Black Friday Thriller: Melo’s 35 and a Rose Block Hold Off Hornets in OT 113-111


Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

24 hours after Thanksgiving, the Knicks tried to give their fans a heart attack with a dramatic last-play win over the Charlotte Hornets. With Kristaps Porzingis struggling most of the game, the load was on Melo to will the Knicks to victory. He did, but not without timely plays down the stretch from Rose and Porzingis on both sides of the ball.

WHOSE TEAM IS THIS???: The rumblings had started again. “Melo is freezing out Porzingis.” “Porzingis needs to be the #1 option.” Last game we even heard boos when Melo went iso. Tonight, all that nonsense was silenced with Melo shooting and passing (gasp!) his team to victory. As Porzingis found himself limited by foul trouble and 2/6 shooting (5 points), Melo picked up the slack for his protegé with 16 points in the first quarter (6/8 shooting).

After falling behind by 13 in the third, a tech on Coach Hornacek seemed to ignite the Knicks, who reeled off a 15-2 run to tie it at 72. That run was driven by a Melo three-point play and a three-pointer.


The extremely tight game saw trading hoops in the fourth with Melo again making big plays. He found Hernangomez twice for drives to the rim. And when the game went into overtime, Melo was the dominant offensive player with two jumpers, including the game-winning fadeaway, to cement the 113-111 win.

The final stat line is monstrous — 35 points, 14 points, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block.

PORZINGIS AND ROSE MEET CHALLENGE: These two didn’t have great shooting nights, but Rose and Porzingis left their marks on this win. Rose (16 points, 5 assists) made Kemba Walker work on defense by being aggressive with rim drives in the fourth quarter and overtime. His bank shot that put the Knicks up 104-101 with 22 seconds left would have been the game-winner if not for a bonehead rookie foul from Hernangomez. And with three seconds left in OT, Rose’s block on Kemba Walker’s three prevented a heart-breaking loss going into the weekend.

Porzingis (16 points 6/16, 8 rebound, 2 blocks) had several threes in the fourth to put New York in the lead, but his strongest contribution was on defense. Two dramatic blocks at the rim on Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky in crunch time prevented Charlotte from building momentum. Although he was a -12, his aggression on defense was essential to holding off Charlotte.

QUIET PERFORMANCES: Hernangomez (6 points, 9 rebounds) got a lot of deserved grief for his dumb foul that sent the game into OT, but his overall play means all is forgiven. In 20 minutes, he was a +16 and ignited runs with his cutting to the rim.

Overall, the second unit had issues with Kuzmiskas being held scoreless (0/6) in 24 minutes, and Brandon Jennings not being able to push the pace with KP struggling. The Hornets’ bench outscored them 44-28 behind 32 combined points from Kamisky and Belinelli.

The Knicks won’t have much time to rest on their laurels as the back to back concludes tomorrow in Charlotte.

[Video] Robbed? Refs Waive Off Porzingis Buzzer-Beater, Hornets Escape with 95-93 Win


Karma for Toronto? What should have been the biggest highlight of Kristaps Porzingis’ young career turned into massive disappointment when his three-point buzzer beater was waived off for being a millisecond too late.

Here’s my take — I’m not mad at the refs for calling it off. From most angles, the ball appears on Kris’ fingertips with 0.0 remaining on the clock. My main problem is the time he was given to make the shot. Zoeller’s layup on the previous play should have left 0.08 on the clock instead of the 0.06 we were given. If that had been done, Porzingis would rightly have his buzzer beater.

Nonetheless, that’s not why we lost. The rotations were head-scratchers at times and one the catalysts that helped Charlotte erase two double-digit leads we had in the second half. Robin Lopez has proven to be our best defensive big and needs to be coming in the fourth as early as possible. Amundson needs to be in the rotation before Kevin Seraphin. And speaking of Kevin, playing him and Derrick Williams at the same time should never be done again. Losing this game rests solely on being outscored 14-26 in the final 12 minutes (Note: a lot of it was due to dumb fouls on NY’s part). Not to mention Charlotte dominated the bench battle 45-29.

Despite the bad bench play, we had a few bright spots. Arron Affalo looked good offensively in his first game back. He had 12 points (50% FG) and 6 rebounds in 28 minutes. The only issue for him was defense as Nic Batum beat him off screens several times. Porzingis notched another double double (10 points, 15 rebounds), and Melo had a scorcher of a second half to finish with 29 points.

The Knicks will quickly have to put this heartbreak behind them as the Cavaliers come to town on Friday.

[Video] #Melo20K – Melo Hits 20,000 Point Mark in Knicks Home Win Over Hornets


Carmelo Anthony joined elite company last night by scoring his 20,000th career point as the Knicks held off a game Charlotte Hornets squad at Madison Square Garden. It was another game where the Knicks had to execute down the stretch, something that was near impossible last season. But this squad is already showing the poise and grit that will be needed later in the season and hopefully beyond in the playoffs.


