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Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders All Lose on Friday

The Nets and Rangers both picked up a single win earlier in a week otherwise full of losses for New York sports teams.

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Knicks Winless in Last Two Weeks
The Knicks entered Monday’s game against the Trail Blazers on a five-game skid. They were hardly even in the game after a 12-12 tie in the first quarter gave way to a 15-2 Portland run. New York entered the second quarter down 34-18.

Portland doubled up New York 44-22 early in the second quarter before the Knicks were able to build a small amount of momentum, but New York still entered the locker room down by 17. The Knicks managed to cut the deficit down to 10 in the third quarter and closed within 7 early in the fourth, but never got any close. The Trail Blazers won 102-91.

Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 34 points in the loss, accompanying 15 rebounds. Andrea Bargnani shot for 16, Beno Udrih put up 13, and Kenyon Martin and Metta World Peace both scored 10.

The team was hoping to get a boost out of Raymond Felton’s return from a brief injury on Wednesday, but the Clippers had other ideas in mind. After Anthony led them to a 17-10 lead, LA fought back to reclaim the lead and take a 29-27 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Los Angeles increased its lead to as much as 11 in the second period before Melo and Bargnani led New York all the way back. A Felton layup put the Knicks up 42-40, but the Clippers took control again to enter the half up 49-45.

New York got back within a point early in the second half and hung around until a 8-0 LA run put the Clippers up by 10. The Clippers continued to slowly add to their lead in the fourth, taking a 93-80 win over the Knicks.

Anthony again had the game high with 27 points, but shot just 39% from the field. Bargnani posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Felton scored 12 in his 35 minutes of play.

The Knicks were a little more competitive when they travelled to Denver last night, despite trailing by 10 after the first quarter. The bench brought New York back within six points early in the second quarter and, though the Nuggets began to pull away, Andrea Bargnani cut the deficit down to four in the late going. Denver entered the half still ahead 51-45.

New York tried to get back in the game in the third quarter, but never came any closer than four points off the lead, and was ultimately outscored by two in the frame. It was not until the final 20 seconds of the fourth that the game really tightened up. Iman Shumpert followed a Felton three-pointer with a layup to cut the differential down to a single point; Ty Lawson made only one of two free throws after being fouled immediately, giving the Knicks the ball back with 18 seconds to go and down by only two points. Anthony, who rebounded the Lawson foul shot, took the ball back himself and tried to send the game into overtime on a turnaround jumper, but was blocked by the much shorter Randy Foye. Time ticked away, and the game ended in a 97-95 Nuggets win.

Anthony had a game-high 27 points, but shot just 8-22 from the field. Bargnani put up 22, and Shumpert and Smith both scored 11 in the loss.

Now on an eight-game losing streak, the Knicks will play the New Orleans Pelicans at 7:30 PM tomorrow.

Nets End One Losing Streak, Start Another
The Nets entered Tuesday’s match against the division-leading Raptors on a 5-game losing streak, and the worst third quarter record in the NBA this season. Despite still being without Brook Lopez and Deron Williams, however, they managed to stay competitive—leading by as much as 10 in the first quarter before Toronto fought back to exit the period up 28-26.

Brooklyn was down by 41-36 in the second when Andray Blatche scored three times in-a-row to tie things up, and Paul Pierce continued the run which saw the Nets take a five point lead. They ended the half up 55-51.

Toronto had a couple of strong runs in the third quarter, but recent history did not repeat itself as the Nets did not give up the lead in the frame. After the Raptors got within a point of Brooklyn, Tyshawn Taylor and Joe Johnson combined to reestablish a five point spread and end the quarter up 81-76.

The Nets increased the lead to 15 points early in the fourth, but the Raptors would not go down easily; a 14-0 run saw the division leaders come back within a point. Thankfully, after a Livingston free throw made it 102-100 in Brooklyn’s favor, Toronto was unable to score in the final 10 seconds of the game and Brooklyn hung on to win it, snapping their skid and handing the position of last place over to the Knicks in the process.

Blatche scored 24 points in the much needed win, and Johnson put up 21. Pierce shot for 16, and Kevin Garnett scored 12 as the starters did most of the heavy lifting for the night.

Sadly, Wednesday’s game against the Lakers did not go nearly as well. LA opened the game with three successful three-pointers (including two straight by Steve Blake) to go ahead 9-2, and the situation got worse from there. A 9-4 run in which Johnson scored all of Brooklyn’s points was the sole highlight of a first quarter which ended in a 34-18 Laker lead.

