Knicks Now on 3 Game Losing Streak, Nets Win in England

The Rangers and Islanders both had a win and a loss to their names this week.

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Knicks Drop 3 Games in 4 Days
The Knicks were looking the stronger than they had all season at the start of January, winning five straight games before heading to Charlotte on Tuesday. The Bobcats held their own however, going toe-to-toe with the Knicks through the first quarter and pulling ahead 27-24 to finish the period.

New York led for a brief stretch in the middle of the second, but Charlotte fought right back, closing out the half on a 17-3 run to enter the third up 55-46. Though Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire were able to get the team back within 5 late in the third, they never quite caught up to the Bobcats, and ultimately fell 108-98.

Anthony led the team in scoring with 20 points, followed by Stoudemire’s 17, Raymond Felton with 13, and Tim Hardaway Jr. with 12.

From Charlotte the Knicks travelled to face first place Indiana on Thursday, where they held their own for a quarter thanks in large part to Carmelo who scored 18 points in the first 12 minutes, including a buzzer-beating three that gave them a 31-30 advantage heading into the second.

New York was down by just a point five minutes into the frame, but the Pacers went on a 12-4 run to take a hefty lead which only grew larger as they went on to put up the last 7 points of the half, going ahead 63-48. Paul George had the spread up to 20 before the Knicks could score their first points of the second half, and though New York was able to cut within ten points they never got completely back into the game. Indiana went on to win 117-89.

Anthony led in scoring with 28, followed by Tyson Chandler with 13. Felton and JR Smith both shot for 12. The wide margin of defeat was not the most painful part of the game, however, as Kenyon Martin fell in the second quarter and Amar’e Stoudemire left in the third; both men will be out two weeks with sprained ankles.

The Knicks looked to be holding up relatively well when they returned home to host the Clippers last night. Bargnani and Chandler put up the first 12 New York points before Melo contributed a three and Felton assisted Chandler in putting them up 17-9. They were still up by 4 at the end of the first quarter, leading 27-23.

LA trailed through most of the second, but Blake Griffin tied the game on a pair of free throws and the lead switched back and forth until halftime, when it was all tied up at 50 apiece. New York had a three point lead late in the third, but the Clippers scored 12 unanswered and went into the fourth up 76-67. The spread only grew from there as the Knicks suffered a 109-95 defeat.

Melo posted a double-double with 26 points and a stunning 20 rebounds, but shot just 4-23 from the field (16 of his points came on free throws). JR Smith scored 24, Bargnani put up 13, and Chandler also had a double-double on 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Now on a three-game losing streak, the Knicks will continue an eight-game home stand on Monday when they host the Nets at 2:30 PM.

Nets Win in London
The Nets had their five game winning streak snapped in Toronto last Saturday, and they had five days to mull the loss over before heading to London’s O2 Arena to play the Hawks on Thursday. Evidently the extra rest given for taking a trip across the pond suited both teams, as they shot out to a relatively high scoring first quarter. Joe Johnson put up 13 points in the frame en route to a 31-27 lead for Brooklyn.

Atlanta got back within a point to start the second before Alan Anderson spurred an 8-0 run to send the Nets ahead 39-30. Kevin Garnett would later extend the Brooklyn lead to 11, and a Johnson three at the end of the half put them up by 12, 65-53.

The Nets kept the pressure on after the break, with Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston growing their lead to 21 early in the third. Johnson again ended the quarter with a 3, this time to up the spread to 25 as Brooklyn went into the fourth ahead 99-74. Atlanta outshot Brooklyn for the first time in the fourth quarter, but it was much too little too late; the Nets won 127-110.

Johnson led the team in scoring with 29 points, backed up by Andray Blatche who posted a double-double on 20 points and 14 rebounds. Pierce shot for 18, Anderson scored 15, and Garnett contributed 12 points of his own. The team as a whole shot 58.2% from the field an even more impressive 59.3% from beyond the arc.

The Nets will have a few more days of travel and rest before heading to Madison Square Garden to play their crosstown rivals at 2:30 PM on Monday.

Islanders Split in Florida
The Islanders rode a five game winning streak into Tuesday’s game against the Panthers, but looked to have run out of steam in Florida. An Aleksander Barkov snapshot got the Panthers out to an early 1-0 lead just 32 seconds into the game, and 15 minutes later Drew Shore doubled the spread. The lead grew to 3 on a Nick Bjugstad wrist shot with 36 seconds left in the first period.

Florida went ahead 4-0 on a shorthanded goal off the stick of Scottie Upshall 16 minutes through the second period. New York did not find its first goal until Colin McDonald knocked in a wrist shot with 31 seconds left in the second. Thomas Vanek cut the deficit down to two 2:38 into the third, but that would prove the last goal of the night. Kevin Poulin blocked 22 of 26 shots as the Panthers took a 4-2 victory.

The team stayed in Florida to play the Lighting on Thursday, and again found itself behind early when Martin St. Louis found the back of the net 5:45 into the game on a power play. Vanek returned the favor with 1:38 left in the second during an Islander power play, and the score remained tied 1-1 through the rest of regulation.

After a scoreless overtime period, Frans Nielsen was the only one to score during the shootout. New York took an OT win as Poulin stopped 29 of 30 shots.

The Islanders will head to Philadelphia next at 7:00 PM tonight, then host the Flyers at 1:00 PM on Monday.

Rangers Shutout Detroit
Before the Lightning were edged out by the Islanders on Thursday, they were in New York to play the Rangers on Tuesday. Brad Richards put New York ahead first with a wrist shot 12 minutes through the first period, but Victor Hedman tied the score during a power play 1:10 into the second. Nine seconds later Nikita Kucherov gave Tampa a 2-1 edge, and that score held through the end of the game.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 of 25 shots as New York fell 2-1. The Rangers landed only one of their 34 shots.

On Thursday New York’s offense looked equally inept against the Red Wings, proving unable to score through the first two periods and well into the third. Fortunately, Detroit was just as ineffective and Mats Zuccarello’s wrist shot 14 minutes into the third period made all the difference

The Rangers won 1-0 as Lundqvist stopped all 38 shots that came his way.

New York will head to Ottawa next, playing the Senators at 2:00 PM today.