With the seconds ticking away in Saturday night’s game, Devin Harris drained a deep three-pointer. It was that kind of night for the Nets.
The New Jersey Nets took a page out of the Knicks’ playbook and shot early and often from behind the arc, burying 14-of-24 three-pointers.
The Nets shot the lights out at the world’s most famous arena and ran away to win, 113-93. New Jersey had its highest scoring output of the season and earned its seventh win. Only three wins to go.
Harris scored a season-high 31 points while Courtney Lee returned from an ankle injury to pour in 25. Brook Lopez gave the Knicks fits in the middle and added a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
With both teams big men in foul trouble and Yi Jianlian leaving the game in the first quarter with a sprained ankle, the Nets and Knicks played small. For Harris, the team that had the best match-ups would win.
“It was whoever had the best match-up won and we were able to create the most mismatches,” Harris said. “We played with confidence from the three-minute mark in the first quarter. [From that point] on we played like a confident team.”
Despite falling in another first-quarter crater, New Jersey responded quickly. The Knicks opened the game with an 18-4 run and led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter.
The Nets’ bench went to work, though, and New Jersey went on an 18-4 run to take the lead, 43-42. In 10:49 of game-action, the Nets turned a 16-point deficit into a 1-point lead. New Jersey never trailed again.
Unlike so many losses this season, the Nets dug out of a deep deficit.
“This game’s a game of runs and we knew that,” Lee said. “We were able to show poise and character with being able to come back.”
While the Nets were draining three-pointers from any and every point on the court, the Knicks set a team-record in futility from three-point land. New York went 0-of-18 from behind the arc and broke a string of 318 games with at least one three-pointer made.
Jarvis Hayes, who scored nine points off the bench, said the gameplan revolved around perimeter defense.
“We guarded the three-point line,” Hayes said. “That’s a big part of their game and we took it away.”
The Knicks were able to cut the Nets lead to five in the fourth quarter at 85-80. The Nets used an 8-0 run to shift all momentum, though. Keyon Dooling and Lee knocked down consecutive threes to push the Nets lead back to 13 points and prompted Mike D’Antoni to call an immediate timeout.
Following a defensive stand, Lee drained another three-pointer to push the Nets run to 11 and the lead to 16 at 96-80.
Lee has now scored 20-plus points in three consecutive games.
“[Courtney] was huge,” Harris said. “We were able to go with some mismatches with him and hopefully we continue to get that Courtney Lee-type effort like we got tonight.”
Nets interim head coach Kiki Vandeweghe credited the win to his defense.
“What really did it for us was the aggressiveness on the defensive end, they were relentless,” Vandeweghe said. “Once we went out and got pressure it made everything easier.”
For the Knicks, David Lee scored 23 points while Wilson Chandler added 20.
The Nets have now beaten the Knicks twice this season and split the season series.
The Nets will once again try to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. New Jersey begins a long road trip Monday when it travels to Memphis to face the Grizzlies.