How a Nets showdown brought out the worst in Raymond Felton

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Tyson Chandler struts. (NBA.com)
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Through the first 12 games of the N.B.A. season, the New York Knicks were 9-3, thanks in large part to Raymond Felton. 

He was shooting better than 44 percent, both overall and from three-point range, while his lobs have become a staple of the team's offense. His turnovers were down, and his Player Efficiency Rating was 19.1, just a stone's throw from Jeremy Lin's 2011-12 mark of 19.9.

Felton didn't throw all that away in his dreadful performance Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, a 96-89 Nets win in overtime. But just as surely as he helped the Knicks to their strong start, Felton is the principal reason they lost to the Nets.

It isn't simply that Felton shot 3-for-19, bringing back memories of John Starks in the 1994 N.B.A. Finals. Starks, of course, was that team's second scoring option, and Hakeem Olajuwon was guarding Patrick Ewing, the team's first option.

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This time around, Felton kept on shooting and shooting despite a dominant game from Carmelo Anthony, who scored 35 points in 50 minutes, and a career-best scoring output from Tyson Chandler, who scored 28 points on 13-for-14 shooting.

Take that in. The team's point guard, in the middle of shooting 16 percent for the game, repeatedly took contested shots late in the fourth quarter and overtime on possessions in which neither Anthony, who was getting to the basket at will, nor Chandler, who scored nearly every single time he shot, so much as touched the ball.

By the time a spent Anthony got a couple of shots in overtime, the Nets had built their lead for good. The ugly totals from the second half: Anthony, 5-for-13, Chandler, 6-for-6, Felton, 1-for-14.

"I was getting to the basket; I just couldn't hit nothing," Felton said following the game. "My floater wasn't going, my midrange wasn't going. Shots that I normally hit just weren't going for me tonight. If I could change it, I would have, but it was just one of those nights. I just have to try to put it behind me. I'm probably just as mad as any fan, any player, anybody you could think about."

That Raymond Felton has been taking, and making, open three-point shots when getting the ball back from a double-teamed Carmelo Anthony, or going to the basket to score or draw the defense in himself, has made him a success with the Knicks. Seeing him take it upon himself to try and win a game his teammates were winning just fine on their own, thank you, is no winning formula. And it is fair to wonder, had Jason Kidd been healthy and available to play last night, just how long Mike Woodson would have stuck with Felton playing like that.

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