Nets beat the Knicks in preseason finale

October 24, 2008 7:48:24 PM PDT
Former Knicks coach Isiah Thomas was the talk of Madison Square Garden once again on Friday night, when New York lost to the New Jersey Nets 111-110 in the preseason finale just hours after authorities were called to his home. Vince Carter scored 20 points for the Nets, who avenged a loss in New Jersey earlier this week. Devin Harris and Bobby Simmons each added 16.

Patrick Ewing Jr., whose father is the Knicks' career scoring leader, provided a bright spot for New York with seven points in the fourth quarter, fueling a late rally from a 21-point deficit.

Players learned before the game that authorities were called to Thomas' house, where police said a 47-year-old man was taken to the hospital and treated for an accidental overdose of sleeping pills early Friday morning.

However, there were conflicting reports as to whether it was Thomas, a team consultant and adviser, or another family member who required treatment.

Donnie Walsh, who replaced Thomas as president and then fired him as coach, would only say that someone in the organization had spoken to Thomas and there was "some kind of a family issue and he's asked that we respect their privacy, which I intend to do."

Jamal Crawford had his best game of a poor preseason with 30 points for the Knicks, who may have been distracted after having to answer questions about Thomas from an unusually large media contingent for a preseason game.

"There's a concern, I'm sure everybody I would think is wishing for the best for his family but again ... I don't really know a whole lot," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said before the game.

Like many home games under Thomas last season, the Knicks were booed after falling well behind in the third quarter. New York had a 3-second violation and a shot clock violation in the period while the Nets were turning a five-point halftime lead into a 90-69 bulge.

There was a loud ovation, however, in the fourth when Ewing Jr.

checked in. Ewing, who hadn't played in a home game during the preseason, had a pair of dunks and a 3-pointer, eliciting the familiar chant of "Patrick Ewing!" at the Garden.

Down by 18 points with 10½ minutes left, the Knicks cut it to 111-110 on Crawford's layup with 28 seconds left. New York got the ball back with 4 seconds left, but Crawford's jumper from the corner was short.

Simmons scored 16 points and Carter added 13 in the first half, when the Nets shot 59.5 percent and opened a 62-57 lead. The Nets built a 21-point lead late in the third quarter before Crawford hit three straight 3-pointers at the end of the period, cutting it to 90-78.

Both teams, who are expected to be the two worst in the Atlantic Division, finished 3-4 in the preseason.