The Knicks had whittled the Nets' 16-point lead down to three, and the ball was in Carmelo Anthony's hands in the closing seconds. But Anthony, in the midst of a dismal-shooting fourth quarter, added one more miss to his night and the Knicks added another loss to this disappointing season.
Anthony misfired on a tying three-pointer and the Nets held off the Knicks, 98-93, Tuesday night at the Garden, sending them to their fifth straight loss.
Anthony led the Knicks (4-15) with 20 points, but he was 7-for-22 from the field and just 1-for-9 in the fourth. He missed all three threes he took in the final 46.9 seconds, including another that would have tied it.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher said he was signaling for a 20-second timeout to set up a final play.
"The shot wasn't the worst shot," Fisher said. "I did try to signal for a '20' to get something drawn up. But Carmelo taking a pull-up three is not the worst shot we could get."
Jose Calderon added 19 and Amar'e Stoudemire 17 for the Knicks, who lost for the 14th time in 16 games.
Brook Lopez paced the Nets (7-9) with 23 points, 19 of them in the first half. Joe Johnson added 22, including two foul shots with 4.5 seconds left to make it a five-point game. Deron Williams had 19.
Fisher started Stoudemire at power forward because of the Nets' size. but it didn't help keep Lopez out of the middle or Kevin Garnett and other Nets off the boards. The Nets held a 49-40 rebounding edge, 21-13 on the offensive glass. Garnett had 13 rebounds.
The Nets opened the fourth with a 77-64 lead and had their chances to build on it, but they missed five consecutive shots from inside.
The lead was still 13 with just over nine minutes to go, but the Knicks went on an 11-2 run to get within 83-79 after Pablo Prigioni's three-pointer with 6:12 left. Shane Larkin had two threes in the spurt.
Coming out of a timeout, Garnett scored from the baseline. After Stoudemire missed, Johnson converted a jumper. Later, following a turnover, Johnson made a layup in transition to give the Nets an 89-79 lead with 4:28 left.
The Knicks fought back again and cut it to 91-88 with 2:25 left after a four-point possession in which Stoudemire scored each point. He scored inside and was fouled, but missed the free throw. Cole Aldrich tracked down the rebound. After Iman Shumpert missed a wide-open three, Stoudemire got the board and was fouled and this time made both from the line.
Stoudemire forced Garnett into a turnover on the ensuing trip, but Anthony misfired from the wing. Williams buried a wide-open corner three with 1:42 left to make it 94-88.
Calderon answered with a three in front of the Nets' bench that had coach Lionel Hollins stomping his feet, making it a three-point game again. Calderon came up with a steal, but Aldrich's shot was blocked by Lopez.
It ended up in Anthony's hands, but he missed a potential tying three with 46.9 seconds left. After Johnson made two foul shots, Calderon hit a pull-up jumper with 41 seconds left to bring the Knicks within 96-93.
Garnett missed, setting up Anthony's shot. He took it up himself and rose up on Alan Anderson but couldn't knock it down.
"We have enough to win games, which is what I felt like we had before the season started,'' Fisher said before the game. "We had several games that we had opportunities to win, and can't control some of the things that are happening.
"That's not surprising to me, and it's just a matter of staying with our process and finding ways to turn those games in our favor. We have a lot of chances to do that coming up.''
This game was considered one of those chances, especially since the Knicks host LeBron James and the Cavs Thursday. But the Knicks dug themselves a hole right away. They were down 10 before the game was midway through the first.
Lopez shot 9-for-15 with 19 points, sparking the Nets to a 49-45 lead at the break.