10 Takeaways From Thursday Night’s Knicks Vs. Rockets, Warriors Vs. Thunder

1. These are the type of games Carmelo Anthony fans point to when placing him in the games top three or five players. With 45 points and 10 rebounds on 17-30 shooting, last night versus Houston was Melo’s finest game of the season of by far. He mixed a wet outside jumper as well as playing bully-ball inside basically showing all facets of a vast offensive repertoire.

Then, Melo pulled a McNabb and forgot the rules by intentionally fouling Dwight Howard under two minutes (you can’t) and not getting the hometown love on a possible four-point play that would’ve gave New York the win (it was actually the right call; I think).

2. Speaking of Dwight Howard, he sure knows how to keep the computers putin’ in terms of slandering his name on these e-streets. The good news was he brought down 15 rebounds and tallied four blocks. The bad news was he only logged five field goal attempts and seven points with Andrea Bargnani guarding him. And not only was Bargnani guarding him, Bargnani guarded him without requiring help. That’s not exactly the second coming of Bill Russell or Dikembe Mutombo.

Look, I recognize Dwight’s talents and how he can turn a good team great when he’s fully invested. But his shortcomings are ridiculous. It makes absolutely no sense being dubbed the best center in the league, but the fourth offensive option on your own team.

3. The Knicks’ interior defense was atrocious most of the night. I lost count how many times the combination of James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin got to the cup almost at will.

4. The Knicks aren’t Ohio State, but I’m none too fond of the Knicks in any sense. Somehow, I feel sorry for Amar’e and New York fans though. Amar’e because watching him play was once one of the greatest offensive forces in the world, but now it’s sort of like hearing a new DMX song. Knicks fans because they’re stuck with him and that contract until 2015.

Speaking of Stat, go check Kaz from The Stashed’s Twitter timeline. He and a homie of his attended the game last night and were nearly kicked out for heckling Amar’e.

5. Don’t look now, but Jeremy Lin as a reserve is working quite well (when he doesn’t have to guard Chris Paul). Averaging 18.1 points and a 54-51-78 shooting splits, his 21 off the bench was the perfect compliment to Chandler Parsons’ 22 and James Harden’s 36 and nine rebounds in Houston’s 109-106 win.

6. This wouldn’t be a bad look to run back come May for a seven game series. Just a suggestion.

7. Battling foul trouble much of the game, Kevin Durant never found a rhythm and still ended up with 20-7-8. Yet, there were a handful of possessions in the fourth quarter where the league’s leading scorer was looked off. And when the rock eventually landed in his hands, shots were forced making an already frustrating evening more so. Call me crazy, but the only player on that squad with the ring to look Durant off is the one modeling boxers.

8. Traditionally, when Oklahoma City loses, placing the blame squarely on Russell Westbrook’s shoulders was all the rage from the cool kids. Not anymore. Prior to point #10, Russy capped off his best game of the season going for 31-9-5-3, including the go-ahead trey ball with less than three seconds.

9. Curry didn’t have his greatest shooting night (8-22, 22 points and nine dimes), despite it feeling like he sort of it did. Meanwhile, Klay’s 27 points (including 6-9 from three) made him Golden State’s hot hand. And I’m going to play Nostradamus here for a second. How great does a three-point contest with Curry and Klay in the final round sound? Depending who’s in the dunk contest, a Splash Brothers Finals showdown would be the highlight of All-Star Saturday night.

10. Andre Iguodala game-winner or not, the fact remains Iggy is settling in as an ideal fit for this Golden State squad. Per CBSSports.com’s Zach Harper prior to last night’s tipoff:

Andre Iguodala may be the ultimate role player.

He’s more than talented enough to be one of the top players on almost any team in the league. We know he’s one of the best defensive players in the league, even if All-Defensive Team voters refuse to give him the credit he deserves every year. Want him to defend Tony Parker? Done. Want him to chase Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson around screens (obviously before this season)? No problem. Need him to body up Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant for 40 minutes? He’ll do it with a smile.

It’s always nice when your words come to fruition.

Photos: Getty, Jose3030