KNICKS 111 Bobcats 102 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
Things looked grim for the home team when the Bobcats raced out to a 2-0 lead.
Obviously, a tongue-in-cheek reference as the Knicks cruised past Charlotte 111-102 en route to their seventh straight victory.
After the 2-0 start for the Bobcats, New York outscored the struggling squad 38-18 and captured an 18-point lead heading into the second quarter.
Charlotte had no answer for Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and company. The Knicks cashed 62.5 percent of their field goal attempts in the first half to go along with 9-of-12 shots from downtown.
Smith scored 23 of his game-high 37 points in the first half, Anthony finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds, and Raymond Felton posted 18 in 35 minutes of court time.
Smith became the first player to register 30-plus points off the bench in three straight games since Ricky Pierce in 1990.
Similar to Wednesday against Memphis, the Bobcats made a late push and even cut the deficit to seven points with under a minute to play. However, Smith delivered a scooping layup before snatching a ball in mid-air to give New York another possession.
New York is cruising of late and remarkably 7-2 without All-Star Tyson Chandler in the lineup. Kenyon Martin has eased into the starting lineup to provide defense, rebounding, and a scoring punch off pick-and-roll and putback dunks.
Martin’s high-flying antics were not necessarily a necessity in the win tonight but he finished with six points and six boards while defending the paint.
The Knicks made the quick jump up to the No. 2 spot as they continue to jostle with Indiana for second billing next to Miami in the Eastern Conference standings. New York is 45-26 overall and now 26-10 at the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden.
Knick of the Night:
There’s no doubt Smith’s production is a trend not a blip on the radar. The 6th Man of the Year candidate was incredibly efficient again by nailing 12-of-18 shots from the field and11-of-12 at the charity stripe.
The Knicks are battering opposing teams in the first half, outscoring their opponents 128-90 in the last two victories.
New York will continue the homestand on Sunday in the final matchup against the Celtics this regular season.