Red-hot Melo drops 50 on the Heat

Carmelo Anthony tied his career-high points tally with 50 against Miami as the Knicks extended their win streak to nine games. New York’s timely run of form is helping them hold on to second place in the East as they battle the Indiana Pacers for the #2 seed. Check-out Melo in action below: (NBAyoutube)

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Is Amar’e’s injury a blessing in disguise for the Knicks?

Missing men: Amar'e Stoudemire with Carmelo Anthony

Missing men: Amar’e Stoudemire with Carmelo Anthony

The New York Knicks have announced that Amar’e Stoudemire is expected to miss between 6-8 weeks due to knee surgery but how much of a blow will this be?

Even before the announcement was made Tyson Chandler claimed there is more to the Knicks than Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire and the 2013 All-Star could be half-right with that statement in terms of form on the court.

The New York franchise made a storming start to their 2012-13 campaign with a 21-9 record through November and December before a slump in form in the new year which coincided with the return of Stoudemire.

‘STAT’ made his return on New Year’s Day and played in just 29 games before another knee problem surfaced. The 6x All-Star averaged his lowest points total (14.2) since his rookie season for Phoenix Suns without counting the 2005-06 campaign when Stoudemire featured in just three games after undergoing microfracture surgery.

That’s not to say that 30 year-old has not been playing well because the Knicks have been cautious with his return and Stoudemire has not started a game this season but still managed to post 20+ points in a game on six occasions. The days of an occasional 3-pointer seem to have gone with the adapted role and his physical presence inside has seen a shooting percentage of 57.7 from the field.

However, when it comes to the play-offs, it’s important to have efficient squad depth and this period without Amar’e could work as a benefit for the Knicks as they utilise their fringe players while JR Smith will see his role off the bench increase. The likes of Kenyon Martin, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby will be expected to step up with an increase in their court-time.

One thing is for sure; head-coach Mike Woodson will want ‘Melo’ back playing as soon as possible because being second in the scoring charts around the likes of KD, LeBron and Kobe is no mean feat. Anthony has taken the game-high honours in 35 games so far this season which is an incredible achievement having played in a total of 50.

The Knicks do have other scoring options even without ‘Melo’ and ‘STAT’ with Smith showing his capability with a 36 point showing against OKC Thunder while Ray Felton top scored in the recent win against Utah. Chandler dominates the glass more often than not and their potency extends beyond the arc with Jason Kidd and Foot Locker 3-Point contestant Steve Novak dangers from long range.

The lead up to the play-offs will be an interesting period for New York as they jostle for position with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern conference whilst looking to build some momentum ahead of the post-season. They are currently on course to emulate if not beat their 3rd place conference finish back in 2000 which was also the last time they progressed beyond the first round in the play-offs before falling to the Pacers in the Eastern final.

If ‘Melo’ hits the ground running on his return then the Knicks should be in a good position come the time of the play-offs with an adaptable roster all stepping up to the plate awaiting the return of Amar’e to boost their hopes for a first NBA Championship since 1973.

Game Night! Golden State @ New York

CURRY HOTTER THAN EVER IN NY BUT KNICKS GET THE WIN WHILE THE MEMPHIS STREAK GROWS & TORONTO LOSE GROUND ON PLAY-OFFS

Stephen Curry had an amazing night in New York with a career-high 54 points on 11-13 3PT shooting but the Golden State Warriors (33-25) fell to a 109-105 loss against the Knicks (34-20). Away from the crazy performance from Curry, the hosts were led by Carmelo Anthony, who had 35 points and EIGHT assists while JR Smith added 26 points and Tyson Chandler grabbed a career-high 28 boards to go with 16 points.

The home side made the brighter start as Anthony had nine points in the opening quarter to give the Knicks a 27-18 advantage. Curry made four 3-pointers in a 15-5 run to fire the Warriors into the lead on his way to 23 points in the quarter as it became 58-55 at half-time. The two teams traded the lead throughout the third before Smith nailed a couple of cruical triples and the Knicks led 84-81 heading into the final quarter. Curry netted yet another three before a driving lay-up high off the glass took him past his previous career-high mark of 42 points. The 24 year-old put Golden State back ahead with two more three’s which saw him set the mark for the most points in an NBA game this season. ‘Melo’ responded with a score from downtown of his own before making a turnaround jumper in the final minute to seal the win and make it consecutive victories for the Knicks after a baron run.

STAT: Steph Curry becomes the first player in NBA history to score 50+ points with 10 or more 3-point shots made.