Jordan Farmar repeated Los Angeles’ first quarter opening on his own, sinking three unanswered shots from beyond the arc to extend the LA lead to 43-18 at the start of  the second. Brooklyn fought back, but still entered halftime down by 6.

The Nets outscored the Lakers by 5 in the third quarter and 4 in the fourth, but it was not enough to overcome the 16-point hole dug back in the first. They did not lead once on the night, and ultimately lost 99-94.

Johnson led the team in scoring with 18 points, followed by Mirza Teletovic’s 17. Blatche and Alan Anderson both put up 14, and Pierce scored 12.

Brook Lopez returned from his ankle injury to rejoin the team in Houston last night, but could do little to prevent the shellacking the Nets suffered at the hands of the Rockets in his 21 minutes of play. Houston scored the first six points of the game, and quickly went on a 13-0 run en route to a 33-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Brooklyn closed no nearer than 13 points off the lead in the second quarter, as the Rockets posted another 33 in the frame to go ahead 66-40. The spread increased to 30 after the break, and the Nets were only able to gain 11 points on the Houston bench in the fourth quarter. They lost by a final of 114-95.

Teletovic led the team in scoring with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Plumlee and Taylor both shot for 16 and Anderson put up 12. Lopez was the only starter to break into double digits, doing so with 16 points.

Now 4-12 on the season, the Nets will play the Grizzlies next, tonight at 8:00 PM.

Rangers Hang on to 3rd in Metropolitan
The Rangers had an up and down week, starting with a blowout in Tampa Bay. New York was unable to answer two goals scored by the Lightning in the first 3:10 of the game, but Martin St. Louis knocked in his second goal of the night 3:12 into the second.

Teddy Purcell made it 4-0 with an unassisted snap shot 16:52 through the second, ultimately leading to Henrik Lundqvist being pulled from the game at the start of the third period. Cam Talbot performed well through most of the frame, but Purcell backhanded in another shot in the final minute, giving Tampa a 5-0 win.

New York recovered from the shutout on Wednesday against the Panthers as Derick Brassard scored the first goal of the night on a power play midway through the first. Brad Richards added an unassisted goal late in the second period, and Rick Nash did the same early in the third to put the Rangers ahead 3-0.

Florida got back into the game, first with a backhanded shot off the stick of Upshall, then with another from Bjugstad to cut the deficit down to 1 in the last four minutes of the third. Mats Zuccarello gave the Rangers room to breathe on a power play in the final 90 second, however, and Carl Hagelin scored on an empty net to give the Rangers a 5-2 victory. Lundqvist stopped 31 of 33 shots on goal.

The Rangers found their offense much more constrained in Boston yesterday. After Brad Marchand gave the Bruins the first goal of the afternoon, Nash tied the game up thirteen minutes into the first period. Ryan McDonagh put New York ahead 2-1 with a wrist shot 1:22 later, and the lead held through a scoreless second.

Unfortunately, Boston was able to tie the game once more early in the third, and took the lead on a Zdeno Chara slapshot halfway through the final frame. New York was unable to answer, and the Bruins won 3-2; Lundqvist stopped 25 of 28 shots on the day.

The Rangers will host the Canucks next, at 2:00 PM today, and play the Jets at 7:00 PM tomorrow night.

Islanders Still in Last
The Islanders’ woes continued as they returned home this week. Coming out of a scoreless first period on Wednesday, the Winnipeg Jets took command of Nassau Coliseum in the second. Mark Stuart opened the flood gates with a slap shot 11:27 through the middle frame, and Andrew Ladd back handed in the second Winnipeg goal three minutes later. Devin Setoguchi finished the outburst with a tip-in to put the Jets up 3-0.

Andrew MacDonald cut into the deficit with a power play goal 17:49 through the second, and John Tavares brought the differential within a goal fourteen minutes through the third, but the Islanders gained no further ground. New York lost 3-2 as Kevin Poulin blocked 26 of 29 shots.

Last night’s game against Detroit was even more disappointing. Darren Helm gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead on a backhanded shot seven minutes through the first period. 16:49 through the second, Helm struck again with a second goal to double the Detroit lead, and this time he did it as his team was shorthanded.

The Red Wings didn’t wait long to score in the third, going ahead 3-0 on a Daniel Alfredsson wrist shot twelve seconds into the period. Gustav Nyquist made it 4-0 six minute later, and Alfredsson scored for a second time ten minute after that, ensuring the fifth straight Islanders loss. Poulin stopped 25 of 30 shots as New York lost 5-0.

The Islanders will host the Capitals next, at 7:00 PM tonight.