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Nets beat Knicks to split four-game series

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Nets beat Knicks to split four-game series

NEW YORK (AP) Joe Johnson made the go-ahead jumper with 22 seconds left and scored 25 points, leading the Brooklyn Nets to an 88-85 over the New York Knicks on Monday and a split of the four-game series between the city rivals.

Deron Williams added 14 points and 12 assists for the Nets, who cut the Knicks' Atlantic Division lead to one game. Brook Lopez had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Kris Humphries came off the bench for 11 points and 13 boards.

Carmelo Anthony had 29 points and seven assists for the Knicks, but missed all six shots in the fourth quarter and finished 11 of 29 for the game. J.R. Smith scored 16 points and Amare Stoudemire 15.

The Nets survived a pair of lengthy droughts in the second half but got 10 points in the final period from Johnson, who used to play for Knicks coach Mike Woodson in Atlanta and has become the player Brooklyn turns to for big shots in the clutch.

Anthony had his 26th straight 20-point game, tied with Stoudemire for third-longest streak in franchise history, but the Knicks were sluggish early in their first game since playing in London on Thursday and lost for the third straight time on Martin Luther King Day.

The Knicks led by three before consecutive 3-pointers by CJ Watson and Johnson gave Brooklyn a 78-75 lead. Smith scored, but then Johnson made another 3 and a jumper to extend the lead to 83-77 with 5:38 remaining before the Nets went cold again.

New York shut Brooklyn out over the next 5 minutes while scoring seven in a row, regaining the lead on Anthony's free throws with 40 seconds to play. But the Nets got the ball on the next possession to Johnson, who dribbled right toward the baseline and pulled up for the go-ahead basket.

Anthony missed badly on the next possession and the Knicks fouled Williams, who made both with 8.3 seconds to play for a three-point lead. Jason Kidd made one after the Nets fouled him intentionally, but the Knicks had one final chance after Williams hit just one of two on his next trip, ending a streak of 52 consecutive made free throws. Smith's rushed 3-point attempt bounced off the backboard and front of the rim.

The Knicks led the division by six games after beating the Nets here on Dec. 19, but the Nets have gone 11-2 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo while the Knicks have battled injuries and failed to play at the level they reached early in the season.

The Nets led 26-24 after one, then got a solid stretch from Humphries, who has struggled lately after losing his starting job. He scored seven straight points as Brooklyn went ahead by six, and the lead grew to 45-35 on Reggie Evans' free throw with 2:06 remaining in the half.

Humphries finished with nine points and eight rebounds in 12 first-half minutes, and the Nets led 47-41 at the break.

The Knicks shot under 35 percent in the first half and trailed by nine early in the third quarter before finally finding their legs. Stoudemire and Smith each had two baskets before Anthony's jumper capped a 10-0 run that gave New York a 63-60 lead during a span in which it held Brooklyn without a basket for five minutes. The Knicks led 68-65 after three.

It was the third tight game in the series, the games living up to the extra emphasis that was put on them since the Nets' move from New Jersey into the Knicks' city. Anthony was the dominant player in the series, a thrill for the Brooklyn native and a tough pill to swallow for the Nets, who desperately tried to acquire him two years ago before the Denver Nuggets instead took the Knicks' package.

But he couldn't quite reach his level of play from the first three games, when he averaged 37 points.

Notes: Richie Guerin holds the Knicks' record with 29 straight 20-point games. Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing had a 28-game streak. ... The Knicks fell to 18-9 on the holiday.

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Blue Jackets troll Capitals on Twitter after retaking lead in Metro Division

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Blue Jackets troll Capitals on Twitter after retaking lead in Metro Division

The Columbus Blue Jackets threw some serious shade at the Caps Tuesday night after their 7-2 blowout loss to the Predators.

The Jackets took the Metro lead after the Caps lost their third straight game, and they let them have it on Twitter.

That's a bold jab coming from the team that lost to the Caps in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs...

The GIF comes from Saturday night's overtime loss to the Jackets where Columbus celebrated Artemi Panarin's game-winner with Evgeny Kuznetsov's signature bird celly.

When asked about the copycat celebration last Saturday, Kuzy said, "That's fine. It's nice to get some people that think about me, same as in April last year.”

The Capitals meet the Blue Jackets again Feb. 12 where the only bird celly should come from Kuzy.

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Caps suffer third straight loss as they get rocked in Music City

Caps suffer third straight loss as they get rocked in Music City

The final score of a game can often be deceiving, but that was certainly not the case on Tuesday. The Capitals lost 7-2 to the Nashville Predators in a game every bit as one-sided as the score indicates. Viktor Arvidsson scored a hat trick and Nick Bonino added another two goals in a game that was well in hand before the end of the second period.

Here are three reasons the Caps lost.

Viktor Arvidsson

Arvidsson came into this game with 14 goals this season and 21 points in 23 games. He is one of the best players in the league that no one talks about and that was certainly on display in this game. He wasn’t a one trick pony either. His first goal came on the breakaway, his second was a deflection and his third was a shorthanded breakaway.

Arvidsson’s third goal

As one-sided as the game was, there was a moment in the second period when it looked like Washington was going to claw its way back into it. Down 3-0 in the second period, Nicklas Backstrom scored on the power play to make it 3-1. Less than five minutes later, T.J. Oshie drew a tripping call from Calle Jarnkrok. Suddenly it looked as if the Caps had a chance.

But once again, Washington had no answer for Arvidsson.

Backstrom tried to carry the puck into the offensive zone, but he was met and challenged by Arvidsson. Backstrom lost the puck and Arvidsson took off while Ryan Johansen grabbed the puck in the neutral zone. Johansen fed Arvidsson for the breakaway and he delivered the knockout punch.

Washington was eyeing a 3-2 game, but instead they suddenly found themselves down 4-1 and the rout was on.

Poor decisions

Give all the credit to Nashville for dominating this game, they dominated and deserved to win. Having said that, the Caps were clearly their own worst enemy in Nashville.

Tom Wilson carried the puck into the offensive zone in the first period. With no open passing lane, the only real option he had was to dump and chase or drive himself and pass back to the blue line. Instead, he forced a pass to Ovechkin who had to stop and reach back to grab the puck. He was also being covered by two players so it was no surprise when he turned the puck over. The resulting breakout led to a breakaway and Arvidsson’s first goal.

In the second period, Andre Burakovsky had the puck and looked like he had a lane to shoot or dive to the net. Instead, he pulled up and tried to cross the puck. The pass was easily picked off and Rocco Grimaldi was off in the other direction. He would finish off the play with a highlight-reel spin-o-rama goal, but it all started with a poor decision.

This game was full of those moments. Bad decision by the Caps and the puck was off in the other direction. The uglier the game got, the more Washington’s system and hockey sense went out the window. Two of Nashville’s goals came on the breakaway and one came on a two-on-one. Those type of odd-man breaks happen because of breakdowns.

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