New York led wire to wire, going up by as many as 26 points. Though the Lakers were able to come within six late in the fourth quarter, you never got the sense they were truly going to win.
As a result, Twitter exploded—from the very outset of the game.
After the first quarter, the Knicks led by 14 points, but as a not-so-subtle Lakers hater noted that Los Angeles at least scored more than Anthony himself did:
After 1, The New Dynasty leads Carmelo 27-22 but trails the Knicks 27-41— LA Laker Hater (@LALakerHater) December 14, 2012
Unfortunately, merely outscoring a team's top player isn't enough. Especially when, as Don La Greca of ESPN Radio noted, the "live by the three, die by the three" Knicks are alive and well:
If you live and die by the 3 than the knicks are living large!— Don La Greca (@DonLagreca) December 14, 2012
New York's first-half performance was so vibrant, in fact, that it became clear the team was on pace to eclipse 100. Or maybe more:
In #Knicks vs Lakers, the Knicks are on pace to score a couple thousand— InsideHoops.com (@InsideHoops) December 14, 2012
An exaggeration? Of course, but a sound indicator of how potent New York's offensive attack was.
Another indication? The Knicks calling a timeout when they started to taper off. And by "taper off," I mean allow the Lakers to come within 22 points of the lead:
I just saw a Knicks coach call a timeout when an opponent cut the lead to 22 in the first half. That's rarer than 12 12 12.— netw3rk (@netw3rk) December 14, 2012
Perhaps the Knicks needed yet another timeout, though, as they allowed the Lakers to come within 19 at half. But while that may have been cause for another New York pep talk, former Lakers legend Magic Johnson had still given up hope of a Los Angeles comeback by halftime:
Despite the big lead, it wasn't all smiles for the Knicks. Anthony, who had 26 points at the half, was forced to leave in the third quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return:
The silver lining of 'Melo's departure? He left with 30 points after playing just 22 minutes, the first player to do so since the San Antonio Spurs' David Robinson in 1995:
On Melo: -According to ESPN, the last player to score 30 while playing 22 or fewer minutes was David Robinson in 1995.— Marco Calise (@MarcoCalise) December 14, 2012
While that's great company for Anthony to be in, without him, the Knicks were in danger of relinquishing their monstrous lead.
As Bill Walton's alter ego noted, nearly relinquish it they did. But he also noted they were playing the submissive version of the Lakers, so there was no cause for concern:
After cutting the Knicks lead to 7, the Lakers quickly remembered that they're still coached by Mike D'Antoni.#MomentumSwingsRightBack— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) December 14, 2012
Walt Clyde Frazier's Twitter impostor was impressed with New York's ability to hold without Anthony as well:
Knicks showing resilience despite an absence of brilliance. Time for knockout assailin' and coffin nailin'!— (Not) Walt Frazier (@NotWaltFrazier) December 14, 2012
While the Knicks were able to withstand a later Los Angeles run, Lakers Nation used social media to offer a strategy that would have undoubtedly shifted the outcome of the game:
Can the Lakers foul Dwight and make him shoot free throws for the Knicks?— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) December 14, 2012
Fortunately for New York, I was told that wasn't allowed, so the Knicks ultimately emerged victorious.
Almost needless to say, Kobe Bryant was less than happy about it:
kobe's reaction to losing to the knicks.. twitter.com/JulianPosts_/s…— Juan Carlos(@HesGenuine) December 14, 2012
At the same time, TNT analyst Steve Kerr ensured the Lakers and their fans that, while this was an actual loss, it was also a moral victory. The man who is literally Not Bill Walton took exception to such sentiments:
Lakers are on a roll, winning their 3rd moral victory in a row, this time under the Knicks, 107-116.Good job, good effort!— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) December 14, 2012
Regardless of whether this served as a moral victory for Los Angeles, New York still won, improving its record to 16-5 (9-0 at home), the team's best start in over a decade:
With tonight's win, the Knicks move to 16-5-- their best start in 12 years.— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) December 14, 2012
Now 9-14, the Lakers obviously have had no such luck. And as ESPN's Stats & Info department pointed out, they've actually had even less luck when Bryant (31 points) scores in excess:
Lakers: now 1-11 this season when Kobe Bryant scores 30 pts or more in a game— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 14, 2012
Just because the sky is seemingly falling in Los Angeles, though, doesn't mean there isn't a solution. Because there is. And CBSSports.com's Zach Harper has it:
The only thing that can save the Lakers right now is Jason Statham on some kind of narcotic.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) December 14, 2012
Clearly, such a remedy must not have been available in this one.
To add even further insult to the Lakers' injuries, Newsday's Al Iannazzone noted that Anthony's injury didn't appear to be very serious after the game:
Knicks GM Glen Grunwald on Carmelo's ankle: 'i don't think it's anything serious.'— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) December 14, 2012
As such, the Knicks were free to celebrate their win and subsequent historical start without any reserves:
And rightfully so, because there hasn't been much to cheer about in the Big Apple for the past decade.
But that was then, and this is now. And now, there's plenty of cause for optimism in New York.
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