It was a long, weird day for the New York Knicks, but at least it had a happy ending. Wednesday began with rumors that Carmelo Anthony wanted to be traded, which bled into rumors that Mike D'Antoni had lost touch with his team, which culminated in D'Antoni's shocking resignation in the afternoon. Mike Woodson took over a team that was confused, dismayed and tense, but got the perfect opponent in the similarly dysfunctional Portland Trailblazers. New York struggled a bit early, but found their footing, built a double-digit lead, then absolutely decimated the meek, mopey Blazers by a final score of 121-79. To save you some arithmetic: that's a 42-point win.
As Dave from Blazer's Edge put it, Portland continued a long run of setting new lows:
The Blazers didn't show up in any way, shape, or form against the Knicks. It was the latest in a long line of claims to "Worst Game of the Season". Every time they lose a bad one, they find a way to top themselves.
I don't know what this team is playing, but it barely resembles basketball. It doesn't at all on defense. There was no effort anywhere on the court tonight.
The Knicks, to their credit, identified Portland's weakness and attacked. Jeremy Lin had a quiet night, but set the tone early by pushing the pace off turnovers and finding teammates for easy baskets. Carmelo Anthony, after being the subject of disdain all day and getting booed during introductions, was hot from the field (3-for-6 from downtown) and threw seven dazzling assists. Amar'e Stoudemire finished heaps of plays at the rim, continuing a recent uptick in performance after season-long struggles.
The Knicks led by 26 at halftime, then went wild after the break. The game gradually devolved into a Steve Novak vs. J.R. Smith shootout. Both pulled indiscriminately from downtown, with Novak finishing 6-for-10 on threes and Smith breaking a shooting slump by shooting 7-for-14 from downtown.
So, after an unsettling day, the Knicks got just what they needed in a sorry opponent and a dominant, rousing team performance. For the first time in a while, everybody but the opposition left Madison Square Garden in a good mood. Woodson's 42-point win-- the biggest margin of victory ever in a coach's debut-- moved the Knicks to 19-24 overall while the Blazers fell to 20-23.