Nets edge Knicks on LeVert’s basket
NEW YORK — Caris LeVert had the ball in his hands in the final seconds and the chance to give his team the lead.
Two nights earlier, he fumbled it away.
He made the most of his second chance Friday.
LeVert’s driving layup with a second left gave the Brooklyn Nets their first victory of the season, 107-105 over the New York Knicks.
LeVert had a career-high 28 points, surpassing the 27 points he scored Wednesday night in Detroit in a close loss. He made sure they pulled this one out, driving right into the lane and putting up the tiebreaking shot over Tim Hardaway Jr.
After the game he said, ‘Coach, I owed you one,'” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.
The Nets trailed by one in Detroit when LeVert lost the ball out of bounds with 8.5 seconds left, and they lost by three. But Brooklyn called his number again and he finished up his 15-point final quarter.
“Kenny had a lot of confidence to go back to me tonight and I just wanted to come through,” LeVert said.
D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen each added 15 points for the Nets. They improved to 6-1 in home openers since moving to Brooklyn in 2012.
Hardaway and Enes Kanter each scored 29 points for the Knicks, who were trying for just their third 2-0 start in 20 years. Kanter tied it on a three-point play with 15.9 seconds remaining but all they could manage for a final shot after LeVert’s basket was a long 3-pointer by Hardaway that wasn’t close.
Hardaway was disappointed he didn’t do more to stop LeVert, his college teammate at Michigan.
“I felt like I could have defended it a lot better. He’s been going right the whole entire game so I’ve just got to know that,” Hardaway said.
The Nets were still without starting forwards Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who just became a father, and DeMarre Carroll, who had right ankle surgery. But they got back Allen Crabbe, their normal starting guard who came off the bench after missing the opener while recovering sprained left ankle.
They shot 70 percent in the first quarter and were in control until early in the second half. Then, Kanter and Frank Ntilikina had a couple of baskets apiece in an 11-0 run that wiped out a 10-point deficit and gave the Knicks a 66-65 lead on Hardaway’s 3-pointer.
New York was ahead 76-74 after three quarters and neither team led by more than six in a back-and-forth final 12 minutes.
Knicks: New York’s previous 2-0 starts were in 2012-13 and 1999-00. … G Courtney Lee, sidelined by a neck injury since the preseason, experienced spasms when he picked up his workout level, delaying his season debut. … G Emmanual Mudiay didn’t like the way his sprained right ankle responded when he tried putting more pressure on it and remained out, with coach David Fizdale saying he would be day to day.
Nets: Joe Harris’ first 3-pointer was his 237th a Net, moving him into 10th place on the franchise’s career list. Next up for Harris, in his third season with Brooklyn, is recently retired Richard Jefferson (286), who is now a Nets’ analyst for YES Network. … F Traveon Graham strained his left hamstring in the first half and missed the rest of the game.
Knicks rookie Kevin Knox finished with 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting off the bench and was in the game down the stretch. The No. 9 pick in the draft struggled late in preseason to lose what was expected to be a starting spot and shot 4 for 16 on Wednesday in the opener. He said nothing in particular led to his better night.
“I got some wide-open looks the last few games. Today I got some good looks and just the difference is I was making them tonight,” Knox said.
The Nets made 11 of their first 14 shots from the field.
QBS IN THE CROWD
Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Josh McCown were at the game.
Knicks: Host Boston on Saturday night.
Nets: Visit Indiana on Saturday night.