The New York Knicks had won three consecutive games as they were set to host the Cleveland Cavaliers on national television on Thursday night, and after just 12 minutes, they were well on their way to their fourth straight victory. New York raced to a 38-21 advantage in the first quarter, and from there, it was a cruise-control performance in route to a 117-86 win.
Carmelo Anthony led the charge (as always) for the Knicks, and he was electric in the opening frame. Anthony scored 18 points on just 10 shots in the 1st quarter, and while that pace slowed considerably throughout the rest of the game (thanks to the score), he finished with 29 points on 8-for-17 shooting. Carmelo’s recent level of performance has been excellent (just ask the Charlotte Bobcats), but he was in top form here, and when he’s there, the Knicks are tough to defend.
In addition to Anthony, rookie swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. had the best statistical game of his young career. The former Michigan guard scored a career-high 29 points on just 17 shots, and his performance single-handedly pulsed New York’s bench. Throw in solid nights from JR Smith (19 points, 8-16 FG), Raymond Felton (12 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds), and Tyson Chandler (11 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks) and it’s incredibly clear as to how the Knicks dominated the game from beginning to end.
Even with 4 straight wins, the Knicks sit at just 19-27 (11-15 at home), but they are undeniably play more effective basketball with each passing day, and with the playoffs still in the distance, they are positioning themselves for a run.