In a season that’s been about streaks for the New York Knicks, right now they’re on the positive side of one, with Carmelo Anthony and surprisingly Tim Hardaway Jr. doing most of the damage, this time beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-86.
The Knicks aren’t that used for things going easy for them, but they’ve now won three times in the last four games by 26 points or more. The Cavs are a mess in every possible way, something that some attributed to the Knicks not too long ago.
Carmelo Anthony and Hardaway each scored 29 points as the Knicks put the game away in the first half, going into the locker rooms with a 24 point lead. Garbage time didn’t work too well for the Cavs as well, who lost by 15 points in the final quarter.
Anthony needed 15 points to reach 19000 career points, but he surpasses that mark easily. He is the 50th player in NBA history to reach that milestone and also accomplished the feat in the 6th fewest games of anyone who began their career after 1983, trailing Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan.
It is starting to feel a lot better here on our home court to win basketball games. We’re just trying to keep it going. These are the bright spots you want to have, especially playing at home. You’ve got your teammates on the bench going crazy, guys on the court are excited and love to play the game and there’s nothing better than that.
Things are going so well that J.R. Smith is showing up in the starting lineup and doing well. He scored 19 points on 8-of-16 from the field, and it seems that along with Mike Woodson getting his team to actually play like one, his decisions in handling the Smith situation has brought the player back into the fold, looking like someone you can trust again and not worry too much about the shots he is taking.
It’s weird to say that the Knicks shut down a team with their defense, but that was pretty much the case. The Cavs didn’t move the ball and keep looking to Kyrie Irving, maybe not as talented as he seemed to be a year or two ago, to save them. The Knicks trapped whenever they could with Tyson Chandler anchoring the defense and looking much better now that his illness is no longer bothering him.
The playoffs are within reach, there’s no doubt. Carmelo Anthony is playing the same kind of basketball he’s been known for, averaging 27.2 points per game this season, not minding if he’s at power forward or small forward. Hardaway Jr. might have missed the train to win rookie of the year, but he’s been one of the more effective newcomers this season, doing a great job off the bench. The rest, who are more about feeding off energy and effort, are once again doing what they should. This season is going to be a disappointment compared with the last one no matter what, but there’s still a chance to finish it with a few smiles and some hope instead of not giving Carmelo Anthony a single reason to stay.