After dropping six straight games and inspiring fans and NBA analysts to challenge the fabric of the team's construction more than once along the way, the New York Knicks finally pocketed a comfortable 111-78 win against the Charlotte Bobcats. So many things went right for the Knicks. They moved the ball well and shot 50 percent from the field, made more free throws than the Bobcats attempted, out-rebounded their opponent by 20, dished out 16 more assists as a team and effectively won the game before the fourth quarter even started. Everything the Bobcats attempted to do, the Knicks did it better and more often. For at least one night, New York thrived off great performances from a trio of players. It just wasn't the full trio they have been touting since the offseason.
Amar'e Stoudemire posted an efficient and impactful performance for the first time in almost two weeks -- 18 points on 7-12 shooting, 8 rebounds and zero turnovers -- while Landry Fields contributed enough quality plays to fill every category in the box score and touched every aspect of the game as he collected 18 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. However, both Stoudemire and Fields played a backseat role to Tyson Chandler, who made an indelible mark on the game with an absurd double-double featuring 20 points on 9-10 shooting and 17 rebounds, 8 of which came on the offensive glass. Oh yeah, and he did all that damage without playing a single minute in the fourth quarter.
As for Carmelo Anthony, he sputtered through an 0-7 shooting performance and scored a career-low one point while making little impact on the outcome, but he did manage to contribute 11 rebounds and 4 assists while limiting himself to just a single turnover. After the game, 'Melo reiterated that he is less than 100 percent healthy but maintains he is still in a good place mentally. On this night the 'Melo storyline simply didn't matter as the team played extremely well anyways.
Enough about the puncher, what about the punching bag? The Bobcats played uninspired basketball for most of the night and could not draw inspiration from what was a listless home crowd. No player grabbed more than five rebounds. No player dished out more than two assists. No player shot above 50 percent from the field. Already trailing by 16 points entering the final period, the Bobcats managed to get outscored by 17 points in the fourth quarter in a battle of the backups. Make no mistake about it, Charlotte earned every bit of embarrassment in their 15th loss of the season.
With starting point guard D.J. Augustin out due to inflammation in his right toe, rookie first-round pick Kemba Walker filled in at point and logged a team-high 36 minutes. He put together an up-and-down performance, but finished the game as the only bright spot for the Bobcats. After opening the game a bit jittery and committing all four of his turnovers in the first 15 minutes, Walker settled down and pumped out 22 points on 7-17 from the field to go with an underwhelming pair of assists. The rookie did not exactly orchestrate quality half-court offense, but so many of his teammates turned in poor performances that he can't take too much blame.
Tyrus Thomas played some horrid ball -- posting 4 points on 1-9 shooting with three turnovers -- yet the worst performance of the night belonged to Byron Mullens. The young center settled for jumpshots on offense, but the most inexcusable aspect of his play was his lack of effort and awareness on the glass. Tyson Chandler outworked and over-powered Mullens on almost every possession their matchup came into focus, and the only mercy afforded to the Bobcats' big came when Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni elected to rest Chandler for the entire fourth quarter.
Tyson Chandler was the undisputed MVP of (the non-garbage time portion of) this game. Byron Mullens was like "hey I'm Byron I'll be your opponent today. I'm really looking forward to guarding you and competing for rebounds with you" and Tyson was like "WHAT I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF ME DUNKING INTO YOUR MOUTH". Chandler got every rebound on both ends and dunked every dunk and was just awesome and dominant and awesome again. Big ups to the guards for hitting Chandler with a few nice feeds and also (seriously) missing shots when he was in good rebounding position.
The win boosted the Knicks to 7-10 overall, while the Bobcats fell to 3-15.