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A Win is a Win: Nets pull away from the Knicks to win their third straight, 92-88

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Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN - The Brooklyn Nets entered Friday night riding a two-game win streak, with victories coming against the playoff-bound Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors. Up next was a game against the lottery-bound -- and quite proud of it -- New York Knicks.

The Knicks entered the game with 10 wins and a hope of grabbing the top pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. This was a game the Nets wanted to win and a game the Knicks were just hoping would end before it even started. Brooklyn got out to a 21-8 start after the first eight minutes of play, and it only got worse from there. That is, until the third quarter when the Nets had one of their "typical Nets third quarter collapses." It wasn't easy, as the Knicks kept it to a one-point game in the final seconds, but the Nets were able to pull away and win, 92-88.

That's three straight wins for the Nets.

Deron Williams came off the bench again, entered at about the 4-minute mark in the first quarter to play alongside Jarrett Jack as the two-guard, yet again. He scored four point in the first quarter, while Brook Lopez came off the bench, again, to score six in the first. After one, the Nets led the Knicks 29-21.

Outside of an emphatic Amar'e Stoudemire dunk, there was nothing all that impressive about the Knicks first half. Cole Aldrich had a nice early bucket...for the Nets, tipping it into Brooklyn's basket.

Once the Knicks pulled Carmelo Anthony from the lineup in the second quarter the Nets took off, going on a 11-2 run and creating plenty of distance between themselves and the Knicks. Much of it was thanks to Williams and Lopez who returned to form, albeit against a team like the Knicks, but it was nice to see them playing up to their expected level.

Lopez had 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting and four rebounds in just under 15 minutes in the first half, while Williams had five points and six assists. Kevin Garnett had 10 points and four rebounds, as the Nets led the Knicks at the half, 53-45.

Of course, then the typical third quarter meltdown happened, as the Knicks actually took the lead at one point, 68-66, outscoring the Nets in the third 25-15. The Nets shot 35 percent in the third and shot just 1-of-5 from the free throw line. It was not pretty, as they Nets let a 12-point lead slip away.

After three the Knicks had the lead, 70-68. Again, this was a game that the Nets needed and the Knicks really couldn't care less about winning.

In the fourth, Joe Johnson showed up and started to lead the charge, scoring the Nets' first four points of the quarter. The Knicks responded, however, without the services of Anthony early on. The likes of Lance Thomas, Shane Larkin and Langston Galloway led the way for the Knicks.

New York held close, they were within three at 85-82 with three minutes to play in the game. Each possession the Knicks would go back and run their offense through Anthony, while the Nets were getting frustrated on both ends down the stretch -- failing to stop Melo and unable to convert on offense.

Lionel Hollins actually opted to leave Deron Williams on the bench down the stretch in a 1-point game. He did, however, stick with Lopez and went small with a four-wing lineup, led by Johnson and Jack.

With 13.8 seconds remaining, Jack hit a big three pointer to give the Nets a four point lead and, eventually, the 92-88victory. Jack had 18 points and 8 assists.

Lopez finished with 22 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks, Williams had five points and six assists, with most all of his damage done in the first half. Carmelo Anthony had 19 points on 5-of-22 shooting for the Knicks.

For more on the Knicks, see: Posting and Toasting