San Antonio Spurs (45-14) fell to a surprise defeat in overtime as the Phoenix Suns (20-39) came away with a 105-101 victory on the road. Jermaine O’Neal rolled back the years with a 22p/13r double-double while Tony Parker matched the game-high effort for the hosts.  After an even start, the home side began to take control and led by as many as ELEVEN points in the third quarter whilst still enjoying a 77-67 cushion heading into the fourth on a Kawhi Leonard trey. Phoenix rallied in the fourth and despite being down 99-95 with 11 seconds on the clock they managed to force overtime as Wes Johnson made the buzzer-beating three. In the extra period, the Suns edged the hosts 5-1 in a tight battle with Marcin Gortat and O’Neal making crucial baskets.

Memphis Grizzlies (38-18) made it EIGHT straight victories with a 90-84 success over the Dallas Mavericks (25-32) after Zach Randolph (22p/10r) and Marc Gasol (21p/12r) combined for 43 points and 22 rebounds. While his former side continued their winning streak, Rudy Gay’s Toronto Raptors (23-35) were beaten by a Kyrie Irving-less Cleveland Cavaliers (20-38) by 103-92. DeMar DeRozan had 34 points for the visitors who remain outside of the play-off frame while Dion Waiters stepped up with 26 points in the absence of the Cavs’ All-Star.

Oklahoma City Thunder (42-15) stormed to a 119-74 home win over the New Orleans Hornets (20-39) for their third straight to close in on the beaten Spurs. Russell Westbrook was a perfect 12/12 from the FT line on his way to a game-high 29 points while the visiting Hornets had one player, in Ryan Anderson, in double figures with 14 points. Ty Lawson produced a 30 point haul to inspire a 111-109 win for the Denver Nuggets (37-22) on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers (26-31). Andre Iguodala equalled his season-high mark of 29 points whilst taking his average number of assists to 10 in his last three games while Portland were led by improving rookie, Damian Lillard‘s 26 point effort. Al Horford produced a monster 34pts/15rbs double-double to carry the Atlanta Hawks (33-23) to a 102-91 win over the Utah Jazz (31-27) for their fourth straight success.

STAT: Kevin Durant added his third triple-double of the season and his career with 18 points, 11 rebounds and ten assists.

Sacramento Kings (20-39) powered their way past Orlando Magic (16-42) 125-101 after their heartbreak in Miami last night. John Salmons led the Kings with 21 points on 4-5 shooting from long range while Orlando were led by a career-high 23 points from Tobias Harris as they were unable to make it back-to-back wins. Monta Ellis hit the winner at the buzzer to steer the Milwaukee Bucks (28-28) to a 110-107 win on the road in Houston. James Harden led the Rockets (31-28) to a seemingly comfortable victory with 22 points after the home side had led by as many as SEVENTEEN while Omer Asik grabbed a career-high 22 boards to complement a 16 point haul.

Detroit Pistons (23-37) began their run of games on the road with a win after edging past the Washington Wizards (18-38) 96-95. The home side rallied late on as Trevor Ariza compiled a late 8-0 run before missing the chance to win the game in the dying seconds as his 22 point efforts were not enough to deny the Pistons. Brandon Knight had a career-high night with 32 points while Jose Calderon was dime short of a career-high himself after dishing out 18 assists.

Check-out Steph Curry in action on a career-high night at MSG: (NBA)

Game Night! ft. OKC @ Houston

MIAMI POWER PAST ATLANTA IN 4TH; KNICKS & OKC LOSE FURTHER GROUND ON CONFERENCE LEADERS

James Harden launched an avenged attack on his former-team with a career-high 46 points to inspire a 122-119 victory for the Houston Rockets (30-26) over the OKC Thunder (39-15). In support of Harden‘s incredible effort, Jeremy Lin (28p, 8a) and Chandler Parsons (17p) combined for a further 45 as the Rockets overturned a 107-93 deficit with seven minutes to go. Houston showed their intent early on as they fired in six triples to lead 23-16 which became 36-29 after the first. Oklahoma produced a strong second quarter to take the lead and stretched their advantage into double digits before Harden‘s half-court buzzer-beater made it 87-92 at the end of the third. Kevin Martin and Thabo Sefolosha netted 3-pointers to make it a 14 point lead in favour of the visitors before Houston launched their fightback. Harden and Lin instigated a pivotal 19-2 tear to swing the game’s momentum and when Kevin Durant missed a chance to tie the game from long range, Harden was on hand to seal the win from the foul line. Russell Westbrook top scored for Thunder with 28 points and 10 rebounds while Sefolosha also netted 28 points with 6-10 from 3-PT range.

