Beginning a three-game Western Conference road trip, the Knicks got off to a flying start, routing the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Hornets by a score of 102-80. The win was the second in a row for the Knicks, who are now 8-1 in the young season and maintain the NBA’s best record. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 29 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Hornets were led by Ryan Anderson’s 15 points and eight rebounds.
It was the “Carmelo Anthony” show in the first quarter as Melo was straight cookin’. Anthony outscored the Hornets all by himself, 19-17. He was a ridiculous 8-of-9 from the floor in the period, including two three-pointers. Thank goodness Melo was hot, as the rest of the Knicks were just 3-for-12 in the period. Even with the rest of the team cold as ice, the Knicks still managed to shoot 53% in the quarter. Over half of their attempts came from behind the arc, as the team shot 5-for-12 from three-point range. The Knicks did come out intense on defense, holding the Hornets to 38% shooting and forced four turnovers that led to eight points.
With Anthony on the bench to begin the quarter, the Knicks extended their lead to 14 on a J.R. Smith jumper to start the scoring in the period but things went down hill quick. The Hornets used a 19-3 run to take a two point lead mid-way thru the second quarter. Hornets reserve Brian Roberts, who had four three-point makes coming into the game, turned into Steve Kerr in the quarter. He drilled 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to lead the Hornets comeback. Overall, the Hornets shot 62% from the floor in the quarter, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, as the Knicks second unit showed none of the defensive intensity the starters displayed to open the game. However, Raymond Felton matched Roberts three three-pointers with three of his own. A Felton trey with 5:15 left in the first half gave the Knicks a 39-38 lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game. Despite the team shooting just 39% in the quarter, they took a 53-48 lead into halftime.
The Knicks defensive intensity returned as the team finally pulled away from the lowly Hornets. They held the Hornets to 36% shooting and 16 points. Meanwhile, with the help of four three-pointers and 8-of-10 free throw makes, the Knicks scored 30 points in the quarter to put the game away. Garbage time arrived so early that James White logged three minutes of play as Coach Mike Woodson began resting his starters for tomorrow night’s game vs the Dallas Mavericks.
Extended garbage time. The only story for the Knicks in the fourth quarter was to see if Steve Novak could shake off his extended shooting slump, but no luck on that. Novak shot just 2-of-7 in the quarter (1-of-6 from beyond the arc). The only Knicks starter to play in the quarter was Jason Kidd, who played the first three minutes before heading to the bench the rest of the night. Knicks fans did get treated to a dunk from “Flight” White. With five minutes remaining, White stole the ball from Robin Lopez and took off on a one-man fast break, throwing down a one-handed dunk, jumping from the outside part of the inner free-throw line arc.
- The Knicks 8-1 start marks the third time the franchise has won eight of their first nine games. The previous two times? None other than the championship seasons of 1969-70 and 1972-73.
- The Knicks out rebounded the Hornets 49-36. It is just the second time this season the Knicks have out rebounded their opponents. They out rebounded the Indiana Pacers this past Sunday 48-47.
- The Knicks matched their season high of 36 three-point attempts. They also attempted 36 shots from beyond the arc in their season opening win vs the Miami Heat.
- Speaking of three-pointers, Knicks sharp-shooter Steve Novak is in an absolute funk. After knocking down 5-of-8 from beyond the arc in the season’s first game, Novak has gone 11-of-39 in three-point attempts. While the 39% mark would be considered good for the average NBA player, Novak entered the season as a career 44% shooter from three-point range and shot 47% from there last season.
- The Knicks face the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow night. The team is looking for their first season sweep over the Mavs since the 1999-2000 season.