About midway through the first quarter, the New York Knicks trailed the Sacramento Kings 18-6. They were 1-of-13 from the floor and appeared absolutely lifeless. The Madison Square Garden crowd began to boo.
Then the tables completely turned, as the Knicks went on a 46-7 run (no, that is not a typo) and proceeded to mercilessly thump the Kings by a score of 120-81. The scary thing is, it wasn't even that close, as New York led by 50 at one point in the fourth quarter.
J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 25 points as the bench combined for 82. Yes, the Knicks bench totaled 82 points in this one.
You probably think Carmelo Anthony went off, right? Well, he didn't. The MVP candidate scored only nine points, ending his streak of 20-point games.
Tyson Chandler also grabbed 20 rebounds for the second straight night.
For Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 25 points.
Despite the fact that this game was a blowout of epic proportions, Raymond Felton was merely okay Saturday night.
The Knicks point guard finished with seven points, eight assists and four turnovers while shooting 3-of-8 from the floor and making some very sloppy passes.
Felton did flash some very nice dishes and also did a fine job defensively, however, as blindingly quick point guard Isaiah Thomas was held in check throughout the contest.
It's pretty clear that New York is trying to limit Jason Kidd as much as possible, and being that Saturday night's game wasn't at all close, the veteran got a chance to further rest his balky back.
Kidd played only 16 minutes in this one, scoring five points and grabbing six rebounds. However, it's positive to note that he appears to be getting his shiftiness back.
The Knicks will need Kidd come playoff time, so any rest they can get for him during the regular season is precious.
You can tell that Iman Shumpert does not completely have his legs underneath him yet. In the first quarter, he drove baseline and rose up for a dunk, but he was not able to get enough lift and missed the wide-open slam.
Shumpert played only 18 minutes in this one, scoring six points off 2-of-6 shooting. He also handed out three assists and played some solid defense on the other end.
Be patient with Shumpert. The Knicks will need him in the postseason.
Well, Anthony's streak of 31 consecutive games with 20 points came to a close in this one, but he couldn't have picked a better time to end that run.
Melo scored nine points on 4-of-12 shooting in this one, but his scoring was not needed. Not even close. Plus, Anthony handed out five assists and made some nice plays in transition while the game was still tight early on.
It seems odd—almost impossible—that New York could win a game by such a large margin with a single-digit output from Anthony, but such is life for the Kings.
Under normal circumstances, I would be much harsher on Melo in terms of the grade, but when you win by 40, you just can't be too nitpicky.
Make that back-to-back 20-rebound outings for Chandler, the first Knick to do that since Marcus Camby 12 years ago.
Chandler was nothing short of magnificent, with eight of his 20 boards coming on the offensive end. He did miss a couple of alley-oop dunks, but that did not stop him from logging 11 points and a double-double.
Chandler did struggle a bit defensively in the game's opening minutes as Cousins continually pulled him away from the basket, but he quickly buckled down and made it nearly impossible for Sacramento to get any shots near the rim.
You want to know what the most impressive part of Chandler's performance is? He did all of that work on the glass in only 29 minutes of play.
Smith was outstanding in the huge win, dropping 25 points off 9-of-16 shooting, with seven of those nine shots coming from three-point range.
Smith was absolutely raining bombs in the third quarter, letting it fly from beyond the arc whenever he got the opportunity. Perhaps it was a little much given the fact that the Knicks were thoroughly embarrassing the Kings, but you might as well take the open threes when you get them, right?
It wasn't just scoring for Smith on Saturday night, though. He also grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists.
This may have been the best bench performance for any team this season, period. As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time a reserve unit was as spectacular as the Knicks' was against Sacramento.
Amar'e Stoudemire was a perfect 10-of-10 from the floor, finishing with 21 points. He was the one who truly ignited New York early on. This was easily his best performance of the season and perhaps one of his very best nights as a Knick altogether.
Steve Novak drained five threes, Kurt Thomas scored 11 points and hit a trey of his own (that's right), and Pablo Prigioni dished out seven assists and played his usual pesky defense.
Enough cannot be said about how great the pine was for the Knicks. If a grade higher than "A+" existed, New York's bench players would get it.