by Adam Figman | @afigman
After declaring this one a must-win and displaying some very overdue urgency, Carmelo Anthony came through for the Knicks fans last night, scoring 39 and lifting NY to an overtime victory over Orlando. After Jason Richardson sunk a huge trey at the end of regulation and Melo followed by barely missing a potentially game-winning tip-in, the Knicks held their poise as the Magic unraveled in extra time. First Dwight Howard (29 points, 18 boards) was called for an over-the-back foul—his sixth (in game)—then was T’ed up on his way out—his 17th (in season)—providing a jumping-off point for NYK to gain momentum, as the team played tough D and held on to get the W. JRich added 24 for Orlando (though he was called for a silly tripping foul shortly after Dwight’s departure), while Amar’e Stoudemire put in a modest 20 for the Knicks. The win ends New York’s dreadfully embarrassing six-game losing streak.
Two teams fighting for position to kind of, maybe make a half-decent run at the Pacers’ eighth spot in the East. This came down to the wire, and with the Cats up one, they botched what should’ve been a simple in-bounds play with under 10 seconds to go. The Bucks then stormed up the court, but Brandon Jennings (26 points, but 2-12 shooting in the fourth) missed a runner, then after a rebound flew around a little, Jennings received a pass back and missed a three that would’ve won it. The Bobcats held on, putting them one full game back of Indiana, while Milwaukee stands a much tougher three games out.
Pre-postseason rest, or age catching up with the team? We’ll find out in a couple weeks, but we know in the meantime that it’s a decent time to feast on this currently sluggish Celtics squad. The Pacers won after a big fourth quarter put them ahead, led by center Roy Hibbert and his game-high 26. Also, Boston center Nenad Krstic scored 7 points and had a +/- of -14. I’m not saying he was at fault, or that the trade that sent the Celts’ previous center away was at fault, but I’m just sayin’.
Gordon Hayward attempted and failed to recreate some Butler-styled heroics at the end of regulation, after which the Wizards jumped ahead and won in OT, earning their second road win all season. John Wall put up a solid 28-6-7 stat line, and Washington young’n Jordan Crawford added 25.
Derrick Rose (31 points) played well, but he didn’t get the help he needed, and Philly used a well-rounded offensive attack to impressively knock down the No. 1-seeded Bulls on the road. Thaddeus Young led ’em with 21, while Andre Iguodala put up a 19-7-7 effort.
The Spurs and the Celtics are looking a lot like cousins these days. And not like third cousins that you see on the holidays; like first cousins that you grew up next door to and eat three family dinners with each week. Injured, old and (seemingly) tired, the Spurs dropped their fourth straight, competing without any of their three best players. OK, with the surging Lakers right behind them, San Antonio is in definitively worse shape than the C’s. Portland was led by Andre Miller, who scored 26. Also, props go out to George Hill, who scored a game-high 27 and did his best to keep the down-and-beaten Spurs competitive, despite the fact that only a single other teammate scored in double figures.