Tonight at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, the Knicks (8-1) defeated the New Orleans Hornets (3-6) by the score of 102-80 . Box Score
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 29 points on 12-22 shooting with six rebounds and four assists while not playing in the 4th Quarter in the blowout.
10 players scored for the Knicks as the bench got plenty of playing time in the second half, J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton added 15 points each and James White had a season high seven.
The Knicks out rebounded an opponent for the second straight game as they had a 49-36 advantage on the glass and had a 13-5 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Ryan Anderson led the Hornets in scoring with 15 points and eight rebounds. The Hornets only scored 49 points in the 1st, 3rd and 4th quarters. They did score 31 in the 2nd quarter, one less than they scored in the entire second half (32)
Due to the blowout and the game against the Mavericks in Dallas tomorrow night none of the starters played over 30 minutes.
This is the third time in franchise history that the Knicks have started a season 8-1, the last two times it happened was in 69-70 and 72-73. Both teams went on to win the NBA Championship
In honor of the nickname for New Orleans, “The Big Easy”, the Knicks had a very easy time defeating the Hornets other than the second quarter where a bunch of random players in Hornets uniforms knocked down some threes against the 2nd unit. The defensive effort was exceptional in the second half after that poor quarter as they gave up 32 points in the half after giving up 31 in the second quarter.
Carmelo Anthony was going to score somewhere in the 40’s or 50’s tonight if the game not been out of hand by the middle of the 3rd quarter as he was on point from the second the game started. He outscored the Hornets by himself 19-17 in the first quarter and outside of one horrific transition three point attempt was doing everything right. He drove to the basket, hit his mid range jumper and had a couple of three’s thrown in as well. An all around offensive performance from Melo that he makes look so easy and that is the true joy of having a player of his stature on the Knicks and watching him each and every night.
Raymond Felton continued his strong play as it seemed like every shot that he took helped to keep the Hornets out of reach in the first half and eventually put them away in the second half. He only took eight shots tonight but six of them were from behind the arc hitting five of them for 15 points to go along with six assists and was a +30 in only 29 minutes.
The second unit cannot play like they did in the second quarter tonight after that great first quarter by the starters. They came out flat and were poor on defense. I’m sure at halftime Mike Woodson was not pleased that the Knicks allowed 31 in the quarter and had blown a 14 point lead. The 2nd unit played much better in the second half and got some good minutes with the game out of hand. The energy wasn’t there early for the bench and that is something that this team can’t get away with against the good teams in the NBA. Tonight they were lucky that the Hornets are not one of those teams
Steve Novak’s shooting is one of the very few concerns that I have about this team right now. He is just off with his shot and when he does hit a three, you think he is out of it and then he will miss a few in a row again and its back to being in his slump. He was 3-12 overall and 2-10 from downtown which was the first time he has missed six or more three’s in a game in his career. I think that the changes he has tried to make the season to get open more often has hurt him a little bit, but its a necessary evil at this point. I’m confident today that he will get out of this slump, it happens to everyone, but ask me next week if I feel the same if this continues till then.
The Hornets have a lot of young talented players that in the future could be the cornerstone of what is a consistent playoff team in the West. But tonight is apart of the growing pains a young team has to go through. Missing Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, the Hornets had to rely on Ryan Anderson and a struggling Austin Rivers to provide the scoring and though they did ok, its not going to work for the 2012 season. A team that has Davis up front with a Vazquez, Rivers and Gordon back court isn’t a bad way to start a franchise rebuild.
This was the kind of game that you can get some burn for the end of the bench and give your normal rotation guys a chance to rest and get ready for the second game of a back to back on the road. Carmelo was fantastic, everyone got on the scoring sheet for the most part, the defense for three quarters was exceptional and the Knicks are off to their best start since the Championship seasons of the early 1970’s.
Coming up next, the Knicks will play the second of a back to back as they take on the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center, Wednesday Night at 8:30 PM. The game will be on MSG.