CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If you think this has been a crazy NBA season already, try this one on for size: Carmelo Anthony was held to a career-low one point and the New York Knicks won by 33.
Yep, that’s crazy.
And yet that’s exactly what happened Tuesday night as the Knicks routed the Charlotte Bobcats 111-78 to snap a six-game losing streak.
Tyson Chandler had 20 points and 17 rebounds to help the Knicks overcome another poor shooting night from Anthony, whose only point came on a technical free throw in the third quarter.
Anthony missed all seven shots from the field.
Only once in his previous 42 games with the Knicks had Anthony failed to finish in double digits. That came last March 18, when he had six points. His previous career low was two points when he was with the Denver Nuggets.
Anthony did contribute 11 rebounds and four assists.
“Sometimes defences are going to load up on him because they understand he’s our number one option,” said Chandler. “So when they load up and he hits the open guy like he did tonight, we’re still effective — and he’s still effective — because of that.”
On this night the Knicks didn’t need much scoring from their premier player.
Chandler picked up the slack as the former Bobcats star shot 9 for 10 from the field, six of those coming on dunks. Amare Stoudemire chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds while Landry Fields added 18 points and four assists for the Knicks, who won for the first time since Jan. 11.
The Knicks dominated inside the paint, outrebounding the Bobcats 53-33 while handing them their fifth straight loss.
They had 14 dunks against the defenceless Bobcats.
“We didn’t come out ready to play,” Charlotte centre Byron Mullens said. “I mean Carmello scores one point and we still get beat by 33? That’s uncalled for. It makes us look bad. I know we’re a young team but there aren’t any excuses for getting beat by 33 and their main player scoring one point.”
Anthony didn’t seem fazed by his off night.
“I needed a night like this where I didn’t have to do too much and we still won the game by a lot,” said Anthony. “We got a long road trip ahead of us. We got another one tomorrow at Cleveland so it’s another day. This one is over. We won a game, team effort. Get ready for tomorrow.”
Still, Anthony’s recent shooting slump has to be a concern for the Knicks.
He came into the game shooting just 35.4 per cent from the field over his previous eight games.
The Bobcats have plenty of problems of their own.
Point guard D.J. Augustin will miss at least three more games with a right toe injury which means they will rely heavily on rookie Kemba Walker.
Walker led Charlotte with 22 points but struggled early on with turnovers, seemingly bothered by the Knicks’ bigger guards. Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown each scored 15 points for the struggling Bobcats.
“We just didn’t have enough,” Bobcats coach Paul Silas said. “We had really two players that played tonight, that’s Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson. I think Brown scored a little bit there at the end but that was it. When Carmelo Anthony goes 0 for 7, come on, you know? We should at least be in the game.”
Boris Diaw, who had averaged 21.5 points per game in his previous two games against the Knicks, had just four points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field.
The Knicks jumped out to a 52-42 halftime lead behind a near-perfect first half by Chandler, who was 6 of 6 from the field with 13 points and nine rebounds and simply outplayed Mullens.
“Tyson was unbelievable,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I thought he was phenomenal.”
“I think a lot of offensive rebounds came because we were attacking the rim,” Chandler said. “When we get great penetration off the pick and roll I kind of got some easy lanes. That’s the biggest help to get to the glass and get the opportunity to put it back in.”
It was a good start for the Knicks in their first of four straight road games.
“It was important that we start playing better,” D’Antoni said. “We can’t get too excited because we have a game Wednesday night (at Cleveland) and we need to win that too.”
Walker was 5 of 6 from the floor for 15 points in the first half but turned the ball over four times.
The six-foot-one Walker seemed to be bothered by the six-foot-five Iman Shumpert and six-foot-seven Landry Fields. However, the Knicks failed to take advantage of very many of Charlotte’s nine first half-turnovers, regularly missing easy layups. Shumpert even missed a breakaway dunk, clanging it off the back of the rim.
Still, the Knicks began to pull away in the third quarter as the Bobcats shot just 6 of 24 from the field. The Knicks were a solid 9 of 10 from the field during that same span and then expanded the lead in the fourth quarter while resting their starters, including Anthony.
NOTES: The Bobcats will be without Augustin for at least three more games after he injured his right toe earlier in the week. … Knicks centre Josh Harrellson had successful surgery Tuesday on his fractured right wrist and will miss six weeks of action, according to the team. … Bobcats owner Michael Jordan sat courtside with his former agent David Falk.