Behind 27 points from forward Boris Diaw, 24 from guard Gerald Henderson and a balanced, 10-assist output from guard D.J. Augustin, the Charlotte Bobcats beat the defenseless Knicks Wednesday night in New York 118-110.
A huge 4th quarter effort from forward Carmelo Anthony made a game of it, but the Knicks were simply unable to play the level of defense required to win. Melo scored 22 in the final period, finishing with 32 points (12-of-24), six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
“That hurt,” said Anthony. “It’s just the way we’ve been playing these past couple of games. I mean it hurts to lose games like that. To dig ourselves in a hole like that and try to fight back every time, it takes a toll.”
New York got 25 points and 12 rebounds from Amar’e Stoudemire. As a team, they shot a very good 49.4%, but had 19 assists and 17 turnovers.
The Bobcats shot 55.3% from the field and hit 7-of-11 three-pointers. They consistently made the extra pass, and usually made one move too many for New York to defend.
“It’s just a matter of us being comfortable with one another, and trusting each other on the defensive end,” said Anthony. “I think it’s going to turn around. I’m not concerned about that.”
For Charlotte, Diaw and Henderson could not be stopped. Playing center, Diaw shot 12-of-15 with 3-of-3 three-pointers for his 27 points. Henderson hit 10-of-13 shots for an easy 24. And Augustin hit just 4-of-14 for 14 points, but also added six rebounds and 10 assists with no turnovers.
Diaw was animated and involved from the start. “He was real motivated to come to New York City, ” said Bobcats coach Paul Silas.
A bright spot for the Knicks was the play of guard Iman Shumpert, who today returned weeks earlier than expected from injury. The athletic rookie shot 6-of-10 and 4-of-6 from three-point range, and finished with 18 points, five rebounds and two steals. He played enthusiastic defense as well. Shumpert cramped up in the end, but it appears he’ll be fine.
Bobcats guard Kemba Walker played fairly OK by rookie standards, shooting 3-of-8 for seven points and five assists. The native New Yorker was thrilled to go up against his hometown team. “Beating them here just made it even better.”
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni summed the game up perfectly afterwards: “Offense was good… just bad defense. Rotations weren’t there.”