Anthony “Held” to 35 Points in Knicks Win Over Lakers

Published on: 26th January, 2014

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tim hardaway jr
Hardaway, Jr. (18 points) has become one of the top rookies in the NBA.   | read this item

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New York — Carmelo Anthony “only” scored 35 points tonight in the Knicks 110-103 win over Mike D’Antoni’s hapless Los Angeles Lakers but in reducing his scoring total from his previous game by a mere 27 points, he may have discovered something more important. He has several teammates who are ready, willing, and occasionally able to help him with the Knicks push towards the playoffs.

After setting a franchise and Madison Square Garden record on Friday night with 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats, Anthony came out again in today’s game as if he was trying to top that record, directly in front of his buddy, Kobe Bryant, the injured star who was sitting on the Lakers bench and whose Garden record from 2009 Anthony eclipsed those two days ago.

Anthony scored seven of the Knicks first 10 points but, somewhere along the line, he decided to take a few less shots today and give his teammates some opportunities to display their own talents.

“I don’t think they just wanted to watch me out there playing offensively,” Anthony said. “They wanted to be a part of it and they did.”

So, almost refreshingly, we watched Raymond Felton scoring a season-high 20 points, rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. hitting for 18 and J.R. Smith putting up 16 for the Knicks, who won their second straight following a five-game losing streak. Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 14 rebounds.

“He’s a guy that, he just wants to win,” Felton said about Anthony. “Sometimes he likes to take it on his shoulders, so we have to take some of that pressure off of him by hitting shots, by making plays offensively.”

D’Antoni, who coached Anthony in New York, said the key for the Lakers was to contain everyone else, knowing Anthony would score.

They didn’t.

“Melo is going to do that against anyone. That’s what he does,” D’Antoni said. “Where they killed us was Hardaway was (4 for 5) for 3s and Felton didn’t miss his shots. We made some mistakes on guys on rotations and stuff.”

Sounds like a D’Antoni coaching redundancy, doesn’t it? We heard all about mistakes on defensive rotations and “stuff” for the years he coached the Knicks. Some things remain the same.

“It kind of oozed away. It wasn’t one thing. It was a lot of little things,” D’Antoni said.

Both teams were hitting shots without a lot difficulty or a lot of defensive presence in their faces. Open looks were everywhere. One could have easily made the mistake of thinking D’Antoni’s defensive principles were being utilized by both teams, which is to say there were no defensive principles.

The good news for the Knicks is that they won their second game in a row on this eight-game home stand that still has two winnable games left against Boston and Cleveland on Tuesday and Thursday before Miami visits the Garden on February 1st. Not that a 4-4 homestand would accomplish anything for their playoff hopes but after starting out this spate of home games, 0-3, a .500 record wouldn’t be the worst result.

Hardaway, Jr. (18 points) has become one of the top rookies in the NBA.

Hardaway, Jr. (18 points) has become one of the top rookies in the NBA.

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