LOS ANGELES CA - JANUARY 09: Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks drives around Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 9 2011 in Los Angeles California. The Lakers won 109-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

NBA Scores And More: Lakers Thwart Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks

The Lakers' big men thwarted the Knicks as L.A. earned a nice home win. In other action, the Miami Heat won in overtime (again) and Carmelo Anthony slinked toward the exit in Denver.

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Lakers Vs. Knicks: Amar'e Stoudemire Stifled As L.A. Denies New York

Amar'e Stoudemire scored 23 points for the New York Knicks, but he had to take 24 field goals and 11 free throws -- effectively 28 shots -- to get them as the Los Angeles Lakers created a hostile work environment in the paint for the superlative scorer. The Lakers won 109-87, the two-time defending NBA champions' best win in weeks.

Stoudemire was stymied by Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, three players who could (depending on how the league deals with Yao Ming's vote-in) appear on the Western Conference All-Stars next month. Stoudemire was clearly psyched up for the game -- he had six blocks, for crying out loud -- but the Lakers were too good and too smart to be fooled by his wily tricks, especially without a signature scorer backing Amar'e up on the perimeter.

That's what Wilson Chandler passes for these days, and while Chandler is doing as well as can be expected, his 0-5 night from long-range just killed the Knicks, who are still missing (dearly, in this game) Danilo Gallinari.

Gasol had 20 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. Bynum added 18, seven and two in 25 minutes before being ejected, and Odom came in off the bench to provide 13 points and 18 rebounds. Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, but needed 28 field goal attempts and four free throws to get there.

It's hard to overstate how geeked up the Lakers' bigs were. Bynum had the play of the night, a dunk Amar'e often lays on unfortunate opponents.

When Bynum is going hard and Gasol is getting the ball, this team is going to be tough to beat.

Bill Walker, once considered the most athletic high school player in the country before tearing his ACL during his mandated pre-draft collegiate season at Kansas State, took seven shots, all of them three-pointers. Somewhere, a 13-year-old dunk fiend weeps.

Silver Screen And Roll credits the focus on getting the ball to the Lakers' big men as a major turning point for the team. Posting And Toasting writes that Amar'e and Raymond Felton were going to both have bad nights on the same night at some point, and it finally happened.


Heat Vs. Blazers: LeBron James' 44 Leads Miami To Another Overtime Win

The Miami Heat needed overtime for the second straight game, but LeBron James' 44 points ensured that the streaking Heat stayed in the win ledger as Miami beat the Portland Trail Blazers 108-100 at the Rose Garden. Dwyane Wade added 34 for the Heat; LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 31, and wonderboy Nicolas Batum added 22.

The Heat actually trailed by seven points with less than two minutes left in regulation. After an Aldridge lay-up established that margin with a minute and 46 seconds left, LeBron hit a quick pull-up three to drop the deficit to four. Portland would score just one more bucket in regulation, and a Wade lay-up and free throws by James Jones and LeBron tied the game at 93-93. Andre Miller's last second attempt went awry.

James scored eight in overtime. Portland scored seven. And splish splash, there you have it. Three of LeBron's OT points came on this gully three-pointer from across the Willamette. It was so good LeBron had to congratulate himself with a pat on the rear.

Blazersedge rues that Portland couldn't find anyone to step up to help Aldridge hold the Heat back in crunch time. Peninsula Is Mightier credits the Heat defense for allowing the offense to thrive.


Nuggets Vs. Hornets: Carmelo Anthony Slinks Toward The Exit As Denver Loses

In what may have been Carmelo Anthony's final home game in Denver, the Nuggets fell 96-87 to the New Orleans Hornets. Anthony, the subject of hot trade talk that could result in a move to the New Jersey Nets as soon as today, scored just eight points on 3-11 shooting against the Hornets. He hadn't scored less than 10 points in any game in which he'd played at least 30 minutes since 2005.

Denver's offense was weak, thanks to a solid New Orleans defense and crummy shooting by 'Melo and Chauncey Billups (2-12). Billups, a Denver native, is also expected to be traded to the Nets, though it remains unclear as to whether he will ever suit up for New Jersey and instead request a buy-out. Billups' agent has indicated the veteran guard has no interest playing anywhere but Denver.

Al Harrington, who figures to ride out the season as Denver's top scorer should he remain with the Nuggets after the trade season, scored 20 points. For the Hornets, as it so often is, the offense was dominated by Chris Paul (20 points, six assists) and David West (19 points, five assists). Trevor Ariza's defense on 'Melo was great, and the wing took just two three-pointers (missing both). Progress!

Andrew Feinstein of Denver Stiffs thinks that it is no coincidence that 'Melo is playing so poorly right now. At The Hive considers every win over the Nuggets to be a small slice of revenge for the 2009 playoffs.

In other action:

Clippers 105, Warriors 91: Blake Griffin's rampage continues. He had 23 points and 12 rebounds against the thin Warriors, bringing his double-double streak to 23 and his 20-10 streak to 12. (Yep, he's had 20 points and 10 rebounds in every game he's played since Dec. 12. Only Shaquille O'Neal has a longer streak this millennium.) But due to the schedule, he's actually fallen behind a certain rival power forward on his double-double streak.

Spurs 94, Wolves 91: That'd be Kevin Love, who had his 24th straight double-double in a loss to the Spurs. Love isn't the scorer that Griffin is, and had 18 points. But Love is the best rebounder in the league, bar none -- he pulled down 17 against San Antonio. The Spurs relied on their perimeter attack, as Manu Ginobili had 21. Darko Milicic lead the Wolves in shot attempts. He turned his 16 field goals attempts and two free throws into a whopping 11 points.

Suns 108, Cavaliers 100: Phoenix found a team it can beat. Unsurprisingly, it was the team everyone can beat, the league-worst Cavs. The Suns broke a three-game skid by beating a Cleveland team missing Anderson Varejao, Daniel Gibson, Anthony Parker and Joey Graham (and Leon Powe; writing that makes me too sad to function). Phoenix shot 13-28 from long-range -- that's the Suns' best bet to win these days: gun it.

Raptors 118, Kings 112: Tyreke Evans (the team's best starting defender) sat out with a sprained ankle, and Toronto took that opportunity to shred the Kings. DeMar DeRozan, who would have been Evans' matchup, scored 28 and Andrea Bargnani dropped 30 points on a combination of Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins and Carl Landry.

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