Written by William Lee
January 24, 2014 Carmelo Anthony set a career high and franchise record with 62 points in Madison Square Garden against the then Charlotte Bobcats. It is only fitting that Anthony reached his 20,000 career point milestone against the now Charlotte Hornets as well.
Iman Shumpert started the game off very aggressively, possibly because of his contract not getting extended Friday night. Trying to make a point? Possibly…Shumpert looked for his shot early and often, scoring nine points in the opening five minutes, but was overly aggressive on the defensive end, collecting an early second personal foul, forcing him to the bench. With back to back threes, New York held an early double digit lead, 15-5. Carmelo Anthony’s three also put him in the 20,000 career points club.
Gary Neal kept Charlotte in the game, scoring eight of the ten points by the Hornets in between the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter. Neal finished the game with 17 points. New York would lead by as much as 15 points in the first half, going on a 7-0 run capped off by an Iman Shumpert baseline slam dunk, giving the Knicks a 43-28 lead. The Hornets answered with a 22-9 run powered by Al Jefferson, scoring ten points working the low post, cutting the deficit to 52-50 by the end of the first half.
Samuel Dalembert picked up his fourth foul a minute into the second half, and Amare Stoudemire is inserted into the game to replace him. Immediately Al Jefferson attacks Stoudemire, scoring five straight points for the Hornets. Stoudemire would go right back at Jefferson, scoring ten of his 17 points in the third quarter. The third quarter was basically the STAT and Melo show, the duo combined to score 19 of the 27 Knick’s points in the period. Charlotte stayed in the game, largely due to their parade to the charity stripe, attempting 17 free throws in the third quarter alone. Luckily for the Knicks, the Hornets only converted on 64.7% of them.
Both teams would go back and forth in the second half, trading leads 22 times, and tying it up on ten occasions. In the fourth quarter the Knicks offense looked a lot like last year’s putrid offense, stagnating and forcing the ball to Carmelo Anthony. After a nice spin move in the post made by Anthony on Lance Stephenson, New York took a 90-89 lead.
But Charlotte seemed to have all the momentum after a Neal floater, and Kemba Walker layup gave the Hornets a four point lead with 2:49 remaining, 93-90. The offense stagnated again, Shumpert got caught in the air passing the ball, throwing it away, luckily Pablo Prigioni picked up the ball, and threw it back to Shumpert, who drilled in a game tying three off the broken play. Shumpert after the quick start finished the game with only 15 points.
On the next possession Anthony was isolated at the elbow, and knocked down a clutch jump shot, giving New York a 95-93 with 1:24 left in the game. Anthony finished the game with 28 points. New York caught some huge breaks to finish the game, Charlotte used a timeout to set up a play, but was called for a very questionable five second inbound violation. Then the Hornets were forced to foul to prolong the game, Anthony split the free throws to keep it a one possession game with .8 seconds remaining. Charlotte threw up half court pass to Stephenson, who caught it and threw it towards the basket, after J.R. Smith stupidly pumped into him. The game ended with Stephenson on the floor, looking for a call, which was quite possibly justified…but to the Gardens delight, nothing was called, and New York walked off the court with another W.