HOT SHOOTING: The Knicks shot over 50% for most of the game and applied some lock-down defense early on. Samuel Dalembert gave Al Jefferson fits for most of the first half, holding the All-Star to 1/5 shooting until a late burst in the final minutes of the second. There were isolation plays for Melo, but mostly the offense stayed the course with the triangle, allowing everyone  to a get a crack at open shots. This ensured that everyone stayed within the flow of the offense, patricularly our guards who need to keep their shooting touch. Amar’e Stoudemire also had a lively night as well, contributing 17 points and 10 rebounds (!!!).

A POTENTIAL BLOWOUT TURNS INTO A PLAYOFF-LIKE GRINDOUT: A 9-0 run in the second quarter put the Knicks up 15, and many thought the team might cruise to an early victory. The Hornets had other ideas and promptly went on an 20-7 run, making NY have to settle for a 52-50 halftime lead. From that point on, neither  team would go up more than three points.

LANCE STEPHENSON: As usual, Lance put on a show at the Garden and flirted with a triple-double (14 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists). JR and Shumpert struggled to keep him out the paint on drives and off the boards. His dynamic play-making, including a driving layup in the closing seconds of the third to make it 80-79 Charlotte, was key in keeping the Hornets afloat.

KEY DEFENSIVE STOPS: With each team making timely 4th quarter buckets, the game had to be decided by defensive stops. The Knicks ended up with three crucial ones in the final minutes: Prigioni with an inbounds deflection off a Charlotte guard for a turnover, Melo with a similar strip past the three-point line, and Shumpert picking Stephenson’s pocket during a drive (the latter with less than a minute remaining).

Still, Charlotte had their chance at a game-winner. With the score 95-93 NY, Kemba Walker drove and got a clean look at the basket via a pump fake. The shot rimmed out, and Melo went 1-2 at the line to ice the game with just .8 remaining.

IMPROVEMENTS: The defensive energy was there, but our guards still need to improve with cutting off dribble penetration. Also, the team shot an abysmal 58% from the free throw line (10/17), making this game tighter than it needed to be.


Congrats again to Melo, who finished with 28 points (12/22, 54%).


The Cope & Melo Show — Knicks End Three-Game Skid with Hornets Victory 100-87


Even with the Knicks struggling mightily in the New Year with various injuries, a loss to the Hornets would have been a huge low point. It wasn’t a flawless performance earlier today, but we saw glimpses of the ball movement and defense that made this team great to kick off the season.

A CONTINUATION OF THE BULLS BEATDOWN: Including today, the Knicks have lost 11 of the last 14 first quarters. Early on the Knicks were flat today with no ball movement and heavy on isolation plays for Carmelo Anthony, who was ice cold from the field (1-5 to start). Our second-leading scorer in JR Smith was no better in going 0-4 in making a stupid foul at half-court with the clock winding down that gave the Hornet 3 free throws to push their lead to 29-22. Eric Gordon had a hot start as well lighting up our guards from long range and driving at will. The one bright spot was Chris Copeland, who hit 3 three-pointers to keep it close.

COPELAND MAKING A NAME: With JR struggling, Chris Copeland provided the offense that the Knicks sorely needed. He went 4-7 from downtown and made some key drives to the basket to keep the Hornet at bay. At times, the Knicks have gone with lineups that has them playing three against five when it comes to offense execution. As one of the few guys on the team that can create his own shot, let’s hope Coach Woodson keeps Copeland in the rotation.

NOVAK DOING WHAT HE DOES BEST: Steve Novak hit some key three-pointers in the fourth that put this game out of reach. One at the beginning of the quarter pushed the game to 76-68, and another a few minutes later put it at 84-68.

STAT MOVING ALONG: Amar’e Stoudemire had a productive 23 minutes in getting 12 points. The rebounding was still bad; he only had 3 and was getting pushed out of position by the likes of Robin Lopez. However, Stat did get one offensive board and with the exception of a few miscues, was competent on defense (even with 5 fouls). It’s only his seventh game back and I remain hopeful that he can start beasting with our second unit.

MELO WAKES UP: After going 1-9, Melo woke up and and went off for 18 points in the second quarter. He showed his full arsenal by scoring on fast breaks and jumpers. His work was instrumental in an 8-0 run to take the lead for good at 36-34. At one point, Melo scored 14 straight Knicks points which lead to MVP chants whenever he went to the line. He finished with 27 points and was a presence on the glass in notching 7 rebounds.

JR OUT OF SORTS BUT STILL CONTRIBUTES: Aside from the bonehead three-pointer foul mentioned earlier, JR Smith also got a technical for complaining about fouls in the third. Nonetheless, our shooting guard started to find his jumper in the second half and was aggressive driving to the basket. Even with only 8 points, JR notched six assists and two steals, showing his importance in the second half in regards to ball movement and defense.

It’s onto to London (!) next for a game against the Detroit Pistons.



NY Pest Control: Knicks Eradicate Hornets 102-80

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.