Deron Williams had other ideas.
Kris Humphries added a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds for New Jersey. MarShon Brooks donated 18 points and DeShawn Stevenson had 11 for the Nets, who went 2-1 on a back-to-back-to-back stretch of games.
Jeremy Lin paced New York with 21 points to go with nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals before fouling out with 44.9 seconds remaining. Anthony had 11 points and six helpers for the Knicks, who went 6-1 in his absence due to a right groin strain.
New Jersey, which entered the contest second in the NBA with 285 made three- pointers, netted 15 treys overall.
Trailing 82-64 entering the final stanza, the Knicks made their move early, scoring 13 of the first 16 points to cut their deficit to eight.
New Jersey quashed New York's momentum with a 7-0 run, however, to go up 92-77 with 4:33 to play. The Knicks would end up outscoring the visitors 28-18 in the frame, but could not overcome the Nets' large advantage entering the quarter.
The Nets built that 18-point advantage on the back of Williams' three-point shooting in the third.
The guard racked up 18 points in the quarter on four-of-five shooting from behind the arc. His four-point play at the 3:44 mark sparked a personal 12-0 run just as New York was beginning to threaten New Jersey's lead.
"We definitely had this one circled, you know I think the whole team did," said Williams. "I know I personally did cause it was stuck in my mind, you know, this [Linsantiy] all started with me."
Humphries then made one-of-two free throws to increase the Nets' lead to 78-59, their largest of the game.
As though to quell speculation that they would be unable to play together, Lin fed Anthony a crisp pass for his first shot of the game, a 12-foot jumper that swished through the cylinder for a 4-0 Knicks lead. Anthony was cold for the remainder of the quarter, however, missing all four of his shots following the initial bucket. He finished the game 4-of-11 from the field.
"I think anytime you have three new players, people coming back your identity as a team is going to change with the personnel," said Lin. "We are not in panic mode because it is not like people show up and you have great chemistry. We have to work through some struggles but as long as we are all committed we will be fine."
The Knicks would do just fine without Anthony's contributions in the early going, though. New York scored 13 of the game's first 16 points, including nine straight before the halfway mark for a 10-point lead.
New Jersey immediately responded with its own run, netting seven in a row and keeping pace for the rest of the frame. The Knicks held a 21-18 advantage after one.
The Nets exploded for 32 points in the second. Brooks made all five of his attempts from the floor, including one trey, and New Jersey converted 5-of-10 three-point attempts overall as the they rushed out to a 50-42 halftime edge.
New Jersey shot 48.4 percent (15-of-31) from three-point range...Anthony was charged with a technical foul for tripping Humphries with 4:25 to play in the third...Tyson Chandler received a technical for grabbing Humphries' arm during a timeout with 8:52 to go in the fourth...Williams fouled out with 3:07 remaining in the game...Lin fouled out for the first time in his career.