The New York Knicks continue to make statements that they are for real.
They made another one Thursday night when Carmelo Anthony’s scorching hot start helped spoil Mike D’Antoni’s return to the Big Apple with a 116-107 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
With the win, the Knicks stayed unbeaten on the season at Madison Square Garden, but it came with a price as Carmelo Anthony left the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle.
But after a season-high 41 points in the fourth quarter, the Knicks cruised to victory, improving to 17-5 on the season.
Here’s a look at the individual grades each Knicks’ player received in our daily report card.
Field Goal Percentage: 53.2 %( 42-of-79)
Opponent’s Field Goal Percentage: 41.7% (35-of-84)
Three Point Percentage: 48.0% (12-of-25)
Opponent’s Three Point Percentage: 32.4% (12-of-37)
Free Throw Percentage: 66.7% (20-of-30)
Opponent’s Free Throw Percentage: 86.2% (25-of-29)
Assists: 25-13 (Knicks +12)
Rebounds: 44-33 (Knicks -11)
Points in the paint: 38-32 (Knicks -6)
Raymond Felton: (19 points, 9-of-26 shooting, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 steal)
Felton abused Chris Duhon and the other Lakers’ point guards with his quickness. He was consistently able to penetrate the middle and when the Lakers’ secondary defenders came to help, Felton’s kickout passes kept their defense scrambling. He didn’t have a great night shooting the ball, but was able to shoulder some of the load once Anthony left the game. In addition he took great care of the ball, dropping eight dimes and coughing it up only once. Grade: B+
Jason Kidd: (5 points, 1-of-2 shooting, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals)
Kidd made only one shot on the night, but as usual found a way to make a huge impact in the game. He was a big part in the ball continuously moving and always made the right pass to find the hot hand, which on this night was easy because everyone was hot. He’s also the leader out there on the floor that prevented the Knicks from relaxing after a slow start. Nine rebounds and five assists were tremendous, but Kidd’s contributions go way further than anything on the stat sheet. Grade: A-
Ronnie Brewer: (6 points, 3-of-6 shooting, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block)
Brewer scored just six points and failed to hit either of his open three-point looks, which isn’t the end of the world for him, but his main job is to play defense and allowed Metta World Peace to drop 23 points. That’s not going to earn him high marks for this game: Grade: D+
Carmelo Anthony: (30 points, 10-of-15 shooting, 3 rebounds, 1 steal)
Anthony exploded out of the gate and scored 22 of the Knicks 41 first-quarter points, just two shy of the team record shared by Willis Reed and Allan Houston. His 30 points came on a very efficient 10-of-15 shooting in only 23 minutes and had he not gone down with an ankle injury, the Garden crowed could have seen something special. Game-by-game, Anthony is transforming himself from a “me-first” player to a legitimate leader and MVP candidate. Grade: A+
Tyson Chandler: (18 points, 5-of-5 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks)
Chandler finished with 18 points, only four rebounds and missed six free-throws on the night, but he’s another guy who you have to look deeper into the box score for. His interior defense was brilliant last night. Chandler was often out there by himself to control the paint as Mike Woodson often had the floor spread with shooters, but he turned away penetration all night and was outstanding rotating to help. Dwight Howard may have out produced Chandler on the stat sheet, but Chandler had by far the more meaningful game: Grade: A
J.R. Smith: (18 points, 7-of-14 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
Foul trouble limited Smith’s minutes, but he joined in on the party by scoring 18 points and more importantly, did so by shooting 50 percent from the floor. Grade: B+
Steve Novak: (12 points, 4-of-5 shooting, 3 rebounds, 4 assists)
Novak did what Novak is supposed to do- drain three’s. He knocked down four on the night and even dished out four assists while grabbing three rebounds. When Novak is on the floor he simply can’t be left alone, which makes it very difficult for the opposition to play good team defense. Grade: A-
Rasheed Wallace: (8 points, 3-of-5 shooting, 3 rebounds, 1 steal)
‘Sheed chipped in eight points, but more importantly his strength and his length at the defensive end gave Howard some fits. Grade: B+
Pablo Prigioni: (0 points, 0-of-0 shooting, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals)
Prigioni didn’t attempt a shot in 12 minutes, but he was active defensively. That’s what he is there for. Grade: B
James White: (0 points, 0-of-0 shooting, 1 assist)
White played only four minutes and didn’t get to do much while he was out there. Grade: Incomplete
Chris Copeland: DNP Coach’s Decision
Kurt Thomas: DNP Coach’s Decision
Marcus Camby: DNP Sore Left Foot
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