Wednesday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena, in Charlotte, the Knicks (13-4) defeated the Charlotte Bobcats (7-10) by the score of 100-98. Box Score
J.R. Smith scored 13 points on 6-16 from the field and hit the game winning shot at the buzzer.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 23 points on 8-22 shooting but scored only 3 points after halftime and had to leave the game after getting a laceration on his left middle finger with two minutes remaining in the fourth.
Tyson Chandler was 8-10 from the field with 18 points and had a season high 17 rebounds which was almost half of the Knicks 36 for the game.
Bronx native Kemba Walker led the Bobcats in scoring 25 points on 8-15 shooting and had a career high 11 assists. Mount Vernon native Ben Gordon added 18 points off the bench
The Knicks took a season high 41 three pointers, making only 13 which was good for only 32%.
The Knicks are now alone at the top of the Eastern Conference for the first time since the 1993-1994 season.
The beauty of writing post games is that there are games where the recap is easy and everything is going smooth and then there are games like tonight. With the score 96-90 late in the fourth, I’m thinking the Knicks are in serious trouble of losing this game. Then they lose Carmelo Anthony late in the game with a hand injury that required five stitches, still end the game on a 10-2 run in spite of losing Melo and get a game winning shot from the same guy who passed up a 2-on-1 fast break seconds earlier to hold for that final shot. It shouldn’t have been so hard against the Bobcats, but a win is a win, and what a win it was.
J.R. Smith is a character. After starting the game 0-7, he hits a three in the third quarter and looks to the heavens thanking God that he got one to go in. Later, after a great read on a poor pass from the Bobcats he gets a steal and starts 2-on-1 with only seconds remaining. But then he decides to back out and try to set the offense for the game winning shot before a time out was called. Then what happens next? This of course….
Carmelo Anthony was the only reason the Knicks didn’t get run out of the arena in the first half tonight. His 20 points in the first half helped keep the Knicks in it after blowing an early six point lead and falling behind by 10 in the 2nd quarter. His great shooting in the first half gave way to some poor shooting in the 2nd half, as he only had one field goal and three points overall in the 2nd half. His defense and hustle both helped the Knicks but almost led to a more serious issue when he hurt his finger after diving into his bench with 2 minutes left in the fourth. He did only need five stitches and is expected to play tomorrow but Melo, after the game, did caution that he wasn’t sure for now.
Tyson Chandler has been playing at an All-Star level since his poor performance against the Rockets a few weeks back. His great shooting continued as he was 8-10 from the field for 18 points and even showed off some post moves during the Knicks comeback in the fourth. He had 9 rebounds in the first quarter alone and ended with a season high 17, which amazingly was almost half of the Knicks total. He is such a catalyst for the Knicks defensively but the offense he has provided has been invaluable to the Knicks during this winning streak.
Raymond Felton was pretty bad in the first half when trying to play with his injured left hand wrapped up but was very good when he played without it in the second half. Felton ended up shooting 7-19 with 17 points and nine assists but started off ice cold from the floor including an air ball on a wide open three. But when the Knicks needed to tie the game, Felton, the former Bobcat, drove the lane and hit a layup to make it 98-98. Jason Kidd returned from his back injury to once again play brilliant basketball, forcing steals, making big shots when his number was called and just overall being the future Hall of Famer that he is. Seven points, three blocks, two steals, two rebounds and one assist off the bench for Kidd tonight as it was just another day at the office for him.
The Bobcats are going to be really good. Sometimes when rebuilding you gotta hit rock bottom before getting back up and after last season, the Cats are getting back up. Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are a good place to start a rebuild and Walker in particular was pretty impressive tonight. Walker, the former UCONN and Rice HS star has really adjusted well to the point guard role and has taken a big step forward to being a big time player in the NBA.
The Knicks missed a lot of good looks at the basket and seemed to let the Bobcats dictate the tempo of the game and drive the lane at will. But with all that, it just takes some great defense down the stretch and one clutch shot from J.R. Smith to get the Knicks their East leading 13th win of the season. Now with Miami looming on the second night of a back to back, we will see how they carry the momentum from this game into tomorrow on the road, in a place where the Heat haven’t lost all season.
Coming up next, the Knicks take their talents to South Beach for the first time this year as they take on Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and, the rival Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena. The game will begin at 8:00 pm and will be shown on TNT