Shump Struggles in Home Debut

NEW YORK – Iman Shumpert made his 2013 Madison Square Garden debut on Monday, but it didn’t work out the way he had hoped.

Shumpert started and went 1-of-6 for 2 points with 4 rebounds as the Knicks lost to the rival Nets, 88-85, evening the season series at 2-2.

He was 0-for-3 from deep after he had gone 2-of-3 from long range in last Thursday’s win over the Detroit Pistons in London. That was his first game back after ACL surgery.

“We have to come out here and win,” Shumpert said. “I am mad at the loss more so than what I am doing. I am trying to fit in. I got some open shots and I am supposed to knock those down.”

Shumpert covered Nets star Joe Johnson for much of the game, and Johnson torched the Knicks for a team-best 25 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.

But when Shumpert doubled in the past with 22.3 seconds left, Johnson hit a fadeaway, go-ahead jumper over J.R. Smith that gave the Nets the lead for good.

“It was good defense until the end,” Smith said.

“It is always a tough matchup with Joe,” Shumpert said. “They set good screens for him. He is great when he has the ball. He is a tough cover.”

With games coming up this week at Atlantic Division rivals Boston (Thursday) and Philadelphia (Saturday), the good news for the Knicks is that Shumpert’s left knee feels fine.

“I feel fine defensively and offensively,” he said. “I feel fine. I didn’t feel [the knee]. I feel good.”

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