KNICKS 120 WIZARDS 99 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
Where do we begin? Let’s start with the Knicks capturing the Atlantic Division crown in the 120-99 rout of the Wizards on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
In a game that was never in question, New York blitzed Washington with a barrage of shots from downtown. The Knicks hit their first three attempts behind the arc, reeled off an 8-0 run while building a 17-8 lead at the midpoint of the first quarter and never looked back in their league leading 13th consecutive victory.
Overall, New York tied a franchise record with 20 3-pointers and was led by Carmelo Anthony’s 36 points.
Chris Copeland buried a 3-pointer at the first period buzzer to push the lead to 13 points. New York drilled 9-of-12 shots from deep territory in the first 12 minutes of action.
On paper, Washington seemed to own an advantage inside the paint. Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby did not dress for the contest while the Wizards featured two bruisers in the middle – Emeka Okafor and Nene.
Washington’s two big men were ineffective, managing a combined 13 points and 11 rebounds while Kenyon Martin returned to the lineup for the first time in three games. Unfortunately, Martin was carried off the floor late in the fourth quarter after suffering an ankle sprain. X-rays were negative.
The Wizards only true offensive weapon was John Wall as he registered 33 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the floor in the defeat.
With a glimmer of hope, the Wizards entered the third quarter down 58-43 but Iman Shumpert scored a quick eight points on an 11-4 New York run to extend the lead to 22 points. Anthony dropped a layup in the cylinder at the buzzer to record his fifth straight game with at least 35 points, tying a franchise record shared by newly inducted Hall of Famer Bernard King.
The Knicks won the Atlantic Division for the first time since the 1994 season and are currently riding the franchise’s third longest winning streak. At 51-26, the squad boasts the second best record in the Eastern Conference and it improved to 29-10 at MSG this season.
Shumpert scored 18 points, Copeland added 17, and Smith posted 17 as well.
“We definitely accomplished one of our goals. It is a stepping stone for us. We took care of the division. Now it is about making this run, finishing regular season strong and making this push in the playoffs.” -- Carmelo Anthony
Knick of the Night:
Anthony continued his incredible string of offensive outings. The All-Star scored 36 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the floor, 7-of-9 at the charity stripe. He hauled down eight boards and dished out six assists.
Live and die by the three. The Knicks are certainly living by the long ball, considering the team connected on 20-of-36 long bombs. New York registered more threes than Washington made field goals in the first quarter.
The Knicks will have the day off from practice tomorrow but will head to Chicago for a showdown against another Eastern Conference playoff squad on Thursday night.