Carmelo powers Knicks to 4th straight home win
Carmelo Anthony matched his season high with 31 points and New York beat the Atlanta Hawks 104-94 on Sunday for its fourth straight home victory.
Joakim Noah’s illness made it an unsettling morning for the Knicks’ backup centers. Carmelo Anthony made sure it was a smooth afternoon.
Anthony matched his season high with 31 points and New York beat the Atlanta Hawks 104-94 on Sunday for its fourth straight home victory.
Anthony has never been a morning person, but he wanted to come out aggressively Sunday after the Knicks followed a loss Thursday in Washington with a lengthy meeting Saturday featuring players, coaches and even team president Phil Jackson.
“Some nights like today calls for me to get it going early,” Anthony said. “My mindset was just to come out and get it going early.”
Kristaps Porzingis added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks, who led most of the way against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Dwight Howard had 18 points and 18 rebounds, but point guard Dennis Schroder missed all eight shots as the Hawks dropped their second straight following a six-game winning streak.
“I feel like we didn’t play well enough on the road. You have to bring a better game but give the New York Knicks credit,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Carmelo played a heck of a game, hit a lot of tough shots.”
The Knicks didn’t have Noah to defend Howard after doctors sent him home because of an illness. Kyle O’Quinn was told during pregame he would start, and rookie Marshall Plumlee had to rush into the city by train and then taxi after he received a morning phone call and was told he would be called up from Westchester of the NBA Development League to make his NBA debut.
“Opportunity knocked and we were all ready as a team defensively,” O’Quinn said.
Howard bounced back nicely after he was ejected for a flagrant foul Friday in the Hawks’ 100-96 loss in Charlotte, while Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 19 points and Kyle Korver scored 17.
Derrick Rose and Courtney Lee both scored 14 points and O’Quinn had eight points and eight rebounds.
The Knicks led by two with 7½ minutes left in the third quarter before Anthony’s jumper started them on a 12-0 burst. Willy Hernangomez’s three-point play extended New York’s lead to 65-51.
Atlanta never made a serious dent in the lead, as the Knicks repeatedly hit 3-pointers every time it seemed the Hawks were building momentum.
Anthony banked in a long jumper from the right side to end the first quarter, giving the Knicks a 24-20 lead that they expanded to 46-41 at halftime.
Hawks: Howard had his 10th double-double of the season by halftime . ... Thabo Sefolosha was active after missing the last two games with a sprained left knee but didn’t play.
Knicks: Plumlee was scoreless in 5 ½ minutes after getting out of his cab in traffic and sprinting to the arena. “When I got here they said, ‘Hey, do you need a warm up?”’ he said. “I said, ‘No, I’m already warm. I ran here.”’ ... The Knicks beat the Hawks for the third straight time.
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony reacts after scoring a 3-point goal during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Knicks won 104-94.