Kicking off a three-game road trip, the Knicks began it on a winning note, winning a wild game against the Charlotte Bobcats by a score of 100-98 last night. Tyson Chandler led the Knicks with a monster 18 point, 17 rebound performance while Carmelo Anthony led the scoring attack with 23 points. Despite a tough shooting game from J.R. Smith, he finished with 13 points and the game-winning jumper as time expired. Second year guard and Bronx native Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 25 points and 11 assists.
With a game against the Miami Heat later night, the Knicks had the look of a team that was overlooking their opponent. After racing out to a 12-6 lead early on, the Knicks couldn’t keep the momentum up and step on the throats of what should’ve been an inferior opponent. A 9-1 run from the Bobcats gave Charlotte a 15-13 lead, letting the Knicks know they were in for a hell of a game. The Bobcats shot 50% from the floor in the opening period, led by Walker’s seven points and five assists. The Knicks would recover to finish off the quarter up 26-24 but who knows where they would’ve been without Chandler and Anthony. Chandler almost had himself a double-double in the quarter (eight points, nine rebounds), while Anthony continued his first quarter dominance this season, scoring 10 points.
Like two boxers, the teams exchanged blows to start off the second quarter. Jeff Taylor opened the quarter scoring to tie the game at 26 before J.R. Smith got the lead back for the Knicks with a jump shot of his own. Ben Gordon would tie it up again before Smith gave the Knicks the lead…again. Ramon Sessions tied it with a layup, Jason Kidd gave the Knicks the lead with a trey and he of course was matched by a Gerald Henderson three-pointer to tie the game at 33. The Bobcats then took control, going on a 16-6 run to take a 10-point lead. The Knicks defense was completely non-existent again, allowing the Bobcats to shoot 52% in the quarter. However, they answered with a 12-4 run before halftime to go into the break down 53-51. Anthony continued his torrid start with an additional 10 points in the quarter to give him 20 for the half.
Whatever Mike Woodson told his team about their defensive effort at halftime seemed to have worked. The Knicks defense finally showed up, holding the Bobcats to 40% in the quarter. Problem for the Knicks, they left their first-half shooting in the locker room. They shot a ghastly 30% in the quarter, “led” by Anthony’s 0-for-6. If not for each team’s starting point guards, the fans who showed up to watch the game would’ve had a legitimate right to ask for one-fourth of their game ticket price back for the ugly third-quarter. Raymond Felton, playing in the city that drafted him into the NBA, led the Knicks with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting, while Walker led the Bobcats with 10 points, going 2-for-4 from the field and hitting all five of his free throws. Each team shared time with the lead, with the Knicks opening the half with a 10-4 run to take a six point lead before the Bobcats responded with a 10-4 run of their own to tie it and eventually take a 75-72 lead into the final period.
The teams made up the ugliness that was the third quarter with a heart racing fourth. Gerald Henderson was a one man show for the Bobcats early, scoring the Bobcats first nine points of the quarter. The Knicks bench did their best to keep up with Henderson, answering each of his forays with baskets of their own. With the Bobcats leading 84-82, Charlotte used a 9-3 run to take an eight-point lead with 6:13 left in regulation. From there however, the young Bobcats would crumble. They would score just five points the rest of the way and commit five turnovers, basically handling the Knicks the game. The Knicks used an 11-5 run to cut the Bobcats lead to 98-96 with under three minutes remaining. Then, all Knicks fans in the world held their collective breaths. With 2:10 remaining, Bismack Biyombo had a shot blocked by Smith that went out of bounds. Anthony, as he’s done multiple times this season, ran after the all and made a diving attempt at it. The Knicks wound up with possession anyway, as the shot clock expired on the Bobcats before the ball went out of bounds. Anthony would hurt himself on the dive, suffering a laceration on his left middle finger that required stitches and forced him out of the rest of the game.
On the Knicks next possession, some fans must’ve suffered lacerations of some kind as they watched the team miss three chances to either tie or take the lead. Felton missed a jumper but rebounded his own miss. Kidd attempted a three-pointer but missed, only to have it rebounded by Chandler. After swinging the ball around, a wide open Steve Novak missed a three-pointer of his own from the corner before the Bobcats could finally come up with the rebound. On the Bobcats next possession, Henderson missed a jumper but the effort of rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, diving to the ground to get the rebound, retained possession for Charlotte. Unfortunately for them, they committed the first of three turnovers in the last 90 seconds of the game, failing to inbound the ball, to give the Knicks back the ball. Felton would tie the game at 98 with a layup. Gordon would be called for traveling on the Bobcats next possession but Felton missed an 18-foot jumper with 18.9 seconds to give the Bobcats the chance at the win. However, with eight seconds left, the Bobcats would give the ball right back to the Knicks, as Smith came up with a steal and raced down the court with Felton for what should’ve been a 2-on-1 fast break. Without Anthony on the floor, it seemed the Knicks had no idea what to do, prompting Kidd to call a timeout, almost knocking down a referee and falling over the scorer’s table in an effort to do it. With 3.4 second left, Smith took an inbound pass from Kidd and promptly drilled a fadeaway shot as time expired to give the Knicks the crazy victory.
- The Knicks attempted 41 three-pointers. That is not a typo. For those wondering, they still missed out on the team record. They attempted 47 against the Chicago Bulls on December 17th, 2009.
- Jason Kidd made his return to the lineup after missing four games. Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Kidd played 25 minutes and scored seven points while getting three blocked shots and two steals.
- After his 20-point barrage in the first half, Anthony scored just three-points in the second half on 1-for-11 shooting.
- The Knicks won despite losing the rebound (50-36), shooting (47%-42%) and free-throws (13-9) battles.
- While the Bobcats committed four costly turnovers in the fourth quarter, the Knicks had none in the period and just eight in the game.
- The win puts the Knicks on top of the Eastern Conference standings at 13-4, half game ahead of the Miami Heat (12-4). The two teams do battler later tonight.