New York, NY – Joe Johnson poured in 25 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 22.3 seconds remaining, as the Brooklyn Nets bested the cross-town rival New York Knicks, 88-85, on Monday at Madison Square Garden.
Deron Williams donated 14 points and 12 assists, while Brook Lopez added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, who have won two straight and nine of their last 10 to pull within one game of the Knicks atop the Atlantic Division.
"That's Joe Johnson," Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "He's a money player. He's been a money player his whole career."
Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 29 points to go with seven assists, but missed a potential go-ahead jumper late in regulation. J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire chipped in 16 and 15 points, respectively, for the Knicks, who have lost four of their last six.
With the game locked at 75-75 early in the fourth, Johnson ripped off a personal 8-2 surge, knocking down consecutive 3-pointers around a Smith layup before burying a jumper to make it 83-77 with 5:37 to play.
The Knicks answered with a 7-0 spurt, which Anthony capped with a pair of free throws to put New York in front, 84-83, with 40.9 seconds remaining.
On Brooklyn's ensuing touch, Johnson drove right and nailed a pullup jumper to restore Brooklyn's one-point edge with 22.3 ticks remaining.
Following a timeout, Anthony caught a pass on the right wing and drove hard to the basket, but his short jump shot missed everything and Brooklyn corralled the rebound.
"I don't make no excuses," Anthony remarked. "I should've made the shot. I don't know what to say about that."
Williams then connected on two free throws, and after Jason Kidd split a pair at the other end, Williams made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to make it 88-85 with 5.7 seconds remaining.
Smith then drove the length of the court, but his 3-point try at the buzzer was off the mark and the Nets escaped with the victory.
Neither team led by more than five in a tightly contested first frame that found the visitors clinging to a 26-24 advantage after 12 minutes.
The Nets shot 40.0 percent from the field in the second to build their lead to 47-41 heading into the break, but the Knicks shot nearly 60 percent from the floor in the third to take a 68-65 edge into the final frame.
Brooklyn and New York split the season series, 2-2 ... Brooklyn improved to 11-2 under Carlesimo ... Kris Humphries finished with 11 points and 13 boards for Brooklyn ... Williams had made 52 straight free throws before missing one late in the fourth quarter.