Written by William Lee
Wednesday night was February 19, 2014 eve of the NBA trade deadline.
The good news the New York Knicks won against the New Orleans Pelicans 98-91 behind a 42 point night from Carmelo Anthony. The bad news…Iman Shumpert, arguably the only tradable asset the Knicks have, and is willing to part with, reinjured his surgically repaired left knee. Shumpert needed the assistance of his teammates to help him off the floor, suffering a sprain left knee when he was making a move towards the rim.
Carmelo Anthony dominated the fourth quarter, something that has been an infrequent event this season. Anthony scored 13 straight points for the Knicks in the final period, isolating himself on almost all possessions, getting by his defender with his first step, and pulling up for a mid-range jumper. No matter who the Pelicans threw at Anthony as the defender, no one was able to consistently stop him. Anthony even got his shot off against the outstretched arms of Anthony Davis. Though at times Davis did get the best of Anthony, getting a block and a steal on Anthony when they were isolated one on one. Anthony Davis would finish the game with 14 points 10 rebounds 5 blocks and 2 steals, safe to say there will be many more All Star game appearances by this man.
Though the Knicks would not have won, if not for the performances of J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr., whom were the only other Knicks in double figure scoring. The rest of the starters combined for only 17 points, so their scoring off the both was paramount to New York picking up a win. Tim Hardaway Jr. almost single handed matched that with 16 points off the bench. J.R. Smith in particular was making everything he threw up, including a wild and one circus shot in the first half. Smith did most of his damage in the second quarter, scoring 12 of his 19 points in the period.
New York had as big much as a 13 point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Knicks would go scoreless in a four minutes stretch, where they watched New Orleans go on an 11-0 run to get within one possession 83-81. The Pelicans would get no closer as Carmelo Anthony closed out the game for the Knicks.
Something curious to note is that Eric Gordon, who was just dominate through three quarters, literally doing anything he wanted against the Knicks pathetic defense, was held out of the fourth quarter until the four minute mark. How dominate was he? Through three quarters he scored 28 points, which included hitting three three-pointers, and got to the line, attempting eight free throws. By the time he came back into the game, he had cooled off, and was scoreless in the fourth. No one can tell me otherwise that New Orleans, who are 23-30 after the loss to New York, were not intentionally tanking, when you have hottest hand sitting on the bench for most of the fourth quarter. Gordon was so cold, he air balled the potential go ahead three with two minutes remaining in the game.