MANILA, Philippines – They may be struggling so far in the season but both the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets take down defending NBA champions Miami Heat in two consecutive game days.
Both the Knicks and the Nets have had a hard time putting together wins but have been doing well since the start of the New Year. The Knicks (13-22) have put together a 3-game winning streak while the Nets (15-22) are on a 5-game tear – the league’s current best winning streak.
Knicks vs Miami, Melo vs LeBron
The Knicks vs Heat game featured two of the top small forwards today – crafty scorer Carmelo Antony and 4-time NBA MVP LeBron James. James led all scorers with 32 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 6 assists but it was Anthony who steered his team to victory, 102-92, dropping 29 points, grabbing 8 boards, and dishing out 5 dimes.
Despite the benching of 2012-2013 Sixth Man of the Year JR Smith (more on that later), Melo had plenty of help from his teammates. Point guard Raymond Felton recorded a double-double, 13 points and 14 assists, 2006 first overall pick Andrea Bargnani added 19 markers, while Amare Stoudemire came off the bench to deliver 14 points and 11 rebounds in just 26 minutes of action.
Dwyane Wade also scored in double figures (23 points) but the Heat drew subpar games from Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, and Rashard Lewis who all just scored 6 points apiece.
NBA.com said this is the Knicks’ 4th win against the Heat in their last 5 regular-season matches.
The JR Smith problem
The streaky shooting guard did not see action in this game after being fined $50,000 by the league for “recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct,” according to a report on NBA.com.
Smith is guilty of untying opponents’ shoelaces. Smith’s first offense was when he untied Shawn Marion’s shoe laces during a free throw attempt in their game against Dallas. Smith tried it again on Greg Monroe in their game against Detroit.
New York hasn’t been getting their money’s worth on Smith who they signed to a 3-year, $17 million contract following his stellar performance last season (18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists) that earned him best Sixth Man honors.
Coming off a knee-injury, the 28-year-old shooting guard’s performance has taken a dip this season. Smith, who is coming off a knee injury, is averaging just 11.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3 assists this year.
Several reports say the Knicks are actively shopping Smith. Coach Mike Woodson called out the guard for his misconduct and did not put him in the game as a disciplinary action.
Nets win Nickname game
It took the Nets two extra periods but they were able to pull out a 104-95 double overtime win against defending champs Miami Heat in the NBA’s first game featuring the players’ nicknames on their jerseys.
‘King James’ had another strong outing, leading all scorers with 36 points with 7 rebounds and 5 assists but the reigning MVP watched helplessly in the final extra period as he fouled out late in the first overtime. Norris ‘Cole World’ Cole (18 points, 7 assists) tried to salvage the game for the Heat but they were clearly overmatched without LeBron. Miami was also missing the services of Dwyane Wade who sat out the game to rest.
Joe ‘JJ’ Johnson paced the Nets with 32 points. Off-season acquisitions Paul ‘The Truth’ Pierce and Kevin ‘The Big Ticket’ Garnett added 23 and 12 points respectively. Shaun ‘S Dot’ Livingston did a nice job filling in for the injured Deron ‘D-Will’ Williams. He scored 19 points, grabbed 11 boards, dished out 5 assists, and added 3 crucial blocks.
Which player’s nicknamed jersey would you want to have? Let us know on the comment box. – Rappler.com