NBA: Race in Atlantic division tightening up between Knicks and Nets

The NBA’s Atlantic division race has tightened up over the last two weeks with the New York Knicks now leading by just two games over the Brooklyn Nets and by 5 ½ games over the Boston Celtics.

Last night the Knicks showed their toughness against a young, strong Golden State Warriors team by winning 109-105. Stephen Curry scored 54 points for the Warriors but the Knicks were able to offset his brilliant performance thanks great play from Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith. Anthony led the Knicks in scoring on the night with 35 points

Even though Curry was able to score 54 points, it was Raymond Felton’s block of a Curry shot that turned the game around. With just 1:28 left in regulation, Felton blocked the shot and Smith made a tiebreaking basket as New York was able to overcome Curry’s NBA season high.

Anthony led the Knicks with his 35, but Smith scored 26. However, Coach Mike Woodson praised how the team made some defensive stops late in the game when they needed to. Chandler scored 16 points for the Knicks and grabbed an impressive 28 rebounds, a career high. The win was the second straight for the Knicks after dropping four consecutive that reduced their lead over the Nets to just one game before their two straight wins.

Amar’e Stoudemire chipped in with 14 points for the Knicks, while Anthony had eight assists on the night. The only disappointing news for the Knicks on the day was they could lose Rasheed Wallace their backup forward for the season thanks to a foot injury that needs surgery.

Prior to the game the Knicks had not played for three nights and came out strong against the Warriors. New York took an early 25-11 lead but Golden State trimmed it to just 11 at the end of the first quarter.

The Warriors rushed back to the lead in the second quarter thanks to 12 consecutive points. The Knicks rebounded and led at the half by three, 58-55.

Chandler grabbed thirteen rebounds in one quarter on the night and was the last to do that in the NBA when he played for Dallas in December of 2010 and grabbed 14. Wallace has not played for the Knicks since December and will have foot surgery sometime this week, but his recovery will take up to eight weeks.

Woodson said he would most likely not waive the veteran forward who is 38. Instead, he hopes Wallace could play during the post season for the team. Kenyon Martin was signed by the Knicks last week partly due to the uncertainty in Wallace’s playing situation. He debuted for the Knicks on Wednesday playing five minutes in the first half.

Currently New York is third in the Eastern Conference standings a half game behind second place Indiana and 6 ½ game behind the red-hot Miami Heat. Brooklyn is now in fifth place in the conference. The Nets are actually tied for fourth with the Atlanta Hawks, but the Hawks have a better conference record. Boston has climbed to seventh spot a game and a half ahead of eighth place Milwaukee.

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