[sny-box color="fff"] In Case You Missed It....
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring in his return from a Knee injury with a season high tying 45 points on 14-24 shooting from the field. He also added seven rebounds and four assists.
Amar'e Stoudemire, in his first game of the season after knee surgery in late October, played 17 minutes with six points on 3-8 shooting. He had one rebound and one block as well.
J.R. Smith scored over 25 for the fifth game in a row, scoring 28 on 10-22 shooting from the floor with a career high tying and team leading 11 rebounds.
Nicolas Batum led the Blazers in scoring with 26 points with six of his seven makes from three. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 19 points and had a game high 14 rebounds while Damian Lillard had 21 points, five rebounds and six assists.
Smith and Anthony combined to score 73 of the Knicks 100 points.
Knicks have allowed opponents to score 100 or more points in 5 of their last 8 games, and have lost all 5. They're 3-0 when holding opponents under 100. (Via Tommy Beer)
Knicks have now trailed after the first quarter in six consecutive games.
This is only the second time since Mike Woodson took over as coach that the Knicks have lost two in a row. In both instances, the losses were against Western Conference teams.
The Knicks have now gone 4-5 in the last nine games and 2-3 in the past five home games since the 10-0 start.
Tonight, the Knicks came out sluggish and allow the Blazers to lead wire to wire at the Garden to ring in the new year. They still lead the division by five games and are getting healthier, but certain trends that have developed recently are becoming a concern. Carmelo Anthony shook of the rust very quickly and at times was carrying the Knicks on his own, with some help from J.R. Smith. Amar'e made his long awaited return and looked like a guy who missed the past few months, which is to be expected. Slow starts, bad pick and roll defense, and quick guard play are killing the Knicks right now. No need what so ever break the glass on the panic button, but these trends of falling behind early and playing overall poor defense have got to be fixed.
- Carmelo Anthony must be rust proof because it did not take him long to get right back to being dominant for the Knicks. He was hitting almost anything he threw up and at times was the only option the Knicks had it seemed. 45 points after being a game time decision? I wonder how many he would have scored if he was fully healthy.
-Amar'e played as hard as he could and obviously played like a guy who has not played all season coming off of a knee injury. He did look better as the game went on, from the offensive side of things, but the defense is not good. Now he has to get back to full strength and into the flow of the game, but you have to think teams are going to challenge him defensively whenever they can. He is back and you have to think that he is only going to get better, which are two things that are definitely good for the Knicks.
- Great ovation by the crowd at MSG for Amar'e when he came into the game. No matter the struggles he has had the past year or so for the Knicks, without him this franchise might still be in the hole they were in before he signed. He changed the culture and expectations for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony may not be a Knick if not for Amar'e.
- J.R. Smith is playing so well right now. He makes so many tough shots, adds a nice scoring punch off the bench and brings plenty of energy into the game. He is going to be a key with Felton out to be the guy who can penetrate and create open looks for himself and his teammates.
- Jason Kidd didn't score, had only three assists and had a lot of trouble guarding Lillard. He has been so good for the Knicks this season, but the loss of Raymond Felton is starting to hurt more and more.
- Steve Novak is truly a bad player when he is not making any shots. He either over passes or forces shots when he is being guarded closely and his defense is truly horrendous. I have a feeling he will get it together and be effective, but Chris Copeland is lurking with a chance to steal his minutes.
- This was so great to see in the fourth quarter. Great look from J.R. Smith and Amar'e going to the basket with authority. (H/T to Jonah Kaner of The Knicks Wall)
- The Blazers have got a future that is going to be very bright. Lillard is just another young point guard that is going to be a star, Batum is a hard working player that can shoot the three and Aldridge continues to improve. I think that if the Blazers continue to get the toughness from J.J. Hickson and find a shooting guard that can play with Lillard, they could be a scary team out West for years to come.
At the end of the day, the Knicks are starting to get healthy, Anthony is still playing at an MVP caliber level and they still have a solid lead in the division. Those are three things that plenty of teams in the NBA would like to have. But, the issues that are starting become habits for the Knicks have got to be addressed and rectified sooner rather than later. This is the first time the Knicks have struggled for an extended period of time since Mike Woodson took over, lets see if the Knicks can turn things around starting Thursday against the Spurs.
Coming up next, the Knicks are back at home, looking to avoid a three game losing streak as they go up against, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs. The game will begin at 7:30 pm on Thursday and will be shown on MSG.
Have a Happy New Year!