NY Sports Update for January 31st, 2012: Knicks' woes continue, Rangers represent NY at All-Star Weekend


Knicks' Woes Continue in Miami, Houston; Five Rangers Represent New York at NHL All-Star Weekend; Tavares Represents Long Island in NHL All-Star Festivities

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Knicks' Woes Continue in Miami, Houston

Though their previous six-game losing streak ended last Tuesday in Charlotte, the remainder of the Knicks' road trip did not go nearly as well.

New York (7-13) ran into the red-hot Miami Heat Friday night. It was a competitive game despite the absence of injured forward Carmelo Anthony, who was still bothered by ankle and wrist injuries. The Knicks entered the fourth quarter trailing by just three points.

The Heat put it away in the final quarter, though, outscoring the Knicks 25-18 to win the game 99-89. LeBron James led all scorers with 31 points. Dwyane Wade, returning from an injury, was right behind him with 28.

Bill Walker, filling in for Anthony, led the Knicks with 21 points on seven three-point shots. As a team, the Knicks hit a season-high 18 three-pointers, but it wasn't enough.

With Anthony still absent, the Knicks again struggled against the Houston Rockets Saturday night, falling 97-84.

The Rockets dominated the second and third quarters, outscoring New York by a combined 55-39 margin. They owed much of their success to the bench: Reserve forward Chase Budinger scored 18, backup point guard Goran Dragic picked up 16 points and backup center Jordan Hill came through with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Amar'e Stoudemire led all scorers with 23 points, while Tyson Chandler had New York's only double-double of the game (14 points, 11 rebounds). Without Anthony's offensive firepower, though, the Knicks came up short.

The Knicks have now lost three straight and nine of their last 10 games, thanks in large part to injuries and stiff competition. They will return to New York Tuesday night to host the Detroit Pistons.

Five Rangers Represent New York at NHL All-Star Weekend

Players Marian Gaborik, Henrik Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin and Dan Girardi, along with head coach John Tortorella, represented the New York Rangers in this year's NHL All-Star festivities.

Even among the league's best, Gaborik rose to the top and captured MVP honors in the All-Star Game. Gaborik drilled three shots for a hat trick and also tallied an assist on the game-winning goal.

Two of Gaborik's goals made it past his Rangers teammate Henrik Lundqvist, who started in net for Team Alfredsson. It was the third All-Star appearance of Lundqvist's distinguished career.

In the NHL All-Star Skills Competition, Lundqvist again made his mark, stopping six of seven shootout attempts. Carl Hagelin also contributed to Team Alfredsson's win by winning the Fastest Skater competition.

The fourth Rangers representative, Dan Girardi, recorded an assist on Team Alfredsson's first goal of the game.

Tortorella was selected as head coach for Team Alfredsson, making him the first coach in franchise history to coach in the All-Star Game.

Tavares Represents Long Island in NHL All-Star Festivities

Thanks in part to his league-best scoring streak, John Tavares represented the New York Islanders in this year's NHL All-Star Game.

Making his All-Star debut in his third NHL season, Tavares scored in the first period, drilling a shot past Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. He added an assist in the third period on Milan Michalek's goal.

In the skills competition, Tavares was part of three events: the breakaway challenge, skills relay and elimination shootout. He credited his lacrosse background for a strong showing in the first event, when he impressed the crowd with two dazzling breakaway attempts.

Tavares also helped Team Alfredsson sweep the skills relay and advanced three rounds in the elimination shootout.

For the Isles' rising star, the All-Star festivities marked a huge step forward.