NEW YORK (AP) -- J.R. Smith had 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists, added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and the beat the city rival 110-81 Wednesday night to move percentage points ahead of Atlanta for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points a game after spraining his right ankle to help the Knicks win for the 12th time in 15 games, dominating a team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference since the new year. New York won its third straight.
The Knicks made 24 of 36 shots in taking a 63-38 halftime time in front of new president Phil Jackson, who wouldn t have much to fix if they looked like this more often. They finished at a season-high 60 percent and outrebounded Brooklyn 41-23.
Joe Johnson scored 16 points for the Nets, who had won three straight. A night after clinching a playoff berth by beating Houston, they were out of the game by the opening minutes of the second quarter.
In a game that both clubs need for different reasons, the Knicks were the more desperate team, taking a 2-1 lead in this season s series. None of the games has been close, but both have bigger concerns than city bragging rights, anyway.
The Knicks have almost no margin for error in a final seven-game stretch against playoff-bound opponents. They had no problem with the first one and will face the Nets one more time on April 15 on the second-to-last night of the season.
Brooklyn is hoping for home-court advantage in the first round, but fell 2 1/2 games behind Toronto and Chicago for a spot.
The Nets led 20-19 late in the first quarter, but Anthony had two baskets, Smith made a 3-pointer and found Hardaway for another at the buzzer as the Knicks scored the final 10 points for a 29-20 lead.
Hardaway made another 3 to open the second and Iman Shumpert scored to make it a 15-0 run and give the Knicks a 34-20 advantage. Anthony had the first six points of an 8-0 burst that pushed it to 58-34 with 1:36 remaining in the half, and it was 63-38 at the break.
The Nets were angry with the officiating, with Johnson picking up a technical foul at halftime and coach Jason Kidd s assistants stepped in front of him as he tried to yell toward the refs.
Brooklyn got within 14 with 2 minutes left in the third, but the Knicks, unveiling a small lineup that had Anthony as its center, stretched their lead to 82-61 heading to the fourth.
Knicks guard Raymond Felton went the locker room early in the third quarter with bruised ribs and back after a hard landing while trying to grab an offensive rebound, but was able to return early in the fourth.
NOTES: The Nets had won two in a row at Madison Square Garden. ... On World Autism Awareness Day, the Knicks honored Tarrytown, N.Y., educator Virginia Campbell with this month s Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award for her more than 18 years teaching and helping more than 100 autistic children. The award is named for Nat Sweetwater Clifton, the first African-American to play for the Knicks. ... Referee Dick Bavetta was honored before working his 2,633rd consecutive game assignment, an ironman streak even longer than the one compiled by baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.Sports & RecreationBasketballBrooklyn NetsNew York KnicksCarmelo Anthony
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