STAT: Kevin Durant recorded a triple-double of 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists and was his second of the season with the last coming on 18/11/12 against Golden State.

Miami Heat (37-14) outscored the Atlanta Hawks (29-23) 40-17 in the final quarter to record a 103-90 victory. LeBron James‘ streak of 30 points in his last six games came to an end but the reigning NBA MVP still contributed 24 points, six rebounds and had 11 assists in Miami‘s seventh straight win. Josh Smith came close to a triple-double for the hosts with 10p, 9r & 9a while Al Horford top scored with a game high 27 points. Atlanta led 73-63 after three quarters but Miami opened the fourth with a 12-0 run to take the lead and powered on with a dominant 20-7 spell which included two triples from Ray Allen on his way to 15 points. A third straight defeat for the New York Knicks (32-19) moved them further behind Miami after the Indiana Pacers (33-21) stormed to an emphatic 125-101 triumph. Paul George had a game-high 27 points for the hosts who posted their highest points total in a half for the season with 74 POINTS.

LA Lakers (26-29) gained revenge on their recent heavy defeat at the hands of Boston (28-26) to beat their main rivals 113-99 at the Staples Centre. The home side got off to a fast start and didn’t look back as they moved ahead of Portland in the race for the play-offs. Dwight Howard top scored with 24 points and 12 rebounds as seven Lakers players reached double-figures while Earl Clark grabbed a career-high 16 boards to complement his 14 points. Dallas Mavericks (24-29) scored an impressive 42 points in the opening quarter to power them to a 111-96 win over Orlando Magic (15-39). Rudy Gay was unable to lead Toronto (22-33) to victory over his former side Memphis (35-18) as the Raptors fell to an 88-82 defeat. All-Star Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with an 17-18 double-double.

STAT: Steve Nash moved ahead of Magic Johnson into fourth place on the all-time list for career assists with 10,144.

Nikola Pekovic had a huge 27 point, 18 rebound double-double to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves (20-31) to a 94-87 home win over the Philadelphia 76ers (22-30). Golden State Warriors (31-23) ended a six-game losing streak with a 108-98 win over the Phoenix Suns (18-37) as Klay Thompson (28) and Stephen Curry (20) starred for the hosts. Detroit Pistons (22-34) overturned a half-time deficit to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats (13-41) 105-99 on the road with Brandon Knight top scoring with a 21 point haul.

STAT: Nikola Pekovic matched his season-high total of 18 rebounds having also achieved the feat against Atlanta in January.

Kyrie Irving was in top form for the Cleveland Cavaliers (17-37) with 35 points in a 105-100 success against the New Orleans Hornets (19-36). The rising star scored TWENTY in the final quarter as the home side racked up 37 points to recover from a slender deficit heading into the fourth. In the final game, Brooklyn Nets (33-22) made it back-to-back wins over the Milwaukee Bucks (26-27) with a 97-94 victory despite 31 points and ELEVEN assists from Brandon Jennings. Deron Williams top scored for the Nets with 23 points for his highest total in nine games.

CHECK-OUT Michael Kidd-Gilchrist baptize Detroit’s Greg Monroe: (NBA)

Mini-Profile: J.R Smith

The latest edition of the Mini-Profile series takes a look at NY Knicks‘ star, J.R Smith.

J.R Smith of the NY Knicks

J.R Smith of the NY Knicks

Twitter: @TheRealJRSmith

Bio:

Age- 27 (09/09/85)

Position- Shooting Guard

Height- 6’6″

Nationality- American

Previous Teams- New Orleans Hornets (2004-06) Denver Nuggets (2006-11) New York Knicks (2012-present)

Season Highs:

Points- 28 (v Sacramento 28/12/12)

20+ points- 14 (Most recent v Toronto 13/02/13)

Assists- 7 (v Minnesota 23/12/12)

3pt made- 7 (v Sacramento 02/02/13)

Double-doubles- 3 (Most recent v Portland 01/01/13)

Career Highs:

Points- 45 (v Sacramento 13/04/09)

Points Per Game Average- 16.2 (NY Knicks 2012-present*)

Assists- 9 (v Orlando 05/04/12)

3-pointers made- 11 (v Sacramento 13/04/09)

Games played- 588* (85 for NY Knicks)

*as of 14th February 2013

Honours

18th pick in 2004 NBA Draft

2005 Slam Dunk Contest 3rd place

2009 Slam Dunk Contest 3rd place

2012 CBA All-Star