On Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (17-5) defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (9-14) by the score of 116-107. Box Score
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring tonight with 30 points on 10-15 shooting, scoring 22 in the first quarter. He left in the middle of third quarter with a sprained left ankle and did not return.
Raymond Felton had 19 points making nine out of a game high 26 shots. He added eight assists and only one turnover.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers in scoring with 31 points on 10-24 shooting with a team high 10 rebounds and six assists. Metta World Peace added 23 points and Dwight Howard had 20 points as well.
The Knicks were out-rebounded 55-45 and were led in rebounds by Jason Kidd with nine.
The Knicks shot 12-25 from three tonight and in their last two games are 26-53 from behind the arc.
The Knicks bench outscored the Lakers 38-27. J.R. Smith had 18 and Steve Novak had 12 points on four three pointers
The Knicks are now 20-1 at home under Mike Woodson and 9-0 this year which ties them for the best start at home since 1992-1993.
When the season began, I’m sure everyone thought that the Knicks would be the best team in the East and the Lakers would look completely lost. If you did, I want you to give me the lottery numbers for tomorrow please.
What a great game for the Knicks on national TV for the second week in a row, against a team most people believed were the best in the West before the season started. Now Lakers fans will remind you that they are missing Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and heck, even Steve Blake. I would like to remind them of the injuries to Amar’e, Shumpert and that Melo left mid way through the third quarter and did not return.
Madison Square Garden is place that no team will have it easy, which is a pleasant change from years past. What hasn’t changed about basketball at MSG? Mike D’Antoni can’t win there.
Tonight, we begin with Carmelo Anthony, again. He came out tonight in the first quarter like a man on a mission. He scored 22 points in the first, only two short of the team record for points in a quarter. He did struggle in the second after an extended break, but still was playing some great ball. In the third quarter, he was fouled hard by Dwight Howard on a drive to the basket and landed on his left leg which looked worse with every replay shown. He left with what was called a left sprained ankle and is day to day, but it could have been so much worse. The focus certainly is how Melo will feel tomorrow and if he will miss any games, but lets not forget what he did before the injury. He was on pace for at least 40, if not 50 points, and the Lakers seemed to have no answers for him. As Jason Kidd told reporters after the game, “Melo was like a video game tonight. I don’t play them, but [it seemed like] you just hit ‘X’ and it goes in every time.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
I think that Raymond Felton had a weird game tonight. He shot the ball poorly again and actually took more shots that Kobe Bryant, which has to be considered an upset. But then his steady hand in the fourth quarter with some smart passes and slow down of the game was helpful. Any game that a point guard has eight assists and only one turnover, has to be considered a good game. Sure, he takes way too may jump shots from 18-21 feet out, but you have to take the good with the bad.
Jason Kidd took only two shots, had only five points and yet once again helped to affect this game positively for the Knicks. He led the team with nine rebounds and added five assists. He also had two steals, only was charged with one turnover and was a +10. Jason Kidd may be the one of the few guys in the NBA that can score five points and yet do so many other positive things that his lack of scoring doesn’t matter.
The Knicks did fall into a trap during this game that most teams do when they take such a large lead early. They did let the Lakers get back into this game somewhat which led to some nervous moments for sure. But, lets also remember that this came after Melo got hurt, and if he was out there, I’m sure the Knicks offense doesn’t struggle as it did during stretches of the second half.
The Knicks bench had a nice game tonight filling in when Melo went down to keep the Lakers at arm’s length. J.R. Smith, who was battling back spasms only two days ago, shot the ball well again with 18 points on 7-14 from the field. Steve Novak hit a couple of three’s in the third that helped the Knicks right after the Melo injury keep the energy up and added three rebounds and four assists as well. The biggest shot in this game came from J.R. in the fourth and really was the dagger for the Lakers tonight. After Kobe Bryant made a fall away three in the corner to cut the lead to 7, the Garden got nervous and they needed a basket. The Knicks hit Tyson Chandler with an ally oop and then after a miss from World Peace, Smith knocked down a three. Game over.
The Lakers are in real trouble until Steve Nash and Pau Gasol can come back. This situation with Steve Nash reminds me a little bit of the Baron Davis situation last season. Everyone inside and outside of LA believe that Steve Nash coming back healthy is the key to turning it around, which is the same way we felt about Davis getting healthy. It very well may be the case that it does work right away and comparing Nash and Davis really isn’t fair, because of the talent gap, but what if it doesn’t work. It would be interesting if Nash came back and the problems continued for the Lakers. If that is the case, the drama in Hollywood will reach a fevered pitch.
Mike D’Antoni seems like a nice guy and he can coach offense like nobody else, but the lack of defense is just horrible. I know that is not breaking news to any of us Knicks fans who watched him the past four years not preach defense. But for the sake of his coaching career, he must change if he is going to win a championship.
This was a fun night to be a Knicks fan once again. They took it to the Lakers and Mike D’Antoni to keep the undefeated streak at home going. The only concern tonight is how will Melo feel tomorrow and when he will play again. But, considering how it looked, we should feel lucky it was not worse. The Knicks are the best team in the East and have a great argument for being the best team in the NBA. Not a bad feeling, in my humble opinion to have, after all the years of losing. Lets all enjoy this win tonight and lets hope that Melo can come back sooner rather than later.
Coming up next, the Knicks continue their home stand and look to remain undefeated at home as they take on Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game will begin at 7:30 pm on Saturday and will be shown on MSG.