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Nets 98, Knicks 93

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NEW YORK — Center Brook Lopez collected 23 points and eight rebounds and the Brooklyn Nets nearly squandered a 16-point lead before holding on for a 98-93 victory over the New York Knicks Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Forward Joe Johnson added 19 of his 22 in the second half and point guard Deron Williams added 19 and five assists for the Nets, who improved to 7-9 and beat the Knicks for the second time this season.

Forward Carmelo Anthony scored 20 for the Knicks, who dropped their fifth straight and fell to 4-15. Anthony shot 2-of-12 in the second half and missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds remaining.

Point guard Jose Calderon added 19 points and forward Amar’e Stoudemire contributed 17 for the Knicks, who were outscored 48-26 in the paint.

New York initially was within single digits at 81-74 after a 3-pointer by guard Shane Larkin with 8:04 remaining. The Nets scored six quick points and restored their double-digit edge when Johnson intercepted Larkin’s pass and went in for a layup with 4:28 remaining that made it 86-76.

After getting to within 91-88 with 2:25 remaining, Stoudemire then forced forward Kevin Garnett into a traveling turnover but the Knicks could not score and Williams hit an open 3-pointer with 1:42 left. Following a 3-pointer by Calderon with 1:12 remaining, Prigioni intercepted Johnson’s pass but the Knicks could not convert again and Johnson hit two foul shots with 45.7 seconds left for a 96-91 edge.

A 15-footer by Calderon with 41 seconds remaining made 96-93 but the Knicks could get not any closer.

Before New York’s furious comeback attempt, the Nets scored the first five points of the third and took a 16-point lead at 71-55 on an open 3-pointer by Williams with 3:37 left that prompted booing from the crowd.

NOTES: New York reserve G J.R. Smith was held out due to flu-like symptoms. Smith played five minutes in Sunday’s 86-79 loss, was 0-for-4 and was sent home from the team’s Westchester practice facility on Monday. … F Amar’e Stoudemire made his third start of the season at power forward. In his previous two starts on Oct. 29 against the Chicago Bulls and Nov. 4 against the Washington Wizards, Stoudemire had 18 points and 20 rebounds while shooting 8-of-16. During Brooklyn’s morning shoot-around, coach Lionel Hollins was asked improving his team’s shooting struggles. His response was: “I sent a letter to Santa Claus and hopefully the elves will be taking the lid off the basket.” … Brooklyn F Andrei Kirilenko played only 36 minutes this season and remained inactive for the seventh straight game.

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

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