Despite Carmelo Anthony being held to a career-low one point, the New York Knicks managed to snap a six game losing streak on Tuesday in a, 111-78, rout of the Charlotte Bobcats.
It was a must win for New York. After a frustrating double-overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night -that extended their skid to six games- the Knicks were left searching for answers. Anthony, who has been bothered by injuries to his right thumb, left wrist and right ankle, questioned his own play in the loss, as he made only 10-of-30 shots. Amar’e Stoudemire’s play had been affected by Anthony’s offensive dominance and the Knicks offense, altogether, seemed out of sync. New York’s confidence was low and head coach Mike D’Antoni had no solution. So before their match up with the Bobcats on Tuesday, Melo looked to raise his squad’s moral and vowed to get everyone else involved — even if it meant him taking fewer shots. The result: a 33 point blowout in a Knicks victory.
The Knicks routed the Bobcats on Tuesday night, despite Anthony, who had been averaging 25.7 points per game this season, being held to only one point in 30 minutes of playing time. For just the second time in his career, Melo was held without a field goal, as he went 0-for-7 from the field and his single point came off of a made technical free throw in the third quarter. But, even with Anthony’s shooting slump, on this night, the Knicks didn’t need much scoring from their premier player.
New York’s newly acquired center Tyson Chandler picked up the slack finishing with 20 points and 17 rebounds to help the Knicks overcome Carmelo’s lack of offense. The former Bobcats star shot 9-for-10 from the field, with six baskets coming on dunks. Stoudemire rediscovered his offense and chipped in 18 points and eight rebounds, while Landry Fields, who has been most affected since Melo was acquired last season, added 18 points and four assists.
The Knicks, who began a four-game road trip, established control in the first half. Behind by 28-26 early in the second quarter, the Knicks went on a 9-0 run and never looked back. They built a 52-42 advantage at halftime behind Chandler’s nearly perfect first half. He was 6-for-6 from the floor with 13 points and nine rebounds, simply outplaying Bobcats center Bryon Mullens (six points, five rebounds). Knicks breakout rookie Iman Shumpert was able to disturb Charlotte’s rookie sensation Kemba Walker. The 6’1” Walker, who shot 5-of-6 from the field for 15 points in the first half, turned the ball over four times and seemed bothered by length of the 6’5” Shumpert. The Knicks led, 73-57, through three quarters as the Bobcats shot a woeful 6-of-24 from the field. New York ran away with the game in the fourth while resting their starters, including Anthony, who contributed 11 rebounds and four assists.
Charlotte’s atrocious performance was to the chagrin of Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, who sat courtside with his former agent David Falk. The Bobcats played without starting point guard D.J. Augustin, who will miss at least three more games with a right toe injury. Walker led Charlotte with 22 points, five rebounds and two assists, but his costly turnovers allowed New York to balloon the lead in the third. Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson and forward Derrick Brown each scored 15 points and star forward Boris Diaw, who had averaged 21.5 points per game in his previous two games against the Knicks, had just four points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field. Tuesday night’s defeat was the fifth straight loss for the struggling Bobcats. They will look to end their skid on Wednesday, when they travel to Washington to face the Wizards.
The Knicks recorded their first win since Jan. 11. They dominated the paint, outrebounding Charlotte 53-33 and pounded the defenseless Bobcats with 14 dunks. New York hopes to carry this momentum to Cleveland on Wednesday night and sustain it through Friday for their contest against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Don’t expect Melo to be passive on Friday night!