Knicks Face LeBron and His Former Team
After finally snapping out of what had been a nearly month-long losing streak, the Knicks had to face the reigning NBA champs on Sunday. It would be a daunting task for most any team, but New York actually crushed Miami by 20 points in their first two meetings this season.
Though the Knicks trailed by 1 after the first period, they looked to be right on track to another dominant showing as they outscored the Heat by 15 in the second. LeBron and crew were not willing to abandon their 13-game winning streak so readily, however, as they outshot the Knicks 28-18 in the third, and 26-16 in the fourth. New York fell 99-93.
Carmelo Anthony did lead both teams in scoring with 32. The Knicks’ bench outdid their other starters, with Kidd knocking down 14, JR Smith 13, and Stoudemire 12.
Having let Sunday’s game get away from them, the Knicks traveled to LeBron James’ old stomping ground last night, where they looked to still be in a state of shock from the day before. The 20-39 Cavaliers lead New York 34-24 in the first quarter, then added another two points to their lead before halftime. At one point, the Knicks trailed by as much as 22. Worse yet, Anthony exited the game after tripping over his own feet and injuring his right knee, having scored only six to that moment. In fact, the entire New York starting lineup would combine for only 32 by night’s end; none of them broke into double digits.
In much the same manner as they had lost on Sunday, the Knicks gained their composure following the half. Stoudemire led the charge as the team held Cleveland to only 13 in the third and scored 21 of their own, then followed it up with a 9 point spread in the fourth to win 102-97.
Stoudemire had 22 points off the bench, JR Smith scored 18 with 7 rebounds and 7 assists, Novak picked up 15, and Kidd had 12. The bench more than doubled the starters’ output for a combined 70 points.
The Knicks return home to play Detroit—a team which they have already beaten soundly thrice this season—tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.
Nets Lose to Chicago
When the Nets first ran into the Bulls this season the game came down to the wire, with Brooklyn losing by one in the final seconds. The second time around, New York’s newest team won a tug-of-war by four. When the Nets returned to Chicago this weekend, the contest was far less competitive.
Brooklyn’s offense looked sharp for the first quarter as both teams put up 27, but the team was thoroughly trounced in the second. While the Bulls’ output remained steady, scoring another 26 before the half, the Nets were held to only 12. After being buried further down the hole in the third Brooklyn tried to mount a fourth quarter comeback, but ultimately came up well short. They lost 85-96.
Brook Lopez led in the loss with 22 points, followed by Williams with 14, Blatche with 13, and Johnson with 11.
The Nets should have an easier game ahead of them when they play Charlotte tomorrow night at 7.
Islanders Win in OT
An ailing John Tavares missed practice on Saturday, but played for nearly 20 minutes against Ottawa on Sunday despite the energy-draining illness. He did not score in regulation, though Boyes did give him and his team a relatively long lasting lead upon scoring nearly 8 minutes into the first period. The Senators tied things up over 20 minutes later with a shot in the second.
Grabner put the Islanders back on top with just three and a half minutes to go, only for Ottawa to tie again in the last 70 seconds. A scoreless overtime led to a shootout in which Frans Nielsen made the only goal of the first two rounds. Sick though he was, Tavares knocked in the game-winning goal during the shootout’s third round. Nabokov stopped 29 of 31, as well as the two shots he faced after the OT period.
The Islanders meet the Candiens tonight at 7 o’clock.
Rangers Triumph through Misfortune
After a scoreless first, the Rangers found themselves down 1-0 to Buffalo midway through the second period. New York was given a golden opportunity in the third, however, when Kaleta of the Sabres slammed a defenseless Brad Richards into the boards. The illegal check, which came after Buffalo was already a man down, resulted in a major penalty and game misconduct that would give the Rangers a long two-man advantage, and ultimately result in a five game suspension for Kaleta.
New York wasted little time, shooting to tie off the stick of Stepan, then pulling ahead with a Nash goal under a minute later. Unfortunately, Buffalo tied the scoreboard again four minutes thereafter, forcing the game into overtime. Just as with the Islanders game that same night, the OT period went scoreless and a 2-0 shootout (courtesy of Nash and Callahan) gave New York the win. Lundqvist blocked 28 of 30 on top of the two shootout attempts.
The Rangers will try to overtake the Flyers for third in the NHL’s Atlantic division tonight at 7:30.