Knicks Roll Past Heat
After splitting a pair of games in Texas, the Knicks returned home on Tuesday to host the Pistons. The team was without Tyson Chandler, who was suffering from an upper respiratory infection, but still managed to lead through most of the first half. Detroit came alive late in the second quarter, however, taking a two-point lead and eventually entering the break tied at 41.
The scored was still tied at 49 in the third when Carmelo Anthony sunk three straight three-balls, leading the Knicks on a 22-3 run that put them up 69-52. Detroit would rally back within a point in the fourth, but the game ended with Melo and Raymond Felton knocking in three free throws to take an 89-85 win.
Anthony scored a game-high 34 points as the Knicks took three of four games for the first time this season. Andrea Bargnani posted a double-double on 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Felton scored 12.
New York followed the win with a game against the reigning champion Heat two days later; they were able to keep pace with Miami through most of the first, but a 7-0 run at the end of the quarter put them down 27-21 before the second. The Knicks responded in kind to start the second, even taking a three-point lead on a Tim Hardaway Jr. shot from beyond the arc, however, a LeBron James layup followed by two Rashard Lewis threes to end the half sent the Heat ahead once more, 48-43.
After the break, Iman Shumpert had a big quarter to get New York back in the game, knocking in three threes in as many minutes. Melo then sunk two three-balls of his own to put the Knicks back on top 64-63. Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire finished out the quarter to increase the spread to four, and New York went into the fourth up 75-71.
The Knicks scored 7 unanswered to start the final period, extending their advantage to 11 points, and the Heat never got any closer than six points off the lead. New York won its third straight game by a final of 102-92.
Anthony led with 29 points and 8 rebounds, followed by Bargnani who scored 19. Stoudemire posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, as did Felton with 13 points and 14 assists. Shumpert shot for 12 and had 9 rebounds. Chandler was still out sick, and JR Smith was benched following an incident where he was caught untying other players’ shoes.
Though still a ways off from playoff position, the recent win streak has moved the Knicks into third place in the Atlantic Division. They will play the now last place 76ers at 7:30 PM tonight.
Nets Overcome Heat in Double OT
The Nets had their own run-in with the Heat last night, but before welcoming Miami to the Barclays Center they played host to the Golden State Warriors. After Brooklyn took a 6-4 lead early in the first Golden State dominated the rest of the way, going on a 23-6 run and closing the frame out with a 32-22 lead.
Brooklyn fought back in the second, coming within a point with just under 3:30 left in the half on a Joe Johnson 3, then retaking the lead with a Kevin Garnett jumper. Paul Pierce was sent to the free-throw line three times after that and landed 5 of 6 shots, helping the Nets to a 4-point lead. The half ended with Mirza Teletovic launching a shot from way downtown in the final second; it went in, and Brooklyn went into the break up 59-52.
The Warriors stayed close throughout the third, ultimately outshooting the Nets by 8 in the period and taking a one-point lead on a Harrison Barnes three in the last 32 seconds. The two traded leads through the first half of the final quarter, as Kevin Garnett put up 9 of Brooklyn’s first 11 points, and a pair of Garnett free throws would give Brooklyn a 4 point lead in the waning seconds. Steph Curry landed a jump shot with 6 seconds to go, but Johnson ended the game with two free throws to give Brooklyn a 102-98 win.
Johnson had 27 points on the night and Andray Blatche shot for 17. Shaun Livingston and Garnett both put up 13, and Pierce scored 11.
Riding a four game win streak into Friday, the Nets faced a Miami team fresh off a loss to the Knicks last night. The first quarter was a close one, thanks almost entirely to Joe Johnson who scored 22 of the Nets’ 33 points as they took a 33-32 lead at the end of the period.
The second was notably less productive for both sides, with turnovers and missed shots leaving the scoreboard unchanged through the first 3:15 of the quarter. Reggie Evans ended the cold snap with a layup to put the Nets up by 3, and Brooklyn outshot Miami 20-13 to take a 53-45 advantage into the half.
Brooklyn held Miami at bay in the third, never letting the Heat come any closer than six points off the lead, and even increased the spread to 12, going into the fourth up 76-64. Unfortunately, the Heat would not be so easily subdued; LeBron put up 13 points in the fourth as Miami outscored Brooklyn 25-13 in the frame to tie the score at 89.
A LeBron free through with forty seconds to go proved sufficient to send the game into overtime, as it was the tying shot and the only successful piece of offense in the final minute of regulation. Buckets proved just as hard to come by in OT; Alan Anderson hit a jumper in the first minute, but Johnson’s jump shot to put the Nets up 93-89 did not come until two-and-a-half minutes later.
Miami put up four points in the last 80 seconds, and the game went into double OT. This time the Nets did not have to wait long to score, quickly putting up 11 unanswered points and holding the Heat to just a single layup with 16 seconds to go. Brooklyn won 104-95.
Johnson led the team again with 32 points, backed up by Pierce with 23. Livingston scored 19, and Garnett had a double-double on 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Now on a 5 game win streak, the Nets have moved into second place in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. They will play the Atlantic-leading Raptors at 7:00 PM tonight.
Rangers Win Two
The Rangers came into Wednesday’s game in Chicago off an overtime loss to the Blue Jackets, however they were quick to score, taking a 2-0 lead in the first. Brad Richards struck first with a wrist shot 5 minutes into the game, and Mats Zuccarello wrapped around for the second New York goal 4:23 later during a power play.
The Blackhawks returned the favor in the second, scoring on their own power play 6:17 into the period and tying things up at 2 apiece on a Brandon Bollig snap shot less than two minutes later. Carl Hagelin broke the tie late in the third, scoring on a wrist shot with 6 minutes left to put New York back on top 3-2. That score would hold and the Rangers won as Henrik Lundqvist stopped 35 of 37 shots.
New York faced Dallas next, at home on Friday night. The Stars were the first on the board with a Cody Eakin shot early in the opening period, but Ryan Callahan snapped in the tying goal 7 minutes later.
After Dallas pulled ahead again 3:34 minutes through the second, Derrick Brassard scored the tying goal on a tip-in during a power play at 8:22. The game looked like it was heading for overtime, but Rick Nash knocked in a wrist shot 1:58 left to play to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory. Lundqvist stopped 24 of 26 shots on goal.
The Rangers will face the Flyers next at 7:00 PM tomorrow night
Islanders Win Three Straight
The Islanders followed up a 7-3 blowout of the Stars with a slightly less lopsided game against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Toronto took a 1-0 lead 5 minutes into the game, but Kyle Okposo knocked in a wrist shot with 44 seconds left in the first to tie the game.
Michael Grabner gave New York a 2-1 lead on an unassisted wrist shot early in the second, but Toronto would soon retie the score during a power play. It remained 2-2 until Frans Nielsen snapped in a goal during an Islander power play 3:41 through the third; Calvin de Haan scored his first goal of the season 2:20 later to make it 4-2. The Maple Leafs were able to get back within a goal late in the game, but Cal Clutterback put it away on an empty netter with 9 seconds to play, giving New York a 5-3 win. Kevin Poulin blocked 23 of 26.
The Islanders travelled to Colorado next, to play the Avalanche last night. A scoreless first period gave way to a solitary goal with only 1:45 left in the second as Nathan MacKinnon gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead.
Brock Nelson answered in kind 4:28 into the third, and the score remained tied at 1 apiece through the rest of regulation. Michael Grabner was able to put an end to overtime with a wrist shot of his own 1:46 into the OT period to give the Islanders their third straight win. Poulin stopped 30 of 31 shots.
The Islanders will play the Stars again next, at 6:00 PM tomorrow night.