Knicks 106, Nets 97

BY foxsports • December 12, 2009

Larry Hughes scored 16 of his 25 points in the third quarter, and the New York Knicks sent the New Jersey Nets back to their losing ways with a 106-97 victory Sunday.

Al Harrington had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks, who capped a strong week with their third win in four games. New York routed Phoenix and won at Atlanta during the week, with its only loss coming at Eastern Conference champion Orlando. David Lee added 24 points and nine boards.

The Nets beat Charlotte on Friday for their first victory after NBA-record 18 straight losses to begin the season and seemed headed toward a second straight after playing their best half of the season Sunday.

But Hughes woke the Knicks with his big third quarter, and they stormed back to continue their dominance of their local rival. New York has defeated New Jersey twice this season after sweeping all three preseason meetings.

Not that the fans seemed entirely happy about it. There were a few chants of ``We want Nate! We want Nate!'' as popular backup guard Nate Robinson was left on the bench by coach Mike D'Antoni for the third straight game.

Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 26 points for New Jersey, which fell to 1-1 since general manager Kiki Vandeweghe took over as coach for the remainder of the season. Devin Harris and Brook Lopez each added 19.

Vandeweghe has the Nets playing a quicker tempo, and they shot 58 percent and scored a season-best 61 points in the first half. But they're still the lowest-scoring team in the league, and their offensive woes returned in the second half, when they managed only 36 points after halftime.

The Knicks were 28 of 34 at the free throw line, while New Jersey was only 12 of 15.

New York trailed by eight at the half, but quickly came back behind Hughes, who was 14 of 17 from the line in the game. His 3-pointer tied it at 67, and Harrington later had three baskets in an 8-0 run that made it 82-74. New York outscored New Jersey 33-18 in the period and took an 86-79 lead to the fourth.

The Nets cut it to three on Courtney Lee's basket with 7:38 remaining, but Wilson Chandler and Harrington had consecutive baskets on offensive rebounds before Danilo Gallinari's free throws made it 99-90 with 4:33 left, and the Nets never got close again.

Harris scored 12 points - Knicks point guard counterpart Chris Duhon missed all five shots and was scoreless - and New Jersey shot 67 percent in taking a 30-26 lead after one.

The Nets scored nine straight to open an 11-point advantage midway through the second, later pushed it to 13 and were ahead 61-53 at halftime.

NOTES: Just as he was about to return from a sprained right knee, Nets forward Yi Jianlian is expected to miss another week after needing 50 stitches for a cut upper lip. He has hurt Saturday while playing 3-on-3. Forward Sean Williams, whose inadvertent elbow opened the cut, refused to provide any details of the play. ... Knicks C Eddy Curry (sore left knee) is expected to practice this week in hopes of returning Friday at New Orleans.

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