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Johnson, Nets outlast Knicks

Joe Johnson of the Nets shoots over J.R.

Joe Johnson of the Nets shoots over J.R. Smith. (David Pokress ) Credit: Joe Johnson of the Nets shoots over J.R. Smith. (David Pokress )

Joe Johnson was a thorn in the Knicks' side for two quarters Monday: The first and the last.

The Nets star scored a team-high 25 points - 11 in the first and 10 in the fourth - in an 88-85 victory at Madison Square Garden, tying the regular season inter-borough series at two wins apiece and moving his team to a game behind the first-place Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points, but was limited to just two free throws in the fourth. Those free throws gave the Knicks an 84-83 lead with 40.9 seconds to play in a back-and-forth game.

That proved to be the Knicks' final lead of the game, as Johnson hit a 16-footer from the right to put Brooklyn up for good.

Anthony had a chance to put the Knicks back up on the next possession, but a short jumper from the right side hit nothing but air.

The Nets overcame 19 turnovers, and just five from the Knicks, with control of the glass and superior ball movement. Brooklyn won the rebounding battle 52-37.

Deron Williams added 14 points and 12 assists on a poor shooting afternoon for the star point guard, while center Brook Lopez scored 14 and grabbed 11 boards.

The Knicks struggled to find their shooting touch in the first half, hitting only 35% of their shots. Anthony had 18 through the two quarters, but his teammates combined to shoot just 29% from the floor in the half.

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