The Knicks have laid a tripwire around Madison Square Garden this season, staying undefeated there by springing a first-quarter trap on the Lakers en route to a 116-107 win. What brought this game to a near-blowout and a near-comeback was Carmelo Anthony. It must be frustrating for once-Knicks coach and now Lakers leader Mike D’Antoni to see how ‘Melo has changed since D’Antoni resigned, and it’s twist-the-knife cruel that after that pair’s time together was marked by inconsistency, ‘Melo’s smooth hand buried the Lakers for most this game. In his return to MSG (don’t forget Chris Duhon‘s, too!) he saw it all first hand. The trademark of this season has been the Knicks’ ability to whip the ball around the perimeter for better shots and then knock it down, and ‘Melo has been instrumental in both aspects, and continued to be last night. He nearly got the Knicks’ record for points in a quarter when his 22 points in the first Q — a run unforgettably started by three straight threes. Then he got injured. Halfway through the third quarter he hobbled off with 30 points and a bad left ankle (the team called it a sprain later). With the Knicks sluggish in the early fourth, the Lakers sort of jumped back into it like a first-time driver learning stick shift. New York had an answer for everything, though, with big threes from J.R. Smith in the fourth. Kobe Bryant had 31 points for L.A., which is now 9-14. … Madison Square Garden for celebrities is like a light for moths, but we doubt this celeb sighting in the L.A. locker room postgame is one to get excited about: Rev. Jesse Jackson. Jackson reportedly spent time hearing out Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant in the locker room after the loss. Sure, it’s probably not the greatest sign to have a man best known for arriving in times of crises arriving in your locker room. Then again, if he can do anything to flip the mojo of this Lakers team, you can bet the team is open to it. … The Bobcats are skidding, having lost their last 10 straight. Atlanta continued Charlotte’s free fall by hitting 57 percent from the field and 48 percent from three in a 113-90 win. Add in a 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio and the Bobcats were going to be hard-pressed to win this even if they were mistake free. Devin Harris (20 points) and Louis Williams (13 points) came off the bench to stroke seven combined threes. Ramon Sessions had 16 points for the Bobcats. … Hit the jump to hear about a ROY candidate’s career night …
Smack / Dec 14, 2012 / 1:47 am
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