The New York Knicks were able to pull away from the New Orleans Hornets in the fourth quarter for a 100-87 win on Sunday afternoon. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 25 points, Chris Copeland put in 22 and the Knicks canned 11 three-pointers on their way to the victory.
The win snapped a three-game losing skid for New York, its worst mark under Mike Woodson. The Knicks' victory also ended a four-game winning streak for the Hornets, a team that had made a living of battling back from double-digit deficits over the past few games.
New Orleans put a bit of a scare into the Knicks in this one, but ultimately, New York was just too much for Monty Williams' ballclub.
This was a solid win for a Knicks team that really needed one.
After a sloppy start that saw Jason Kidd make some uncharacteristically sloppy passes, the wily veteran responded nicely, finishing with a respectable five points, eight assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
Kidd was especially impressive in the third, forcing some turnovers defensively and making some fine plays in transition.
Thanks to some outstanding play from Pablo Prigioni off the bench, Kidd's minutes were sporadic, and he didn't even see the floor in the fourth period. That is a good thing, though. The 39-year-old needs as much rest as he can get.
Given that James White only played eight minutes in this one, it is hard to give him a concrete grade. He got the start due to a multitude of injuries in the Knicks' frontcourt and scored two points off 1-of-2 shooting.
You have to think that once Iman Shumpert returns, White won't see any minutes at all.
What an excellent game from Copeland.
Like White, Copeland got the start thanks to injuries, and he did more than Woodson could have possibly asked of him.
The 28-year-old rookie scored 22 points, 11 of them coming in the first quarter. He hit on nine of his 15 shot attempts and canned four threes, displaying a smooth stroke that adds another dynamic to a dangerous New York offense.
Copeland grabbed four rebounds and played some fine defense on Ryan Anderson as well.
Anthony got off to a very slow start in this one, hitting only one of his first 10 shots just two days after starting 1-of-9 against the Chicago Bulls.
He rebounded quickly though, hitting six of his next seven during a 17-point second-quarter explosion. Anthony scored 14 straight points for the Knicks during that run, igniting the team to an eight-point halftime lead.
Melo appeared to be forcing things early on, taking some well-contested jumpers and choosing to shoot out of double teams instead of passing. He would proceed to settle in, however, doing a great job of moving without the basketball to put himself in a position to get some open looks. He hit some tough shots as well and got to the free-throw line.
That second period was yet another demonstration of how Anthony is one of the best—if not the best—scorers in the league.
Anthony finished with 27 points off 9-of-25 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds to boot.
Quick note: this was Anthony's 24th consecutive game with 20-plus points. Impressive.
Tyson Chandler was able to get a nice rest in the fourth quarter as the Knicks built a big lead, and as a result, the big man ended up playing a modest 27 minutes.
It was an extremely productive 27 minutes for the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Chandler hauled in 14 rebounds, blocked three shots and was omnipresent in the paint, contesting a very solid amount of shots that the Hornets attempted inside. Chandler already had 12 rebounds before the halfway point of the third period.
He got off to a bit of a slow start, only grabbing two boards in the first quarter, but he was very, very good afterward.
This was was one of J.R. Smith's worst performances in terms of scoring in a while, as he finished with only eight points off 3-of-11 shooting.
He did dish out six assists, however, making some outstanding backdoor passes and demonstrating some fine floor vision for a shooting guard. He was also robbed of a seventh assist when Ronnie Brewer missed an easy layup on one of those backdoor feeds.
Smith had one of those head-scratching moments at the end of the first quarter. He fouled Brian Roberts as he was attempting a shot from beyond the halfcourt line, resulting in three free throws for New Orleans' backup point guard. Woodson made sure to give Smith an earful as he went to the bench.
Smith also picked up a technical foul in the third period, when he was clearly frustrated.
This was an incredible game for the Knicks bench.
As a whole, New York's reserves poured in 39 points, 12 of those coming courtesy of Amar'e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire was able to draw enough contact to attempt six free throws in this one, and he converted on all six. Slowly but surely, he is coming around. The aggressiveness and effort are clearly there. It's only a matter of time before some of the point-blank hook shots that he is missing start to fall.
Prigioni, as mentioned earlier, was great in this one. He finished with eight points, five dimes and four boards and played some very scrappy defense that forced turnovers for the Knicks. He is really becoming a valuable member of the New York bench.
Finally, Steve Novak really put this game away in the fourth quarter, hitting all three of his trifectas during the period.
Excellent effort from the Knicks pine.