The Knicks refused to go away, but the Nets held on 103-101 Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York. >> Box Score
Five things to know from Sunday's game
1) Starting for rookie shooting guard RJ Barrett, who missed the game with an illness, the Knicks went with small forward Kevin Knox at the two. Knox was unable to contribute much offensively, scoring five points on 1-of-4 shooting and two free throws, and added only three rebounds and three assists. Barrett's overall presence was missed on both ends.
2) While the Nets were without Kyrie Irving for the fifth straight game as he recovers from his right shoulder impingement, Spencer Dinwiddie starred in the star point guard's place. The Knicks had no answer for Dinwiddie, who dropped a game-high 30 points on 7-of-17 shooting -- including 13 for 14 free throws -- with three triples. Dinwiddie dished four assists and grabbed four rebounds.
3) The Knicks trailed from the opening tip through the end of the first quarter, down 29-20, but New York -- to its credit -- did not let the game turn into a Nets blowout as it repeatedly chipped away. For the first and last time of the game, the Knicks took the 33-32 lead at the 8:15 mark of the second quarter after center Bobby Portis drained the go-ahead three-pointer. The Nets regained control, but the Knicks kept the score within 10 points or less the rest of the way, including the 98-97 deficit with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter.
4) Aside from 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting (7 for 8 on three-pointers) by small forward Marcus Morris, the Knicks ultimately were unable to keep pace with the Nets. Power forward Julius Randle managed 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds, while guards Wayne Ellington (12 points) and Dennis Smith Jr. (10 points) pitched in off the bench, but the Knicks' three-point shooting -- 18 for 35 (51.4 percent) -- and overall shooting from the floor masked troubles at the free-throw line. The Knicks struggled at the charity stripe, making 9 of 16 (56.3 percent) attempts.
5) With the loss to the Nets (8-8), the skid extends to three games for the Knicks (4-13). The Nets, meanwhile, have won three games in a row. Since last Monday's 123-105 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Knicks have fallen in by seven points or less, including hard-fought defeats at the Philadelphia Sixers (109-104, Nov. 18) and against the San Antonio Spurs (111-104, Nov. 23).
The Knicks start the week on the road for Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. ET game against the Raptors (11-4) at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.