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Nov 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) controls the ball against Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons (25) during the second quarter of a game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks fall to Rockets 109-106

Al Trautwig could not have set it any better. “I don’t know how you don’t know the rule,” referring to Carmelo intentionally fouling Dwight Howard under two minutes that  gave the Houston Rockets a free throw and possession of the ball.  “I don’t know how there isn’t someone that the Knicks can try to get going to try to help out Carmelo,” referring to how Carmelo and Andrea Bargnani were the only players that really provided any scoring.  “I don’t know how they forget about Andrea Bargnani,” referring to down the stretch when Bargnani was on the bench and the Knicks needed baskets.  There were so many little mental mistakes in this game that could’ve changed the outcome of this game.

The Knicks dug themselves into a bit of a hole in the second quarter, down by as many as 12 points, but went on a 14-2 run at the end of the first half to bring the deficit to 4 points.  However they were never able to catch up to the Rockets, as the trio of James Harden (36 points), Jeremy Lin (21 points), and Chandler Parsons (22 points) easily were able to attack basket and knock down wide open shots.

With 3:25 left in the game and the Knicks down 9, Melo turned it on and the cut it to 3, and with 5 seconds left, Melo received the ball around the three point line and heaved up a three as James Harden fouled him.  The shot went in and what seemed to be a 4 point play, the refs ruled the shot came after Melo was fouled on the floor and the basket did not count.  The game was over from there.

The Knicks bench was a non-factor combining for 12 points on 4-16 shooting.  This cannot happen if the Knicks want to win games.  There is so much depth to this team but if they are not providing, it doesn’t matter.

Here are the report cards for the tonight’s game.

Carmelo Anthony – 44 minutes, 45 points, 17-30 FG, 9-11 FT, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 3 TOs, +7

Melo gave it his all, scoring 45 points, the most for any NBA player this season, and grabbing 10 rebounds.  He carried the Knicks through runs at the end of the first hand and late in the game.  Although they lost, it’s a good sign that he has found his shot back after struggling through the first 7 games shooting 40% FG.  He needs his teammates to step it up.

Final Grade: A

Andrea Bargnani – 33 minutes, 24 points, 9-12 FG, 3-4 FT, 4 rebounds, 1 block, +7

Nov 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Dwight Howard (12) controls the ball against New York Knicks power forward Andrea Bargnani (77) during the third quarter of a game at Madison Square Garden. The Rockets beat the Knicks 109-106. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Bargnani continues to beat his best performance as a Knick each game.  He played great against the Hawks on Tuesday and even better against the Rockets.  He knocked down clutch shots as the shot clock winded down and was very efficient too.  But most importantly, we saw him play stellar defuse, something that is usually not in Bargnani’s repertoire.  He limited Dwight Howard, the most dominant big man in the league to 7 points, on 1-5 shooting, and caused him to commit 5 TOs.  Although he doesn’t have the same defensive presence as Chandler in the paint, Bargnani did as much as he could.  I just wish Woodson played him in the end of the game when the Knicks needed buckets other than Melo.

Final Grade: A

Raymond Felton – 41 minutes, 8 points, 3-9 FG, 7 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, 5 TOs, +4

Felton was a little erratic with his turnovers but he was the only one that really created open opportunities for Melo with his drive and kicks.  His defense was pretty atrocious, though, allowing drive after drive to the basket by the Rockets guards.  Lin, who is off to a great start this season averaging close 20 pts and 5 ast a game, completely outperformed Felton, sparking some thoughts on whether or not it was good idea for the Knicks to let him go in summer of 2012.

Final Grade: B

J.R. Smith – 39 minutes, 15 points, 4-16 FG, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, -1

If it weren’t for JRs poor shooting percentage, JR would’ve had a solid, well-rounded game.  It’s only his 3rd game of the season since coming back from his suspension so it will understandably take some time to get back in the flow.  He made up for his poor shooting with some nice rebounding and dishing to the open man.

Final Grade: B

Iman Shumpert – 30 minutes, 2 points, 1-4 FG, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, +14

On Tuesday, Shumpert scored only 5 points but made up for it with his great perimeter defense.  Tonight against the Rockets, he didn’t score, nor did he play good defense. Whether it was defending Harden, or Lin, there was no close outs on open shots or tenacious defense on drives. He came up with a few big plays, like a stop on Harden with under 10 seconds to go, but it was a little too late. Yet Shumpert still grabbed rebounds and had some nice assists and finished with the best +/-.

Final Grade: B-

Metta World Peace – 17 minutes, 4 points, 1-7 FG, 1 rebound, -19

MWP could  not keep up with the quick and young guards on the defensive end and could not find the hoop on the offensive end.  He finished with the worst +/- on the team.  Metta has to figure out a way to counter his aging with maybe a different style of play.

Final Grade: D-

Tim Hardaway Jr. – 14 minutes, 8 points, 2-3 FG, 1 rebounds, 1 steal, -10

Hardaway provided some instant scoring in his limited minutes tonight.  Perhaps if JR is having an off night, Hardaway can become that third scorer the Knicks needed.  He seems more in more conformable in the NBA as he gets another game under his belt.

Nov 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) is fouled by New York Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni (9) during the first quarter of a game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Final Grade: A-

Pablo Prigioni – 7 minutes, 0 point, 0-1 FG, -7

Prigioni did nothing in his limited minutes.  It seems that Prigioni has had a less and less role on this team each game, losing the starting job to JR Smith.

Final Grade: No grade

Kenyon Martin – 10 minutes, 2 points, 1-2 FG, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, -3

Kenyon got a flagrant foul for throwing Parsons to the floor.  Very debatable call.  In his limited minutes, he did a solid job protecting the basket.

Final Grade: B-

Amar’e Stoudemire – 5 min, 0 points, 0-3, 1 reb, -7

STAT did nothing besides miss layups.  He was useless, but then again so was everyone else on the bench.

 Final Grade: No grade

The Knicks play the Atlanta Hawks again on Saturday at MSG.  Hopefully they can come back strong and pull out a win.

Tags: Andrea Bargnani Houston Rockets New York Knicks

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