Jeremy Lin scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets cut a 12-point Knicks lead to three in the final minute, but they couldn’t get over the hump, falling short in a 116-111 loss Thursday night at Barclays Center. So the Nets closed their preseason with a 1-5 record, losing five straight after an opening win over Detroit.
Joe Harris added 15 points for the Nets. He shot 6-for-8, including a corner three the cut the Knicks lead to 114-111, but a Yogi Ferrell turnover with 7.9 seconds left essentially ended it. Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic each had 12 for the Nets. Lin had 10 assists but no rebounds and eight of the Nets’ 24 turnovers, and Grievis Vasquez added eight assists. Carmelo Anthony topped the Knicks with 21 points, and Courtney Lee had 15.
Describing his postgame message to a team with only five returning players, new Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said, “Despite the record, I think we’ve made progress, and that’s going to be our message all year, progress, development, improvement . . . We had  assists, and I thought we moved the ball better. Defensively, I liked a lot of things, but rebounding is an issue and transition defense is something we need to work on.”
If there has been one theme beyond transformative change during the preseason for the Nets, it’s their continued poor defense. They ranked 29th in the NBA last season and gave up 111.2 points per game in the preseason. But Atkinson used the preseason to experiment.
Speaking of Wednesday’s opener at Boston, Lopez said, “I think it will definitely solidify more in our next game, but we absolutely used preseason to sort of take the hypotheses and put them in place and see what we get out of them.”
The Nets looked especially good while building an 11-point first-half lead, but their second-team was on the floor for much of a 26-9 Knicks run to take a 96-84 fourth-quarter lead. That’s where Lin took over, scoring nine straight Nets points to in a 14-6 run the trimmed the deficit to 102-98.
“I was just trying to be aggressive and stay downhill and make the right play,” Lin said.
As for the Nets’ five straight preseason losses, Lin added, “We definitely have to find ways to get stops consistently. We know how to score the ball, but we have to hang our hats on being really tied together on the defensive end. That takes time. No group ever just showed up and they had that.”