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Knicks Take Sting Out of Hornets
Melo reaches Top-40 list as he amasses 20,000 points
NEW YORK – The New York Knicks made amends of their 104-80 home opener loss against Chicago Bulls. They beat the emerging Charlotte Hornets (formerly Bobcats, who were formerly Hornets), 96-93 behind 28 points by Carmelo Anthony. Anthony aka Melo also scored his 20,000th point with a 3-pointer off an assist by Shane Larkin in the first quarter. Melo is the 40th player overall in NBA history to amass the 20,000 mark and the third Knick player to do it behind, Patrick Ewing and Walt Bellamy.
The Knicks who moved the ball splendidly for most of the game are now 2-1 and are tied for first place in the Atlantic Division with the Toronto Raptors. J.R. Smith offered, “It is very important to win as many games at home. We have to take care of home. Last year we were a better road team and this year we want to change that around.”
That’s a good deal if not a big deal seeing that last year the Knicks were a dreadful 0-6 for the month of November, at home en route to their disappointing 37-45 and no playoff berth season. It marked the first time in Melo’s career that he missed the playoffs. And for the record, LeBron James once missed the playoffs also (albeit his rookie year when he was named Rookie of the Year), so all isn’t lost in Knicks world and Melo being a great player.
Speaking again on Melo, Knicks coach Derek Fisher said of his play after the Hornets game and his playing less minutes in the fourth, “I think it is important to allow for a guy, like Carmelo who is a great closer and finisher of games, to have the energy level to do so.” J.R. who’s been with Melo longer than any other (he was with him with the Denver Nuggets), teammate said, “It is unbelievable. Watching him for so many years, I’ve seen him be the scoring champ. I’ve seen what he has accomplished overall. It really is unbelievable.”
The Knicks pretty much controlled the game save for latter parts of the second quarter and the beginning of the third. They held the Hornets to only 13 points in the 4th quarter. Fisher was particularly proud of the defensive effort but admitted, “It is a work in progress defensively. We are doing some great things for sure. I think the guys are making a concerted effort.”
KNICK KNOTES: Late in the game when Brooklyn-nite and former Indiana Pacer Lance Stephenson was guarding Melo out on the wing in isolation, Melo adroitly put him into a spin-cycle with a gorgeous move. Stephenson calmly admitted, “He was tough in the post. I have to be ready for the next time we play them.”
Amare Stoudemire had a strong game as well as he punctuated his night with 17 points and 10 rebounds. All was extremely well within the Stoudemire household as far as athletics is concerned. Stoudemire’s wife Alexis along with Amber Sabathia, the wife of New York Yankees pitcher ran the distance in the New York City Marathon, for the Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation. They finished 5:35.37 and 5:56.52 respectively. Their 16-runner team has raised almost $180,000 to support programs to help inner-city children.
Jerald L. Hoover