The Knicks avoided a potential let-down game in New Orleans, coasting (except for some select moments) past a banged up Hornets team. After jumping out to a 29-17 lead in the first quarter, the Knicks stalled in second, getting outscored 31-24 and taking a 5 point lead into the break. Everything started to click in the second half (as it has for almost every game this season) and the Knicks ran away with it, 102-80. Below are some notes on what went right and what went
- Carmelo Anthony led all players in scoring with 29, and got the majority of it in the first quarter. The Meloman shot 8-9 from the field and 2-3 from deep, scoring 19 points. The Hornets started out with Al-Farouq Aminu guarding Melo, with Ryan Anderson also taking a crack at stopping him. They, um, failed and Melo outscored the Hornets in the first quarter by himself. Melo relentlessly backed down the smaller Aminu in the post, either passing out to the perimeter after the defense collapsed, or scoring over Aminu if no help came. When Anderson was matched up against him, Melo blew by him into the center of the defense and did the same. His one miss in the first was a heat-check PUJIT that missed badly. I wasn’t pleased with that particular shot, but had it gone in I would have done a cartwheel, and I don’t even know how to do a cart-wheel. He finished the quarter with two brilliant plays as well: First, Melo had a beautiful spin move from the left block , and then in one motion drew a blocking foul and put up a 6-ft floater. The floater went down, and Melo knocked down the free throw ending his scoring for that period. On the next possession, Melo set up on the left-wing, reading the help-defense. As the shot clock reached 3, he threw a laser cross-court pass to Steve Novak who buried a corner 3. That was a pretty cool sequence. It’s worth mentioning that Melo shot 4-13 for the rest of the game, but he’s Melo so it’s fine.
- Jason Kidd kept the troll-bus rolling, as he played as ridiculously as he looked. Although his stat line doesn’t look spectacular (3PTS, 5 REBS, 4ASTS, 2STLS, 1 poorly positioned head-band) he was stellar. There was one stretch where Kidd intercepted a pass, then in one motion threw a touchdown pass to Melo all the way down court, followed by Kidd again playing the passing lane, throwing the ball out to Felton on the break only to then get it back for a spot-up 3. His best moment, however, was when Aminu was coming full speed to the hoop on the break, started gathering for a layup, and Kidd ripped the ball cleanly out of his hands and threw a behind-the-back outlet pass all in what seemed like a split-second.
- Raymond Felton had 15 PTS by making 5-6 3s. I believe all but one of his attempts was wide open, and the one that I am referring to was an amazing shot, beating the clock while double-teamed and falling away. The Knicks didn’t run too much pick-and-roll, as the ball was in Anthony’s hands for the majority of the time the starters were on the court, and in turn, Felton became a spot up shooter.
- Tyson Chandler went through a spell in the second quarter and played very tentatively, most likely because of the 2 quick fouls he had picked up. At halftime, Herb Williams was interviewed and said the coaches were encouraging Tyson to play more aggressively, which for some reason made me think of this. Needless to say, Tyson came out fired up in the second half and finished with 7 PTS and 12 REBS.
- Clyde was wearing a suit that was the same color as a crushed blueberry. He also called Tyson the “MVP of the Defensive Player of the Year.” Or, as I call it: Clyde things.
- During that second quarter where the lead shrunk, the Knicks bench played poorly. Prigioni had a poor game, throwing away a couple passes, and the overall defense was poor. Whatever.
- James “Flight” White came in the 3rd quarter, which caught me off guard. Flight proceeded to steal a pass and then through down a monster tomahawk. Also, he wore incredibly bright orange shoes.
- Steve Novak shot 2-10 from 3, but most of those came in garbage time and Steve was just chuckin’. He’ll be fine.
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd, that’s about it. Woodson rested the starters in the 4th, getting them ready for the second game of the back-to-back, which is against Dallas. Jason Kidd returns to Dallas! And Tyson! It should be a good one.