NEW YORK — Kristaps Porzingis was trying to lead a fourth-quarter turnaround and just needed a couple Knicks teammates to join him.
Carmelo Anthony? Nope. Ineffective and on the bench.
Derrick Rose? Nope. Injured and on the bench.
Try Willy Hernangomez and Sasha Vujacic.
Porzingis had 19 points and 12 rebounds and New York rallied for a 95-90 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
“I think we just willed ourselves,” guard Brandon Jennings said.
Anthony had 15 points, but sat the final 12 minutes after shooting 6 for 22 from the field, possibly worn down from playing 46 minutes Sunday in a quadruple-overtime loss in Atlanta and 32 more Tuesday in a loss at Washington, when Porzingis sat out while sick.
Instead, the Knicks rallied behind Hernangomez, who had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Vujacic, who made team history by converting a pair of four-point plays in the game.
“It was a huge game for us,” Porzingis said. “Last night, obviously, we didn’t have a great game, so tonight we felt like this was a must-win for us and somehow we did it.”
The only other starter on the floor for the comeback was Jennings — and he was only starting because point guard Rose remained out with a sprained ankle.
“We know that second unit. They did a similar thing to us in the Garden,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “They were kind of the difference maker in our game at the Garden. They got us again tonight.”
The Knicks never led through three quarters and were down 10 when Porzingis and Hernangomez — former teammates in Spain for Seville — helped spark a 16-2 run to open an 82-78 advantage on Justin Holiday’s 3-pointer with 5:11 to play.
“I looked up one time, there was like five minutes, I was like, ‘Ain’t no way I’m going back in there,'” Anthony said. “These guys had it rolling, there wasn’t no need for us to go back in there and kind of break up what they had going on.”
They put it away when Porzingis had his 3-pointer bounce in for a 92-86 lead with 30 seconds left.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 for the Nets, who lost their seventh straight and fell to 0-9 against Atlantic Division opponents this season.
The Knicks had lost the first two games of this road trip to finish January at 5-12 and appeared to have no energy for most of this one. But now they have five straight at home as they hope to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Vujacic finished with 12 points, and Jennings had 10 assists.
Knicks: New York improved to just 2-9 on the second night of back-to-back games. … The Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak in Brooklyn.
Nets: The Nets have lost 10 in a row at home. … The 38 points the Nets allowed in the first half were the fewest they’ve given up in any half this season. … Brooklyn shook up the starting lineup, with Hollis-Jefferson replacing Trevor Booker and Isaiah Whitehead in for Spencer Dinwiddie.
Rose said he was out of the walking boot he had been wearing and had started shooting. He hopes to begin running Thursday or Friday with the possibility of returning Saturday against Cleveland.
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Atkinson grew up in New York and was an assistant for four years with the Knicks, and understands the Nets are fighting to win fans since moving to Brooklyn in 2012.
“I would say we are off-Broadway right now and we’re trying to get on and we know it’s a long road and difficult road,” he said. “But we’re trying to get in that conversation, in the New York conversation.”
Knicks: Host Cleveland on Saturday night in the ABC prime-time game. The Cavaliers have won eight straight in the series.
Nets: Host Indiana on Friday. Brooklyn won the first meeting for Atkinson’s first career win, but the Pacers have easily taken the last two.