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Nets 109, Knicks 98

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NEW YORK — After winning 15 straight home games, the Brooklyn Nets have lost two straight at the Barclays Center after the cross-town rival New York Knicks came away with a 109-98 victory on Tuesday night.

The Knicks defeated the Nets in three of four meetings this season.

Despite being eliminated from the playoffs last week, the Knicks have won six of their last eight games. The Nets had an opportunity to clinch the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, but now will have to stave off the sixth-seeded Washington Wizards for the spot in their regular-season finale against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

A team that lives and dies by the 3-pointer, the Knicks were on point with their long-range game, going 11-of-21 from behind the arc while shooting 47.8 percent from the field overall. They never trailed in the game.

Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. provided a steady hand with a team-leading 16 points. Forward Amar’e Stoudemire added an inside presence with 14 points and three rebounds. Guard JR Smith also had 14 points and contributed six rebounds, sinking three 3-pointers before sitting out for most of the fourth quarter.

The Knicks’ offense managed to produce without forward Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s second-leading scorer who was shut down for the final two games of the season with a partial tear in his right labrum.

Seeming to concede defeat, the Nets were keen on playing their second unit in the second half. Guard Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 24 points in the loss.

The Nets’ offense was lethargic for most of the night as forwards Mason Plumlee and Paul Pierce tried to spark Brooklyn. Plumlee finished with 16 points and four rebounds and Pierce had 13 points.

A slow start by the Nets played into the Knicks’ shooting-happy offense, which was clicking from the start. Two 3-pointers from Smith and Hardaway Jr. had the Knicks’ advantage in double digits early. Smith scored 10 points in the first half and the Knicks were 7-of-11 from 3-point range.

NOTES: Nets G Joe Johnson (sore right calf), F Paul Pierce (sore right shoulder) and G Deron Williams (right patellar tendinitis) were game-time decisions, but all played. Brooklyn G Alan Anderson (sore abdominal muscle), G Shaun Livingston (sprained right big toe) and F Mirza Teletovic (personal reasons) were out. … Knicks F Carmelo Anthony sat out Tuesday and he won’t play Wednesday’s season finale due to a tear in his right labrum. His average of 27.4 points per game ranks second in the NBA. … The Nets had their 15-game home winning-streak snapped Friday in a 93-88 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. … Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, the Knicks have six wins in their past eight games. They close their season Wednesday when they host the Toronto Raptors. … The Nets finish the regular season against the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Wednesday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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