In this season of streaks, the Knicks may soon find themselves on yet another one. On Sunday, off the heels of Carmelo Anthony’s 62-point performance, the Knicks defeated another disappointing, high profile opponent, the Los Angeles Lakers. While Anthony, reasonably, didn’t reach the heights he did on Friday, he still racked up a game-high 35 points to raise his 2-game total to 97, and the Knicks held on late to defeat former coach Mike D’Antoni’s Kobe-Bryant-and-Steve-Nash-less Lakers. Some thoughts:
- As we mentioned, Anthony is now averaging 49.5 points in his last two games. On Sunday he wasn’t all that efficient, shooting 14-of-31 overall, and he especially struggles from 3-point range (2-of-7). But with the overmatched duo of Ryan Kelly and Wesley Johnson guarding him a lot of the way, Anthony still poured in 35. He also passed well, and as opposed to Friday night where he also did but didn’t register an assist, got to that seemingly magic number of 5. He didn’t rebound as well as normal, pulling down only four, but others chipped in in that department.
- This was a Mike D’Antoni type of game. Both teams shot well, overall and from deep, and there wasn’t much contesting going on from either side. It was a pretty soft affair. The Knicks’ guards did their part here, too. Manny Harris and Jodie Meeks combined for 42 points on 14-of-22. Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Tim Hardaway, Jr, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert were all culpable, consistently going under screens to allow the Lakers’ guards to hoist open shots.
- Hardaway, Jr. had one of his best games of the season, scoring 18 points pulling down 4 rebounds and making four of his five attempts from deep. He also proved again why he’s the best Knick in transition by a mile, finishing a beautiful three-man fast break with a throw down off an alley-oop pass from Anthony. Hardaway still struggles mightily on the defensive end (his defensive rating is now 110.0), but you have to love what you see from an energy perspective every night. And then there’s game like yesterday, where he’s a deadly option on offense, and you start to think the Knicks got a real bargain at 24, in what was considered a weak draft.
- The Knicks are now 2-0 without Andrea Bargnani. I’m just going to leave this here.
- Bill Simmons pointed out an obvious, simple difference between this year’s Knicks and last year’s Knicks on ABC’s postgame, but it’s one that doesn’t actually get brought up a lot. Last year, Felton and Smith gave the Knicks 32 points per game. This year, that’s down to 23. Sometimes you don’t need an advanced stat when a conventional one works just fine. The secondary Knicks just aren’t scoring enough this season. Yesterday, Felton chipped in 20. If he got his customary (for this year) 11? Different game.
- Jeremy Tyler continues to give the Knicks some good minutes. Although he was pretty poor offensively, he pulled down 5 rebounds in just 9 minutes of play. Also chipping in on the glass was Cole Aldrich, with 4 in 12 minutes. I’m not saying these guys should play if the Knicks are completely 100% healthy…but I’m also not saying they shouldn’t.
- Another under the radar, under appreciated game from J.R. Smith. I know he did some dumb things out there (like that foul on Nick Young, who was going out of bounds, in the back court, in the final 30 seconds of a basically over game), but if you haven’t noticed, that’s Smith! But he shot 50% from the field, added 6 rebounds and 4 assists and had just 1 turnover. If he gives the Knicks THAT every night, even with the few errors you know you’re going to get, wouldn’t you be okay with it?