Mike Breen called it. A Knicks announcer when he’s not doing national TV, Breen called Carmelo Anthony‘s 43-point performance Sunday against Chicago his finest moment as a Knick. How could it not be? He hasn’t had the most consistent tenure as a Knick, putting it nicely, which is par for the Knicks’ fate during his time since the Nuggets’ trade. Two months after his return during Jeremy Lin‘s breakout had everyone thinking Anthony was key to the Knicks’ woes, he was king of New York for the day. Anthony drilled the game-tying three over Taj Gibson in regulation. In OT, the Bulls weren’t about to get caught again, so they got Luol Deng on him as ‘Melo called for a clearout. Back to same spot he went, at the near elbow of the three. Same shot, same result. Eh, what’re ya gonna do, Chicago, against a dude that hot? … ESPN ran a stat showing in his last seven games, Anthony’s going for 29.9 points on 49 percent shooting, more than 10 points per higher than before. … You could almost see the rust chipping off Derrick Rose in the first half. In his first game back in 12 games, he worked into his old self in the second half. More lethal drives, more jumpers as he stopped on a dime. He finished with 29 points, but he missed big free throws again in regulation. Deng and then Rose each bricked two shots that sets up Melo’s big three. You have to talk about Rose’s FTs as much as Carmelo’s three. … It wasn’t just a good night for the Knicks, it was a good night for home teams everywhere in the League. Only one host (Sacramento) didn’t win. … In that one the Rockets … … It’s the final day of your 10-day, what do you do? If you’re Cleveland’s Lester Hudson (26 points in 29 minutes), you drain a three to go to OT against the Nets. That dude put up 18 in the fourth alone and gave Gerald Green (32 points, 5-of-7 from three including a biggie in OT) fits guarding him. Given a chance to tie at the end of OT, though, Hudson couldn’t connect and N.J. survived. The Nets were playing under the watchful eye of Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who looked like he’d had an all-night bender the night before. … Where does Green rank in all-time D-League call-ups? Gotta be top three. And don’t forget his other benchmate, Anthony Morrow, who had 24 in reserve including a couple big turnarounds late. … Antawn Jamison’s 12-for-19 night and 34 points were all for naught, but they almost got the Cavs back into it again in OT. He drilled one from the corner after Deron Williams missed a layup at the other end (though he got pushed in the chest like a lineman on a blocking sled). Cue a big televised Prokhorov sigh. It couldn’t touch the drama of its NY neighbor but not a bad game. … We know the Sixers have a hard time doing much right in close games at the end, but their democracy of stars couldn’t keep a game to Boston close after the first quarter. The Celtics got up a dozen early in the second and stayed that way, even with Rajon Rondo (seven points, 15 assists and five turnovers) was getting a little too creative for his own good on his dimes. Shooting 58 percent to your opponent’s 38 percent will do that for you. … Kevin Garnett (20 points) dominated a father-time matchup with Elton Brand, being a major factor why the Sixer had just two boards. But good lookin’ out Nikola Vucevic, with 14 points and 13 boards off the pine. … Miami’s streak-snapping home loss to Memphis last week looked far behind it by handling Detroit with ease and without Dwyane Wade (ankle). LeBron (26 points) had a crazy minute-long stretch in the second where he followed a juggling runner in the lane where he was fouled with a Terrel Harris layup with a vicious tip slam. Watch your back, Greg Monroe (11 points), literally. Yikes. … James Jones only shoots threes. Eight threes went up for Jones and six went in, and Detroit never had an answer for his well-timed bombs. Hit the jump to read about how San Antonio aced a test Sunday.
We can’t be sure if 2012 will be like the 2011 playoffs, when a cruising San Antonio team got whipped in the playoffs’ first round. We do know they’re still running off games and maybe, just maybe, getting enough gas to run away with a Western Conference No. 1 seed. They beat Utah handily to get an 11th straight win, and if you’re in Texas you like what you saw from Manu Ginobili (23 points). He kept coming down the lane like the train in Unstoppable, getting to the line 15 times. It was a nice way to see what the lineup would be like without DeJuan Blair, who didn’t play, and the Spurs passed. Tony Parker‘s 28 weren’t bad, either and that spin move on Devin Harris? Filthy. (Also, they’re 9-0 since Boris Diaw arrived. Of course.) Losing an energy guy like C.J. Miles to a calf strain didn’t help for Utah. Derrick Favors‘ 14 and 12 came with a nasty slam over Tiago Splitter. … Knowing the Spurs were playing you knew Oklahoma City was going to snap out of it against Toronto. The Thunder had a 24-0 run (this is a real thing?) that ended any suspense. It was more a case of OKC being its normal self than Toronto being not very good (which they aren’t, but still). … A matter of frustration: When Kevin Durant (23 points) sets a screen near the three, why do two guys follow the guy with the ball? Durant took advantage of a couple inexplicable defensive moves to score Sunday. Russ Westbrook (16 points, six boards and six assists) broke out, a few times, his hesitation moves on secondary breaks on Jose Calderon (19 points) that make him so good. Guys guarding him kept looking at Raps coach Dwane Casey like, he was just here. … Houston didn’t turn the ball over (10 times) and got the ball inside for 46 points in the paint to beat the Kings, with a guy like Courtney Lee running around in there for some of his 25 points. He had an easier time getting his buckets than a Kings fan would hope. That is, when he wasn’t getting dimes from Goran Dragic (15 points, nine assists). Dragic’s like the wasp you can’t swat. … We’re out like C.J. Miles.
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