NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points in three quarters, rookie Iman Shumpert added 16, and the New York Knicks beat the New Jersey Nets 92-83 on Saturday in the preseason opener for both teams.
Renaldo Balkman had 20 points for the Knicks, who got only 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting from Amare Stoudemire. But they got a strong effort from their reserves, with Shumpert, the first-round pick from Georgia Tech, outplaying starting guards Toney Douglas and Landry Fields.
The Knicks play the first game of the NBA season, hosting Boston on Christmas afternoon.
“I think everybody was just anxious out there to get back on the court. First game, it didn’t really feel real out there,” Anthony said. “Preseason came so fast, so everybody had to get back into their daily routine and things like that, but it was good to get back out there on the basketball court, I’ll tell you that.”
The Knicks shot only 40.5 percent but held the Nets below 25 points in all four quarters, showing their new commitment to defense may pay off.
“We feel good. It was a great, great first game for us,” Stoudemire said. “Guys are still a little bit rusty, including myself … but I feel great. Defense looked phenomenal and we just have to keep it going.”
Tyson Chandler, who helped Dallas win the NBA title before coming to New York in a sign-and-trade, had four points, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 27 minutes.
Brook Lopez and Anthony Morrow each scored 15 for the Nets, but All-Star guard Deron Williams shot just 4 of 12 and scored nine. The Nets are hoping to trade for Dwight Howard, but in the meantime appear short on talent beyond Williams and Lopez.
“A little sloppy basketball. We expected that. We only had two scrimmages in training camp so things are going to be rusty,” Williams said. “We are not going to be in the right spots at times. We are going to make mistakes. That’s just part of learning, part of being a new team.”
But coach Avery Johnson was optimistic about what he saw.
“I thought we were awfully good overall. If we are going to play games this year where the opponent is going to shoot 40 percent from the field, score 92 points or less, we win the rebounding game, says a lot about the personality of your team,” he said. “We are going to have a chance to be really good.”
Mike Bibby’s 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer gave the Knicks a 69-66 lead, and Balkman scored the first seven points of the fourth as New York pulled away.
The teams meet again Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.