The Knicks faced a struggling Hornets team without Anthony Davis and did exactly what an elite team should do in ripping the game open in the second half for a 102-80 blowout win.
New Orleans had zero answers for Carmelo Anthony, who went 5-5 early on and abused whomever guarded him on the post. The outside shot wasn’t bad either, as Melo hits 3 three-pointers in the opening 12 Hornets bigs like Robin Lopez got in foul trouble early. After one, the Knicks had a nice 29-17 cushion.
The lead ballooned to 16 to start the second and then the Knicks got real lazy on perimeter defensive rotations. This allowed Brian Roberts and Ryan Anderson to get hot from three-point range and ignite a 19-3 run to take a two point lead midway. The Knicks buckled down behind the returning Melo and Raymond Felton: the former worked in the post while the later contributed several 3s. Af halftime, the Knicks nursed a 53-48 lead.
Realizing this game should not be close, the Knicks stormed out in the third and outscored the Hornets 30-16. A cluster of 3s from Melo, Brewer, Felton and even later James White effectively iced the game when the lead grew to 81-62 with a little over 2 minutes remaining in the quarter. The rest of the game was garbage time as the Hornets essentially admitted defeat.
With Dallas coming up, we did exactly what needed to be done to rest our starters. Melo dropped 29 points and 15 apiece came from Felton and JR Smith. Tyson Chandler was also very strong, giving NY 7 points and 12 rebounds.
Aside from the collective brain fart in the second quarter, the only worrisome part of this game was Steve Novak, who had a woeful shooting night. He had 8 points on 3-12 shooting and a horrid 2-10 from three-point land. For the year, he’s shooting 34% from downtown after having a league-leading 45% last year. It’s still early, but let’s hope Novak finds his shot sooner rather than later.
Tonight the Knicks face a Dallas team coming off a disappointing loss to the Golden State Warriors and still without their star player Dirk Nowitzki. Although we handled them earlier this month, OJ Mayo is still shooting the lights out and they’ll be out for some get back. Knicks better bring their “A” game tonight.