beleaguered Brooklyn team managed to keep pace, taking several leads along the way, and entering halftime down by just 3, 53-50.
The third quarter was once again a killer, however, as it has been for the Nets throughout this young season. After Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson got Brooklyn back within a point of the Bobcats, Charlotte went on a 13-0 run which had them entering the fourth ahead 83-70.
A trio of threes from Alan Anderson helped the Nets get back in the game as they outscored the Bobcats 21-12 in the fourth, but they were not enough to undo the damage done. The game ended with a pair of Walker foul shots to give Charlotte a 95-91 win over Brooklyn.
Andray Blatche led the team from the bench with 25 points, followed by Johnson’s 19, Anderson’s 16, and Pierce’s 12.
Still Missing Lopez and Williams when they travelled to Minnesota last night, the Nets were in no way prepared to face the Timberwolves. A turnaround jump shot from Garnett to start the game provided the only lead Brooklyn would have throughout the night; Minnesota quickly went to work, taking a 16-point lead and holding on to it through the first quarter.
The game only got worse from there, with the Timberwolves tacking another four points onto their lead in the second quarter to enter half time up 57-37. Brooklyn performed no better in the third than the team had in games past, as the T-wolves tore into them once again to add 13 more points onto their lead. The spread remained steady through the fourth, as the Nets were blown out 111-81.
Blatche led the team in scoring with 16 points, followed by Johnson’s 15, Taylor’s 13, and Anderson’s 11.
Now on a four game losing streak, the Nets will try to get back on the right track when they host the Pistons at 2:00 PM tomorrow afternoon.
Knicks Fall Short in OT
Having suffered two straight losses at home last week, the Knicks hit the road on Tuesday to take on a Detroit team which they completely dominated last season.
Carmelo Anthony knocked in a jumper to start the game and nailed a three-pointer soon afterward to give New York a 5-2 lead, but the Knicks were unable to build much momentum going forward. A Prigioni 3-pointer which put the team ahead 24-20 was quickly answered by a 6-0 Pistons runs, as Detroit took a 26-24 advantage heading into the second quarter.
Anthony scored his only other successful first-half shot from the field on a layup late in the second (he missed nine of his first 12 shots), putting the Knicks ahead 36-34. The half ended with a Pistons’ three to tie the score once more at 43 apiece.
The two went back and forth for most of the third quarter, but a 7-0 run gave Detroit a 62-54 lead from which New York would never fully recover. Detroit increased the spread to as much a 15 in the fourth, and though New York cut it down to 5 at multiple points they did not get any closer until it was too late. The Pistons beat the Knicks for the first time in nearly two years by a final of 92-86.
Melo had a game-high 25 points in the loss, backed up by JR Smith’s 18, Andrea Bargnani’s 13 and Shumpert’s 11.
The Knicks looked much livelier against the then 9-1 Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Kenyon Martin and Bargnani led a 13-0 run to start the night, and though Indiana was able to get back into the game afterwards New York still left the first quarter up 19-14. Anthony put up 13 points in the second quarter to help keep the spread at 5, heading into halftime with the Knicks up 42-37.
A 7-0 run in the third quarter gave the Pacers their first lead of the night as they pulled ahead 48-47 before the Knicks regained control, entering the fourth up 62-58.
After Indiana went ahead by 1 again in the fourth, Anthony and Smith combined for 9 points to put New York on top once more, 73-67. The lead did not hold, however, and the Pacers tied the score 89-89 on a trio of Paul George free throws with just over 5 seconds to go. Anthony missed what would have been a game ending jumper, and JR Smith came up short in his attempted put-back, sending the game into overtime.
Unfortunately, the Knicks were unable to withstand a sudden onslaught from George to kickoff the OT period; they lost 103-96.
Anthony posted a double-double on 30 points and 18 rebounds. Smith shot for 21, Beno Udrih scored 19, and Bargnani put up 10.
Now 3-8 on the season, the Knicks will play the Wizards at 7:00 PM tonight.
Islanders Drop to Last Place
After splitting their four games last week, the Islanders suffered a pair of losses to start this one. Trevor Smith’s snap shot 22 seconds into the first period on Tuesday night was the only one of the frame, but it gave Toronto a 1-0 lead which held until the Maple Leafs doubled up on a power play halfway through the second.
Casey Cizikas’ unassisted wrist shot with 12 seconds to go in the second cut the deficit back down to one, but Toronto got past Kevin Poulin again early in the third period to go up 3-1. The Maple Leafs scored a fourth time before Frans Nielson was able to find the back of the net with an assist from Josh Bailey; the second New York goal was also the last. The Islanders went on to lose 5-2 as Poulin stopped just 19 of 24 shots.
The Islanders travelled to Pittsburgh on Friday, where they were hurt by a pair of early power play goals. Chris Kunitz gave the Penguins the first goal of the night on a wrist shot four minutes into the game, then made it 2-0 just under four minutes later.
Thomas Vanek scored the first New York goal of the night early in the second period. Though the Penguins pulled ahead 3-1 shortly afterward, Collin McDonald snapped in the second Islander goal with an assist from Cizikas halfway through the period, and Thomas Vanek tied it 3-3 on a backhanded shot a minute-and-a-half later.
The game looked like it would be heading to overtime after over 25 scoreless minutes, but with 1:16 left on the clock Sidney Crosby scored his 250th career goal to put the Penguins up 4-3. Poulin blocked 30 of 34 shots as New York lost.
Now in last place in the Metropolitan division, the Islanders will finish the week in Philadelphia at 7:00 PM tonight.
Rangers Top Stars
Coming off a 1-0 home loss to the Kings, the Rangers again found their offense lacking when they hosted the Bruins on Tuesday. Following a scoreless first, the Bruins took a 1-0 lead 5 minutes into the second period, then scored a shorthanded goal 11:30 through frame.
Derick Brassard put the Rangers on the board a minute later, but it would prove the only successful shot of the night for New York (though not for lack of trying—the Rangers had 44 shots on goal through the night). Henrik Lundqvist stopped 20 of 22 shots as the Rangers took a 2-1 loss.
Looking to avoid a third straight loss when the team travelled to Dallas on Thursday, Rick Nash gave the Rangers an early lead when he scored on a power play early in the first period. That lead stayed put until Stephane Robidas tied game up midway through the second.
Chris Kreider gave New York back the lead 1:18 into the third period, and John Moore made it 3-1 37 seconds later. The Stars managed another goal 8:27 through the frame, but were unable to tie the game again. Lundqvist stopped 41 of 43 shots as the Rangers took a 3-2 victory.
The Rangers will head to Nashville to play the Predators at 8:00 PM today.