Williams has 38, Nets handle Linsanity this time

By Brian Mahoney

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Feb. 20 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) puts up a shot as he is guarded by New Jersey Nets' Johan Petro, of France, during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Bill Kostroun, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Linsanity ran into reality: All-Star Deron Williams wasn't getting embarrassed by the Harvard guy again.

Williams scored a season-high 38 points, outplaying Jeremy Lin and leading the New Jersey Nets to a 100-92 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night.

Lin began his remarkable run against the Nets about two weeks ago, but Williams and the Nets were ready for him this time.

Lin finished with 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, but Williams outscored him 36-11 through three quarters, when the Nets led by 18. Lin shot only 7 of 18 and the Knicks lost for the second time in 10 games since his emergence against the Nets on Feb. 4.

Carmelo Anthony, clearly rusty in his return from a seven-game absence with a strained right groin, shot 4 of 11 and scored 11 points.

Williams scored 18 in the third quarter, including 12 straight Nets points during one surge. Clearly amped up for the rematch — maybe too much so, because he fouled out with 3:07 left — he skipped across the court with three fingers in the air after burying a second straight 3-pointer during his blistering stretch.

MarShon Brooks had 18 points for the Nets in their third game in three nights.

They shut down a Knicks offense that rang up 104 points against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, when Lin had 28 points and a career-best 14 assists.

But Williams was locked in this time, and the U.S. Olympian could've gone for plenty more if not for spending most of the fourth quarter on the bench in foul trouble. But by then he had the Nets too far ahead for the Knicks to catch.

The Knicks had their five-game winning streak against the Nets snapped and failed again to move back over .500.

Baron Davis had three points in 9 minutes in his Knicks debut after overcoming a herniated disk in his back. Expected to be the starter whenever he became available, he'll be Backup Baron as long as Lin keeps it up.

The Knicks were 8-15, coming off losses on consecutive nights, and had already fallen into a double-digit hole against the Nets on Feb. 4 when Lin got his chance, coming off the bench for 25 points in a 99-92 victory.

So uncertain of his NBA future at the time that he refused to get his own place to live, Lin slept on teammate Landry Fields' couch the night before that game.

The days of sleeping on couches and riding the benches are long gone.

Lin had since averaged 25 points and 9.2 assists, the most remarkable story in the NBA this season. And even the Nets have been impressed. Coach Avery Johnson praised Lin and downplayed the notion that his stats were a product of Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's system, though Johnson also wasn't buying a certain comparison that has been popping up more regularly.

"I've heard a lot of different stories and even I got a question from even my daughter whether Lin was in (Steve) Nash's category. So we don't want to go there, OK?" he said. "It's only been nine games. Give the kid a chance.

"It's a great story and he's inspiring a lot of kids, but let's give the kid a chance to play a whole season, maybe even play a playoff series, before you know, we start putting him in Nash's category."

Nor is he in Williams' category. The All-Star point guard was in constant motion with or without the ball, powering his way to the basket on drives or hitting from well beyond the 3-point arc — once while being fouled by Lin for a four-point play.

It was a learning experience for Lin, anonymous last month but a marked man in the league now.

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