The New York Knicks are making the most of their eight-game home stand and Carmelo Anthony is a one of the reasons why.
The All-Star small forward once again put on another offensive showing and got plenty of help from teammates J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler and rookie Tim Hardaway, Jr. in cruising to an easy victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.
New York’s 117-86 pounding of the struggling Cavaliers was done in large part of ‘Melo, who continued his recent hot shooting by scoring 22 of his 29 points in the first half. The Orange and Blue led from start to finish and was never threatened in picking up their third lopsided victory in as many days.
Hardaway, Jr. also continued to make his case for “Rookie of the Year” honors by chipping in a career-high 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field. Most of those buckets came from beyond the perimeter. In essence, he set a new Knicks rookie record by knocking down six buckets from 3-point range.
A packed Garden crowd that included soon-to-be-retired NBA Commissioner David Stern and Denver Broncos defensive back Champ Bailey watched on as the Knicks wasted no time going to work on the lowly Cavs, jumping out to an early double-digit lead that stretched to 60-36 at the break.
Smith added to the festivities by pulling off a couple of highlight reel plays in the second half, including a breakaway reverse dunk to put the Knicks up by a 20-point margin late in the third quarter.
From there, it was a breeze as the Knicks got a nice tune-up in preparation for their Saturday night showdown with the defending champion Miami Heat.
Chandler contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the victory while
Anthony also became the 50th player in league history to score 19,000 points. Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 24 points, but lost for the fifth time in their last six contests.
“It is starting to feel a lot better here on our home court to win basketball games,” Anthony said afterwards. “We're just trying to keep it going.”
They’ll look to do so when LeBron & Co. invade MSG Saturday night.