Jersey guys spark Knicks past Nets

December 10, 2008 7:23:48 PM PST
Al Harrington scored a season-high 39 points, fellow New Jersey high school star Tim Thomas also had his best game of the season, and the New York Knicks rallied to beat the Nets 121-109 on Wednesday night. Harrington was a point shy of his career high, while Thomas scored a season-high 26. Acquired in separate deals on the same day last month, Harrington and Thomas were too athletic for the Nets' forwards, helping New York storm back from a poor start.

While they await Nate Robinson's return from injury and resolutions to the roster situations involving Stephon Marbury and Cuttino Mobley, the Knicks have mostly been using seven players.

They were even shorter at the end when starting center David Lee missed the fourth quarter after bruising his lower back in a fall.

But they got by with huge efforts from their newcomers and a steady one from Chris Duhon, who finished with 10 points and 10 assists.

Harrington, who played at St. Patrick's in Elizabeth, was acquired from Golden State, and Thomas, who starred at Patterson Catholic, came over from the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 21 as the Knicks cleared salary-cap space for the summer of 2010.

Harrington hopes to stick around past then, and he's making a case with strong play since the trade. He was averaging 22.9 points in his first eight games as a Knick.

Wilson Chandler added 24 points for the Knicks, who rebounded from a 105-100 loss in Chicago on Tuesday night and won for just the second time in six games.

Devin Harris scored 32 points for the Nets, but he couldn't sustain his blistering start and New Jersey was denied a third straight victory. Vince Carter had 18.

The Knicks never led in the first half and the Nets seemed capable of blowing them out early. But New York surged into the lead in the third quarter while Harris sat for nearly 7 minutes, then never let it get too close in the fourth.

The Nets led for the final time before Thomas had a dunk, 3-pointer and free throw to give New York an 83-78 lead with 3:32 left in the third. After a free throw by Carter, Thomas nailed another 3-pointer for an 86-79 advantage with 2:43 remaining, drawing some loud cheers from a Izod Center crowd that, as usual, featured plenty of Knicks supporters.

Harris was scoreless in the period, then had a couple of buckets early in the fourth to bring the Nets within 100-93. Harrington answered with a pair of free throws and a baseline drive to push the lead to 11. New Jersey cut it to six with one final surge, but Chandler converted a four-point play to make it 112-102 with 4:40 to play.

Harris made his first six shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and had 14 points in the first 4:20 as New Jersey took a 17-8 lead.

He didn't score the rest of the quarter, and the Nets, who started 9-of-12, settled for a 33-23 lead.

The Nets extended their lead to 15 in the second quarter and shot 65 percent in the period, but the Knicks kept hanging around and were down only 63-57 at halftime.

The Knicks are 1-1 on a five-game trip that now moves to the west for the final three games, starting Saturday at Sacramento.