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Lin, Harden, Rockets drive right past Knicks to rim, hold on for win

Nov 14, 2013, 11:56 PM EDT

James Harden Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony tried — 45 points on 30 shots, including one that could have tied the game at the end — and Andrea Bargnani continues to find his offensive groove with the Knicks, having his best game.

But that was still not enough to make up for New York’s lack of interior defense with Tyson Chandler out.

The Rockets attacked the paint relentlessly, made 20-of-30 shots inside eight feet (and hit just 29 percent of their shots from everywhere else), plus they got to the line 44 times and that was enough to lift them to a 109-106 win in Madison Square Garden.

Jeremy Lin reminded Knicks fans what they were missing with 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting, nine of those in the fourth quarter when the Knicks were making runs but couldn’t get on top. However it was James Harden who really on the attack with 36 points on 9-of-17 shooting, plus he got to the line 18 times. This is what the Rockets do every game — attack the paint then kick out for threes, although the threes didn’t fall in this one — but New York really had no way to deter the Rockets in the paint.

Chandler Parsons added 22 points as the Rockets offense put up a 115 points per 100 possessions average on the Knicks.

While New York fell to 3-5 there were bright spots — like Bargnani. He completely outplayed Dwight Howard on the night, including slowing him defensively.

Bargnani had 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting and hit all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. More than that his man-defense in the post on Howard was good — Howard shot 1-of-5 on the night and finished with just 7 points (but 15 rebounds).

The Knicks had their chances in this one, including with 5 seconds left and New York down three going for the tie. The ball was inbounded to Carmelo Anthony coming off a screen who quickly turned to shoot while Harden tried to foul before he got the shot off. The referee Scott Foster sided with Harden and said the foul was before the act, but it was close and Anthony hit the three on his follow through. That ended up being moot and the Knicks could not win the free throw game at the end.

The Knicks starting five (Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Anthony and Bargnani) were a +18 in 18 minutes together on the court. But when Mike Woodson had to go to the bench things dropped off fast.

The Knicks are going to have to find some consistent bench play and some interior defense if they are going to stay out of a big hole with Chandler out.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Nov 14, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    5 vs. 8…

    • thebigcaptain2011 - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Hey, it’s Wright 212 whining about refs again. That’s not surprising at all.
      If you attack the rim you get the calls. The NBA wants it’s team in the biggest city to be successful but it’s the management and players that fail them (40 years and counting), not the refs.

  2. lakerade - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    For as many points as Melo scored, he still lost mental focus at a crucial moment and “hacked” Howard, giving up 3 points and thus moving the deficit/lead from leapfrogging with each possession to keeping it within one possession instead as the game finished up. Self-inflicted.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 1:57 AM

      Melo’s shot selection sometimes – just makes you scratch your head…


  3. gbsfinest420 - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    Carmello is still so happy because he scored so many points… Poor knicks fans… They will get no where with him…. I would hate to be on his team

    • cruzan80 - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Yeah…I would hate it too…..because without him…Raymond Felton & Andrea Bargnani would clearly have the Knicks in 1st place. He’s absolutely holding those guys back from what would be obvious HOF career’s like Pau Gasol, Russell Westbrook, D Wade, Paul Pierce, Tony Parker or Chris Bosh. I mean, when I sit & just imagine how many rings Felton & J.R. Smith could get us without Carmelo Anthony it just makes me sick to my stomach………#OneDumbAssCommentDeservesAnother

  4. kb2408 - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    The 80 million dollar man got outplayed by Bargnani, huh? And it seems like he is slowly becoming the Rockets 3rd or 4th option.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 1:53 AM

      D12 got 15 boards and 4 blocks and nailed some clutch free throws. Job done.

    • thebigcaptain2011 - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      It was a matchup nightmare for Dwight. He is a traditional center trying to guard a poor-man’s Dirk. On the other end they kept calling him for charging. Yes, Harden flops (most stars in the NBA do as well) but so did Andrea in the low post. He handled his business in the defensive low post and that is what Rockets fans expect from him at minimum every night.
      Better us giving 80 Mil to Dwight than 100 Mil to Amare.

  5. neight33 - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Wait…He “Slowed Dwight”???? How about he shut him down? One basket…Kurt, what happened to the whole world is gonna hate Bargs??? I thought he was the biggest mistake the Knicks ever made…Full disclosure: Melo kept us in the game, but ultimately cost us the game…Bad shots down the stretch and constantly losing his man on defense. That being said, the three should have counted. Harden missed him with the first swipe and got him when he was in the act of shooting…And down on the other end, they took 2.1 seconds to call a foul on the Knicks. Pretty lousy officiating.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Howard had 15 rebounds and impacted the game on the defensive end, hence slowed not shut down.

      Bargs had good stretches of play in Toronto, lets see if it lasts.

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