The Knicks pulled a home no-show for the second consecutive game in a demoralizing 118-110 loss to the Bobcats.
Despite getting a big game from Amar’e Stoudemire 25 points and 12 rebounds and Iman Shumpert 18 points, who were both returning from injury, the Knicks (2-4) laid yet another egg in front of the faithful.
The Bobcats (2-4), losers of three straight coming into the game, were entering the second part of a back-to-back and sported one of the weakest offenses and defenses (107 points allowed per game). Yet, it was the Knicks who appeared to be sluggish and apathetic. Charlotte had separate 9-0 runs in the first half to stake a comfortable 14-point lead in the opening half.
If not for the play of Stoudemire and Shumpert in the first half, the score would’ve looked a lot worse than the 62-52 advantage that Charlotte held. Stoudemire had 11 points and seven rebounds in the first half, while Shumpert added a team-high 12 points.
The biggest foe for the Knicks — other than their uninspired play — was Boris Diaw. The veteran big man torched the Knicks with 27 points. But Diaw wasn’t alone, as the former Mike D’Antoni protégé had lots of help from usually unassuming players, including five other players in double-digit scoring. Point guard D.J. Augustin, whose solid play so far has kept fan favorite rookie Kemba Walker stuck to the bench added 14 points and 10 assists. Gerald Henderson knocked down 24 and reserve big man B.J. Mullens chipped in with 16. The Knicks were having such a horrible night that Mullens, a mere afterthought in the league, already had a career-high 14 points in the first half.
The Knicks got little out of their stars and role players, as the next player with any kind of success was Carmelo Anthony (32 points), but he shot a game-high 24 times to get his numbers and was spotty all game. Shumpert was so good, and Toney Douglas was so bad, that the faithful were cheering the rookie’s name anytime he stepped on the floor — and booing Douglas anytime he subbed back in for Shumpert.
Perhaps the microcosm of the night — and what will be an ongoing problem — is the Knicks are rudderless at lead guard. Gone are floor generals like Raymond Felton and Chauncey Billups and in stepped a guy in Douglas who’s more apt at being an off-guard, not getting others involved. As a result, the Knicks had 17 turnovers to only 19 assists.
»Diaw entered the game with an average of only eight points per but surpassed that in only one quarter of play when he tallied 12 in the opening quarter.
»The Knicks outrebounded the Bobcats, 40-37, which was the first time all season they outrebounded an opponent.