NEW YORK (Sporting Alert) — Carmelo Anthony continued his impressive season in New York on Wednesday night after pouring in a game-high 31 points on his return from injury to lead the Knicks to a 100-86 win over local rivals the Brooklyn Nets.
Anthony had missed the Knicks’ last two games leading up to the Nets clash because of a sprained left ankle, but the star forward took little time in returning to his regular scoring form after hitting 17 of his tallied points in a busy first-half.
”At the end of the day, these are statement games, these are big games, divisional games,” said a confident Anthony.
”They’re right across the bridge, so these games definitely mean a lot.”
J.R. Smith was also a handy contributor after scoring 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, while Tyson Chandler had 16 points and 12 rebounds for New York (19-6) which were bouncing back from the defeat to the Houston Rockets on Monday.
”I just wanted to close the game. I wanted to make a statement,” Chandler said.
”Tonight was a big game for us, a game in our division, an opportunity to gain a full game as far as the lead goes, and we have to make statements like that.”
Joe Johnson led the Nets with 17 points, with star point guard Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez added 16 points apiece in the defeat.
The only other Brooklyn (12-13) player in double figures was Keith Bogans, who finished with 11 points, nine of which came from the three-point route.
Defeat at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night saw the Nets slipping to its third straight defeat and eight in their last 10 games.
The New York Knicks out rebounded, out steal and out Blocked the Nets, which committed 14 turnovers to the home side’s eight.
Despite the defeat, Nets head coach Avery Johnson isn’t getting too carried away, stating that there is still a lot of games left in the season to rebound.
”We have a lot of season left. We’ll get it turned around,” Johnson said.
”We’re going to get back in the lab on Friday and work on some parts of our game and get this bad taste out.”